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On this hot summers day I see the school children out early but instead of going home theyíre running over a water sprinkler and daring their friends to go next. The waterís cold but the days arenít always warm and they wonít always have time to spare and time to spend with each other. Most have stripped off their ties, hair and neck, some are even down to their shorts but thatís okay, thereís just the sounds of summer carrying the laughter and skin tingling shrieks amidst the soft spray of water
Today is a great day for selling cold fruit drinks. The stand in front of the schoolyard is doing a thriving trade. What better way to make money than by selling freshly squeezed orange juice in an ice-cold glass? Speaking of ice, thereís more of it coming, a whole bag of it being carried by a boy half its size but thereís no worry as a customer helps him put it on the short wooden table; he pulls out a couple of coins and takes a long drink and thanks the boy.
The customer moves away from the stand and walks past an old couple sitting on a park bench beside a pond filled with suspiciously keen ducks fighting for bread being thrown to them. Theyíre having a spell, taking time to thank god for giving them this beautiful day thatís warming them inside as much as it is outside. Itís a time for them to reflect not on the past but the present. They probably find it hard to think of a happier time to be alive.
Just behind them is a family having a picnic. Chicken rolls, a 1.5 litre Coke and a blue kite seem to be the only things on their minds as the dad reluctantly hands over the kites reigns to his son and the kite sensing freedom makes a bid for the sky, leading the boy like a balloon. The mum butters up another roll and assures her daughter that she will have her turn soon and then assures her husband that he too can have another turn.
Next to the park is a small cafť with an outside table surrounded by teenagers. Theyíre drinking ice coffees and tea and joking about things irrelevant. Two of them are smoking but for once there arenít any people telling them off. The owner just laughs as he shows up with another round and tells them itís too hot to think about money. Thereís a loud cheer as cigarettes are extinguished and hands are brought together. Iím guessing curfew is still hours away.
The stray that wanders up to the table is full of practiced enthusiasm. Spotting soft touches are his specialty especially when thereíre male. He receives a Ďchocolate ťclairí and half a croissant and thatís his day. Well almost, he wags his tale and trots off for some more easy pickings.
As he reaches the park he sees a blue kite leading a young girl to the road. She stops and looks at him with a smile before chucking him the last of her chicken roll and running back to her father. The dog watches her struggling with the kite; itís only determination and the gentle air that keep her from letting go.
The old couple donít hesitate handing the last of their bits of bread to their new friend. Of course the ducks scatter leaving the dog to wolf down the remains by himself. Nice weather tends to bring out the best in people. The old man pats the dog's head fondly and the dog gives his hand a friendly lick until itís time to be on his way again.
The dog continues past the orange juice stand passing the young boy coming back with yet another bag of ice. He drinks from a discarded cup on the ground but the boy doesnít mind; orange juice is wine for dogs; it settles the feast inside him. He gives a short bark in the way of a thank you and begins to think of sleep.
Tired and contented, the dog passes on any extra tidbits; the day has been good to him and even though heís sure he could get left over sandwiches from the school kids, he doesnít want to risk getting wet. Besides, the children seem to be having enough fun without fussing over an old dog like himself.
I watch him walk slowly down the street until he finds a nice big tree to lie under and dream. I wonder whatís going through his mind as he yawns contentedly. Whatís going through all their minds? Are they just happy because itís a nice day or are they happy because theyíre naive? I donít know the answer but I will.
This pleasant summer daze is quietly interrupted by the sound of a small girl crying as a blue kite sails off into the sky towards dark clouds on the horizon and out of my range.
I click off the safety.
No-one is beyond my power.
I may be stupid but at least I'm not handsome.