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It may be a little strange for me to devote a separate chapter to strange behavior when the entire book is full of the same. However, when talking about me, the strange behaviors associated with other members of the family pale in comparison. I fully admit that my behavior was odd, and I do not shy away from talking about it. I suspect that all kids think their behavior somewhat abnormal, with this feeling culminating about the time of junior high school. Some of the behaviors I will tell about may seem bizarre to some, but after reading my explanations the reader will come to the conclusion that, yes, this kid was crazier than a loon, nuttier than a fruitcake, one brick short of a load; well, you get the idea.

I don’t quite know how the idea came about, but one day Mark P. and I got together and came up with an idea. Mark approached me first, so I have to assume what followed was his idea. Mark said, “Hey, the “Z” family’s not home. They left town this morning. Why don’t we sneak over to their house and explore their backyard?” I was intrigued and agreeable when I answered, “Yeah! I’ve never seen their backyard. I wonder what’s back there.” Timmy, always the tag along asked, “Can I come too? I’ah tewh Daddy if you don’t wet me.” “If you tell Daddy, I’ll beat you up. Come on.” He had convinced me to let him come after all.

Once past the gate and into their backyard, we noticed a swing set in the far left corner of the yard. We didn’t have a swing set in our yard, so this was a good development. The remainder of the yard was nondescript, not much different from any other yard in the neighborhood. We wandered into the garage and surveyed the landscape there: tools, paint, and other materials lying around. Inside the garage was a window looking out into the front yard and out onto the street. We could see out, but passersby couldn’t see inside. Then, out of the blue one of us (to this day no one knows or will say who it was) said, “Hey, let’s take our clothes off and run around the yard!”

So we did. How exhilarating it was to be free of our clothes (I can understand why nudist colonies came into existence), totally nude, without a care in the world. The cool breeze gently caressing areas of the body that weren’t normally exposed was a wonderful feeling. We hopped on the swing set and swung to and fro, hanging upside down on the pull-up bar. We chased each other around the yard, laughing and giggling all the way. Inside the garage, we stood in front of the window, daring the world to see us. The thrill of being caught added to the fun.

At one point the excitement caused something else to happen. Something none of us had experienced before. A certain part of our anatomy became excited, just like the rest of us, and acted in a way that startled us, but intrigued us all the same. Oh, the joy of discovery. Somehow, we knew that if we were caught running around naked, terrible punishment would ensue, but if we were caught running around naked with a certain part of our anatomies at attention, we would be dead! We became paranoid and ran to the wall (man was that murder, scaling a cinder block wall without any clothes), all three sides, climbing up to see if the neighbors had heard or seen us. We checked the gate, opened it a crack, and didn’t see a soul. We ran back into the garage, staying away from the window, and slowly we looked out into the front yard; nobody there either.

By this time, the excitement had gone from a certain part of our anatomies, almost as quickly as it had arrived (funny how that works). After running around for a while longer, we decided that we had pushed our luck to the limit and put our clothes back on and went to our separate homes, no one the wiser. This tale remained a secret for years, you can understand why, and the looks I received when finally telling it were priceless. The urge to run around naked did not return for years, until I learned of the joys of skinny-dipping;  but those stories will remain untold, for now.

This excerpt was from  a chapter titled “Strange Days Indeed” (Abby Normal)  from my debut book  Little Heathens. If you enjoyed this story and would like more, you can order the book from the publisher at this link: http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=9781625102034  or directly from me at ronbayjr@gmail.com

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