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Buttered Side Down Edna Ferber

Where The Car Turns At 18th

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Eddie really hated the soda water end of the business, as every soda clerk in the world does. But he went about it good-naturedly. He really wanted to learn the drug business, but the boss knew he had a drawing card, and insisted that Eddie go right on concocting faerie queens and strawberry sundaes, and nectars and Kunz's specials. One Saturday, when he happened to have on hand an over-supply of bananas that would have spoiled over Sunday, he invented a mess and called it the Eddie Extra, and the girls swarmed on it like flies around a honey pot.

That kind of thing would have spoiled most boys. But Eddie had a sensible mother. On those nights when he used to come home nauseated with dealing out chop suey sundaes and orangeades, and saying that there was no future for a fellow in our dead little hole, his mother would give him something rather special for supper, and set him hoeing and watering the garden.

So Eddie stuck to his job, and waited, and all the time he was saying, with a melting look, to the last silly little girl who was drinking her third soda, "Somebody looks mighty sweet in pink to-day," or while he was doping to-morrow's ball game with one of the boys who dropped in for a cigar, he was thinking of bigger things, and longing for a man-size job.

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The man-size job loomed up before Eddie's dazzled eyes when he least expected it. It was at the close of a particularly hot day when it seemed to Eddie that every one in town had had everything from birch beer to peach ice cream. On his way home to supper he stopped at the postoffice with a handful of letters that old man Kunz had given him to mail. His mother had told him that they would have corn out of their own garden for supper that night, and Eddie was in something of a hurry. He and his mother were great pals.

In one corner of the dim little postoffice lobby a man was busily tacking up posters. The whitewashed walls bloomed with them. They were gay, attractive-looking posters, done in red and blue and green, and after Eddie had dumped his mail into the slot, and had called out, "Hello, Jake!" to the stamp clerk, whose back was turned to the window, he strolled idly over to where the man was putting the finishing touches to his work. The man was dressed in a sailor suit of blue, with a picturesque silk scarf knotted at his hairy chest. He went right on tacking posters.

They certainly were attractive pictures. Some showed groups of stalwart, immaculately clad young gods lolling indolently on tropical shores, with a splendor of palms overhead, and a sparkling blue sea in the distance. Others depicted a group of white-clad men wading knee-deep in the surf as they laughingly landed a cutter on the sandy beach. There was a particularly fascinating one showing two barefooted young chaps on a wave-swept raft engaged in that delightfully perilous task known as signaling. Another showed the keen-eyed gunners busy about the big guns.

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Buttered Side Down
Edna Ferber

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