I was finishing up my walk at the park. Rounding the curve from the tennis courts, I noticed my six-year-old was on foot too, just roaming around under the trees. He had left his bike somewhere out of his range of vision, and mine. I was a little annoyed because a few months ago he left his scooter out of sight for a while and it got stolen.
“Where’s your bike?,” I asked.
“I don’t know…hey!”
Another kid at the park, aged maybe eight or nine or ten, was holding on to Robin’s bike, spinning the pedals around with his hand. Looking like he was sizing up the bike. We walked up, and here’s how the conversation went (more or less):
Kid: For fifty bucks I’ll give you your bike back.
Me: Dude, Robin, your vehicle just got impounded!
Robin: What does that mean?
Kid: I’m the sheriff of this park. Maybe, uh, “Rob” here could help me patrol.
Robin: OK, like just ride around?
Kid: Yeah, there’s people breaking the law all over the place. See that girl over there riding her scooter? Speeding? Yep, she’s always speeding. You should go give her a ticket, Rob.
I move over to a bench far enough away where I can watch the boys but not hear them. They chat for a while. Then Robin puts on his helmet and goes in hot pursuit of Speeding Violation Girl on Scooter. She is about eleven, I’m guessing, and seems completely unaware that a littler kid is chasing her. She runs off into the grass briefly to let him go by.
Kid: Look, she pulled over! Woops, no, there she goes again. Gotta get Rob a siren.
Me: So, do you have a badge, Sheriff?
Kid: Yeah, this is my badge!
The self-appointed Sheriff of the Park puffs out his chest. He’s wearing a Batman t-shirt so the big, oval-shaped logo with the bat in the middle of it is his “badge.”Me: Are you glad you’ve got a cop on this beat now? Sheriff Batman: Yeah, I can’t police this place all the time by myself.