At nearly ten years old
we packed our sandwiches
and our Garbage Pail Kids,
grabbed a blanket
and rode our bikes to Salt Creek.
I squinted my eyes and held
my mouth shut tight as we pedalled
furiously through the clouds of gnats,
fearful of swallowing a bug
or two.

We would sit on the bank
with our peanut butter and jelly,
chocolate bars and coca-cola.
Nobody ever picnicked there besides us,
the only two kids in town who
didn't mind the smells of sewage
and rotting litter.

Later there were floods
and we pumped our feet on the
pedals, dirty creek water
sloshing on our faded blue jeans.
Another day we trekked through
the forest to find an abandoned
campfire and broken glass,
which Katie said were
remnants of Satanic rituals.

As a teenager my father drove
me past Salt Creek and the forest
beside it, laughed and said,
"You know, the Mob dumps
bodies in there."
For a ten year old in suburbia,
and a middle-aged man
nostalgic of his years reading comic
books and boy's adventure stories,
every forest is full
of Satanists
and gangsters.

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