It’s the first really hot day of summer, but still early enough in the season that you haven’t smelled anyone light up a smoke bomb yet unless they’ve been saving it all this time, and that almost never happens. The Fourth of July is weeks away, sidewalks still tickle tender feet just starting to put on their seasonal skin, and summer is fresh like a brand new basketball.
In one backyard, sunlight filters through a huge green umbrella of a tree to cascade down and play over the ground in hundreds of gyrating spotlights. Two small figures huddle over something, sitting like a couple of frogs with knees up past their ears and backsides not quite touching their pile of sand. Dusty and growing warmer at the terminator line between green shadow and full sunlight, toy trucks and construction equipment fill the sandbox, but everything is motionless as if some big project has just ground to a halt. The two boys look as if they have unearthed a treasure.
White sunlight slowly creeps across the sandbox, pushing back the dazzling lights and turning the little dunes into a vast desert wasteland. A wavering chant rides the wind up over the garage.
“Mum-my curse is locked in-side,
If you’re smart you’ll run-and-hide,
If you o-pen up-the-door,
Mum-my curse is free-once-more!”
The boys jump back, startled, then flop down into the sand roaring with laughter. At the top of the sand pile is a plastic model crypt, its door flung open by a little plastic mummy. A ratcheting sound makes the mummy vibrate, its arms poking through the opening.
Soon the noise slows down and stops. The boys poke the little mummy back into its tomb and close the door. As they slowly wind up the toy, grinning madly, they begin their chant again, “Mum-my curse is locked in-side–”
I don’t remember exactly where that little mummy crypt came from; we might have swiped it from some board game. Saddest of all, I can’t recall my friend’s name. But the game we played was hilarious for a pair of 10 year old boys. And I jumped every time that door popped open.