“Goodbye Frankie,” Paulette said as the school bus pulled away. She turned to head home across the street but stopped. Looking at the back of Frankie’s head she called a little louder, “Is everything okay?”
Frankie just waved over his shoulder with his head hung low. Scrawny Ronnie’s comments at lunch about the money he was getting paid to collect worms put him in a bad mood. Mom didn’t get much more out of him as he walked in the door then stomped up the stairs to his bedroom. And that’s where he stayed until dad got home and called him down to go take his first batch of worms to Mr. Geddes.
It was like pulling teeth for Frankie’s father to get anything out of his son during the short drive into the village. But once they got to the bait shop, Frankie stood tall as he walked in the door holding two plastic boxes of worms. Never before had his dad seen him look so determined; a little man on a mission. For a moment he was so proud of his son. Then that kid showed his age. A very young boy with a lot to learn stood at the counter, confronting a man that had offered him an opportunity. Dad rolled his eyes but caught himself before saying out loud, “AW MAN!” Now this naive little boy was blowing it!
Looking the old man in the eye, Frankie didn’t hesitate, “Mr. Geddes, I believe that you have taken advantage of me.”
The owner of the bait shop set down the newspaper he was reading and glanced over his glasses at Frankie before turning his attention to the youngster’s father.
Frankie continued, “Just because I’m young doesn’t mean that you can pay me what turns out to be about a dollar an hour.”