The Outsiders. S. E. Hinton. According to Wikipedia, The Outsiders is a coming-of -age novel by S. E. Hinton, first published in by Viking Press. Hinton was. According to Wikipedia, The Outsiders is a coming-of-age novel by S. E. Hinton, first published in by Viking Press. Hinton was 15 when she started writing. Download PDF The Outsiders S. E. HintonAccording to Wikipedia, The Outsiders is a coming-of-age . The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton 2.
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A Study Guide for Grades 6 and up. Prepared by Charlotte S. Jaffe and Barbara T . Doherty. Illustrated by Karen Sigler. The Outsiders. By S. E. Hinton. Literature. Download The Outsiders PDF written by S.E. Hinton from Reading Sanctuary in PDF format. the outsiders by se karcodicdistwha.ml the outsiders by se karcodicdistwha.ml, KB; (Last Modified on November 6, ). Address. 70 Leland Lane, Southampton, NY.
There are four other greaser gang members who are all like his extended family: Steve Randle, the year-old car genius; year-old Johnny Cade , the lost puppy who "has been kicked too many times"; Two-Bit Mathews , the wise-cracking, oldest gang member at 18; and Dally Dallas Winston, the year-old who is the angriest, toughest greaser. Readers also learn the dynamics between the three brothers and their relationships to one another.
Ponyboy doesn't get along with Darry because he feels Darry is too hard on him. But Soda always sticks up for Ponyboy with Darry.
Ponyboy and Soda share a bedroom, and even the same bed, and are emotionally close. At the close of the first chapter, Soda tells Ponyboy he wants to marry Sandy, but he plans to wait until Sandy has finished high school and he has obtained a better job than his current full-time gas station attendant role, and also until Ponyboy has finished high school, so Soda can "still help Darry with the bills and stuff.
Although the state is not named until far into the story, there are multiple references to the rodeo and horses and, at one point, Johnny and Ponyboy hop a freight train to Windrixville. It is likely the city is Tulsa, which, not coincidentally, is where S. Hinton had lived her entire life. The time period is never stated explicitly, but the book was first published in , and the dialogue of the characters is loaded with s slang: "heater" for gun; "cooler" for jail; "fuzz" for police; "broad" for young woman; "weed" for cigarette; and "You dig?
One prevalent theme in The Outsiders is class difference, and this is introduced to readers right from chapter 1. Ponyboy, the first-person teen narrator, tells readers, "Organized gangs are rarities. Ponyboy is intelligent, so even at 14 he realizes the odds are stacked against him, his brothers, and his neighborhood gang whose members are "almost as close as brothers.
Regarding the Socs, Ponyboy says, "You can't win against them no matter how hard you try" because "they've got all the breaks and even whipping them isn't going to change that fact. Ponyboy and his brothers stick together after the death of their parents.
Even though Ponyboy and Darry don't get along very well on a daily basis, Darry is always there for Ponyboy whenever he needs help, like when he is ambushed by five Socs in chapter 1.
Both Darry and Soda have full-time jobs to support Ponyboy until he can finish high school, even though Soda is only 16 himself. Blue madras. One of them laughed,then cussed me out in a low voice. I couldn't think of anything to say. There just isn't awhole lot you can say while waiting to get mugged, so I kept my mouth shut. I finally thought of something to say. Of course I backed right into one of them. They had me down in a second. I could smell EnglishLeather shaving lotion and stale tobacco, and I wondered foolishly if I would suffocatebefore they did anything.
I was scared so bad I was wishing I would. I fought to getloose, and almost did for a second; then they tightened up on me and the one on my chestslugged me a couple of times. So I lay still, swearing at them between gasps. A blade washeld against my throat. I went wild. I started screaming forSoda, Darry, anyone. Someone put his hand over my mouth, and I bit it as hard as Icould, tasting the blood running through my teeth.
I heard a muttered curse and gotslugged again, and they were stuffing a handkerchief in my mouth. I lay there and wondered what in the world was happeningpeople were jumping over me and running by me and I was too dazed to figure it out.
