A gang of us used to hang downtown by the old fountain whenever the city actually bothered to turn the water on.
The fountain had been there long before any of us had bothered to exist. A three-tiered urn sat in the middle, decorated by pucker mouthed fish that spat ribbons of water into the air. Sculpted faces surrounded the earthen colored rim, little horned men with eternally fixed grins.
We pilfered loose change from the rusty depths. A nearby vending machine kept us fed. I was forbidden to have sugar at home, but the fountain was a lawless place.
When we weren’t throwing rocks at the abandoned green house, we took pleasure in harassing the foot traffic that filed endlessly in and out of the Public Works building across the street.
Sometimes a security guard would try to chase us off, threatening to arrest us for loitering. But we knew the alleyways and the back streets. Evading the overweight, middle-aged man in his sweat-stained white uniform was never a problem.
Winded, the guard bent at his bloated ponch, hands gripping knees.
‘Don’t—let me catch—you little—pricks.’
As if he ever could. The young are quick. The law is slow. We didn’t need school to figure that much out.