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He lived behind the school, my fellow first graders said. In the overgrown yard of trash and weeds, facing the play field. He was purple, had a shotgun, and picked off kids that got too close.
It seemed plausible. There was evidence. The distant jar lid was, in fact, a the badge of a hall monitor he cooked and ate. The sun bleached BBQ potato chip bag was the last meal of some careless kid. The doll's head? It wasn't really a doll...!
A scaly, gall infested tree guarded his fortress. It had a menacing scowl and a sap oozing eye that glinted in the sun. A rusty barbecue stood in the distance, waiting to smoke the next victim.
We'd sneak up to the yard in groups, looking for evidence. Looking for him.
"There he is!" someone would shriek. Or perhaps "I see his gun!"
Everyone screamed. Everyone ran. We'd escaped serious peril. Fooled him again!
I reported him to the yard duty ladies. A purple kid snatcher! They didn't believe me. At the time, I couldn't understand why.