Then someone had me under the armpits and was hauling me to my feet. It was Darry. I was dizzy enough anyway. I couldtell it was Darry though partly because of the voice and partly because Darry's alwaysrough with me without meaning to be.
Quit shaking me, Darry, I'm okay. Darry isn't ever sorry for anything he does. It seems funny to methat he should look just exactly like my father and act exactly the opposite from him. Darry and Dad were brothers instead of father and son. But they only looked alike myfather was never rough with anyone without meaning to be.
Darry is six-feet-two, and broad-shouldered and muscular. He has dark-brownhair that kicks out in front and a slight cowlick in the back just like Dad's but Darry'seyes are his own. He's got eyes that are like two pieces of pale blue-green ice. They'vegot a determined set to them, like the rest of him. He looks older than twenty tough,cool, and smart. He would be real handsome if his eyes weren't so cold. He doesn'tunderstand anything that is not plain hard fact.
But he uses his head. I sat down again, rubbing my cheek where I'd been slugged the most. Darry jammed his fists in his pockets. I was smarting and aching and my chest was sore and I was so nervousmy hands were shaking and I wanted to start bawling, but you just don't say that to Darry. By then I had figured that all the noise I had heardwas the gang coming to rescue me. He dropped down beside me, examining my head.
I remembered the voice: Not like Darry Soda's movie-starkind of handsome, the kind that people stop on the street to watch go by. He's not as tallas Darry, and he's a little slimmer, but he has a finely drawn, sensitive face that somehowmanages to be reckless and thoughtful at the same time. He's got dark-gold hair that hecombs back long and silky and straight and in the summer the sun bleaches it to ashining wheat gold.
His eyes are dark brown lively, dancing, recklessly laughing eyesthat can be gentle and sympathetic one moment and blazing with anger the next. He hasDad's eyes, but Soda is one of a kind. He can get drunk in a drag race or dancing withoutever getting near alcohol. In our neighborhood it's rare to find a kid who doesn't drinkonce in a while.
But Soda never touches a drop he doesn't need to. He gets drunk onjust plain living. And he understands everybody. He looked at me more closely. I looked away hurriedly, because, if you want toknow the truth, I was starting to bawl. I knew I was as white as I felt and I was shakinglike a leaf. Soda just put his hand on my shoulder. They ain't gonna hurtyou no more.
I brushed them away impatiently. You just don't cry in front of Darry. Not unless you'rehurt like Johnny had been that day we found him in the vacant lot. Compared to Johnny Iwasn't hurt at all. Soda rubbed my hair. I guess it's becausehe's always grinning so much himself. Darry looked as if he'd like to knock our heads together. Sodapop isn't afraid of himlike everyone else and enjoys teasing him. I'd just as soon tease a full-grown grizzly; butfor some reason, Darry seems to like being teased by Soda.
Our gang had chased the Socs to their car and heaved rocks at them. They camerunning toward us now four lean, hard guys.
They were all as tough as nails and lookedit. Steve Randle was seventeen, tall and lean, with thick greasy hair he kept combedin complicated swirls. He was tacky, smart, and Soda's best buddy since grade school. Steve's specialty was cars. He could lift a hubcap quicker and more quietly than anyonein the neighborhood, but he also knew cars upside-down and backward, and he coulddrive anything on wheels. He and Soda worked at the same gas station Steve part timeand Soda full time and their station got more customers than any other in town.
Whether that was because Steve was so good with cars or because Soda attracted girlslike honey draws flies, I couldn't tell you. I liked Steve only because he was Soda's bestfriend. He didn't like me he thought I was a tag-along and a kid; Soda always took mewith them when they went places if they weren't taking girls, and that bugged Steve. Itwasn't my fault; Soda always asked me; I didn't ask him.
Soda doesn't think I'm a kid. Two-Bit Mathews was the oldest of the gang and the wisecracker of the bunch. He was about six feet tall, stocky in build, and very proud of his long rusty-coloredsideburns.
