Burning Questions of Bingo Brown

Burning Questions of Bingo Brown by Betsy Byars

Book: Burning Questions of Bingo Brown by Betsy Byars Read Free Book Online
Authors: Betsy Byars
down the steps, heading right for him. Her face was purple.
    Bingo said, “I’ve got to go. I’ll call you later.”
    As he ran down the street, he was amazed at how casual he had become, at how easily he had come up with that. I’ll call you later.
    Am I a man at last?
    He glanced over his shoulder. Harriet was gaining on him. He ducked his head and ran for his life.

Calls for Bingo
    T HE PHONE RANG.
    “I’ll get that,” Bingo called cheerfully. “Hell-o!”
    He had started singing out the word. He loved the telephone. In some ways mixed-sex conversations were better by phone. You didn’t have to worry about your expressions.
    A voice said, “It’s me—Harriet.”
    Bingo fumbled the phone as if it had suddenly gotten too hot to handle.
    “Oh?”
    “I want you to do something for me.”
    “I’m not very good at doing things for people,” he reminded her.
    “You’re the only person that can do this.”
    “What is it?”
    “Go over to Billy Wentworth’s and tell him I don’t like him.”
    “I can’t do that. I—”
    “You’ve got to!”
    “Why me?”
    “Because you’re the one that told him I did like him.” She lowered her voice but unfortunately he could still hear her. “See, Bingo, I really do like him and the only way I can get him to like me is to make him think I don’t like him.”
    “Harriet, I’m sorry. My mom’s calling me to supper.”
    “It’s only four o’clock.”
    “We eat early.”
    Bingo hung up the phone and went into the living room. “If I get any more phone calls, I’m not here.”
    His mom said, “Oh?”
    “If I tried to tell you what had happened to my life, you would say it was my fault.”
    “No, I wouldn’t.”
    “Yes, you say I create crisis, and, Mom, I don’t create crisis, but I’m always standing right next to it. It’s like I’m living my life in the middle of all these little tornadoes and I get swept into them and it’s not my fault. I’m helpless.”
    “What’s happened now?”
    “Yesterday this girl—Harriet—was spying on the Wentworths’ house and I was passing by—totally innocent—and Harriet leaped out and demanded that I talk to her, and I said a few words, and then she demanded that I walk with her, and I took four steps, five at the most. This morning Wentworth asked me about it and I thought he thought this girl and I were—” He broke off. “Oh, it’s too complicated. Just go ahead and say, ‘Bingo, it’s your fault.’ It will save a lot of trouble.”
    The phone rang then and Bingo pulled a sofa pillow in front of his heart for protection. “Remember, I’m not here,” he said.
    Bingo lay in bed in his Superman pajamas. His mom knocked at the door. “Bingo, are you asleep?”
    “Of course not.”
    “The phone’s for you.”
    “I told you I wasn’t here.”
    “She said to tell you it was about Mr. Mark and it was real important.”
    Bingo threw back his Superman cape. “Did she tell you her name?”
    “Melissa.”
    “Oh, that’s different.” Bingo was at the phone in two strides. “Hell-o.”
    “I know it’s too late to be calling,” Melissa said, “but I had to tell you about something awful that happened at the Nautilus.”
    “The Nautilus?”
    “Where Dawn, works. Remember I told you that my sister’s boyfriend goes there?”
    “Yes.”
    “So anyway, late this afternoon Mr. Mark came to the Nautilus. He wasn’t supposed to come anymore, because Dawn doesn’t want to have anything to do with him. Anyway, he tried to make her get on the motorcycle and the man—Stevie—who’s the manager came out and he and Mr. Mark had a fight—well, it wasn’t really a fight because Stevie is into body-building and Mr. Mark hardly has any muscles at all. Stevie punched him out—that’s what my sister’s boyfriend said, and Mr. Mark rode off so fast he almost hit a lady with a grocery cart.”
    Bingo didn’t say anything.
    “I just feel so sorry for Mr. Mark, don’t you?”
    “Yes.”
    “You

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