Friday, February 01, 2008

Hide and Seek

I babysat this evening for my friends Hannah* and Steve*.

They've recently moved to an old three-storey farmhouse out in the country (good place for an old farmhouse to be, right?). Steve's in the process of renovating it, Hannah hasn't been able to get everything put away, and consequently, it's a great place to play hide and seek.

As usual, seven-year-old Stevie* suggested the game. Except this time, he said, we'd use toy guns and pretend we were spies.

I volunteered to be It first. I loudly counted down from 100, then announced, "I'm gonna come get me some spies!"

Ostentiously looked in the bathroom. No spies. In the kitchen. No spies-- unless you count the old gray cat. Then in the living room. "I'm gonna find me some spiiiiiieees!"

I really thought Stevie and four-year-old Letitia* were hiding upstairs. Till I heard the giggling from behind the sofa, that is.

"K'yew, k'yew!" went my toy gun! "Bang! bang!" Stevie returned fire. But it was in vain. He and his sister were caught.

Stevie was It next. Letitia and I crept upstairs, and tonight, she accepted us splitting up. She concealed herself under a quilt on her bedroom floor, and I slipped just inside Stevie's doorless closet.

Soon Stevie the spy came up the stairs. "Bang! bang!" he shouted, "I've found you!" But I didn't hear his sister.


More silence.

Then Stevie's voice, saying, "Come on, where are you? Stop hiding! I'm gonna find you! Pickle Face, Big Butt, come on out!"

Excuse me, child, just whom are you calling Big Butt!? But I suppressed my urge to giggle-- which Letty did not. "There you are!" cried her brother, who'd actually had no idea where she was.

She knew where I was, and turned traitor. A hail of imaginary gunfire once he came into his room, and all was over.

And it was Letty's turn to be It. I'll say, she did a good job of counting. Made it up to forty by ones, with no misses. As I listened to this performance, I concealed myself behind a rack of hanging clothes in the spare room.

I don't know where Stevie hid; wherever it was, his sister found him quickly. And he volunteered to help her find me.

But I wasn't being found!

Or they weren't looking very hard, either one. A tiptoe or two through the hall. A loud declaration, "She's hiding under Mom and Dad's bed! . . . No, she's not. Where is she?"

I kept silent and concealed in my blind of jackets and sweaters.

"Blogwen, come out!" I heard Stevie's voice from below. "Blogwen, you don't come out, we're going to get in trouble! We're going to turn on R movies like we're not supposed to watch! We're going to eat ice cream! And candy! Lots of candy! Come out, come out!"

I stayed where I was.

A short silence from below. Then the sound of the TV. I wasn't worried: Hannah and Steve don't keep R-rated videos in the house.

Then Stevie's voice again: "We're eating candy! We're getting stomach aches! Our teeth are hurting! You better come down and stop us!"

Then, "Pleeeease come out! We're getting scared! And we're watching R movies! Come out, Blogwen, come out!"

I am cruel. I threw them a little bone. In a subdued but high-pitched voice I cried, "Come get meeee!"

"A wolf!" exclaimed Stevie. "A wolf!"

"Come gehhhht meeeee!!!"

"A wolf again!"

"Come gehht mee! Come gehhhhhhtt meeeeeee!!!"

I heard his footsteps mounting the stairs. Quietly, I crept out from my cover. I carefully peeked out the doorway of the spare room. Stevie was in the open at the end of the hall. "K'yew! k'yew!" I opened fire. "K'yew! k'yew!"

"Bang! bang! bang! Got cha!"

Or we got each other. He ran at me with his plastic pistol, and I have the cut on my hand to show for it.

My turn to be It again. This time, Stevie and Letitia did a much better job of hiding. I might not have found them very quickly, except that the light in Hannah and Steve's bedroom kept mysteriously coming back on every time I switched it off. Ghosts? No, children hiding behind the clothes in their parents' closet, but afraid to do it in the dark!

The last time, the children were It together, and I went and hid, behind the chimney up in the third floor playroom.

This time, they hardly made a pretense of looking. Less than a minute passed before I heard, "Blogwen, come out! We're scared! . . . . Picklebutt, picklebutt, Fatbutt, Pickle Face!"

(This is designed to make me descend and defend my dignity as an adult. Sorry. Ain't rising to that bait.)

"Come out! We're eating more candy! We're getting really, really fat! We're watching R movies again! You better come down and spank us!"

I heard them come upstairs and actually start to look. I tiptoed out to where I could command a view of the third floor stairs, and waited until Stevie should come up.

"Come on, these R movies are really bad for us! And all the candy and ice cream! We're eating so much we're getting sick! Our teeth are falling out! Come on out, come on out!"

Finally, Stevie worked up his nerve to tiptoe up the steps to the third floor-- where I got him in my deadly ambush!

Whereafter, we all went downstairs, made popcorn, and watched The Incredibles till Hannah and Steve got home from the movies.

I think I really did misjudge something there. Not my keeping still while the kids shouted for me to come out. No, by getting the jump on the poor little kid, I blew my chance to do a really bang-up histrionic dying scene!

1 comment:

Sandy said...

Sounds like such a fun time. Sigh.