“Yes, father....” The boy hesitated a moment, and dug his toes—and flung out his hands in quick gesture. “I see you!” he said. “You go in massheen!”
Achilles’s glance flashed and grew to a deep, still smile. “You see that machine? You see me drive him? I make that machine go!” His chest expanded and he moved a few free steps and paused.
The boy’s eyes rested on him proudly. Around them—out in the grimy street—the world hurried and scuffled and honked; and in the little back shop the father and the boy faced each other, a strange, new, proud joy around them. “I drive that machine,” said Achilles softly.
AND STARTS OFF
Achilles came to the door of the shop and looked out. A car had driven up to the sidewalk—a rough, racing machine with open sides and big wheels—and the driver, a big man in a white cap and rough linen suit, was beckoning to him with his hand. Achilles stepped across the walk, and stood by the machine with quiet, waiting face.
The man looked him over, a little as if he owned him—“I want some fruit,” he said quickly, “—oranges—grapes—anything—?” His glance ran to the fruit on the stall. “Get me something quick—and don’t be all day—” His hand was fumbling for change.
“I get you best oranges,” said Achilles. He snapped open a paper bag and turned to the heaped-up fruit. Then his eye paused—a boy was breaking through the crowd—hatless, breathless—and calling him with swift gesture.
Achilles sprang forward. “What is it, Alcie?” His eye was searching the crowd, and his hand dropped to the boy’s shoulder.
“There they are!” gasped the boy. “There!”
Achilles’s eye gleamed—down the street, a little way off, a car was wheeling out from the curb—gathering speed.
Achilles’s eyes flashed on it... and swept the crowd—and came back.
The man in the white cap by the curb was swearing softly. He leaped with two steps, from the panting car to the stall and began gathering up oranges. “Here—” he said. Then he wheeled—and saw the Greek fruit-dealer flashing off in a car—his car. “Here—you!” he shouted.
But Achilles gave no heed—and the boy, urging him on from behind, turned with swift smile—“He take your car—” he said, “he need that car!”
But the white-capped man pounced upon him and shook him by the shoulder—watching his car that was threading fast in the crowded traffic. He dropped the boy, and his hand reached up, signalling wildly for police—a city service car sprang from the ground, it seemed. The white-capped man leaped in and they were off—honking the crowd... heavy drays moved from before them with slow, eternal wheel—the white cap swore softly and leaned forward and urged... and the dark, Greek head bobbed far ahead—along in the crowd—the big, grey racer gathering speed