“Give us a hunk of candy, will yer?”
As luck would have it, this random shot, fired at every strange boy from the upper world, hit the mark, to his unspeakable astonishment. Pulling out of his pocket a licorice jaw-breaker of vast dimensions, Pee-wee sent it shooting in a bee-line at the face of the stranger.
Never before in all his checkered history had Keekie Joe ever received any edible of any character whatever in response to his menacing demands. He had always assumed that boys who were well dressed had fruit or candy in their pockets. He had sometimes required them to verify their denials by an exhibition of the interior of these receptacles. His invariable demand had become a habit with him. Therefore the little sugared black brick which now hit him in the eye came as an unprecedented surprise. For a moment he did not know whether to construe it as a propitiatory gift or a warlike missile.
“What’s the matter with you, can’t you catch?” Pee-wee demanded.
It required but a few seconds for Keekie Joe to decide to run true to form. The situation was an unusual one, the missile was a delicious morsel, and was nothing more nor less than what he had demanded. But still it had been thrown at him and Keekie Joe elected to consider it as a shot fired by the enemy.
“Whatcher chuckin’ things at me fer?” he demanded, descending from the fence and approaching Pee-wee with a terrible look of menace. He had been careful, however, to pick the jawbreaker up and put it in his mouth.
“Didn’t you say you wanted one?” Pee-wee asked. “Didn’t you just put it in your mouth?”
“Never you mind wot I done,” said Keekie Joe. “D’yer think yer cin sass me?”
“I’ll show you how to catch if you’ll say you’ll be a scout,” Pee-wee answered. There could be no better illustration of his desperation as a scout missionary than this artless proposition to the sentinel of Barrel Alley.
“Who can’t catch?” Keekie Joe demanded.
“Yer dasn’ say it again.”
“You can’t catch, you can’t catch, you can’t catch,” said Pee-wee.
There seemed nothing left now but to break off diplomatic relations altogether. The issue was clear. But Keekie Joe did not plunge his outlandish person into war.
“If I didn’ have ter lay keekie I’d slam yer one,” he announced.