In our short story unit, we read his “Chrysanthemums.” At the beginning of the story, I was like…
I thought it was just a story about a farm. But then about halfway through the story, I realized…
HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL, THEY’RE HAVING SEX.
Even though I wasn’t done with the story, I went back and read the whole thing again. And then I printed it out. Now, I’m sitting here at my desk thinking…
Do you take pride in your hurt? Does it make you seem large and tragic? …Well, think about it. Maybe you’re playing a part on a great stage with only yourself as audience.
Ask any kid in the neighborhood and he’ll tell you; the best day of the year is the day the ice cream truck rolls around our street for the first time since last year. It’s better than Christmas and my birthday put together. If you ask Jerry Finn, he says it should be a national holiday. He says he’s working on it. His dad’s some big congressman in the White House. That’s the one the President lives in. Jerry doesn’t live in the White House, though. He lives on my street, two houses down, with his mom. Mrs. Finn’s a real sweet lady. She always feeds us ice cream sandwiches from Giant Eagle after school, and they’re alright, but they don’t even compare to the gigantic cookie sandwiches the ice cream man gives us for a buck twenty-five. There’s nothing greater than that sticky feeling on your hands from the melted ice cream gushing between the two huge cookies on a hot summer day. Mrs. Finn makes us keep the paper on the ice cream sandwiches when we eat them because she doesn’t want us to get ice cream on her couch. Jerry says her “mother-of-law” gave her the couch and she can’t get it dirty because her “mother-of-law” will get “bent-out-of-shape”. I don’t know what getting “bent-out-of-shape” means, but it sounds like it hurts an awful lot so I keep the paper on. But when I eat a cookie sandwich from the ice cream man, I let it air out. It’s better that way.
I can still remember my first ice cream sandwich of the summer. Jerry and I were playing kickball with a bunch of neighborhood kids in his backyard. The stakes were high; the girls were two points away from getting ahead of us. I felt the pressure. After all, I’m the best kickball pitcher in the neighborhood. I had a reputation to keep up. I couldn’t let a few girls get points on me, especially not Sally O’Dair.
Sally O’Dair’s one of those girls who pretends she’s as tough as us. She’s got long, brown hair, like the color of the dirt on the bottom of my tennis shoes, that she sticks through the back hole on her Yankees cap. Someone ought to tell her that they don’t call them “damn Yankees” for nothing. She’s not small like the other girls, either. She towers over them and her bones stick out. When she runs, it looks like her legs are going to break. I’d feel bad for her if she wasn’t so cocky. She struts up to home plate like this is her backyard, not Jerry’s. All the girls cheer for her. I think about whipping the ball at them instead of Sally, but we’re playing a game here, as she reminds me when she spits on the plate.
“Let’s see how tough you really are,” I mumble to myself as I prepare. You see, I’ve got this whole routine. I take a deep breath, spread my legs, wiggle my shoulders, windmill the kickball-
Do you ears hang low, can you tie them in a bow….I hear the familiar tune from up the street. I drop the ball and glance back at Jerry. I can tell he hears it too, the way he’s standing with his mouth wide open. His eyes look like they’re about to pop out of his skull.
“We want a pitcher, not a belly-itcher!” The girls shout at me. My eyes switch from Jerry to the ice cream man, to the ball, to the girls, and back to the ball.
“Kick this!” I shout as I hurl the ball at the crowd of girls. Jerry and I run to the street as fast as our bony legs can take us. When we reach the sidewalk, we see all of our dreams unfolding in front of our very eyes. The obnoxious van inches towards us.
“MOM!” Jerry shouts. “MOM, I NEED FIVE BUCKS. MOM!” He runs to the house as I stay and watch in amazement. To my delight, the ice cream van stops in front of me. I feel my heart pound out of my chest (to the tune of “do your ears hang low”, might I add) as the ice cream man rolls up his window.
“Good morning, young man! What can I get for you?”
