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  • If you stood outside, near the sidewalk and waited, you were bound to see him. The deep, dingy blue of his snow hat, the dirty face mask, the thick-rimmed glasses that always had a way of catching the sun light and bouncing it everywhere he looked, like laser beams.

    “That’s Lurch.” Everyone would say upon seeing him. It was like that was his real name. Lurch would ride along the sidewalk on his rusty, dusty grey ten-speed. Back and forth, back and forth; every day he would ride that busted, broken bike with his bobbling, bouncing, salt and pepper hair dancing around his capped and covered head. “Hey, Lurch!” Sergio cried out. “Go to Hell!” was the only thing Lurch ever said in reply.

    For the friend that he was, Sergio always knew how to get me into trouble. My dad wouldn’t let me around him much, but when Sergio talked of knowing where Lurch lived, the tantalizing taste for adventure couldn’t be ignored. We walked down Brace street and made it nearly a half mile from my parent’s house before we arrived at Lurch’s.

    Through the driveway along the side of a wooden fence covered in overgrowth, a couple of cheap twelve-pack soda boxes sat neatly on a stack of wooden planks. Next to the boxes were a handful of cans, seeming to be placed strategically in such a fashion that I felt like a mouse, staring down a trap with cheese placed attentively on the dead switch.

    We knew it was Lurch’s house. We also knew that somewhere, within the haphazardly hung drapes in the windows, the overall disheveled appearance of the exterior, the overgrown lawn and the ever dirty, gunk encrusted and mud caked bike propped against the side of the wood pile in the driveway Lurch was biding.

    Sergio and I looked at one another, then to the soda, then back to one another. A peace offering; or at least that’s the way it seemed. At the time we could only think of free soda and the idea of a perverted, peeping old recluse never pounced around in our minds.

    It seemed legit, so we cautiously and clandestinely coursed through the thistle burdened ground and stood at arm’s reach from the cans of cheap pop. I looked toward the window at the back of the house. The drapes were pulled open and an apparently endless multitude of cats bounded and bounced up and down from the window sill to watch Sergio and I get our share of the soda.

    Sergio grabbed a can and the crisp snap of it being opened drew my attention back to the mission, and I grabbed one from one of the boxes and opened it. We drank our fill and greedily grabbed a couple more, stuffing and stretching our pockets and cautiously creeping back out toward the sidewalk.

    We stopped for a moment to look back at the house and make sure Lurch hadn’t made his way outside to spring his trap on us. The thrill of stealing made my heart race, but the thought that we were being played, and serving some insidious fantasy made my stomach churn. Sergio and I left the house of Lurch and paced slothfully back to the safety of my house. I wouldn’t go back there for soda anymore.
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