He had gray eyes and a wide grin, and he couldn't stop making funny remarksto save his life. You couldn't shut up that guy; he always had to get his two-bits worth in.
Hence his name. Even his teachers forgot his real name was Keith, and we hardlyremembered he had one. Life was one big joke to Two-Bit. He really couldn't help it. Everything he said was so irresistibly funny that he just had to let the police in on it tobrighten up their dull lives. That's the way he explained it to me.
He liked fights,blondes, and for some unfathomable reason, school. He was still a junior at eighteen anda half and he never learned anything. He just went for kicks. I liked him real well becausehe kept us laughing at ourselves as well as at other things.
He reminded me of WillRogers maybe it was the grin. If I had to pick the real character of the gang, it would be Dallas Winston Dally. I used to like to draw his picture when he was in a dangerous mood, for then I could gethis personality down in a few lines. He had an elfish face, with high cheekbones and apointed chin, small, sharp animal teeth, and ears like a lynx.
His hair was almost white itwas so blond, and he didn't like haircuts, or hair oil either, so it fell over his forehead inwisps and kicked out in the back in tufts and curled behind his ears and along the nape ofhis neck.
His eyes were blue, blazing ice, cold with a hatred of the whole world. Dallyhad spent three years on the wild side of New York and had been arrested at the age often. He was tougher than the rest of us tougher, colder, meaner.
The shade ofdifference that separates a greaser from a hood wasn't present in Dally. He was as wild asthe boys in the downtown outfits, like Tim Shepard's gang. In New York, Dally blew off steam in gang fights, but here, organized gangs arerarities there are just small bunches of friends who stick together, and the warfare isbetween the social classes.
A rumble, when it's called, is usually born of a grudge fight,and the opponents just happen to bring their friends along. Oh, there are a few namedgangs around, like the River Kings and the Tiber Street Tigers, but here in the Southwestthere's no gang rivalry.
So Dally, even though he could get into a good fight sometimes,had no specific thing to hate. No rival gang. Only Socs.
And you can't win against themno matter how hard you try, because they've got all the breaks and even whipping themisn't going to change that fact. Maybe that was why Dallas was so bitter.
He had quite a reputation. They have a file on him down at the police station. I didn't like him, but he was smart and you had torespect him. Johnny Cade was last and least. If you can picture a little dark puppy that hasbeen kicked too many times and is lost in a crowd of strangers, you'll have Johnny. Hewas the youngest, next to me, smaller than the rest, with a slight build. He had big blackeyes in a dark tanned face; his hair was jet-black and heavily greased and combed to theside, but it was so long that it fell in shaggy bangs across his forehead.
He had a nervous,suspicious look in his eyes, and that beating he got from the Socs didn't help matters. Hewas the gang's pet, everyone's kid brother.
His father was always beating him up, and hismother ignored him, except when she was hacked off at something, and then you couldhear her yelling at him clear down at our house.
I think he hated that worse than gettingwhipped. He would have run away a million times if we hadn't been there. If it hadn'tbeen for the gang, Johnny would never have known what love and affection are. I wiped my eyes hurriedly. They got away this time, the dirty I'm usually pretty quiet arotmdpeople, even the gang. I changed the subject. Got off early.
Everyone sat down to have a smoke and relax. A smoke always lessens the tension. I hadquit trembling and my color was back. The cigarette was calming me down. Two-Bitcocked an eyebrow. Makes you look tough. Tough and tuff are two different words. Tough is the same as rough; tuff meanscool, sharp like a tuff-looking Mustang or a tuff record.
In our neighborhood both arecompliments. Steve flicked his ashes at me. I didn't think You must think at school, with all those good grades you bring home, and you've alwaysgot your nose in a book, but do you ever use your head for common sense?
No sirree,bub. And if you did have to go by yourself, you should have carried a blade. Me and Darry just didn't digeach other. I never could please him. He would have hollered at me for carrying a blade ifI had carried one.
