Groundhog Day - 2009 Version

<Borrowed from the movie Groundhog Day with my own boy/girl twist. For some additional fun, Google 'Shoey Louie'>

Groundhog Day - 2009 Version

by Jennifer Sue

Jessie Hardin pounded down the steps and slipped into his chair at the kitchen table just as his mother turned from the stove with his scrambled eggs and toast.
“Morning mom,” he said as he scooped up his daily vitamins lying beside his glass of orange juice.

“Good morning,” his mother Helen chuckled before admonishing him. “One of these days you’re going to slip running down those steps and really hurt yourself.

“Aw mom,” Jessie faux complained. It was their normal jovial morning banter. As he finished his breakfast he put the dishes in the sink, hugged his mom who had been sitting across the table enjoying her morning coffee, and grabbed his books and coat before bounding out the door.

Next door Mrs Evans and Kevin were just coming out their back door. “Morning Mrs. Evans,” Jessie called out as he scampered over to their car to slip into the back seat.

Kevin always rode shotgun when his mom took them to school just as he did when his mom drove. The duo quickly immersed themselves in an animated conversation about yesterday’s Super Bowl. Even though their families had watched it together they still found more than enough to jabber about.

“Honestly,” Mrs. Evans laughed. “I’d have thought you’d had enough of that macho stuff yesterday. Kevin, turn on the radio and listen to the broadcast. You two can learn a bit of Pennsylvania Dutch humor.

“Welcome to this morning’s broadcast sponsored in part by Grundsow Lodge #2 - We have Bobby Bubbenmoyer from the Shoemakersville School of Broadcasting, the Mountain Folk Show’s “East Side Dave” Kline and WEEU Radio and Exeter House Publishing’s Charles J. Adams III for the annual gathering of the Grundsow Lodge #2, where the hosts chew the fat about this and that and present some stuff that you’re very unlikely to hear anywhere else. Don’t tell anyone you’re listening to the “lodge” because, as the hosts say, “it’s a secret!” Folksy and sometimes on the edge of good taste, the Grundsow Lodge #2 is the place where the hosts are all for one and one ferhuddled!”

“Join us now as WEEU celebrates Groundhog's Day with a raucous remote broadcast in front of the Strand Theater at Fourth and State Streets in downtown Hamburg. Partially Sponsored by the "Our Town Foundation" of Hamburg, with the cooperation of several downtown Hamburg merchants, the broadcast by WEEU morning guy Charlie Adams is enhanced by the gathering of the "Northern Berks Grundsow Pack" for music and mayhem. For the uninitiated, it's the local version of the Las Vegas "Rat Pack."

“Hundreds of folks have gathered to be entertained by the likes of Keith Brintzenhoff on auto harp, East Side Dave Kline on banjo and tuba, Nancy James on washboard, Yodeling Betty Naftzinger on guitar and vocals, Harvey Hartman (from down Oley way) and his 12-foot high grundsow-opped sousaphone, Domer Leibensperger on drums, and the Mystery Mouth Organ Man. Even Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach chimes in with vocals. Remember, this live music in the heart of Hamburg is being broadcast on WEEU!

“As you’ve already heard, "Shoey Louie," the official groundhog of the Shoemakersville School of Broadcasting and the "Grundsow Lodge #2," is still among the missing. Shoemakersville S.O.B. general manager Bobby Bubbenmoyer reported that when the time came at dawn for Louie to emerge from his hole, he never did. Bobby also has his dog, Bobbo the Shitzu, with him this Groundhog day morning. Bobby reports he has been having trouble keeping the dog outta the groundhog den for some reason. Donny Dunkelberger had the bright idea to lure Louie up with a fresh fastnacht. Louie still didn't make an appearance. Donny dropped the fastnacht into the hole, but still nothing. So, he dropped a full dozen fastnachts down Louie's hole. Alas, the hole was plugged by the fastnachts. It is feared that Shoey Louie may be trapped inside his own hole. But, being the intrepid grundsow that he is, he may well have dug another hole and found an escape from his predicament. In case anything would ever happen to Punxatawney Phil, he has a successor waiting on Hinnerschitz Hill to carry the torch of groundhog prognostication.”

“Lets go to a live remote update from our radio station field reporter Bobby Bubbenmoyer, on the scene up on Hinnerschitz Hill. First a little background on Bobby. He's a certified SOB graduate, which means he graduated from the Shoey School of Broadcasting. You gotta understand that we here in Pennsylvania take our groundhogs seriously!”

(A guy with a thick Pennsylvania Dutch accent) "Gud mornin, evryone, dis is Bobby Bubbenmoyer from da Shoomakersfill School uf Broadcastin reportin live from Hinnerschitz Hill in Perry Township. Ve're vaitin for Shoey Louie to make his appearance. But so faar, it ain't lookin too good. Dis is the third hyear in a row I'm out on dis hill vaitin on Shoey Louie to vatch if he sees his shadow so vee can learn if it's gonna be six more veeks uf vinter or if ve'll haf an early spring."

