That Boy!


Johnny Abbott marched down the sidewalk with his fists clenched and a scowl on his face.

“My goodness, Johnny!” Mr. Pierpoint, the grocer, exclaimed. “What are you so mad about?”

“I’m looking for somebody. I’m looking for that boy who always gets me into trouble,” Johnny replied.

Mr. Pierpoint nodded. “I think I know the one you mean. Isn’t he the boy who made you take an apple from my fruit stand last week?”

“That’s right,” Johnny said. “He got me into trouble at school again today too. I’m looking for him!”

“Well, I hope you find him,” Mr. Pierpoint called as Johnny hurried on.

Johnny was walking so fast that he almost ran right into Mrs. Wiggins as she was coming out of the bakery.

“Slow down, Johnny!” she told him. “Why are you in such a hurry?”

“I’m looking for somebody,” Johnny explained. “I’m looking for that boy who always gets me into trouble.”

Mrs. Wiggins thought for a moment and then she said, “I think I know the boy you’re talking about. Isn’t he the one who made you push over my trash barrel yesterday?”

“I’m afraid so,” Johnny answered. “And it was his fault that I had to stay after school too. I have to keep looking for him. Goodbye, Mrs. Wiggins.”

Susie Whitaker was playing with her dolls when Johnny walked by.

“Hello, Johnny,” she called. “You don’t look very happy today.”

“I’m not,” he told her. “I’m looking for that boy who always gets me into trouble. I’m mad at him!”

“Oh, I know who you mean,” Susie answered. “He’s the boy who made you tease my kitten and pull her tail.”

“That’s the one,” Johnny agreed. “He kept me from playing any games at school today too. I had to sit on the bench. I’m looking for him!”

“Keep looking!” Susie encouraged.

Johnny went faster. He almost tripped over Mr. Ramsey’s garden hose lying across the sidewalk.

“Sorry, Johnny,” Mr. Ramsey said. “Let me get this hose off the sidewalk before someone has an accident. What’s your hurry?”

“I’m looking for somebody. I’m looking for that boy who always gets me into trouble,” Johnny replied.

“Is he the same one who made you tie knots in my hose one day?” Mr. Ramsey asked.

Johnny nodded. “Yes, that’s the one! That’s why I’m looking for him. I’m tired of getting into trouble.”

“I don’t blame you,” Mr. Ramsey said.

Johnny’s mother was ironing when he walked into his house. “Why, Johnny, what’s wrong?” she asked.

“I’ve been looking for somebody and I haven’t found him,” Johnny replied.

“Who is it?” his mother questioned.

“That boy who always gets me into trouble,” Johnny explained.

“Oh, is he the boy who sometimes makes you leave your bed unmade and your clothes lying around your room and all that sort of thing?” Mother inquired.

“Yes,” Johnny answered. “And I’m looking for him.”

“And just what are you going to tell him when you find him?” his mother asked.

“I’m going to look him straight in the eye and tell him I’m tired of getting into trouble!” Johnny replied.

“Do you really want to find that boy?” Mother asked.

“Yes!” Johnny answered. “I really do!”

“Good,” she smiled. “He’s here right now. Come with me and you can talk to him.”

Johnny followed her into the bedroom. “Where is he?” he asked. “I don’t see him.”

“You will,” she promised. “Stand on this chair.”

Johnny climbed up on the chair that his mother had placed in front of her dresser mirror. He found himself face to face with a boy just his size, one with red hair, freckles, blue eyes, a missing tooth, blue pants, and a striped shirt.

It was the very boy he had been looking for!

“Now I’m going back to my ironing,” Mother said. “You may stay here and talk as long as you want.”

And that’s just what Johnny did. He told the boy how tired he was of getting into trouble.

“I don’t like you when you do that!” Johnny exclaimed. “And I’m not going to listen to your ideas anymore!”

Then Johnny jumped down from the chair, and the boy in the mirror suddenly disappeared.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Phyllis Luch