Jamie wandered down the tree-lined dirt road with a fishing pole slung over his shoulder. He watched and listened carefully for signs of his friend hiding in the grass or behind a tree. He was supposed to meet Eric at the turnoff to the fishing hole. Eric had a habit of playing pranks and Jamie wouldn’t put it past him to jump out of the deep grass and try to scare him. He’d be ready this time.
As he approached the turnoff, Eric was still nowhere in sight. Strange. Not like him to be late. He loves to fish. Maybe he’s still digging for worms. I’ll wait here for a few minutes. He leaped the ditch, perched himself on the old oak stump, and tilted his head back to soak up the warm summer sunshine. He banged his heels against the bark, a tune playing in his head.
When he looked back into the ditch, something caught his eye. Tangled in the grass and partially buried in sludgy brown ditch water was a blue canvas sneaker. It looked like Eric’s. Could it be Eric’s? Why would his new sneaker be here? What happened to him? He looked around at the fields of grain and corn swaying gently in the late morning breeze. Did someone take him? Must have been a while ago for the sneaker to be sunk in the mud like that. Funny, he just saw Eric yesterday.
Maybe he left it as a sign for Jamie. Maybe an animal scared him and he lost the sneaker as he ran to hide in the corn field; he didn’t see any broken stalks of corn or footprints leading into the neatly planted rows. A million things could have happened. His imagination was running wild. Did someone kill him, take the body to bury in the wheat field, and drop the sneaker? Maybe Eric managed to kick it off so Jamie would know something happened and would search for him or go for help. What should he do?
A sharp whistle snapped off his thoughts and he looked up.
“Hey, Jamesey. How ya doin’?” Eric called.
“Never better.” Jamie grinned at his friend as he jumped off the stump and snatched up his fishing pole.
He snickered to himself as he thought about what a wild imagination he could have sometimes. All it took was a stupid grungy sneaker to set it off. Everyone knew nothing exciting ever happened around here.