PECK’S BAD BOY AND HIS PA.
HIS PA GETS BOXED.
“You don’t want to buy a good parrot, do you?” said the bad boy to the grocery man as he put his wet mittens on the top of the stove to dry, and kept his back to the stove so he could watch the grocery man, and be prepared for a kick, if the man should remember the rotten egg sign that the boy put up in front of the grocery last week.
“Naw, I don’t want no parrot. I had rather have a fool boy around than a parrot. But what’s the matter with your Ma’s parrot? I thought she wouldn’t part with him for anything.”
“Well, she wouldn’t until Wednesday night, but now she says she will not have him around, and I may have half I can get for him. She told me to go to some saloon or some disreputable place and sell him, and I thought maybe he would about suit you,” and the boy broke into a bunch of celery, and took out a few tender stalks and rubbed them on a codfish to salt them, and began to bite the stalks, while he held the sole of one wet boot up against the stove to dry it, making a smell of burned leather that came near turning the stomach of the cigar sign.
“Look-a-here boy, don’t you call this a disreputable place. Some of the best people in this town come here,” said the grocery man as he held up the cheese knife and grated his teeth as though he would like to jab it into the youth.
“O, that’s all right, they come here ’cause you trust; but you make up what you lose by charging it to other people. Pa will make it hot for you the last of the week. He has been looking over your bill, and comparing it with the hired girl, and she says we haven’t ever had a prune, or a dried apple, or a raisin, or any cinnamon, or crackers and cheese out of your store, and he says you are worse than the James brothers, and that you used to be a three card monte man, and he will have you arrested for highway robbery, but you can settle that with Pa. I like you, because you are no ordinary sneak thief, you are a high-toned, gentlemanly sort of a bilk, and wouldn’t take anything you couldn’t lift. O, keep your seat, and don’t get excited. It does a man good to hear the truth from one who has got the nerve to tell it.