Stray Kids

I saw a boy yesterday, sitting on the curb eating a lollipop. The neighbors seemed to give little attention to him for two in the afternoon. I wondered if school had let out early. A man in his twenties was walking door to door, he must have caught the little boys attention. He left his curb and started to follow the man. Hesitantly at first, but then almost with a skip of jolly inclination.

“Do you know who the Ghost busters are?” He asked with enthusiasm.
The man shook his head, glancing around for a parent in sight.
“Are you a Ghost Buster? You look like one. Is that why you’re going to everyone’s house? To make sure they don’t have any ghosts?”
“No, I work for the post office.” The man smiled awkwardly.
The little boy did not believe this. “I think I have a ghost. Mama just yells at me when I tell her, but she doesn’t know.”
“Do you think it’s invisible?” The man asked.
“No. I see it sometimes. It races from under my bed to out the window when it gets really really late at night.”
“What do you do about it?”
“I scream. But now that you’re here, you can fight it for me.” The little boy looked up at him with a strange sort of hope glittering from inside his eyes.
“I don’t have my equipment.” The man finally said.
“That’s okay. You’re bigger than me. Maybe you could come over for a slumber party.”

I watched as the little boy followed the postal worker down the block. With each door the postal worker knocked on, the people seemed to over look the little boy. It was as if they must have known him to do this quite often. Maybe like a stray dog that they all feed every now and again to keep him full.
The postal worker got to the end of 7th street and looked down to the future of row houses to come.
“Little man, I have to go now. I’ve got a lot more work to do.” I could hear him as he squatted down to the height of the little nose pointed up.
“I can follow you. We could be friends.”
“No, little man. You should stay on your block. Your mom might start to wonder.”
“It’s okay.”
The man gave him a little smile and shifted the mail bag onto his right shoulder. He waved and then disappeared further down the street.
Little boys shouldn’t be so eager to talk to strangers. I watched him as he mosied back to his stoop, slumped along the steps with another lollipop. Waiting for the Ghost busters.


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