A real boy

Tony wanted to have a guinea pig.

His father brought him a leather ball. “I bought you a real leather football. Go and play football! In beautiful weather like this a real boy must be out in the open and play football!”

But Tony was afraid of the football. In the evening he came home crying and with a bleeding nose.

“What happened?” said his father.

“The ball hit my nose and then the big boys played who could kick the ball over the fence and the ball got caught in a tree and they all left!”

“You’ll never be a real boy!” said father.

“I want a guinea pig!” said Tony.

Father brought a skateboard for Tony. “Go and play with this skateboard” he said. “Nowadays all the boys play with skateboards. They do all sorts of tricks, some are real acrobats. They do tailslides and railslides and ollies and nollies and whatnot. Me, at my time, I never had such a great plaything.”

But Tony was afraid of the skateboard.

In the evening he came home limping and dragging the skateboard behind him.

“What happened?” said his father.

“I rode into a woman with a shopping bag and the eggs are broken and then I fell down the stairs near the market because I don’t know how to brake.”

“And the skateboard?”

“One wheel jams and the others are bent.”

“You’ll never be a real boy!” said father.

“I want a guinea pig!” said Tony.

Father brought a boomerang for Tony. “Go and throw the boomerang” he said, “so your biceps will grow! When we were boys, we always dreamed of having a boomerang. In weather like this a real boy is out to play red Indians or native tribes or some such thing!”

But Tony was afraid of the boomerang. In the evening he came home and silently put away the boomerang.

“Was it fun?” said father.

“Yes”, said Tony.

“Nothing happened?” said father?

“No”, said Tony.

“You didn’t even throw, right?”

“No”, said Tony.

“You’ll never be a real boy!” sighed father. “A real boy will at least break a window.”

“I want a guinea pig!” said Tony.

Father brought a guinea pig for Tony. “I have bought you a guinea pig”, he said, “you will never be a real boy. Und who is no real boy will never be a real man! Well, late I will give you a bicycle and dumbbells and things. Maybe you will be a real boy later on after all!”

And Tony took his guinea pig in his lap, fed it some salad and said: “You will have to ride the bicycle and work out with dumbbells, or you will never be a real guinea pig!”

At that the guinea pig bit him in the nose and ran away.

“It’s not true, I’m only joking!” Tony called. “I will give you salad and you can crawl under my shirt and lie close to my belly!”

But he had to stroke and tickle the guinea pig for hours and let it lie under his shirt close to his belly until he convinced it that he really did not want it to be a real guinea pig.

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