If I was playing football, I should be in studying, and if I wasreading, I should be out playing football. He never hollered at Sodapop not even whenSoda dropped out of school or got tickets for speeding. He just hollered at me. Soda was glaring at him. It ain't his faulthe likes to go to the movies, and it ain't his fault the Socs like to jump us, and if he hadbeen carrying a blade it would have been a good excuse to cut him to ribbons.
He always does whenSodapop tells him to. Most of the time. Anybody want to come and huntsome action? I wasn't going to ask if Icould come. I mean it. Sometimes I hate him. Darry sighed, just like I knew he would. Darry never had time to do anythinganymore.
Johnnycake, you andPony wanta come? I knew Johnny wouldn't open his mouth unlesshe was forced to. On school nights I could hardly leave the house. His ring, which he had rolled a drunk senior toget, was back on his finger. That little broad was two-timin' me again whileI was in jail. They werethe only kind of girls that would look at us, I thought. Tough, loud girls who wore toomuch eye makeup and giggled and swore too much.
Her hair was natural blond and her laugh was soft, like her china-blue eyes. Shedidn't have a real good home or anything and was our kind greaser but she was a realnice girl.
Still, lots of times I wondered what other girls were like. The girls who werebright-eyed and had their dresses a decent length and acted as if they'd like to spit on us ifgiven a chance. Some were afraid of us, and remembering Dallas Winston, I didn't blamethem. Iwondered about them. The girls, I mean Did they cry when their boys were arrested,like Evie did when Steve got hauled in, or did they run out on them the way Sylvia didDallas?
But maybe their boys didn't get arrested or beaten up or busted up in rodeos. I was still thinking about it while I was doing my homework that night. I had toread Great Expectations for English, and that kid Pip, he reminded me of us the way hefelt marked lousy because he wasn't a gentleman or anything, and the way that girl keptlooking down on him.
That happened to me once.
One time in biology I had to dissect aworm, and the razor wouldn't cut, so I used my switchblade. You are a hood. These were a lot of Socs in that class I get put into A classes because I'm supposed tobe smart and most of them thought it was pretty funny. I didn't, though. She was a cutegirl. She looked real good in yellow. We deserve a lot of our trouble, I thought.
Dallas deserves everything he gets, andshould get worse, if you want the truth. And Two-Bit he doesn't really want or needhalf the things he swipes from stores. He just thinks it's fun to swipe everything that isn'tnailed down. I can understand why Sodapop and Steve get into drag races and fights somuch, though both of them have too much energy, too much feeling, with no way toblow it off.
I looked through the door. Sodapop was giving Darry a back-rub. Darry is alwayspulling muscles; he roofs houses and he's always trying to carry two bundles of roofingup the ladder. I knew Soda would put him to sleep, because Soda can put about anyoneout when he sets his head to it. He thought Darry worked too hard anyway. I did, too. Darry didn't deserve to work like an old man when he was only twenty. He hadbeen a real popular guy in school; he was captain of the football team and he had beenvoted Boy of the Year.
But we just didn't have the money for him to go to college, evenwith the athletic scholarship he won. And now he didn't have time between jobs to eventhink about college.
So he never went anywhere and never did anything anymore, exceptwork out at gyms and go skiing with some old friends of his sometimes. I rubbed my cheek where it had turned purple. I had looked in the mirror, and itdid make me look tough. But Darry had made me put a Band-Aid on the cut. I remembered how awful Johnny had looked when he got beaten up. I had just asmuch right to use the streets as the Socs did, and Johnny had never hurt them.
Why didthe Socs hate us so much? We left them alone. I nearly went to sleep over my homeworktrying to figure it out. Sodapop, who had jumped into bed by this time, yelled sleepily for me to turn offthe light and get to bed.
When I finished the chapter I was on, I did. Lying beside Soda, staring at the wall, I kept remembering the faces of the Socsas they surrounded me, that blue madras shirt the blond was wearing, and I could stillhear a thick voice: Soda threw one arm across my neck. He mumbled somethingdrowsily.
He's just gotmore worries than somebody his age ought to. Don't take him serious Don't let him bug you. He's really proud of you 'cause you're so brainy. It's just becauseyou're the baby I mean, he loves you a lot.
