THE GREEN, PLASTIC PICKLE PIN

     Wayne Jarrett strolled into Joey's homeroom, one morning, before the start of class.  He tossed a tiny, green, plastic pin in the shape of a pickle on Joey's desk.  The word Heinz was stamped on the pin.

     "Put it on," commanded Wayne.  Joey obediently attached the pin to his sweater.

     "Now, that is your pin," Wayne told Joey.  "Me and Butch and all of your friends want to see you wear that pin every day.  If I ever catch you without that pin---just once---I'll kill you."

     Joey wore that pin all day in school and on the bus ride home.  He waited until he was halfway up the hill, toward his house.  Then he stopped and looked in every direction to make sure that Wayne or Butch, or any of their friends, weren't watching him from behind a house or a tree, or a bush, somewhere.  Joey ripped the pin from his sweater and hurled it to the sidewalk.  He stomped on the pin with the heel of his shoe, again and again, and again, until there was nothing left, except a dozen or so, minute, saw-toothed shards of splintered, green plastic.

     The next morning, Wayne noticed almost immediately that the pin was missing.  "What happened to that pin I gave you yesterday?" he demanded.

     "I---I guess I must have lost it," Joey said and cringed.

     Wayne grinned.  "That's all right, Picks.  Don't worry about it.  I'll make sure you get another one."

     Fortunately for Joey, Wayne never found another green, plastic pickle pin.

The End

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