Susan tossed a newspaper onto the Clarks’ front porch. As she started to walk to the Arnolds’, she heard an odd squishing noise and quickly turned around. Her little brother, Harold, was standing in the Clarks’ flower bed. Harold’s yellow boots were deep in the mud.
“I’m stuck!” he cried plaintively.
Susan set down her newspaper bag, put her arms around Harold’s middle, and pulled hard. Squoosh! The yellow boots rose from the mud. Harold and Susan fell backward.
When Susan stood up, she scraped the mud off her pants. “What are you doing here?” she asked.
Harold picked up the newspaper bag, but it was too heavy. Newspapers spilled into the mud. “I wanted to help you,” he mumbled.
“You’re too little to help. Go home,” ordered Susan.
“Let me walk with you, please,” Harold pleaded.
“You’re too slow.”
“I want to come! I can hurry.” Harold stomped his feet. Mud spattered off his boots and landed on Susan’s jacket.
“Go home!” roared Susan. She bent to pick up the muddy papers. When she stood up, Harold was gone.
At dinner that night Harold said nothing and ate very little. He went to bed early. Susan wanted to play checkers, but she had no one to play with. Dad was shining his shoes, Mother was doing the dishes, and Harold was in bed.
Susan sighed. Teaching Harold to play checkers last summer had been fun. She had enjoyed showing him how to rake the autumn leaves too. And they had had a great time last winter building his first snow fort. Now it was spring, and Susan decided that since she had nothing to do, she would think of something new to teach Harold. A few minutes later Susan had an idea and raced into the kitchen to tell her parents about it.
“What a fine idea!” exclaimed Mother.
Dad patted her shoulder and said, “Good luck, Susan.”
At breakfast the next morning, Susan said, “Harold, I’m sorry for yelling at you yesterday. Meet me here after school. I have a surprise for you.”
As soon as Harold got home that afternoon, he asked, “Where’s the surprise?”
“Come with me,” Susan answered. “I’ll show you.”
They walked to the Clarks’. Susan handed Harold a newspaper and said, “Put this on the Clarks’ porch.”
“OK,” Harold replied. He carefully put the newspaper inside the screen door.
Susan smiled at him.
They walked to three more houses. At each house Susan gave her brother a newspaper to deliver.
“This is fun,” said Harold.
Susan grinned and asked, “Do you want a job?”
Harold looked at Susan. “A job? Me? What kind of job?”
Susan gave Harold another newspaper. “This kind of job.”
Harold’s mouth fell open. “You mean your job?”
“Well, part of it. You can bring newspapers to these five houses every day. These houses are close to our house. Do you want to do it?”
Harold clapped his hands and shouted, “Yes!”
“Good,” said Susan. “Tomorrow I’ll teach you how to fold the newspapers. I’ll teach you other things too. I’ll show you how to put the papers in little plastic bags on wet days.”
“I can learn to do those things,” Harold assured his sister.
“There’s one more important thing to remember,” Susan told him.
“Stay out of the mud!”
They laughed together; then Harold raced home to tell his parents about his new job.