"But it looks like it'll be a bust again cause dat dang ol rascal ain't even gettin near the entrance to his hole. Vhy I bet he's curled up all snug and varm in his nest while I'm out here freezin my butt off. I bet he's laughin his darn head off knowin I'm out here vaitin. Vhy I haf half a mind to let Bobbo go down da hole and roust him out! Course we gotta clean da fasnachts out first. I sent Donny Dunkelberger home for wastin such good Dutch bakin. My knees won’t take kindly to getting down to dig em out. Maybe I'll just get my shotgun and...."

"Thanks for the report, Bobby. We'll check with you in another hour. This is Charlie Adams, welcome back to the Groundhog Day Celebration in downtown Hamburg on WEEU 830 on your AM dial."

The boys were laughing and shaking their heads at the antics. “Hey mom, why don’t we go to the celebration. I bet it’ll be educational and we might even get to meet a county commissioner and a published author!”

“It might be fun, but I can’t take you from school for something so silly,” Mrs. Evans chuckled.

“Aw,” Kevin complained.

“At least you made a good try,” Jessie laughed.

By then they’d pulled up to the school. The best friends thanked Mrs. Evans for the ride and exited the car. The duo had been next door neighbors and best friends for as long as they could remember. As they entered the school they had to run the gauntlet of bullying sixth graders. They made it into their classroom without any ontoward incidents and began their geography lesson. After geography, came language arts, then recess. As normal, Jessie and Kevin hung back letting the class jocks get out the door, then followed just in front of the girls. As they exited the building a couple of sixth grade guys snuck up behind them and did a double pantsing. Jessie suffered the normal humiliation of having his tighty whities exposed, but Kevin really caught hell. He was wearing a pair of pink nylon panties trimmed with white lace! For a moment, everyone was shocked into silence, then the laughter began, and the teasing and comments.

"I always thought Kevin was damn sissy." "Look at his girly panties!" "What a faggot!" and on and on. Kevin was too shocked to move, he just stood there shaking looking white as a ghost. Jessie quickly pulled his pants back up, guiltily relieved he wasn't the center of attention. The girls following the unfortunate pair saw everything and were giggling and pointing at Kevin. The crowd around them swelled as more kids came to see what was going on and join in Kevin's humiliation. Their raucous laughter echoed off the sides of the school building.

Jessie’s first instinct had been to silently slip away into the gathering crowd, and had even turned to go, but he stopped. He couldn't abandon Kevin. Turning about again he knelt down by his best friend and struggled to pull his jeans back up, awkwardly trying to rush and get them to cover the damning panties. Kevin was no help as he just stood there quivering in shock.

"All right, break it up," yelled Mrs. Conrad, the kindergarten teacher on recess duty. As the kids began to scatter she saw Jessie kneeling in front of his friend struggling with Kevin's jeans, and his exposed panties. "Jessie Harden, just what do you think you're doing? How dare you humiliate this poor boy? I thought you were best friends!"

Jessie was shocked by the accusation that she thought he was pulling down Kevin's pants. She stepped in front of Kevin and with years of experience working with kindergartners deftly pulled his jeans back into place. Then she slipped a protective arm about him and began to guide him inside the building. "Jessie, come with me," she brusquely ordered.

So it was that Jessie found himself sitting in Principal Wiggins office trying to explain that he'd been pants'd too and was just trying to help Kevin get his pants back up when Mrs. Conrad saw him! It was obvious the man didn't believe Jessie and when Jessie told him to ask Kevin, he informed Jessie he'd get a full statement form Kevin. After a solid dressing down, Jessie was sent to the detention room to await his mother.

He'd never been in the detention room before and the losers who regularly populated the room stared at him like a starving wolf at a helpless lamb. Jessie felt like that Arlo Guthrie fellow when he was sitting on the group W bench when he'd gone for his draft physical. It was a hilarious song and listening to Alice's Restaurant was a Thanksgiving tradition in his family.

The principal and Mrs Hardin showed up before Jessie could ingratiate himself with the other group W's, but the expression on her face let him know she was pissed. Jessie asked how Kevin was doing and was rewarded with a curt "He was taken to the hospital," from the principal.

Jessie meekly followed his mother out to her car. All the way home she really laid into him about how disappointed she was and how could he do such a horrible thing to his best friend. She never gave him a chance to explain but sent him to his bedroom as soon as they got home. As he sat on his bed his thoughts swirled in confusion. “I don’t understand why no one believes me. I’m a good kid, I hardly ever get into trouble, and certainly never anything this bad! I wonder why Kevin was wearing panties, especially such girly panties. Nothing makes sense. Why would a boy wear panties? Was Kevin a fruit? No, neither of us are jocks but we both like sports and riding our bikes and climbing trees. If Kevin was fruity, we wouldn’t be best friends.” The confusing thoughts kept swirling about his head until it hurt.

Shortly after Mr Hardin got home he stormed up to Jessie’s bedroom and the poor boy was once more berated without a chance to defend himself and told he'd get no supper. Since he’d missed lunch, he knew he’d be starving by breakfast. Again he tried to make sense of all that had happened and why his best friend wore panties. About 7 he heard the doorbell ring. Hoping it would be Kevin or his mom with the truth of what happened to free him, he snuck out to the landing at the top of the stairs. Cautiously he peered through the newel posts to see a police officer. Fear gripped him as he thought they might arrest him and take him to jail.