I could hardly standit when he left school.
The only things I was passing anyway were auto mechanicsand gym. Shut up and I'll tell you something. Don't tell Darry, though. After she gets out of school and I get a better joband everything. I might wait till you get out of school, though. So I can still help Darrywith the bills and stuff. Wait till I get out, though, so you can keep Darry off my back.
I told you he don't mean half of what he says What's it like? I turned my head to look at himand in the moonlight he looked like some Greek god come to earth. I wondered how hecould stand being so handsome.
Then I sighed. Darry thought I was just another mouth to feed and somebody to holler at. Darrylove me? I thought of those hard, pale eyes. Soda was wrong for once, I thought. Darrydoesn't love anyone or anything, except maybe Soda. I didn't hardly think of him as beinghuman. I don't care, I lied to myself, I don't care about him either. Soda's enough, and I'dhave him until I got out of school. I don't care about Darry. But I was still lying and Iknew it. I lie to myself all the time.
But I never believe me. We bought Cokes and blew the straws at thewaitress, and walked around eyeing things that were lying out in the open until themanager got wise to us and suggested we leave. He was too late, though; Dally walkedout with two packages of Kools under his jacket. Then we went across the street and down Sutton a little way to The Dingo. The Dingo is a pretty rough hangout; there'salways a fight going on there and once a girl got shot.
We walked around talking to allthe greasers and hoods we knew, leaning in car windows or hopping into the back seats,and getting in on who was running away, and who was in jail, and who was going withwho, and who could whip who, and who stole what and when and why. We knew abouteverybody there. There was a pretty good fight while we were there between a bigtwenty-three-year-old greaser and a Mexican hitchhiker. We left when the switchbladescame out, because the cops would be coming soon and nobody in his right mind wants tobe around when the fuzz show.
We crossed Sutton and cut around behind Spencer's Special, the discount house,and chased two junior-high kids across a field for a few minutes; by then it was darkenough to sneak in over the back fence of the Nightly Double drive-in movie.
It was thebiggest in town, and showed two movies every night, and on weekends four you couldsay you were going to the Nightly Double and have time to go all over town. We all had the money to get in it only costs a quarter if you're not in a car butDally hated to do things the legal way. He liked to show that he didn't care whether therewas a law or not. He went around trying to break laws. We went to the rows of seats infront of the concession stand to sit down.
Nobody else was there except two girls whowere sitting down front. I had a sick feeling that Dally was up to his usual tricks, and I was right. Hestarted talking, loud enough for the two girls to hear. He started out bad and got worse.
Dallas could talk awful dirty if he wanted to and I guess he wanted to then. I felt my earsget hot. Two-Bit or Steve or even Soda would have gone right along with him, just to seeif they could embarrass the girls, but that kind of kicks just doesn't appeal to me.
I satthere, struck dumb, and Johnny left hastily to get a Coke. I wouldn't have felt so embarrassed if they had been greasy girls I might evenhave helped old Dallas. But those two girls weren't our kind.
They were tuff-lookinggirls dressed sharp and really good-looking. They looked about sixteen or seventeen. One had short dark hair, and the other had long red hair.
The redhead was getting mad, orscared. She sat up straight and she was chewing hard on her gum. The other onepretended not to hear Dally. Dally was getting impatient. He put his feet up on the backof the redhead's chair, winked at me, and beat his own record for saying something dirty. She turned around and gave him a cool stare. I'd seen her before; she was a cheerleader at ourschool.
I'd always thought she was stuck-up. Dally merely looked at her and kept his feet where they were. I had heard the same tone a million times: What are they doing at a drive-in without acar? I've seen you around rodeos. That didn't bother Dally in the least. You oughtto see my record sometime, baby. Want a Coke? Get lost,hood! The girl looked at me. I was half-scared of her. I'm half-scared of all nice girls,especially Socs. Gosh, she was pretty. What's yourname?
