THE BEST PART OF THE DAY
The following afternoon, Phoebe noticed the boys arriving, skateboards and scooters in hand, hoping that Phoebe or Luis would set up the goals and referee some games. She gathered them together and announced that this was their opportunity to join a team, but no one would be allowed to even practice without a signed registration form. She handed out the papers. In great excitement the boys forgot the new rules and took off for home on their skateboards and scooters while still inside the store. Gilligan yelled from the back by the cash register but Phoebe didn’t have the heart to stop them. Out the door they flew, only to be caught by Luis at the gate, who told them they would each begin tonight’s games with a yellow card.
Phoebe easily convinced Gilligan to let her supervise the backyard again that evening in order to collect the forms and begin the new team. She was delighted to be outside again. Somehow on the soccer field she could forget her troubles. A faintly cool breeze – or what passed for cool on such a hot day – began to flow in from the forest. People who had been inside all day began to come out looking for some fun, and the new double-sized backyard with soccer and tables and refreshments was just the place to go. Phoebe noticed that people could arrive from Stable Lane and play or watch a game, and head into the coffee shop through the back door, wander out to Bridge Avenue and into the Green Market in the courtyard, and finally enter the toy store and out the back door into the soccer field again. Others could do the same thing from any other entrance. People were circulating through the stores and the yards like the life-blood of an organism. This was the way things were supposed to be, Phoebe thought.
By 7 o’clock there were three strong teams playing eight-minute games, with the winner staying on the field. The games were fast and hard, and Phoebe had to fully concentrate to maintain order. The time flew by. The distant rumble of thunder rolled across the forest, causing heads to turn in anxiety. Inky black clouds were building up beyond the Half-Moon Cliffs.
An evening haze settled over the town. Another team of six players joined the furious tournament, and the games went on. The tables were full, with spectators standing and sitting on the ground. Luis nudged Phoebe in the back and said, “No need to look at me, keep watching the game. But Gilligan wants to know how long we should stay open?”
“Is he still making sales?”
“I’ll say! It’s the best part of the day.”
“Let’s keep going then. Tell him I’ll go on as long as you guys will.”
“Cool!” replied Luis.
And the games went on. The boys were in an ecstasy of fun and the joy of movement. The cooler air gave everyone a delicious feeling of energy. The boys seemed to dart through the shadows like our ancestors at the dawn of time, moving in the sheer enjoyment of life. She could barely see the ball, and the speed with which they moved seemed dangerous; yet somehow they avoided collisions in the dark, screaming and laughing. It felt like being under water but still able to breath, Phoebe thought, or like being in a new element, or perhaps a very old element that remains essential for life.
Finally, she heard Luis’s voice calling, “Okay, Phoebe, that’s it.”
She blew the whistle three times. “Thank you so much everyone! It’s been a wonderful night, the best so far. Don’t forget the concert tomorrow night at the coffee shop. Thanks for making this so much fun…”
PHOEBE COMES HOME (Book I)
PHOEBE BREAKS THROUGH (Book II)
And The Upcoming...GHOST GIRL (Book III)
by John KixMiller
The Best Part of The Day illustration
by Carlos Uribe
Learn More About Phoebe And The Players In Middletown!