Reaching forward with one dirty hand, Jimbo pushed aside a few of the soldiers from the camp. Poking a pudgy, dirty finger and digging with a mud-caked fingernail, he delved into the hole at the top of the sand mound. Trying to forage deeper to see where the congregation was, or how big their food store was, he dug. Striking the red brick underneath the sand mound he found nothing. Disgusted, Jimbo brushed the measly sand mound away, clearing the spot where it once stood. Underneath the site was about four or five big holes in the packed sand between the cracks in the brick. Way underground. Under even the bricks, there was probably a thriving community. Now that the mound was gone, the ants just plunged into the holes, bound for who knows where.
Getting to his feet, Jimbo made his way back over to the swing-set. Forgetting about the world of the ants, he got on the swing in the middle. Higher and higher he swung as he propelled his feet forwards and backwards. The swing-set was beginning to pull out of the ground when he went too high so it was time to abandon ship. Geronimo. Flying through the air, Jimbo jumped off the swing at mid-height. Coming down on his feet, his forward momentum propelled him to his hands and knees. Hard landing. Standing up and dusting himself off a little, Jimbo skipped to another part of his world, totally forgotten now were the ants and their lunch mission of the hot dog bun.
In the corner of the yard near the house was an old stump. The tree that had stood there had been sawed down by his dad’s trusty John Deere chainsaw. Because it was getting too close to the power lines he had said. Whatever those were. A favorite past time of Jimbo’s was peeling the bark off the stump. The old oak had tough brown bark that came off easily and was fun to play with. Sitting on top of the stump now, Jimbo picked at the sides of the stump, pulling off two good pieces of bark. Rubbing the two pieces together, small bits of bark got shaved off the big pieces. Very neat.
Something over on the other side of the stump suddenly caught Jimbo’s eye and the bark was momentarily forgotten. A Gardner snake was sneaking through the grass towards the stump. Slithering back and forth, the snake was moving quickly through the blades of grass. His pink, forked tongue darted in and out of his mouth as Jimbo watched him.
Jimbo wasn’t afraid of snakes. Ignorant was probably more like it. They just looked cool and moved quietly and were all in all, kinda neat. Getting down from the stump Jimbo moved silently over towards the snake. Sitting down on the ground, he watched as the snake finally reached his goal. Circling around the stump, the snake moved to a pile of bark where Jimbo had put it last week when he was done playing with it. Moving amongst the pike, the snake paused for a moment. He had green spots on his black back and was about a foot long. Wanting to pick him up, Jimbo moved a little closer to the snake. He stopped in his tracks just like the snake as they both saw something else in the bark. A little black bug moved out from under one of the pieces of old bark. It was probably nice and damp and dark under the bark, probably the roach’s home. The snake moved before Jimbo did, towards the bug. Jimbo just watched, as he sank to his knees to get a closer look.
The slithering predator moved in for the kill. The bug didn’t have a chance, the snake moved faster. Really fast. Jimbo watched on as the snake moved behind the bug, darted its head outwards and the bug was gone. Lunch. Jimbo was fascinated by the whole scene and watched as the snake settled amongst the bark to rest and relax. Jimbo decided not to pick up the snake because he didn’t want to interrupt its digestion. Nothing like a good nap after a good meal. Ohhhh, PB and J would hit the spot right now.
Forgetting about his sudden hunger urge and the snake he moved towards the white fence. The street lay beyond the fence. The forbidden territory, a place where no man ever goes. Without mom of course. Putting his hands on two of the pickets, he looked over the fence to the cars and the houses across the street. Everything looked so big, and unfamiliar. Wow. Two boys were playing hoop across the street, too much of a big boys game for Jimmy, outside of the living room toss that him and his dad enjoyed after dinner.
In the middle of the street lay a brown shape with a mixture of red in it. Craning his neck higher, Jimbo couldn’t quite make out the identity of the object. Cars flew by on the way home form the high school. Probably the football guys coming home after practice. That means that it’s almost five thirty. Wow, time flies when you’re having fun. Looking back to the object in the middle of the street, Jimbo now saw what it was. One of the cars must have hit it when they went by. The squirrel now stared at him just as Jimbo stared back. Red stuff was all over the squirrel’s legs. Neat. Road pizza had been the term that his older sister had used a few times. She had made an ugly sounding eeek! when she had seen a chipmunk squashed in the road last week.
While thinking all of this Jimbo hadn’t even seen the black crow swoop down towards the squirrel. Looking back now, he saw the crow peck into the squirrel searching for a tasty morsel. Gross. That’s disgusting, Jimbo thought as he moved back towards the stump. Grabbing a piece of bark from underneath the snake he hurried back to the fence. Seeing the bird still chewing away at its lunch, he hucked the bark towards it. The bird, unfazed by the bad throw continued to chow down on its snack. Going back for another piece of bark, Jimbo noticed that the snake was now gone. Slithered away now that digestion was all done. Taking a big piece, he went back to the fence. The bird, like the snake had vacated the scene. Eat and run. Jimbo looked at the remains of the squirrel and saw a few holes that were new. Placing the bark in between two white fence slats, he vowed to be ready if the crow returned to the street.
Getting a little tired now from all this running around he went back to the swing-set and sat in the swinging loveseat. His big sister and the little girl down the street’s big brother had married Jimbo and the little girl last week. Whatever married means. All the girl could talk about afterwards was something called divorce. Cool, maybe now she’ll come over more often. Sitting there swinging back and forth he looked back towards the walkway. No ants could be seen moving about but he kicked some sand in that direction anyway. The sun was beginning to move down behind the trees and he figured that it was time to go in. Before mom gets out the bell and rings it. Why doesn’t she just come out and say it’s time to come in. Or hold a PB and J sandwich out the window. I’d go in for that. Anyway, it must be near time to eat. Hunger, forgotten since the first PB and J, seemed on his mind for some reason. Licking his lips as he bounded the steps, Jimbo left his world, the yard, and everything in it until tomorrow.