Andrew Marcus wanted freckles. Nicky lane had freckles. He had about a million of them. They covered his face, his ears and the back of his neck. Andrew didn’t have any freckles. He had two warts on his finger. But they didn’t do him any good at all. If he had freckles like Nicky, his mother would never know if his neck was dirty. So he wouldn’t have to wash. And then he’d never be late for school.
Andrew had plenty of time to look at Nicky’s freckles. He sat right behind him in class. Once he even tried to count them. But when he got to eighty-six Miss Kelly called, “Andrew… are you paying attention?”
“Yes, Miss Kelly,” Andrew said.
“Good, Andrew. I’m glad to hear that. Now will you please pick up your chair and your reading goup? We’re all waiting for you.”
Andrew stood up in a hurry. His reading group giggled. Especially Sharon. He couldn’t stand that Sharon. She thought she knew everything! He picked up his chair and carried it to the corner where his reading group sat.
“You may begin, Andrew,” Miss Kelly said. “Page sixty-four.”
Andrew turned the pages in his book. Sixty-four…sixty-four. He couldn’t find it. The pages stuck together. Why did Miss Kelly have to pick him?
Everybody else already had their books opened to the right page.
Sharon kept giggling. She covered her mouth to keep in the noise, but Andrew knew what was going on. He finally found page sixty-four. Right where it was supposed to be…between pages sixty-three and sixty-five. If he had his own freckles he wouldn’t have to count Nicky Lane’s. Then he’d here Miss Kelly when she called reading groups. And nobody would laugh at him.
Later, when the bell rang, Andrew poked Nicky Lane.
“What do you want?” Nicky asked, turning around. “I was wondering about your freckles,” Andrew said.
“Oh yeah? What about them?”
Andrew felt pretty stupid. “Well, how did you get them?”
“What do you mean how? You get born with them. That’s how!”
Andrew thought that’s what Nicky would say.
Some help he was!
“Line up, boys and girls,” Miss Kelly said. “Time to go home now. Sharon, you may lead the girls. Andrew, you may lead the boys.”
Some luck! Just when he got to be leader he had to stand next to Sharon!
When they were in line Sharon whispered to Andrew. “Psst… I know how to get them.”
“How to get what?” Andrew asked.
“Freckles,” Sharon said.
“Who asked you?”
“I heard you ask Nicky about his.” Sharon ran her tongue along her teeth. She was always doing that.
“Do you want to know how to get them?” Sharon asked.
“Maybe,” Andrew told her.
“It’ll cost you fifty cents. I have a secret recipe for freckle juice,” Sharon whispered.
“A secret recipe?”
Sharon’s tongue reminded Andrew of a frog catching flies. He wondered if Sharon ever got a mouthful of bugs the way she opened her mouth and wiggled her tongue around. Andrew inspected Sharon’s face.
“You don’t even have freckles!” he said.
“Look close,” Sharon said. “I’ve got six on my nose.”
“Big deal! A lot of good six will do.”
“You can get as many as you want. Six was enough for me. It all depend on how much freckle juice you drink.”
Andrew didn’t believe Sharon for a minute. Not one minute! There was no such thing as freckle juice. Andrew had never heard of it before!
Excerpted from Freckle Juice by Judy Blume Copyright © 1984 by Judy Blume. Excerpted by permission.
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