Summer in New York City is so hot, the pavement is actually soft in spots. Tasman walks along the sidewalk. He does his best to stay away from the air conditioners. They blast hot air at him because he isn't inside; he's outside. He feels like he always is.
Up ahead, he sees the leafy green of Central Park. It would be cooler there. The trees would provide shade. And, he has read, the water molecules in their leaves can actually absorb heat. Evapotranspiration. That sounds like a made up word. Like something that could cause time travel. If that were true, then he could evapo himself out of any predicament. Touch a leaf and zam himself to safety.
But he doesn't go into the park. He can't take the risk. He knows who he might meet––or what. He stands at the edge. Sweat drips along his body. People push past him. He gets dragged a few steps when a dog's leash wraps around his legs. An impatient mom with a double-wide stroller shouts, "Excuse me," at him. Which is code for, you are an idiot.
Is he? Yes. He shouldn't be afraid. He wipes his face on the bottom of his shirt. He takes a deep breath. He walks quickly into the park.
Look at all the miracles. A man waves a wand and makes an enormous bubble. A child dances along the path. Two people play guitars. They sing. Imagine that. And then Tasman sees the castle.
Is it real? It can't be. He wipes his face again on his shirt. Yes. The tower is still there. If it exists, then maybe there can be happy-ever-afters? Tasman doesn't care about the princes and princesses. He just needs someplace to be safe.
"Boy!!!!!" The voice pierces Tasman. Its screech of pain hurts Tasman.
"I see you, I know you, I am you. Don't run. Boy!!!!"
That castle is for other people. Tasman runs from the wild man. He has to. Evapotranspiration doesn't work.
To find out more about Tasman, follow this link. The paperback version of The Book of Dares for Lost Friends will be out on July 16.