I hate to tell people my name for the first time. Ponyboy's my real name and personally I like it. The redhead just smiled. Cherry Valance. We go to the same school. I got put up a year in grade school. He's my buddy. A DX, I think? I might have guessed you were brothers youlook alike. Saddle bronc?
Dad made him quit after he tore a ligament, though. We still hang aroundrodeos a lot. I've seen you two barrel race. You're good. He's not any older than sixteen or seventeen, ishe? I've told you I can't stand it that Soda dropped out. It fitted Dally perfectly, but you could hardly say it about Soda. Johnny came back then and sat down beside me.
He was nervous, though. Johnny was always nervous around strangers. Cherry looked at him, sizing him up as shehad me.
Then she smiled softly, and I knew she had him sized up right. Dally came striding back with an armful of Cokes. He handed one to each of thegirls and sat down beside Cherry. After you wash your mouth and learn to talk and act decent, Imight cool off, too. If I hadbeen Cherry I would have beat it out of there.
I knew that smile. Well, that's the way I like 'em. He stared at Johnny in disbelief. Leave her alone. If it had been me, or Two-Bit, or Soda or Steve, oranyone but Johnny, Dally would have flattened him without a moment's hesitation. Youjust didn't tell Dally Winston what to do. One time, in a dime store, a guy told him tomove over at the candy counter.
Dally had turned around and belted him so hard itknocked a tooth loose. A complete stranger, too. But Johnny was the gang's pet, andDally just couldn't hit him. He was Dally's pet, too. Dally got up and stalked off, his fistsjammed in his pockets and a frown on his face.
He didn't come back. Cherry sighed in relief. He had me scared to death. Nobody talks toDally like that. I was still staring at him. It had taken more than nerve forhim to say what he'd said to Dally Johnny worshiped the ground Dallas walked on, andI had never heard Johnny talk back to anyone, much less his hero.
Marcia grinned at us. She was a little smaller than Cherry. She was cute, but thatCherry Valance was a real looker. You can protect us. He grinned suddenly, raising his eyebrows sothat they disappeared under his bangs. Would we ever have something to tell the boys! We had picked up two girls, and classy ones at that. Not any greasybroads for us, but real Socs. Soda would flip when I told him. I was grateful. Johnny looked fourteen and he knew it and it bugged himsomething awful. Johnny grinned.
First of all, you didn't joinin Dallas's dirty talk, and you made him leave us alone. Aid when we asked you to sit uphere with us, you didn't act like it was an invitation to make out for the night. Besidesthat, I've heard about Dallas Winston, and he looked as hard as nails and twice as tough. And you two don't look mean. You've seen toomuch to be innocent. Just not You take up for yourbuddies, no matter what they do. When you're a gang, you stick up for the members.
Ifyou don't stickup for them, stick together, make like brothers, it isn't a gang any more. It'sa pack. A snarling, distrustful, bickering pack like the Socs in their social clubs or thestreet gangs in New York or the wolves in the timber. When Steve'scousin from Kansas came down, Dally was decent to her and watched his swearing. Weall did around nice girls who were the cousinly type.
I don't know how to explain it wetry to be nice to the girls we see once in awhile, like cousins or the girls in class; but westill watch a nice girl go by on a street corner and say all kinds of lousy stuff about her.
Don't ask me why. I don't know why. Oh, yeah, we found out why they were without a car.
They'd come with theirboyfriends, but walked out on them when they found out the boys had brought somebooze along. The boys had gotten angry and left. They'd decided to stay and see the movie anyway. Itwas one of those beach-party movies with no plot and no acting but a lot of girls inbikinis and some swinging songs, so it was all right. I looked fearfully over my shoulder and there was Two-Bit, grinning like aChessy cat. Then I looked at Johnny. His eyes were shutand he was as white as a ghost.
His breath was coming in smothered gasps. Two-Bitknew better than to scare Johnny like that. I guess he'd forgotten. He's kind ofscatterbrained. I couldn't tell if Two-Bit was drunk or not. It's kind of hard to tell with him heacts boozed up sometimes even when he's sober. Two-Bit stared at her admiringly.
