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JEAN SHEPHERD Kid Stories–Worms 3

(“Worms go into mass production.”)

 

 

So, about Tuesday of the following week, the old man has gone fishing, he came home mad as he always did, smelling of beer, his hand had a cut.  Every week he’d go out and get cut.  I’m walking around in the house, the old man comes home from work.  “Hey,“ he says, “Jean, do you think you could get some worms for Zudak?  I met Zudak in the office and he said he’d like to go fishing.  He’s going up to Wisconsin and he’d like to know if you could get some worms for him.”

That’s a new thing—worms for Zudak.  Up to this point it had been worms for the old man.

So I said, “Well,…ah, yeah.”

My old man said, “Don’t worry, he’ll pay for the worms.  He’ll give you a quarter for the worms.”

I said okay, by George!  I rushed out to the back porch, got my shovel out and a couple of cans.  Not realizing what a can of worms I’m opening by doing this.  So, shoveling away in the vacant lot, within an hour or so I got myself a can of worms which, the next day, the old man takes into the office, and that night, now I’ve got two quarters.  This is beginning to look pretty good, just out there shoveling worms.

With no warning at all it began to build.  By Friday the old man has come home and he says, “Hey, Gertz wants to know whether you can get him some worms.  He’s going fishing down at Ash Lake.”

“Oh really?  How many does he want?

“A regular can full of worms.  Just get him some worms.”

“Okay, he’s going to pay me?”

“Yeah, sure.”

So I dug some worms.  Fifty cents from total strangers in one week, and a quarter from the old man.  I had made more money in a few days, just messing around with worms, than I did on my paper route in a week.  This was really great.  I’m walking around with my pockets full of dough—nothing but worms!

It was now June and I’m out of school so the old man one day pops up with this one.  He says, “Listen, why don’t you dig up some worms?  Just dig them up and put them down in the basement.  And keep them down there, and when Zudak or Heine or any of them guys want to go fishing, you can just go down to the basement and get the worms.”

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