I kid you not, old-fashioned waterpistols. You can get four of them for less than two dollars, these days, just about anywhere. It will save you spending more on migraine medication.
My sister had given me the idea; NOT those two-handed, pump action, battery powered, glow-in-dark rifles with machine-gun sound effects, just those simple neon-coloured, fits-in-the-palm-of-your-hand waterpistols. The same ones you and I ran around with, where the only sound effects were how loud and fast you could holler “Bang, bang! You’re dead!” before I got you!
And, I hear you — “Liam, why do you need waterpistols in your cemetery toolkit?” The answer is simple: I used to travel with three small boys … all of them hyper:(
During the summer months, when I went “cemetery shopping,” — as my sons called it, they would get bored from the long drives. As soon as the vehicle stopped at our destination, and I opened the door, screams of excitement (theirs) curdled blood (mine), deafened ears (again, mine) and probably woke a few of the local cemetery residents too! They were good little boys (normally), and there was only one problem: getting them back in the van, when it was time to leave.
Chef, with carrot-top red hair and cheeky dimples, had just turned five years old then. (I should have leased him out to the city, when I had the chance, as a portable air-raid siren of renewable energy — would have been years ahead in the eco-friendly technology field.); and he went anywhere that his big brother, Junior went. Junior was nine-and-a-half; blond, blue-eyed and TALL! People would look at him and think he was 12 or 13. And my middle man was Captain, eight-years-old and already acting like a soldier, pacing off the boundaries of their playing fields.
I was lucky, one trip we took was a very hot summer day and when the passenger door swung open, the exuberant trio plagued by Travel Boredom, spread like wildfire, devastating the beautifully serene stillness around them.
Guiltily, I remembered Pandora, who had opened a box and released seven deadly virtues upon the World, but I felt far worse … these three just finished their nap!
Finding my notebook and camera, I took my bearings and began searching for ancestors and gravestones; but within a couple of minutes, one of the boys would turn up to the point of tears, wanting to go home.
Digging into my pack, I brought out a waterpistol for him. “For me?” his squeaky little voice asked timidly.
I nodded with a growing smile, not seeing the transformation as Gollum snatched the toy away, purring “My precious!” Shaking my head at the strange performance, I returned to my transcribing.
I turn suddenly to see another son, a little smaller than the previous one … and a little wet.
“What happened?” I asked.
“He squirted me!” was the answer in another tiny voice, followed by a foot stomp, crossed arms and a pouting face.
“Oh,” I answered, trying not to laugh, as I reached into my pack again, “that isn’t fair, is it?”
A wide-eyed gasping smile flashed before me as the second pistol was quietly put into use.
Returning to my research, I readied my camera and slowly pressed the button.
I turn again to find another son, not as small as the previous one … but also wet.
“What happened to you?” I asked.
His answer was silent — an open hand extended to me.
“Oh,” I said quietly, digging into my pack for the last pistol then watching him race off after his brothers.
A few more pictures and I suddenly remembered: the waterpistols were empty when I packed them!