Where'd you twoever get to be picked up by a couple of greasy hoods like Pony and Johnny? They're worth ten camels apiece at least. Say somethin'in Arabian, Johnnycake. Against wisecracking greasers like you,probably. We thoughtwe were doing good if we could get him to talk at all. Incidentally, we don't mind beingcalled greaser by another greaser.
It's kind of playful then. I hope he don't getjailed again. Timothy Shepard and Co. Curly Shepard spotted Dallas doing it Does Dally have ablade? Tim'll fight fair if Dally don't pull a blade on him. Dally shouldn't haveany trouble. So are chains andheaters and pool sticks and rumbles. Skin fighting isn't rough.
It blows off steam betterthan anything. There's nothing wrong with throwing a few punches. Socs are rough. Theygang up on one or two, or they rumble each other with their social clubs. Us greasersusually stick together, but when we do fight among ourselves, it's a fair fight betweentwo. And Dally deserves whatever he gets, 'cause slashed tires ain't no joke when you'vegot to work to pay for them.
He got spotted, too, and that was his fault. Our one rule,besides Stick together, is Don't get caught. He might get beat up, he might not. Eitherway there's not going to be any blood feud between our outfit and Shepard's, If weneeded them tomorrow they'd show. If Tim beats Dally's head in, and then tomorrow asksus for help in a rumble, we'll show. Dally was getting kicks. He got caught. He pays up. No sweat.
He sure put things into words good. Maybe hewas still a junior at eighteen and a half, and maybe his sideburns were too long, andmaybe he did get boozed up too much, but he sure understood things. Cherry and Marcia shook their heads at his offering of cigarettes, but Johnny andI reached for one. Johnny's color was back and his breathing was regular, but his handwas shaking ever so slightly.
A cigarette would steady it. I jumped up. Y'all want some? She was finishing the Coke Dally had given her. I realizedthen that Marcia and Cherry weren't alike. Cherry had said she wouldn't drink Dally'sCoke if she was starving, and she meant it. It was the principle of the thing. But Marciasaw no reason to throw away a perfectly good, free Coke.
He flipped me a fifty cent piece. We went to the concession stand and, as usual, there was a line a mile long, so wehad to wait. Quite a few kids turned to look at us you didn't see a kid grease and a Socycheerleader together often. Cherry didn't seem to notice.
He's okay. And I don't like to talk about it either Johnny getting beat up, I mean. But Istarted in, talking a little faster than I usually do because I don't like to think about iteither. I had walked down to the DX station to geta bottle of pop and to see Steve and Soda, because they'll always download me a couple ofbottles and let me help work on the cars.
I don't like to go on weekends because thenthere is usually a bunch of girls down there flirting with Soda all kinds of girls, Socstoo. I don't care too much for girls yet. Soda says I'll grow out of it. He did. It was a warmish spring day with the sun shining bright, but it was getting chillyand dark by the time we started for home.
We were walking because we had left Steve'scar at the station. At the corner of our block there's a wide, open field where we playfootball and hang out, and it's often a site for rumbles and fist fights. We were passing it,kicking rocks down the street and finishing our last bottle of Pepsi, when Steve noticedsomething lying on the ground.
He picked it up. It was Johnny's blue-jeans jacket theonly jacket he had. Suddenly he stopped and examined it more carefully. Therewas a stain the color of rust across the collar. He looked at the ground. There were somemore stains on the grass.
He looked up and across the field with a stricken expression onhis face. I think we all heard the low moan and saw the dark motionless hump on theother side of the lot at the same time. Soda reached him first.
Johnny was lying face downon the ground. Soda turned him over gently, and I nearly got sick.
Someone had beatenhim badly. We were used to seeing Johnny banged up his father clobbered him around alot, and although it made us madder than heck, we couldn't do anything about it. Butthose beatings had been nothing like this. Johnny's face was cut up and bruised andswollen, and there was a wide gash from his temple to his cheekbone.
He would carrythat scar all his life.
His white T-shirt was splattered with blood. I just stood there,trembling with sudden cold.