Friday, January 29, 2010

Chapter XV. Consequences


C2004 By Gracie Prior


Butch reached Mary first. He knew that the water would be freezing. Mary reached out to grab the rail and he was able to pull her up and out of the pond. She was soaking wet from above her waist down. Together they got past the cement outcropping and onto the bank of the pond. Butch took his jacket off and wrapped Mary in it. He whistled at the line of skaters. Terry was coming toward them already. Jimmy was walking carefully on his skates across the ice to meet them.

"We saw you, Mary," Jimmy said. "We saw you go down. "Are you all right?"

"No, I'm freezing," Mary said.

"All we can do is get her home as quickly as possible," Butch said. So the four of them walked to where their shoes were and changed. Terry took Mary's skates. Butch and Terry tried to carry her.

"Put me down. I'm not a baby," she said. "Let's just go fast." So they walked briskly to Mary's house. Along the way, the boys shared jackets so Butch wouldn't be too cold.

As they approached Mary's house, Butch saw Mary's dad come out to meet them. "We're in for it now," Butch said under his breath. Mary was hurried inside. The boys were invited in.

"Will you fellows wait here while I look after Mary? I'd like to talk to you," the dad said.

The boys rolled their eyes at each other. There were no seats in the hall so they stood. Mary and her dad went upstairs.

* * *

Butch and the boys could hear doors slamming and water running. Mary's mom came down and was wringing her hands. "Hello boys," she said and went to a linen closet and took out two fluffy white towels. She hurried back upstairs and Mary's dad came down.

He looked at them and said, "Mary is getting a hot bath. Thank you for bringing her home. He handed the coat to Jimmy. "I just got a bit of the story but her mom can help better than I can upstairs. Will you fill me in on the details?"

Butch moved uncomfortably from one foot to the other. "Well," Butch started, "I was just going to the curbside for a short cut, to join the crack the whip. Mary was behind me..."

"Just a minute." Mr. Brewster said. "Come in here won't you and be comfortable." He led them to the kitchen, poured some milk and they sat down. "Now try again."

Butch again told the story of how Mary went to the cement outcropping, he didn't know why. "Then she fell in ," he finished.

"That's all I know," Jimmy said. "I was learning to skate when I saw her go in ."

"I was coming around the corner of the line when I saw her," Terry said. "We're awful sorry. Maybe we shouldn't have gone today."

"No, most of the ice was just fine. Mary disobeyed her mother, and now you boys have to go home early, and you are freezing. "I'll give you a ride home."

"No, that's O.K.," Terry said. "We live real close."

"I know. You are the Scribers or something, aren't you?"

"Yes, the Scribblers, Sir," Jimmy said.

"Well, it's nice to finally meet you. Which one of you is Butch?"

"I am," Butch said.

"Well, it looks like your neighbor, Mrs. Frumpstead has been doing some gossip about you and Mary and the clubhouse. What is it you do in there?"

Butch scratched his head, sipped his milk and said, "We write stories, plays, and act out scenes, and sometimes play board games. Stuff like that."

"And that's all yo do?"

"What else is there to do in there? We like writing and we write. Oh, I forgot something." Butch blushed a bit. "We read, too. And sometimes," he said, thinking about his mom,"we run around the clubhouse, for exercise. That's about it."

Jimmy and Terry smiled and nodded.

"Guys, I don't like busybodies. As long as you read and write and the other things, we'll get along just fine. It was nice to meet all of you. Which one is Jimmy?"

"I am, Sir."

"You like knights and castles?"

"Yes, very much."

"Terry," said Mr. Brewster looking right at him. "You are an athlete."

Terry smiled.

"I wasn't worried," Mr. Brewster said. "As far as I'm concerned, Mary has three excellent friends." A door slammed upstairs. "I'll go check on her. You are free to go. And thanks again."

The boys walked down the path to their homes. "That turned out better than I thought," Terry said. "Her parents sure ask a lot of questions."

"Mary must talk about us a lot," Jimmy said.

"Let's just get home, and Jimmy, gimme my coat," Butch said. He felt grumpy. He wondered why his parents never asked about his friends or tried to get to know them.

(Next time - more grief for Mary)

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