He’s every bit as perfect as he was last year. He’s wearing a white button-down shirt with a red bowtie. A bowtie, can you believe it? My dad won’t even teach me how to tie a regular tie!
“Guh…” I reply. Tom, find your words. E-NUN-ciate, my mom’s voice echoes in my head. I think back to the plate and Sally O’Dair. I take a deep breath, wiggle my shoulders, and triumphantly proclaim… “Uh.”
“Tom, what’s a matter with you? He wants the ice cream sandwich. We both do,” Jerry comes to my rescue. The ice cream man flashes his pearly whites at Jerry and says, “That will be two-fifty.” Jerry pulls out three crumbled Abrahams out of his pocket and lays them on the counter. Mr. Ice Cream Man takes the money and disappears behind the window. At that moment, Jerry whacks me hard on the shoulder.
“What was that for?” I asked him.
“Uh? The ice cream man finally comes after seven long months of store-bought sandwiches and all you’ve got to say is “uh”? What’s a matter with you?”
“My mom says I have trouble finding my words,” I mumble. I look down and shuffle my feet. I hear Jerry chuckle and reply, “What the heck does that mean?”
“I don’t know, but so’s your face!” I exclaim. Jerry’s face turns bright red. I can see the steam come out of his ears. He looks like he’s scrambling through that big, know-it-all head of his for a good comeback. I narrow my eyes and think, bring it.
“Your face is so ugly that Shrek doesn’t even want you in his swamp,” Jerry says. He narrows his eyes back at me as if to say, oh, I brought it.
“Why, I oughta…” I uttered. Without thinking, I thrusted my fist smack dab in the middle of his face. I heard a loud crunch and saw blood pour out of his nose. Before I could apologize, he jumped on me and threw me to the ground. The next part’s kind of a blur, but I remember waking up the next day with a punctured rib. We carpooled to the hospital because Jerry broke his nose, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Somehow, Sally O’Dair ended up holding me back by my shaggy hair. Mrs. Finn held Jerry back by the arms, the lucky duck. The ice cream man just sat there, holding out our ice cream sandwiches.
“Let me go, Sally,” I demanded as I pulled away from her iron grip. I walked poignantly to the ice cream man and took his two sandwiches.
“Keep the change,” I cooly muttered to him. I walked back to Jerry and held out his sandwich. He looked at the sandwich for a few moments. Then his gaze switched back to Mrs. Finn. She let him go and he took the sandwich from me. We opened the wrappers in silence. When they were off, we looked at each other and upheld a long-standing tradition: we threw the wrappers behind us. He cracked a smile at me and I started laughing.
“You’ve got to let it air out,” Jerry said.
“It’s better that way,” I told him. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized that we were in for the best summer of our lives…as long as the ice cream man stuck around.
yelllowfeathers-deactivated2012 asked: Hi :) So for my english class I have to read a classic american literature book. Do you know of any good ones? Or any recommendations? I need it by Friday, so the sooner the better. Thank you!!
Hey! (: If you haven’t read Catcher in the Rye, drop everything RIGHT NOW and go read it. Really, it’s so good. At first, you may be like, “OHMYGODTHISISSODUMB” but once you try to put it down, you won’t be able to. I guess I shouldn’t say “you”, that’s just how it was with me. Good luck!
Okay. I just read this short story about this old lady who gets jilted. When it begins, I’m really not sure how to go into it. A doctor comes in and she tells him that she’s not sick. She’s very cranky.
But then her daughter comes in and talks to her and all that comes in is mumbo jumbo and I’m like
And then day turns into night and Granny sees her life flash before her eyes. And then all her children crowd around her bed and I realize…
OMG SHE’S GOING TO DIE.
I just love short stories they’re so beautiful.
We’ve started our short story unit and read Miss Brill by Katherine Mansfield. She’s the sweetest old lady and in the beginning, she’s so excited to go to a garden to listen to the band. But then a mean young couple sit down next to her and make fun of her and she’s like…
Really, I almost cried.