by Harmony Hodges

It was Saturday morning. Grandpa Dan was fixing two bowls of oatmeal.

"Grandpa, can I have some pennies?" asked Stanley as he combed his crew cut with his fingers.

"Well, let's see there son." said Grandpa Dan as he scratched his chin. "Seems to me like someone has a birthday coming up."

"Yes, but I would like some pennies today." said Stanley.

Stanley knew that Grandpa Dan didn't approve of him destroying pennies on the train track, he also didn't know the exhilarated feeling Stanley got by seeing a flattened molded piece of metal that he made happen.

"What would a certain brown haired ten year old boy like for his birthday - a spider man comic or are you leaning toward baseball cards this year?" asked Grandpa Dan with a twinkle in his eye.

There was a knock at the door. Grandpa Dan opened it and in came Harvey, Stanley's best friend. Harvey was a tiny framed boy with a red crew cut and lots of freckles.

"Morning everyone. It looks like a great day out there - it stopped raining..."

"Well then." said Grandpa Dan. He cut him off knowing how long winded Harvey could be.

Stanley gulped down his oatmeal. Milk dribbled onto his dingy, once white T-shirt as he drank down the milk from the bowl. The boys ran out the kitchen screen door. It was mended with duct tape. It made a smart slam against the door jambe.

"Bye Grandpa Dan." yelled Stanley.

"Did he give you any?" asked Harvey.

"Nope." said Stanley. "It's on account of my birthday coming up and all. I wish I would get a jar of pennies for my birthday."

"That would be swell!" said Harvey.

Their pace quickened. They walked down the gravel road and through Appleton's field before coming to the fence surrounding the abandoned train station - it was set for demolition to make way for a new and improved station. Still, trains passed through on the track. The boys had a secret place where they wouldn't be seen by passing train conductors.

"I hear one coming!" shrieked Harvey. "Hurry! Hurry!"

They had no pennies, but a train going by was enough to make their day. Harvey held the fence down as Stanley squeezed through the gap in the fence. He was in such a hurry that he ripped a huge tear in his Levi's. Harvey turned and fell over a mole hole, but there was no time to waste. They both gave their best 50 yard sprint to the building. They walked onto the platform and there, while still gasping for air, they looked up and saw none other than Dickie Hamburg and Rollo Kingston. The two high school boys were whooping and hollering as the train whizzed by. Their yells echoed and bounced against the glass windows and into Stanley's ears.

"They're smoking." said Harvey.

The train passed completely through. Rollo nudged Dickie and nodded toward the younger boys. Stanley noticed they were wearing brand new back-to school clothes.

"They're coming over here." squeaked Harvey. "What do we do?"

"Just be cool." said Stanley.

"Hey, if it isn't Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum." said Dickie. His blond hair was slicked back with too much grease and some had dripped on his temple.

"What's the matter, can't afford school clothes?" he said as he pointed to Stanley's Levi's.

Rollo laughed and pointed too.

"Here, maybe this will help," said Dickie. He threw a handful of pennies down by Stanley's feet.

Harvey's mouth opened wide and his eyes opened even wider. Dickie and Rollo turned to strut away. Dickie didn't miss a step as he unrolled the cigarettes from his white T-shirt sleeve and began to light another.

Harvey stepped forward to gather the pennies.

"No." said Stanley. "We don't need their stinking money."

"You want to just leave it there?" asked Harvey.

"Let's go." said Stanley.

They turned and began to walk back the way they came. Meanwhile Dickie and Rollo were at the far end of the platform. Dickie jumped down onto the tracks and pressed himself against the wall before attempting to run back and jump up onto the platform like a gazelle. Instead his foot caught the first rail track and he fell flat on his face.

"Ahhh!" he shrieked.

"Come on, I'll help you up." said Rollo as he offered his hand.

"I can't, I can't move. It hurts. Call an ambulance; I think I broke my leg. I'm serious!" said Dickie.

Stanley turned to see what the commotion was all about.

"Hey, come over here you guys." yelled Rollo.

Stanley began walking toward them. With each step the gears in his mind started rotating, functioning, grinding then self-lubricating. He looked down at Dickie.

"I can't lift him myself; come and help me." said Rollo.

Stanley looked at him cleverly.

"Don't just stand there!" said Dickie.

"The way I see it is you pay me for my service or you'll be a pancake for the vultures." said Stanley.

Harvey gulped.

"Are you kidding?" asked Dickie.

"A pancake with syrup...butter..."

"O.K. get my wallet." ordered Dickie. "Give him the twenty."

Rollo handed him the twenty. His hands were shaking. He kept looking down the track to see if a train was coming. All three of them lifted Dickie to the platform while Rollo went to get help. Stanley and Harvey ran off into town. They waited until they were inside Appleton's Drug Store to celebrate.

"Twenty dollars! Twenty dollars!" they said as they jumped up and down.

They sat down at the soda fountain counter and ordered two cheeseburgers and two swirly pops. They ate slowly and talked about the look on Dickie's face.

They went back to the train station and peeked around the corner. It was empty, silent. There was no smoke, no Dickie, no Rollo. Stanley felt the crisp nineteen dollars still in his pocket. All the pennies were still on the platform too.

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Writers Bio

I live in Portland Oregon. This picture reminded me of the Union Station here. I combined a 1950's small town scenario with it.

Inspirational ImagePlatform by Cath Bartonby Cath Barton

Pieces Inspired by this Image

'Exactly the Same'
by Ella Kennen

by Holly Schwartz-Coignat

'Times of Change'
by Meghan Feldman

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