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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Grocery Man And Peck's Bad Boy - Chapter 2
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The Grocery Man And Peck's Bad Boy - Chapter 2 Post by :robdawg Category :Long Stories Author :George W. Peck Date :May 2012 Read :2112

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The Grocery Man And Peck's Bad Boy - Chapter 2

CHAPTER II

HIS PA PLAYS JOKES--A MAN SHOULDN'T GET MAD AT A JOKE--THE MAGIC BOUQUET--THE GROCERY MAN TAKES A TURN--HIS PA TRIES THE BOUQUET AT CHURCH--ONE FOR THE OLD MAID--A FIGHT ENSUES-- THE BAD BOY THREATENS THE GROCERY MAN--A COMPROMISE.

"Say, do you think a little practical joke does any hurt," asked the bad boy of the grocery man, as he came in with his Sunday suit on, and a bouquet in his button-hole, and pried off a couple of figs from a new box that had been just opened.

"No sir," said the groceryman, as he licked off the syrup that dripped from a quart measure, from which he had been filling a jug. "I hold that a man who gets mad at a practical joke, that is, one that does not injure him, is a fool, and he ought to be shunned by all decent people. That's a nice bouquet you have in your coat. What is it, pansies? Let me smell of it," and the grocery man bent over in front of the boy to take a whiff at the bouquet. As he did so a stream of water shot out of the innocent looking bouquet and struck him full in the face, and run down over his shirt, and the grocery man yelled murder, and fell over a barrel of axe helves and scythe snaths, and then groped around for a towel to wipe his face.

"You condemn skunk," said the grocery man to the boy, as he took up an axe-helve and started for him, "what kind of a golblasted squirt gun have you got there. I will maul you, by thunder," and he rolled up his shirt sleeves.

"There, keep your temper. I took a test vote of you on the subject of practical jokes, before the machine began to play upon the conflagration that was raging on your whiskey nose, and you said a man that would get mad at a joke was a fool, and now I know it. Here, let me show it to you. There is a rubber hose runs from the bouquet, inside my coat to my pants pocket, and there is a bulb of rubber, that holds about half a pint, and when a feller smells of the posey, I squeeze the bulb, and you see the result. It's fun, where you don't squirt it on a person that gets mad."

The grocery man said he would give the boy half a pound of figs if he would lend the bouquet to him for half an hour, to play it on a customer, and the boy fixed it on the grocery man, and turned the nozzle so it would squirt right back into the grocery man's face. He tried it on the first customer that come in, and got it right in his own face, and then the bulb in his pants pocket got to leaking, and the rest of the water ran down the grocery man's trouser's leg, and he gave it up in disgust, and handed it back to the boy.

"How was it your Pa had to be carried home from the sociable in a hack the other night?" asked the grocery man, as he stood close to the stove so his pants leg would dry. "He has not got to drinking again, has he?"

"O, no," said the boy, as he filled the bulb with vinegar, to practice on his chum, "It was this bouquet that got Pa into the trouble. You see I got Pa to smell of it, and I just filled him chuck full of water. He got mad and called me all kinds of names, and said I was no good on earth, and I would fetch up in state's prison, and then he wanted to borrow it to wear to the sociable. He said he would have more fun than you could shake a stick at, and I asked him if he didn't think he would fetch up in state's prison, and he said it was different with a man. He said when a man played a joke there was a certain dignity about it that was lacking in a boy. So I lent it to him, and we all went to the sociable in the basement of the church. I never see Pa more kitteny than he was that night. He filled the bulb with ice water, and the first one he got to smell of his button-hole bouquet was an old maid who thinks Pa is a heathen, but she likes to be made something of by anybody that wears pants, and when Pa sidled up to her and began talking about what a great work the christian wimmen of the land were doing in educating the heathen, she felt real good, and then she noticed Pa's posey in his button-hole and she touched it, and then she reached over her beak to smell of it. Pa he squeezed the bulb, and about half a teacupful of water struck her right in the nose, and some went into her strangle place, and _O, my_, didn't she yell."

