Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
Buttered Side Down Edna Ferber

Where The Car Turns At 18th

Page 1 of 8

Table Of Contents: Buttered Side Down

Next Page

Previous Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

This will be a homing pigeon story. Though I send it ever so far--though its destination be the office of a home-and-fireside magazine or one of the kind with a French story in the back, it will return to me. After each flight its feathers will be a little more rumpled, its wings more weary, its course more wavering, until, battered, spent, broken, it will flutter to rest in the waste basket.

And yet, though its message may never be delivered, it must be sent, because--well, because----

You know where the car turns at Eighteenth? There you see a glaringly attractive billboard poster. It depicts groups of smiling, white-clad men standing on tropical shores, with waving palms overhead, and a glimpse of blue sea in the distance. The wording beneath the picture runs something like this:

"Young men wanted. An unusual opportunity for travel, education, and advancement. Good pay. No expenses."

When the car turns at Eighteenth, and I see that, I remember Eddie Houghton back home. And when I remember Eddie Houghton I see red.

The day after Eddie Houghton finished high school he went to work. In our town we don't take a job. We accept a position. Our paper had it that "Edwin Houghton had accepted a position as clerk and assistant chemist at the Kunz drugstore, where he would take up his new duties Monday."

His new duties seemed, at first, to consist of opening the store in the morning, sweeping out, and whizzing about town on a bicycle with an unnecessarily insistent bell, delivering prescriptions which had been telephoned for. But by the time the summer had really set in Eddie was installed back of the soda fountain.

We have hundreds more books for your enjoyment. Read them all!

There never was anything better looking than Eddie Houghton in his white duck coat. He was one of those misleadingly gold and pink and white men. I say misleadingly because you usually associate pink-and-whiteness with such words as sissy and mollycoddle. Eddie was neither. He had played quarter-back every year from his freshman year, and he could putt the shot and cut classes with the best of 'em. But in that white duck coat with the braiding and frogs he had any musical-comedy, white-flannel tenor lieutenant whose duty it is to march down to the edge of the footlights, snatch out his sword, and warble about his country's flag, looking like a flat-nosed, blue-gummed Igorrote. Kunz's soda water receipts swelled to double their usual size, and the girls' complexions were something awful that summer. I've known Nellie Donovan to take as many as three ice cream sodas and two phosphates a day when Eddie was mixing. He had a way of throwing in a good-natured smile, and an easy flow of conversation with every drink. While indulging in a little airy persiflage the girls had a great little trick of pursing their mouths into rosebud shapes over their soda straws, and casting their eyes upward at Eddie. They all knew the trick, and its value, so that at night Eddie's dreams were haunted by whole rows of rosily pursed lips, and seas of upturned, adoring eyes. Of course we all noticed that on those rare occasions when Josie Morehouse came into Kunz's her glass was heaped higher with ice cream than that of any of the other girls, and that Eddie's usually easy flow of talk was interspersed with certain stammerings and stutterings. But Josie didn't come in often. She had a lot of dignity for a girl of eighteen. Besides, she was taking the teachers' examinations that summer, when the other girls were playing tennis and drinking sodas.

Page 1 of 8 Previous Chapter   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
Buttered Side Down
Edna Ferber

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004