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Special Delivery


Merkin

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Special Delivery

by Merkin

Jesse was getting more than bored waiting for his mother to finish her shopping. If only he didn't have to depend on his parents for transportation! Being thirteen really sucked big time.

He sighed and turned to look over the rack of Valentine cards. He couldn't believe the prices for these fancy cards. Luckily he could still get away with making the only card he'd need, the one for his mom, out of construction paper at home. Plus these store cards were all disgustingly mushy. In fact, he'd better not even be seen looking at them. He turned his attention to nearby shelves filled with vitamins and tonics. Where was his mother?

Finally Jesse saw her moving into the checkout. He walked quickly toward the front of the store so he could meet her at the exit without having to stand with her in line. He was so engrossed in avoiding his mother that he walked right into the customer who was leaving the other checkout.

"Oof! Sorry!" Jesse looked down with dismay at the Valentine card fluttering out of the customer's bag and landing onto the floor. He couldn't stop his right foot from treading firmly on part of the big red envelope. "Ohmigod! Really sorry!" His sneaker had left a slight mark. "I'll buy you another one!"

He looked up to see a vaguely familiar high school boy grinning at him. "You're an even bigger klutz than I was at your age. Forget it. I can clean that up."

"Th-thanks," Jesse stammered. "Ya know, those big ones take more than one stamp or they won't deliver it." Jeez! Had he really said that?

"I'll worry about the stamps. You'd better practice steering those feet of yours." With another grin, the older boy scooped up the card and envelope and turned away. Jesse's relief was short-lived as he heard his mother behind him.

"Jesse, don't dawdle. We're late as it is."

"Right, Mom," he said with a sigh. Thirteen was the pits.

* * *

"Did you get any Valentines?" Jesse's best friend Artie had met him as usual as school let out and they were pushing through the crowd of students toward their bus. Since the upper school students had already boarded, the remaining seats were all in the front unless they hurried to claim a space further back.

"Are you kidding, Artie? We're in eighth grade. Nobody gives out Valentines."

"I got one. From Judy."

"Well, you've practically been married since first grade."

They pushed up onto the steps of the bus and Jesse stumbled into the student who was boarding ahead of him. He looked down as he caught himself and saw a familiar red envelope fall to the floor. In fact, it still had a faint footprint on one corner. He grabbed it and stood up. "You dropped this," he said to the retreating form wearing the varsity jacket.

Keith Eliot, star forward for the high school basketball team, looked back, scowled, and grabbed the envelope from Jesse. "That's mine, kid."

Ohmigod! Jesse's thoughts churned as he stumbled down the aisle. "Ooh Keith," one of the girls said, "who'ja get a Valentine from?" The rest of the crowd was in full throat as they oohd and aahd. Keith grimaced and quickly shoved the envelope inside his jacket.

As Jesse turned to look for Artie his eyes caught those of a student in another seat. It was the boy from the drugstore. He was staring intently at Jesse. Jesse hesitated, gave a jerky shrug, then continued his turn as the boy looked at him and smiled slightly.

"What was that all about?" Artie had saved him a seat.

"Nothing," Jesse sat down heavily and dropped his backpack onto the floor. "Just a little special delivery."

______

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Nice work, James.

My mind held the picture of the boy and the shrug, and came up with the question:

"How many boys or girls, in the absence of interference, when encountering differences,

would take note with a shrug and add it to the expanding view of the world that is the

mainstay of adolescent experience?"

I knew I liked that kid, and it could well be because I know what it took for him to all the

way to that bus with that shrug.

Thanks James, a little flash can go a long way....

Tracy

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am touched by all of your positive comments. I must confess I am feeling my way; my experience of contemporary youth culture is practically nonexistent. My own ideal for boyish behavior was more-or-less based, when I was a kid, upon multiple rereadings of Booth Tarkington's brilliant series of titles about Penrod Schofield and his pals. Most of the settings and situations and confrontations (and bigotries) celebrated there no longer exist, even though they were a large part of my own agrarian small-town America.

James

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Damn, I'd forgotten all about Penrod, and of course Penrod and Sam.

Hey, James, there are some good things about being older than everyone else.

Well, everyone else and Des, and Im not sure people could read in Austarlia back when he was a kid.

But thanks for reminding me about Penrod.

And now one for you. Do you remember Rufus Moffet?

C

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'fraid not, Cole. I had to look it up. Looks like the stories are set in roughly the same era, up to and including WWI. Apparently Rufus was based on the author's real-life little brother. That's the other thing I missed, as an only child -- sibling rivalry. Although the next door neighbor kid more than made up for it.

James

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'fraid not, Cole. I had to look it up. Looks like the stories are set in roughly the same era, up to and including WWI. Apparently Rufus was based on the author's real-life little brother. That's the other thing I missed, as an only child -- sibling rivalry. Although the next door neighbor kid more than made up for it.

James

Eleanor Estes was a prolific and very good writer of children's books. She wrote several books about the Moffits.

While it's been many years since I read those, I still remember them as being excellent books that I read more than once. They'd certainly be dated if read today, but still enjoyable, and would provide a great look at the way things were, way back then, when I was but a lad.

C

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Damn, I'd forgotten all about Penrod, and of course Penrod and Sam.

Hey, James, there are some good things about being older than everyone else.

Well, everyone else and Des, and Im not sure people could read in Austarlia back when he was a kid.

But thanks for reminding me about Penrod.

And now one for you. Do you remember Rufus Moffet?

C

We could read, but it was mainly Enid Blyton books and Disney comics. :raccoon:

Later when I was teen, I learned a lot from graffiti in the men's rooms. :spank:

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