(Illustration: One for the old maid 022)

"The sisters gathered around her, and they said her face was all covered with perspiration, and the paint was coming off, and they took her in the kitchen, and she told them Pa had slapped her with a dish of ice cream, and the wimmin told the minister and the deacons, and they went to Pa for a nexplanation, and Pa told them it was not so, and the minister got interested and got near Pa, and Pa let the water go at him, and hit him on the eye, and then a deacon got a dose, and Pa laughed; and then the minister who used to go to college, and be a hazer, and box, he got mad and squared off and hit Pa three times right by the eye, and one of the deacons kicked Pa, and Pa got mad and said he could clean out the whole shebang, and began to pull off his coat, when they bundled him out doors, and Ma got mad to see Pa abused, and she left the sociable, and I had to stay and eat ice cream and things for the whole family. Pa says that settles it with him. He says they haven't got any more christian charity in that church than they have in a tannery. His eyes are just getting over being black from the sparring lessons, and now he has got to go through oysters and beef-steak cure again. He says it is all owing to me."

"Well, what has all this got to do with your putting up signs in front of my store, 'Rotten Eggs,' and 'Frowy Butter a specialty,' said the grocery man as he took the boy by the ear and pulled him around. You have got an idea you are smart, and I want you to keep away from here. The next time I catch you in here I shall call the police and have you pulled. Now git!"

The boy pulled his ear back on the side of his head where it belonged, took out a cigarette and lit it, and after puffing smoke in the face of the grocery cat that was sleeping on the cover to the sugar barrel he said:

"If I was a provision pirate that never sold anything but what was spoiled so it couldn't be sold in a first class store, who cheated in weights and measures, who bought only wormy figs and decayed cod-fish, who got his butter from a fat rendering establishment, his cider from a vinegar factory, and his sugar from a glucose factory, I would not insult the son of one of the finest families. Why, sir, I could go out on the corner, and when I saw customers coming here, I could tell a story that would turn their stomachs, and send them to the grocery on the next corner. Suppose I should tell them that the cat sleeps in the dried apple barrel, that the mice made nests in the prune box, and rats run riot through the raisins, and that you never wash your hands except on Decoration day and Christmas, that you wipe your nose on your shirt sleeves, and that you have the itch, do you think your business would be improved? Suppose I should tell the customers that you buy sour kraut of a wood-en-shoed Polacker, who makes it of pieces of cabbage that he gets by gathering swill, and sell that stuff to respectable people, could you pay your rent? If I should tell them that you put lozengers in the collection plate at church, and charge the minister forty cents a pound for oleomargarine, you would have to close up. Old man, I am onto you, and now you apologize for pulling my ear."

The grocery man turned pale during the recital, and finally said the bad boy was one of the best little fellows in this town, and the boy went out and hung up a sign in front:--

GIRL WANTED

TO COOK

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CHAPTER IIIHIS PA STABBED--THE GROCERY MAN SETS A TRAP IN VAIN--A BOOM IN LINIMENT--HIS PA GOES TO THE LANGTRY SHOW--THE BAD BOY TURNS BURGLAR--THE OLD MAN STABBED--HIS ACCOUNT OF THE FRAY-- A GOOD SINGLE HANDED LIAR. "I hear you had burglars over to your house last night," said the grocery man to the bad boy, as he came in and sat on the counter right over a little gimlet hole the grocery man had fixed a darning needle so that by pulling a string the needle would fly up through the hole and run into the boy about an inch.
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The Grocery Man And Peck's Bad Boy - Chapter 1 The Grocery Man And Peck's Bad Boy - Chapter 1

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CHAPTER IVARIEGATED DOGS--THE BAD BOY SLEEPS ON THE KOOP--A MAN DOESN'T KNOW EVERYTHING AT FORTY-EIGHT--THE OLD MAN WANTS SOME POLLYNURIOUS WATER--THE DYER'S DOGS--PROCESSION OP THE DOGS--PINK, BLUE, GREEN AND WHITE--"WELL I'M DEM'D--HIS PA DON'T APPRECIATE. "How do you and your Pa get along now," asked the grocery-man of the bad boy, as he leaned against the counter instead of sitting down on a stool while he bought a bottle of liniment. "O, I don't know. He don't seem to appreciate me. What he ought to have is a deaf and dumb boy, with only one leg, and both arms broke--then he
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