My favorite neighborhood urchin is now old enough that a day’s hard playing leaves him as fragrant as used gerbil bedding. It’s really quite amazing how far the scent carries. Feet. Yards. Blocks, even.

While I’m wondering whether subtly suggesting a little soap, water and deodorant would crucify his fragile preteen psyche, his best friend screeches up beside us.

“Geeeezo,” she shrieks, pinching her nostrils shut, “You stink like old ZOMBIE puke.”

We both freeze, then he sniffs delicately at his shirt. He stays head-bowed, deep in thought, while I anxiously search my limited store of child psychology for something to restore his shattered self-esteem.

“PIT WARS!!!!!” he roars, whipping off his t-shirt and raising his arms high. She shrieks and dodges, and they pound down the street. About 15 minutes later their whole gang returns, and it’s clear that the pit wars are escalating.

I can see it’s going to be a fragrant summer.