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Cliff Williams / The Outlook Porter Davis, left, 11, Harper Motes, 8, and Mason Caldwell, 9, try to decide where their next coronavirus patrol will be.

“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”

— Arthur Conan Doyle

The sun is shining and wind blowing. A day of studying and bad news just makes an afternoon bike ride and coronavirus hunting much more pleasurable. 

With in-school instruction done until at least the rest of this school year due to COVID-19, Amanda Williams has put to use the packets given to her children and neighbors’ kids at Dadeville Elementary School. Before Williams closed the book for the day Porter Davis, 11, Mason Caldwell, 9, and Harper Motes, 8, were already planning their afternoon patrol for the coronavirus.

The boys spend the mornings studying; by afternoon they turn, “Non-Legit SWAT.”

“We are available for a bribe — of Nerds,” Mason said. “We can take out coronavirus with our Nerf guns.”

The kids assure citizens Dadeville will be safe under their watch as the gang has multiple bases.

“Two are in my house with at least 50 Nerf guns,” Mason said. “Dadeville’s safe. There is also the base in the woods — we’re not to talk of that one.”

The boys have been together for months. The now social distancing just means no school but studying at home in the mornings before battling the microscopic enemy by afternoon. It has become routine for Williams.

“We have breakfast then TV free time,” Williams said. “I’ll take a couple hours and go over the handouts with them.”

The boys are mixed about the studies.

“It’s boring stuff,” Motes said. “You just can’t make it interesting.”

There have been lessons in science, history and grammar.

“We’re reading too,” Parker said. “It’s passages in textbooks and informative articles.”

The students are learning lessons about the coronavirus.

“It’s a bad sickness,” Harper said. “We are OK together; we’ve always been together. We have to stay away from everyone else.”

Mason added, “You need to wash your hands a lot to keep from spreading it.”

Porter said, “Hand sanitizer works too.”

Williams said after lunch she sends everyone outside to play.

“I’m saving the television and video games,” Williams said. “There will be a rainy day.”

The weather has kept the boys outside most afternoons since schools closed.

The boys of the “Non-Legit SWAT” coronavirus hunting gang are looking for clients. They always consist of close family waving Nerds and Laffy Taffy. They are also missing friends from school.

“We can be bribed to not do stuff,” Mason revealed. “Someone tried to hit us with a frying pan, but seriously we are having fun staying away from everyone.”

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.