And this is a summer’s day. I walk at a brisk pace a short stick in hand, poking at the ground, not for balance but to promote the image of a person hiking. My olive green shorts have extra pockets, not just for image but also for things that are found. Movement up ahead. I drop into stealth mode, silent steps, slow careful movements – movement attracts. A small figure kneels beside the water’s edge dipping into the water with a small cup and emptying the cup into a gallon can. The figure is a boy, dressed much like I am and only slightly smaller. Next to the boy a white dog stands. The dog is almost the size of the boy. The dog lifts his nose and sniffs. The dog turns and looks straight at me. My scent has revealed my presence, but only to the dog, the boy continues his scooping of water. The dog barks and wags his tail as I leave the protection of a tall bush and walk up to my best friend Ricky.
“How goes the hunt?” I ask while looking into the gallon can.
“Got eight,” Ricky answers without taking his eyes off the water, holding the cup an inch above the water.
“How many you need?” I ask counting the eight black commas swimming in the can.
“Ten,” he answers shortly. “Quiet!” he instructs in a stage whisper. I follow his advice and move back from the water’s edge. Sally, the dog, a Samoyed white wolf, follows me; she’s had enough of the tadpole hunt.
Ricky makes a quick scoop, “nine,” he announces. Sally looks to see if this means anything to her, decides it does not and attacks me. She could easily eat me alive but Ricky keeps her well fed. Sally tries to take my stick. I hold on with both hands. She grips the stick between my hands and starts to drag me toward the water, she growls, I scream.
“Quiet!” Ricky looks at me and then at Sally, “Sit!” Sally lets go of the stick immediately, dropping me into the mud and sits beside Ricky like it was what she always wanted to do. Ricky makes a last dip into the water and proclaims, “Ten!”