Fred turned the corner and hurried down the sidewalk. Over his shoulder, he saw Old Lady Barcat watching from the yard of the house on the corner, judgment in her eyes. She turned, and Fred followed her glance to see Ophelia Turner coming around the corner behind him. He tried to hurry, but he couldn't keep up the pace. She gained on him. He turned the next corner and saw his home, the path up to his door, just a few yards ahead. With a deep breath, he marshalled his reserves for the last dash just as Ophelia turned the corner behind him.
She wouldn't have reached him except the neighbor boy had left his scooter on the sidewalk again. She leapt on and, with a precarious balance, rolled not past Fred but through him, sending him spinning to the ground.
Dizzy, Fred picked himself up. Farther down the sidewalk, Ophelia hopped off the scooter and laughed. He looked around and his stomach sank. She had knocked him past his sidewalk, all the way back to where he'd started. Now, he'd have to walk all the way around the block again if he wanted to get home.
"Sorry," she yelled.