I was standing at the back of my mail truck loading up my satchel to make some deliveries when I heard the boy screaming. I mean all of his voice, top of his lungs, voice cracking because he’s putting everything he’s got into screaming.
I spun around (as well as one can spin with a heavy bag hanging from one shoulder — the dang thing almost pulled me into a complete 360!) to see the boy standing on the corner behind me. He was small, smaller than most of the other children walking by, all of them ignoring him but for a glance in his direction, all hurrying home to enjoy the warm sunny afternoon now that they were out of school for the day. The young screamer was thin; spindly arms stuck out of a green Celtics tank-top that billowed about a body too narrow to fill it out, his dark blue knapsack an incongruous thickness on his stick-figure frame. He was facing to my right, down the cross-street, and from my angle I could not see what it was he was looking at, what had his attention as he screamed.
He was, however, screaming a name.
“Jason! Jason! Jaaaaasooooon!”
The other children, as I said, simply walked around him as he stood. One quartet of young girls, deep in giggling conversation, actually split to go around him, engulfing him momentarily as they passed him two to a side. They parted and then merged again, like river water flowing around a stone, and paying him about as much mind, despite the fact that the little kid was red-faced with effort, with cords standing out on his neck as he strained for more volume. His voice, though, was topped out. He kept trying.
Concerned that the lad might do himself injury, wondering what in the hell was causing him to scream like that, I started to take a step toward him.
“Jason!” He looked to his right, in my direction but past me, and one of his stick-like arms came up with a pointing finger as he turned back toward Jason.
“Jason! The Ice Cream Man is stopped on the corner! C’mon! Run!”
Ah. I turned in the direction he was indicating, taking a quick side-step to see around my own truck. Yes, there he was. The Ice Cream Man, parked at the corner and doing a brisk business with some of those kids who had hurried past my young screaming friend.
Screaming kids and the Ice Cream Man. Summer must be on the way.
Talk to you later!