The sirens are silent now. I strain my ears to listen. No more footsteps. No more crashing and cursing in the brush below. Now, all I can hear is the whine of mosquitoes as they divebomb my flesh.
Oh man, she's ruined my life.
From the top of my tree I still can see the red and blue lights flashing down on River Road.
They're just waiting me out.
Waiting for daylight.
I'm caked with mud, half-blind without my glasses, and stuck in the top of this old oak tree. They know I'm not going anywhere.
She's really, really ruined my life.
How did I end up like this?
Until a few weeks ago, I was a normal kid, a good kid, a dweebish, mostly A's kid, who'd never been in trouble in his entire eleven-year-long life.
Now I, Walter W. Frimhaus, shivering and swatting mosquitoes in the moonlight, am the state of Connecticut's most wanted criminal.
Oh man, she's ruined my life for good.
But no. I can't blame her. It's my own fault. I could have said "no" at any time. Those seals would still be in the aquarium if only I'd said "no."
Blame her? I might as well blame Mrs. Zippy. None of this would have happened if it wasn't for Mrs. Zippy.
How I wish I could start this summer over, go back to when I was a normal kid living in the small green house I'd grown up in by the Mystic River.
Back to when I was spending a normal summer with my normal best friend, Eddy MacWeeny, who lived two houses down.
Eddy! Eddy WAS my best friend. Not anymore. I touch the puffy black eye he gave me. Now he never wants to see me again.
I think of his squinty blue eyes and his woolly yellow hair and the way he sounds like a donkey when he laughs. We'd been best friends ever since we were born. I even have a picture: me and Eddy at Ocean Beach sitting around in our diapers.
And we'd been spending this summer like we'd spent every summer of our lives: fishing and crabbing in the river, hanging out at the beach, and sleeping out in our back yards almost every night.
In other words, we were having a pretty good summer. No, make that a great summer.
Until SHE came along.