Unformatted text preview: home in disgust,
leaving the ball twitching on the cold, blistered road. Liesel and Rudy remained stooped over the carcass. There
was a gaping hole on its side like a mouth.
“You want it?” Liesel asked.
Rudy shrugged. “What do I want with this squashed shit heap of a ball? There’s no chance of getting air into it
now, is there?” “Do you want it or not?”
“No thanks.” Rudy prodded it cautiously with his foot, as if it were a dead animal. Or an animal that might be
As he walked home, Liesel picked the ball up and placed it under her arm. She could hear him call out, “Hey,
Saumensch.” She waited. “Saumensch!”
She relented. “What?”
“I’ve got a bike without wheels here, too, if you want it.”
“Stick your bike.”
From her position on the street, the last thing she heard was the laughter of that Saukerl, Rudy Steiner.
Inside, she made her way to the bedroom. She took the ball in to Max and placed it at the end of the bed.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “it’s not much. But when you wake up, I’ll tell you all about it. I’ll tell you it was the
grayest afternoon you can imagine, and this car without its lights on ran straight over the ball. Then the man got
out and yelled at us. And then he asked for directions. The nerve of him . . .”
Wake up! she wanted to scream.
Or shake him.
All Liesel could do was watch the ball and its trampled, flaking skin. It was the first gift of many.
One ribbon, one pinecone.
One button, one stone.
The soccer ball had given her an idea.
Whenever she walked to and from school now, Liesel was on the lookout for discarded items that might be
valuable to a dying man. She wondered at first why it mattered so much. How could something so seemingly
insignificant give comfort to someone? A ribbon in a gutter. A pinecone on the street. A button leaning casually
against a classroom wall. A flat round stone from the river. If nothing else, it showed that she cared, and it
might give them something to talk about when...
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This note was uploaded on 01/17/2014 for the course ENG 99 taught by Professor Michal during the Winter '13 term at CSU Sacramento.
- Winter '13