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Chapter 13 of The Outsiders
The first thing I did when I finished my theme (it took me three whole days to finish it) was to show it to Soda. It took him a while to finish it and when he got to the part of Johnny and Dally dying, he went into our room and starting bawling up something awful. I didn’t follow him, because if I did I would probably start weeping right in with him. When Soda handed my papers back he cleared his throat. “Tuff, Pony. It’s real tuff,” he said, his voice wavering a bit at the end.
Darry was a different case. Once he got back from his work, and I handed him my theme, he didn’t cry as much as Sodapop. His eyes did start to get watery; Soda still teases him about how something I wrote made him cry, but I pretended not to notice. I took him less time to read my story than Soda did, probably because Soda dropped out of school sooner than he. He gave it back to me, all smiley and pretending he didn’t have any emotions, but he looked real proud. “You did a mighty fine job, Pony,” he said He punched my shoulder and I tried to punch him back, but he dodged my fist.
“Heyyo Soda,” he called out. “Where you be?” Soda came out of his room. “Let’s get the whole gang here, we can have chocolate cake, and me and Pony’ll go to the grocery store and pick up some other stuff,” Darry said. “Lets have a party!” Sodapop whooped and ran out of the house, doing a couple cartwheels off the porch step and ran out to tell Steve and Two-Bit to come over. I bit my lip until I tasted blood, remembering the last time we were so happy and doing acrobatic jumps off the porch. That was the day two of our best buddies had died. Darry noticed my sudden quietness and grabbed me up in one of his big ol’ bear hugs. “I know Pony, I know,” he whispered.
When I felt better, I wriggled out of his secure grasp and took off running to the grocery store. “Race you!” I yelled, hoping I wouldn’t run into anything, like a parked car or a bike lying across the road. I was still a little bit clumsy, but I had gotten better. I had cut out some of my smoking and only allowed myself half a pack every day, and I was hoping to keep doing track. Darry chased me all the way until we got to the grocery store. After scanning the shelves for some party foods to get, we ended up just getting some cigarettes, Pepsi, and some chips.
We got to the cashier and put all our stuff on the table. The store cashier looked at us when we got to the counter with some hint of recognition in his face but quickly shook his head. “You kids look like some I saw in the newspapers a while back...” he mumbled and speedily checked all the stuff we bought. I didn’t say anything, because Darry nudged me with his elbow on shook his head when I looked up. He was tired of the media just as much as I was. We ran back to the house once the cashier was done and we had paid up. We wanted to get there before Soda did with the rest of the gang.
Two-Bit, Soda and Steve were easy to hear as they approached the house. Two-Bit of course was making all kinds of jokes and Soda and Steve were laughing so hard that I wouldn’t be that surprised if their heads did fall off. I was uneasy about Steve coming, we had gotten to be better friends since Johnny and Dally had died, I think it was because he felt bad for me and all, but we still had our differences. He didn’t complain as much about me as he did before though, and plus he was part of our gang. Gang members have to deal with each other, no matter what. Darry and I were hiding behind the door, waiting to pop out at them when they came in.
“Boy-howdy! Its party time!” yelled Two-Bit as soon as they walked in the door, slamming it as usual. “Yaaaah!” Darry and I hollered, jumping out at them. They all looked a bit frightened, but after they got over their shock, Two-Bit grabbed me up and put me in a headlock. “Darn it, get off of me,” I whined. Soda saved me though, thrusting my theme in their faces. “You two probably aren’t smart enough to finish this in a couple of hours,” he laughed. “But this is that story Pony wrote that I was telling y’all about. He could really be a writer someday, I’m thinking.”
Two-Bit released me and tussled my hair. “Me first,” he said, snatching the papers. “You better be careful, Two-Bit Matthews, you ruin any part of that theme and I’ll clobber you,” I warned.
He scanned over it, reading bits and pieces here and there. The rest of us sat on the couch and armchairs and Darry served us up some chocolate cake and Pepsi, and the chips, and talked.
“You write real good,” Two-Bit said. “Didn’t know that Johnny was going to turn himself in.” He handed my papers to Steve, who looked at them with slight distaste, but started reading anyways. “Gee, thanks, Two-Bit. I want to be a writer real bad too.”
The rest of the night was a blur. I had hardly done any sleeping recently and I was very tired. Steve ended up liking my story; he sniffed a bit at the sad part, which I expected, since everyone except for Two-Bit had.
I was so exhausted that night, that as soon as I dropped on my bed, I fell fast asleep. I woke up in the middle of the night to Sodapop, his arm draped across me, whispering something in his sleep about how Johnny and Dally were missing out on all the fun, and how they should have stayed with us.
But with Johnny and Dally, or without Johnny and Dally, I knew we were going to be okay.
*Note to everyone who reads this: Just because the boys in this chapter buy cigarettes and smoke, it doesn’t mean you should. Thank you.