Chapter 35

Copyright© 2015 by Bill Offutt

"There's a phone message for you, Mr. Williams." The secretary handed Bud a square piece of pink paper. He frowned at it and put it in his pocket.

Since it was raining, there was no baseball practice so Bud called Mrs. Martin from the phone in his basement office at the end of the school day.

"Have you seen David recently?" she asked after the usual pleasantries.

"Yes, I see him every day in class, but he didn't come out for baseball."

"And have you noticed any changes?" she said.

"No, I don't think so," Bud said, trying to recall.

"Well I have, and we want to thank you. I'm surprised he hasn't talked to you about it."

"I'm not. Boys his age, you know."

'Well let me tell you. You were right about his glands. Now he's getting a shot every month, a male hormone. I've forgotten its name. He has pills to take called steroids. And he grew an inch last month, a whole inch."

'Boys often have growth spurts, you know," Bud said.

"The doctors did tests, several tests, and then the shots started. They say that by this time next year, we should see a real difference."

"I'm glad to hear that," Bud said.

"I don't know how to thank you."

"No need," said Bud, feeling a bit impatient, thinking of all the work on his desk.

"Can you come to dinner? The least I can do is cook you a meal. David said you lived alone."

"Thank you, that would be very nice," Bud said. "I'm certainly tired of my own cooking and the Hot Shoppe's meatloaf."

"Do you have any favorites?" asked he boys' mother.

"No, not really. I eat pretty near anything, oh, except liver I guess."

"We'll have a steak then," she said. "Sunday afternoon all right?"

"Yes, fine," he said.

"See you around two. We'll look forward to it, goodbye."

"Yes, goodbye," Bud said and cradled the phone. He leaned back in his chair and tried to visualize David. The boy had stayed on the basketball team, endured a good bit of ribbing, and learned to be a decent guard and excellent passer. But he did not stand out in the classroom, and Bud had certainly not noted any physical changes. All the boys were in various stages of adolescence, and they all were changing, most growing out of their awkwardness but some just growing unevenly. He wondered how David knew he lived alone but assumed there was some talk about all the teachers.

David cleared the table and fetched apple pie and ice cream after the dinner that Sunday. Bud enjoyed the dessert and said so.

"It's from the bakery," said Mrs. Martin. "I make terrible pies. I've tried several times. David's father convinced me that I should stick to cakes.

"She makes great cakes," David said with a smile as he scraped up the last of his ice cream. "May I be excused?"

His mother nodded, and the boy used his napkin, pushed back his chair and went up the stairs.

"I think he has a girl friend," said Mrs. Martin. "There's a phone up there."

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