“Geez, Lenny, is that all you got?” Joe looked at the handful of change and shook his head. “There’s no way he’ll do it for that!” Lenny looked down at his money and knew Joe was disappointed. That’s all he had in his piggy bank. His mom was going to be mad when she found out he had broken it.
“I know, Joe, but it’s all I have.” The two ten year old boys sat down on the bench outside of the five and dime and tried to think of how else they could get money in such a short time. Neither boy had a job, so they had to be resourceful.
“I’ve got it! Let’s go behind the butcher shop. Sometimes you can find bottles there.” The two were suddenly rejuvenated at the prospect of finding some redeemable items and hurried down the alley. “Cool!”
Indeed, behind the butcher shop where the employees took their breaks, the scavengers found three Coke bottles and two empty St Paulie Girl beer cans. Excitedly, they went further down the alleyway to find last night’s pizza parlor items hadn’t been cleared out yet, and retrieved as much as they could hold. After counting up their treasure, including Lenny’s piggy bank stash,b they had accumulated nearly five dollars. “Wow!” exclaimed Lenny, ” you think this is enough?”
Joe looked skeptical, but didn’t want to act disappointed in front of his best friend. He and Lenny and their families had been friends it seemed like forever. Lenny’s older sister was the reason for this venture. The school dance was coming up and Lily was not invited yet. Being Lenny’s big sister at age thirteen, she had her heart set on being asked by “smooth Sam”. That’s what all the girls called him. He was an older man of fourteen, slick-backed black hair, blue eyes, and the envy of all the other “still in the awkward stage” boys his age. He sported a white t-shirt, bluejeans, and black Converse high tops, the epitome of every girl’s dream.
The boys decided they were going to make her dream come true by pleading with Sam to ask Lily to the dance. The money was in case he said no. They loved Lily. She was the kind of big sister everyone wants. When she was babysitting, she let the boys watch horror movies on TV, popped popcorn and even let them make root beer floats. They even got to stay up an hour later than mom said. They wanted to do something nice for her, too, so Lenny came up with the plan.
The next day was the day of the dance. Nearly desperate, the boys decided to confront Sam outside before school. Lily had gone in early so they knew they wouldn’t be discovered asking Sam. They were nervous thinking of the meeting. They didn’t even know if he’d stop when they asked to speak to him. After all he was an eighth grader and they were just fourth graders. The unwritten rule is that older kids are off limits on the playground.
Getting more nervous by the minute, and knowing the bell was going to ring at any time, they were suddenly relieved to see Sam coming up the walk with his friends. Lenny knew it was now or never, and stepped out into Sam’s way. “Sam?”
Sam was a good kid, and answered, “what’s up, little buddy?”
Lenny motioned for Sam to come near to him and Joe. Joe was so nervous he was speechless. Lenny persevered and stuttered his request. Sam just smiled. He would have laughed out loud, but he wasn’t that type of guy. He had been ten once. Listening, his smile widened. “Sure, I can do that. I think she’s pretty cute anyway.”
Lenny was so relieved he almost passed out. Joe was still in shock. They had just talked to the coolest guy in eighth grade and he WAS cool.
That evening, Lily was extremely excited to be going to the dance. Her dad was waiting patiently as his wife put the finishing touches on Lily’s hair. “Mom, I just can’t believe he asked me today! I didn’t think anyone was going to ask me. But, mom, Sam, all the girls think he’s dreamy!”
Lenny just smiled and said nothing. He was very pleased with himself. He wanted her to be happy and she was. Lenny’s dad pulled the car around and as Lily got into the front seat she winked and smiled at Lenny. Success, he thought to himself. He ran next door to tell Joe their plan worked. Now the rest was up to Sam.
As Lenny got ready for bed, he noticed his jean pocket was full of coins. He and Joe had forgotten to give Sam the money. They had also forgotten to offer it to him. Wow, he thought, Sam really was a nice guy.