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  • The boys ran to the park. They saw the swings, but sped past to the slide, a giant on red stilts. It had sides to hold the scared kids who flew back to earth in its chute. It called them to mount up and not fret for the mom whose hands they had slipped.
    Scott went first. He was the one who dared.
    Brett climbed next and last. All kids were in school, but not them. Mom came at 10:00 and checked them out. They did not wait for her cause. She would tell them when she would. For now they would play.
    It was Brett’s turn. He looked at two trees. Brett sensed that when he climbed up, his arm could reach out, to latch on, to save him.
    But when he got to the top, he saw that the trees were not near. To lean out to their leaves would be a risk. He tucked his arms tight to his sides and sat, with his eyes shut tight, too. He took a big breath and let go to swoop down.
    He hit Scott at the end and got a punch that filled his eyes with tears. Mom came and jerked her boys back in her grasp. They were out on a road trip, she said. The kids thought, but did not say, “With no clothes?”
    When Brett got in the car, he saw Dad’s note, which he read and cried, though quiet. The note said, “I’m gone, bitch.”
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