He, long gangly, ginger hopping, prickly pear. Tip toeing, sure. Grab deeply, the sharp, deeper, deeper, hands still there. He, only a flashlight, for her, other he. Follow him off a cliff, they will.

Boy #2 Davy Crockett. Small. Keep your tail fluffy, don’t tell mom. And your raccoon hat unafraid.

Boy #3 Sparkly man-boy in heat, pulling corks from bushes, not dropping hopping from boulder to boulder, only sits on thin air, laughs, can’t breathe. Too high for her, his round comfort belly.

Boy #4 Tall lean gray with boxes on white. Fast talker for roses with camera. Only a flashlight for him and her. Keep on whistlin’ in the dark, hummer. They’re just boxes, not a house for sale.

Boy #5 He, trudging, yeah, sweet, didn’t want to hop only one two, soft, gun over shoulder for safe. The gentle bush for sitting. He will. Sit, stay.

Boy #6 Him, upset in bushes, leave them tomato plants. Don’t take them, just you. He can’t see the way. Too many cooks and bushes, too thick. Not enough paint or light.

Boy #7 Stocky, elbows out ready to stay on the path, the windy one. Curiouser, the flashlight dims just like the drawings in the ratty book. Don’t go near the bushes. She’ll bite then eat. He goes anyway.

Boy #8 They, protectors all find a way to hop across the boulders darkly, a short beam of light. Too many things to see.