Bombing cars with pomegranates wasn’t the best choice of entertainment, so we found another mission. My grandmother had an attic full of purses. Had. They started disappearing after we came up with a new game. Torrey had a spool of heavy string, and we decided to play a joke on passing cars – leave a purse on the side of the road. Our hope was that people would see it and stop to pick it up. But we had a surprise in store. We planned to tie the string to the purse and yank it when someone tried to pick it up.
It was night time, so we tied off the purse and put it under a street light across the road from Torrey’s house. We lay down in a prone position and hid on the berm of the hill where cars couldn’t see us. Plus, if someone got angry, they had a 30 yard sprint to the hill and then a steep climb. We’d have plenty of time to escape.
I placed the purse in a spot that was just on the edge of the road and in plain sight under the light. I ran the string to the hill and waited. We all giggled at the thought of tricking some hapless driver.
Sure enough, a car passed the purse and hit the brakes. Our hearts beat with anticipation while the car sat for a few minutes. The driver was probably debating whether or not to go back. Finally, he backed up and stopped just ahead of the purse. I got into yanking position. A man got out and stood in front of the purse. He looked around and then looked back to the purse.
Oh yeah, we stuffed it full of paper to make it look full and tempting.
The man bent down and reached for the handle. I gave it a hard yank and the purse scooted across the road. The man actually chased it while bent over, so I kept pulling until he stopped and stood up. We cackled with laughter. He shouted something about sunny beaches and stomped back to his car. We felt his pain. Or maybe that was the pain of laughing until our sides hurt. Once he was safely out of site, we set the trap again.
Very few cars passed the purse without stopping or coming back. We yanked and laughed to our heart’s content. Then we argued about who got to pull the string. I explained how it took skill to pull off a perfect yank. If you pulled too soon, the person didn’t look surprised and it wasn’t funny. You had to catch them just as their hand reached the purse. Pull too late, and they’d grab the purse. This happened a few times. Which is why the purse inventory began to diminish. The most important part of purse yanking is to watch for cars coming from the other direction. The string had to lay flat on the road when the car passed. Otherwise it would cut the string.
The redheaded boy we tried to frame for hitting the car with the pomegranate begged for a turn to yank. We finally relented. After giving a quick set of instructions, I handed him the string. A pickup truck soon passed and stopped. He was far too anxious and tightened the string. I saw another car coming and warned him to let the slack out of the string. He looked like a dog fixated on dinner scraps. His eyes were locked on to the purse and he was drooling.
“Another car is coming,” I whisper-yelled. “Lower the string!”
Red head wasn’t hearing anything. A puddle was forming under his mouth and his hands were tightening on the string. Torrey tried to snap him out of his hypnotic state, but it was too late. The car passed and the string fell slack. Grandma’s purse was now helpless on the road. The man picked up the purse and I decided to take desperate measures.
“Put that purse down!” I shouted.
My friends joined in. “You’re a thief,” Torrey yelled.
Unmoved, the man looked at the purse, shrugged, and tossed it in the back of his pickup. He climbed in and sped off. Our last purse disappeared from sight. We looked at the culprit and blamed him for losing the last purse and ruining our fun. If he had just listened. Never mind that we lost the other purses. Only the last one counts.
Now we had to find something else to entertain us. Not a problem. We had many other ideas in queue.
Eddie Snipes 2012
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