She bent down and kissed the top of my head, but didn’t answer me.




Grandma made another shopping trip the next week, and this time she brought my bike. I had told her how much I missed it. I didn’t actually like it one bit, because it was pink. But as Sergeant Defenbargh would say, it got the job done. The next morning I snuck out before it was light and rode to my house. I tried to keep track of the clock in my head. It took about 108 minutes, and the sun was up by the time I got there. I dumped my bike in the front yard. The door was locked and no one answered when I rang the doorbell. I walked around back and found Sergeant Defenbargh stacking bricks. He didn’t seem surprised to see me.


There were ninety-six bricks total, not enough to make a fence. I couldn’t help much because they were so heavy, but he seemed happy I was there. We stacked them into a wall. It was maybe five feet across and taller than Sergeant Defenbargh’s head. It blocked out our view of the neighbors’ porch, so that Sergeant Defenbargh would never have to look at them again. After we finished he crouched down and showed me the very bottom stone on the end of the first row. It had a drawing on it that looked like this: