Here Comes Butchie

by David Paul

Here comes Butchie.

"Whatcha doing?" he says.


"Got a nickel?"

"No. You?"

Butchie shakes his head. He says, "If we could get a nickel, we could split a popsicle."

I like the purple ones. And when he says about a popsicle, I can see the sweet purple stuff slushing down the stick and over my fingers.

"Ask your mother?" I say.

"My mother ain't going to give me a nickel for no popsicle."

Last night Butchie's mother and father were on their porch, drinking beer and yelling at each other. Butchie's father fell off his chair.

"Want to go over to the showers?" I say.


We go into our houses to put on our bathing suits. Mine is made out of wool, and it's scratchy. I take off my socks, but put my sneakers back on because the sidewalk burns your feet.

The showers is in the housing project. It's like a big round circle that you get in the middle of it, and water shoots up out of three places and comes down on your head. It's like a giant size water fountain. There's always lots of kids running around and getting soaked. And you don't have to pay any money.

We stay at the showers, and get good and cooled off, and then we come back to our houses to take off our bathing suits.

I come out of my house first, and wait on my porch for Butchie. He lives up on the third floor in his house. His windows are open, and I can hear his father yelling at him, and then I hear something crash, and I hear Butchie shriek. I'm waiting on the porch a long time, but Butchie doesn't come outside again.

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