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  • I must have been four. No. Not even that. Three, I suppose. Neil was the kid who lived next door. He couldn't have been more than twelve years old, but he was all grown up to me, of course. He would toss the football to me out front where our yards joined up, one communal sea of green.

    My dad and mom were having a dinner party at the house, guests all business associates, save a few neighbors, Neil's parents included. Neil was given the distinctive honor of babysitting us, which only meant being in the same room with us, as all of our parents were just a few rooms away through the evening.

    I remember that we were upstairs. My brother, sixteen months younger than I, did not become a menace until later in his life; at this age he was pretty harmless, though probably toddling about. We watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on network TV that night. If I could find the archived listings somewhere, I would know exactly what day it was in 1978.

    The movie ended, and Neil suggested that we play hide and seek, he being the hider. We bit.

    Twenty minutes later, we were still looking for Neil.

    We discovered him by tracking the shouts and yells and cries. He had locked himself into a trunk in the basement. My parents were retrieved from their entertaining to rescue him.

    For the first time, my faith in authority had been thrown into question.
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