Two hikers raced past me down the paved trail. They were small boys with dirty blond hair and scabbed over knees. Their dusty, black, Velcro-d New Balance tennis shoes pounded the pavement in unison, differentiated only by the size and the worn heels of the smaller, now twice used pair.
“Red light,” I yelled.
I grabbed my bag to prevent it from bouncing my keys out and ran after the maniacs.
“Red light, yellow light, red light,” I yelled.
They laughed in their temporary state of deafness and ran around a blind curve, accelerating as they went downhill.
I imagined one tripping and rolling down the side of the forested hill or the other slamming into an unsuspecting person on a nature stroll.
Clearly, the light system was not working. I would have to work with the maintenance department for a reset but in the meantime, I had to put the brakes on the situation.
“Stop,” I screamed.
It was a futile use of my vocal cords.
I assumed they would eventually run out of gas or steam or whatever mysterious energy force gave little boys who refused to eat full meals the energy to still have the zoomies. Yet, I also knew that the chance for mishap was quite high at any point before they petered out and wanted to intervene before the expected accident.
If its expected, is it still an accident when objects collide? Does it become Fate or destiny? Perhaps that is a question better directed to an insurance claims adjuster or someone in the ministry.
As I continued to consider the possibilities, two older women with grey, curly hair and hiking sticks watched the spectacle as we emerged from around the bend.
“Do you want us to help catch them?” one offered.
She stuck her stick out, indicating her plan to trip or whack them, whichever came first and was easier.
What could I do but laugh? The old stick method was sure to bring the critters to a screeching halt, but it felt wrong to allow strangers to break their high spirits or to use such serious means to an inconsequential end.
“No, thanks. Maybe another day,” I said as I raced past keeping the duo in my sight.
They retired to a bench for a bench break and waited patiently like they hadn’t just gone full racehorse on their old workhorse of a mother.
“Guys, we have to work on listening better.”
I explained that they needed to stay close for safety reasons, obviously, I used the example of a bear or a bobcat grabbing them and taking them into a cave. After that, they stuck around, and we finished the excursion with minimal accidents.
No tripping, whacking, or yelling needed, just the mention of a wild animal carrying one of them off and they were back on track.