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- Peck's Bad Boy With the Cowboys - 18/18 -

and a still small voice, saying, "Well, I'll be condemned," he looked up and saw the red face of the old groceryman peeking in the back door.

[Illustration: When the Fireworks Went Off in the Grocery.]

"Come in, Alexandroviski, and rub some of this sweet oil on your countenance, and put some kerosene on your head, where the hair was. Gee! but you are a sight! Don't you go out anywhere and let a horse see you, or he will run away."

"Have all the forts and warships come down yet?" said the old man, looking up toward the ceiling, holding up his elbow to ward off any possible descending barrel or stove lid. "I now realize the truth of General Sherman's remark that war is hell. Gosh! how it smarts where the skin is burnt off.

"Give me some of that salad oil," and the old man sopped the oil on his face and head, and the boy rubbed his lips and ears, and they looked at each other and tried to smile, two cracked, and wrinkled and scorched smiles, across the counter at each other. "Now, you little Japanese monkey, I hope you are satisfied, after you have wrecked my store, and fitted me for the hospital, and I want you to get out of here, and never come back. By ginger, I know when I have got enough war. They can settle that affair at Mukden, or Holoyahoo, or any old place. I wash my hands of the whole business. Git, you Spitz. What did you pour so much powder around the floor for? All I wanted was a little innocent illustration of the horrors of war, not an explosion."

"Th--at's what I wanted, too," said the boy, as he looked up on the top shelf at the cat, that was licking herself where the hair used to be. "How did I know that powder would burn so quick? Say, you are unreasonable. Do you think I will go off and leave you to die here under the counter of bloodpoisoning, like a dog that has eaten a loaded sausage? Never! I am going to nurse you through this thing, and bring you out as good as new. I know how you feel towards me. Dad felt the same way towards me, down in Florida, the time he got skun. You old people don't seem to appreciate a boy that tries to teach you useful nollig."

"What about your dad getting skun in Florida? I never heard about it," said the old groceryman, as he took a hand mirror and looked at his burned face.

"Why, that was when we first got down there," said the boy, looking at the old man and laughing. "Gee! but you would make a boy laugh if his lips were chapped. You look like a greased pig at a barbecue. Well, when we struck Florida, and dad got so he could assimilate high balls, and eat oranges off the trees, like a giraf, he said he wanted to go fishing, and get tanned up, so we hired a boat and I rowed while dad fished, I ask him why he didn't try that new prescription to raise hair on his bald head that I read of in a magazine, to go bareheaded in the sun. He ask me if anybody ever raised any hair on a bald head that way, and I told him about Mr, Rockefeller, who had only one hair on his head, and he played golf bareheaded and in two weeks had to have his hair cut with a lawn mower, 'cause it made his brain ache. Dad said if Rockefeller could raise hair by the sunshine method he could, and he threw his straw hat overboard, and began to fish in the sun for fish and hair. Well, you'd a dide to see dad's head after the blisters began to raise. First, he thought the blisters was hair, but when we got back to the hotel and he looked in a glass, he see it wasn't hair worth a cent. His head and face looked like one of these hippopotamuses, and dad was mad. If I could have got dad in a side show I could have made a barrel of money, but he won't never make a show of his self, not even to make money, he is so proud. There is more proud flesh on dad than there is on any man I ever nursed. Well, dad ask me what was good for blisters, and I told him lime juice was the best thing, so he sent me to get some limes. They are a little sour thing, like a lemon, and I told him to cut one in two and soak the juice on his head and face, and I went to supper, 'cause dad looked so disreputable he wouldn't go to the dining room. When I bought the limes the man gave me a green persimmon, and of course dad got the persimmon instead of the lime, and when I came back to our room after supper dad was in bed, yelling for a doctor. Say, you know how a persimmon puckers your mouth up when you eat it? Well, dad had just sopped himself with persimmon juice, and his head was puckered up like the hide of an elephant, and his face and cheeks were drawn around sideways, and wrinkled so I was scart. I gave him a mirror to look at his self, and when he got one look he said: 'Hennery, it is all over with your dad, you might just as well call in a lawyer to take my measure for a will, and an undertaker to fill me with stuff so I will keep till they get me home by express, with handles on. What was that you called that fruit I sopped my head with?' and he groaned like he was at a revival. Well, I told him he had used the persimmon instead of the lime juice I told him to, and that I would cure him, so I got a cake of dog soap and laundered dad, and put on stuff to take the swelling out, and the next day he began to notice things, it would have been all right only a chambermaid told somebody the mean old man with the pretty boy in 471 had the smallpox, and that settled it. You know in a hotel they are offal sensitive about smallpox, 'cause all the boarders will leave if a man has a pimple on his self, so they made dad and I go into quarantine in a hen house for a week, and dad said it was all my fault trying to get him to raise hair like Rockefeller. Well, I must go home and explain to ma how I lost my hair and eye-winkers. If I was in your place I would take a little tar and put it on where your hair was before the explosion," and the bad boy went out, leaving the old groceryman drawing some tar out of the barrel, on to a piece of brown paper, and dabbling it on his head with his finger.

[Illustration: "Dad Said If Rockefeller Could Raise Hair by the Sunshine Method, He Could."]


Peck's Bad Boy With the Cowboys - 18/18

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