How Can I Be Sure
A New Susie & Johnny Story
By: S.C. Mathisen
“Oh, hi Mr. Anderson, this is Johnny Peterson, is there something I can do for you?” said Johnny as he answered the phone in his home. “You bet I remember that bike in your window. Why I stop to look at it almost every day that I work at my Uncle Klaus’s store which is just up the street from your store. And I have almost half of the money saved up to buy it Mr. Anderson, pretty soon that bike is going to be all mine.”
There was a short pause on the phone while Johnny listened to Mr. Anderson talk. “But Mr. Anderson, I’ve been counting on getting that bike for a long time, you knew that. You told me that you would hold it for me. You can’t sell it to someone else!”
There was another pause as Johnny listened some more. “I’m awful sorry that business has been slow, Mr. Anderson, but…but…I know that you have a family to support…but Mr. Anderson…(sadly) yes sir, I understand that you’re awful sorry. Yes sir, Mr. Anderson…no, I’m not mad at you, sir… yes sir, I’ll come by tomorrow to get my deposit back…OK…goodbye, Mr. Anderson.”
Johnny hung up the phone slowly. He had been saving up every penny he had earned from working at Uncle Klaus & Aunt Harriet’s grocery store. He had been doing that for months. He had nearly half of the $525.00 that the bike was going to cost. And now…he felt let down. Mr. Anderson had told him that he was going to hold it for him.
“I can’t believe that Mr. Anderson broke his promise to me” Johnny said to himself. “He broke his promise!” he said louder. “He lied to me…” he said as he wiped his eyes with his clenched fists. He headed for the back door, racing down the hall and straight through the kitchen. His mother was fixing dinner and started to say, “Johnny it’s time to wash up….” and before she could get it all out, the door slammed shut and he was gone. She could see him running as fast as his legs could carry his roundish body. “Something must be wrong” she looked out the kitchen window, “I’ll bet he’s headed for the park.” You see whenever Johnny wanted to think, he went to the same bench at the park to sit and do his thinking. It was near the big toys. He and his good friend Susie would often sit there and watch Susie’s little brother Stanley play. Sometimes they would go there to just talk about stuff or to pray about things.
You see both Johnny and Susie are Christians. They were both raised going to church, but they both became real Christians last summer…but, that’s another story.
Johnny found himself sitting on the bench at the park. He was more angry than he could ever remember being before and he didn’t really know what to do with his anger. He had tried kicking rocks on the way to the park, but he stubbed his toe and fell down after he missed one of them. He thought about kicking a tree, but his toe was still sore from being stubbed so that didn’t sound like such a good idea. He thought about yelling and screaming…but…there were too many people around. He slumped down and started staring at the ground and was still wiping his eyes when he heard a familiar voice.
“So, what is it?” He turned to see Susie walking up to the bench with a smile on her face. “Oh, nothing,” he said while clearing his throat. “I don’t believe that, your face is all red and your eyes are all puffy. What’s wrong, Johnny?” she insisted. Johnny stood up quickly and turned away and wiped his face with his sleeves trying to rub the tears away. “I said that nothing was wrong, can’t a guy just be alone for awhile?”
Susie started to say something and then just stopped and looked at her friend. Johnny had never spoken to her like that before. Now she knew something was really wrong and decided she needed to press him some more. “Johnny, what’s wrong. I’ve never seen you this upset before.” He turned toward her and looked at her intently, “Upset? I’m not upset, I’m mad. I’m so mad that…that…well…I don’t know how to even tell you how mad I am!” And with that Johnny slumped back down on the bench again, put his elbows on his knees and then put his face into his hands. He let out a huge sigh and sat there that way for a moment and then turned to his friend and said, “I’m sorry, Susie. I’m not mad at you. It’s…it’s…Mr. Anderson at the hardware store. He…he…” Susie pressed him, “What did Mr. Anderson do, Johnny. He’s always been such a nice man. Especially the way he has been holding that bike for you while you’re saving up the money to buy it. He likes you a lot.”
Johnny sat up and responded with sarcasm, “Oh yeah, he likes me a lot. He even apologized for what he did, but…but…he…he…HE LIED TO ME! He broke his promise and sold MY bike to someone else. I have been saving up the money for months; I had given him a deposit on it and HE SOLD MY BIKE.” Johnny was standing full up now, waving his arms and nearly shouting. “It was the only one like it! They don’t make that model anymore and it has all the features I want in a bike and HE SOLD IT TO SOMEONE ELSE. HE LIED TO ME!”