Luke Walker and the police car
Luke and Joe were on the putting green at Swanspool Gardens. They were on the sixteenth hole of an eighteen hole game and Joe was winning. Not by much, but he was winning. It was Luke’s turn.
“It’s so hot,” he said, wiping his face on his T-shirt, “I shun’t be surprised if that’s why I’m not getting’ ’em very quick. Usually I get ’em really quick.”
Joe, lying on the grass under the spray of the sprinkler, took his word for it. Luke eyed the distance and angle of the sixteenth hole from where he was standing. Should be straightforward enough. He even felt quite confident he could beat Joe’s three, in spite of the heat. Of course if he got it in one that would give him a chance of winning. It would at least demonstrate what he was capable of. Joe rolled away from the sprinkler.
“Haven’t you done it yet? Come on, I want another go.”
Luke struck the ball with his putter, a little harder than intended, and it sailed way past the hole, hit a tree, changed direction and finished up under the hedge. Joe laughed. Luke ran to fetch the ball. He patted the ground just under the hedge where he’d seen it go in but couldn’t feel anything. He laid down on his side against the hedge to see if he could see it. Yes. There it was. But it was too far to reach with his hand so he slid his putter under the hedge to try and knock it back out. Unfortunately this knocked it further away and it rolled out the other side and down the slope towards the pavement. Luke called to Joe.
“Jus’ goin’ to get my ball.”
“Leave it. You can share mine,” said Joe.
“It’s my ‘sponsibility to return the ball when I’ve finished playin’,” Luke replied with dignity.
The Park Keeper had treated him with respect by speaking to him like an adult and trusting him to return the hired equipment in as good a condition as he’d received it. Luke was not going to let him down. He had to leave the park to get the ball – something his parents had told him not to do.
They were watching Grandad in a bowling match on the other side of the tennis courts and had only let Luke and Joe go to the putting green on condition that they stay together and stay there until Mum or Dad or Nan came to fetch them. Under no circumstances were they to leave the park. But Luke was sure they’d want him to return the ball to the Park Keeper who had trusted him with it. And it was only just outside, on the pavement at the bottom of the slope on the other side of the hedge. So close to the park that it could hardly be called outside the park.
Luke ran along the hedge until he reached the gate. He exited the park and ran down the path to the pavement. He ran along the pavement in the opposite direction until he was level with what he thought was the spot in the hedge where the ball came through, though it was difficult to tell.
“Joe,” he called, “are you there?”
Joe’s voice came back from the other side of the hedge but it was a bit further along.
“I’m here. Can you see it?”
“Not yet,” said Luke, “but it must be here somewhere.”
He continued along the pavement until he was level with Joe’s voice and then looked carefully for the ball.
“Joe! I can’t find it! Come an’ help me!”
“We’re s’posed to stay here.”
“I know but it’ll be quicker if you help an’ then we’ll go back an’ no one will know.”
“Ok,” said Joe.
but if you can’t wait that long you can read the whole chapter here 🙂