The sun was sinking down behind the cityscape and crickets had started to chirp their evening prelude; Susy just huffed, out-of-breath, since she had been running as fast as she physically could. With a cherry red face, she was panting; she dramatically dragged herself up beside Sammy. They looked at each other then disappointingly lowered their heads to see two side-by-side popsicle sticks in a gooey red puddle.
The sun was at its midday height, and the ice cream truck just rolled over the speedbumps then through the meadow way. Like a bolt of lightening Susy put down her box of ladybugs and sprinted after it. She had fallen off her bike earlier than day, so her mother insisted she travel on foot for the remainder of the day, and maybe the next day as well. She waved her arms like a seagull flying towards a fallen hot dog, but the ice cream truck was on it's way to out of the townhouse complex. Maybe they ran out of cyclones - the most marvelous popsicle on the planet - that often happened. Her second favourite was Cherry Blasters. The only downside was how red they made lips afterwards. She didn't think that was such a bad thing for a girl, like lipstick, but they also had a similar effect as they melted and dripped on her sundresses. Mom didn't like that. She shrugged her shoulders in disappointment. She could always have a homemade orange juice popsicle.
Sammy - the shy older boy from down the street - saw this display. He had just bought himself a Cherry Blaster double pop from his weekly allowance: the rest would be spent on sidewalk chalk, an investment in his Spiderman vs. Power Rangers graffiti art career. Sammy approached Susy and tapped her on the shoulder. "Excuse me Miss!" he said with what he thought was a very adult voice. "Yea?" Susy said unsure about talking to a strange redheaded boy. "It's my understanding that you were interested in a popsicle today Miss," Sammy stated. He took the wrapper off the cherry pop and split it in half outstretching one pop to Susy. Susy put down her ladybugs. "Just like that? Shouldn't we trade something?" Susy raised her eyebrows - both at once - she was working on raising them individually. Why would this strange boy give her half his popsicle?
Sammy tried to think of what she might have that he would possibly want. He doubted she had pokemon cards, or a decent collection of Hot Wheels (maybe the less desireable taxis or 4-door sedans). She looked far too girly in her mud-stained sunflower dress and fairytale princess hair clips. "What's in the box?" Sammy peeked in. Susy held it tightly to her chest. "Just my ladybugs and a snail I rescued from the sidewalk," she timidly held them afraid he might try to knock them down like her brother often tried to. "Super COOL!" He said with an exclaimed shrill - oops - there went his adult voice. "Could I have the snail?" Sammy thought about what a superb deal that would be - at least worth two popsicles. "Sure! Mom lets me hunt as many as I can from her garden. There are LOTS!" She delicately put her fingertip under it's shimmering brown head. It's little antenna pop out like periscopes. She places it delicately in his hand. "Does it have a name?" Sammy inquired once again in his grown up voice. "Of course it does!" Susy looked back at the snail. "Well...?" Sammy was waiting for some creative reply. "I don't speak snail."
"Do you know what snails eat?" Sammy looked at the nearby environment for a clue. "Mom's garden! The'll eat almost anything in there!" Susy replied without missing a beat. Susy ran to her yard, picked a handful of daisies, roses, lilies, and a dandelion, for good measure, then she returned before Sammy could follow (he didn't want to run after her and startle the snail - moving that quickly would surely make him dizzy - the little guy wasn't used to his lightening speed after all). She laid the armful of plants on the ground in front of them one by one. Sammy thought they should follow a very scientific sampling procedure to see which plant the snail liked the most. First they tried the daisy with little interest shown, next roses - same response, finally a dandelion leaf that caused a quick (for a snail) chomping reaction. "Great science!" Susy said as she threw her fist up in the air with enthusiasm like Bill Nye the Science Guy might.
"Do you want to see my ladybugs?" Susy boldly asked Sammy since he was giving his snail time for a lunch break. "I don't know - to be honest I prefer most other beetles," Sammy admitted."My Dad says the best Beatles live in a yellow submarine," Susy proudly claimed. "That's preposterous! Beetles live in the back yard, or under big rocks - everybody knows that," Sammy said with the most conviction possible. He was also very happy he got to use the word preposterous. His teacher frequently used that word when he claimed Dotty, his dalmation, ate his homework. It was true! Sometimes she even ate his algebra with only one coat of peanutbutter. His English homework usually needed two coats.
"We make a pretty good team you and me," Sammy passed the snail to Susy. "It's only because you shared your Cherry Blaster!" Susy smiled then her face erupted in caricaturistic shock when she realized they had left the popsicle on the sidewalk down the road. "Oh no! The Cherry Blaster!" Susy ran back down the street as fast as her bruised knees would allow her (the Magic-school-bus bandaid helped) Sammy joined her within about a quarter of a second exactly - he was much much faster. Susy looked towards Sammy and as they stood side-by-side they glanced down at two side-by-side wooden sticks in a sticky red puddle. It was okay though they figured the day had brought them each a new friend to share a full summer's worth of Cherry Blasters (and maybe Cyclones - supply permitting).