From Linc Adams and the Freddie Fantastic Summer

Just about every day of the summer me and the gang played kickball in my backyard. The normal routine was to meet in my backyard first thing in the morning. Whoever was there first and second got to be captain for the day. Everyone knew the rules and we all stuck to them. Sure there were times when we would argue over whether or not someone was out, but nothing major. Until the day that Timmy Wallingford decided to join our game. Timmy Wallingford is a big kid, been held back three times, and he uses his size to make sure we play by his rules. He lives in the next neighborhood over and that day he showed up unannounced and uninvited, demanding that he be captain and he choose first.

“Hey, Linc! Come on, you’re late!” Andy shouted at me. So I ran to meet him at pitcher’s mound where everyone had gathered, and the arguing had already begun.

“I was here first! I want to be captain!” Hunter yelled and stamped his foot.

“I was here second, so that makes me the other captain!” Frankie yelled back. No one else was saying anything, so what’s the problem, I wondered. And then I saw him standing a good three inches taller than any of us, arms crossed, face stuck in a scowl, Timmy Wallingford had made his demands known and was not going to budge.

“I told you, I’m the captain!” Timmy shouted right in Frankie’s face. They were so close to each other that Timmy’s lips almost touched Frankie’s forehead! But Frankie wasn’t budging; I’d never seen

Frankie so brave before. His face was getting redder by the second—his hands were sweating, and his knees were shak- ing. With every breath Frankie took, his chest heaved in and out. With every breath Timmy took, his spit flew from his snarled mouth.

“Linc, do something!” Jack pleaded. This was not looking good. And what was I supposed to do? No one had ever stood up to Timmy like that before; this could have been dangerous. If I opened my mouth, all that heaving and breathing and spit could have come flying right at me! But I had to do something.

“Um, Timmy, Frankie was here before you, and rules say that makes him a cap- tain.” Without moving a muscle, not even his lips, with eyes still locked on Frankie, Timmy responded,

“I said, I’m the captain, and if I say I’m the captain, then I’m the captain!” Now what? I was running out of options fast.

If something didn’t happen in the next ten seconds, I was certain someone was going to explode. I could just see it—cleanup crews, crying mothers, news reporters—the headline would read, “Two boys explode after kickball captain confrontation. Mothers devastated, neighborhood a gooey mess—get the latest at eleven.” I most definitely had to do something.