"Mr and Mrs Hardin, I'd like to talk to your son," the officer said.

"Jessie, get your sorry ass down here," Dad yelled without even turning to look.

Nervously, with his heart in his throat, Jessie slowly descended to face his doom.

“Jessie, I'm Officer Dibble," he said. "I need to ask you about what happened in school today."

Hesitantly Jessie explained all that had occurred. His parent’s faces were dark, and his dad was shaking his head. Officer Dibble asked some clarifying questions as well as several questions intended to trip him up, but Jessie answered with the truth.

"Kevin's my best friend," Jessie sniffed. "Why would I do something like that to him?"

"That's what we want to know," snarled Mr Hardin.

"Well, for what it's worth, I think it's possible Jessie is telling the truth," Officer Dibble stated. "I've interviewed enough kids to feel fairly confident I can tell when they're telling the truth and when they're lying. Jessie is scared and upset, but stuck to his story even when I tried to trip him up. I think he's as much a victim as anyone else. We'll know better tomorrow when we question the other students."

“I know what Jessie did is horrible," Mom said. "But why do you have to question the other students?"

"I guess you haven't heard," Officer Dibble said softly. "I'm sorry to be the one to tell you, but Kevin is dead."

"WHAT," they all exclaimed in shock.

"He was in the hospital being treated for shock," Officer Dibble explained. "When they finally brought him out of it, he just clammed up. The doctors felt it would be better for him to be at home so they discharged him. As he was walking with his parents to their car, he darted away and ran out into the street, right in front of a truck. The impact threw him about 30 feet and he landed against the windshield of a car going in the opposite direction. He was gone by the time anyone reached him."

"Oh my God," Mrs Hardin gasped as she collapsed back in her seat burying her face in her hands as she cried.

Jessie just sat there in numbed shock.

Mr. Hardin escorted Officer Dibble to the door, then turned to face his son. "You killed your best friend. Get up to your room now before I lose it completely."

“But dad,” Jessie started to protest. “Officer Dibble said he doesn’t think...”

“DAMN IT, GET YOUR SORRY ASS UP TO YOUR ROOM,” Mr Hardin bellowed.

Seeing his clenched fists and the veins in his tremble throbbing, Jessie beat a tearful retreat to the confines of his bedroom. Throwing himself on his bed he cried his heart out. His best friend not only wore panties but now was dead and a lot of people think he’s responsible.

Jessie cried himself asleep because the next thing he remember was being startled awake by the sound of breaking glass. "You bastard! You killed my baby," Mrs. Evans could be heard yelling. Jessie saw shards of glass on the rug in front of his bedroom window. Terrified, he pulled the covers over his head and cowered.

Sounds of a slight commotion entered the rapidly cooling bedroom as Mr. Evans pulled his distraught wife into their house.

Moments later Jessie’s parents came into his bedroom. "I hope you're proud of yourself," his dad scowled. After surveying the damage the angry headed downstairs for a carton as Jessie’s mom began to gingerly pick up the shattered glass and the rock Mrs Evans had tossed through the screen and window. Mr Hardin returned and picked the shards from the window frame as Mrs Hardin finished cleaning up the floor. Then he removed the screen and pulled down the storm window. They left Jessie alone after giving him looks of shame and disgust.

The night was long as Jessie tossed and turned. Vivid memories of Kevin and him playing filled his nightmares as in each one he did something to cause his best friend’s death... and he wasn't guilty!

*************************

“Jessie, get up now or you’ll be late for school,’ Mrs Hardin called out as she knocked on his bedroom door.

Jessie rolled out of bed quite upset. He'd not gotten much sleep, too much to think about. Yesterday had been such a bummer, the worst day of his life. The terrible memories of those events came rushing back into his consciousness like a tsunami.

Even though he just wanted to hide under his covers he knew he had to get up. Wearily he got dressed and stumbled down the steps.

“Good morning, sleepy head,” Mrs Hardin warmly greeted her son as he entered the kitchen.

Jessie stopped short, totally confused. His smiling mother sat at the table drinking her coffee and a plate of scrambled eggs and toast sat beside the orange juice and vitamins at his place at the table. Shaking his head to clear the cobwebs he gave a bewildered look at his mother.

“Are you feeling all right,” Mrs. Hardin asked with motherly concern. “I hardly ever have to call you for breakfast and you usually come bounding down the steps. Come here and let me feel your forehead.”

Numbly Jessie did as she commanded as he tried to figure out what was going on. Maybe someone had told his parents that Jessie was not to blame for what happened to Kevin.

“Nope, you don’t feel hot,” Mrs Hardin pronounced. “But your eyes are a bit bloodshot. Didn’t you sleep well last night?”

Too confused to properly respond he simply nodded his head. As he sat and began to eat, he was puzzled that he wasn’t ravenously hungry. After all, he hadn’t had anything to eat since yesterday’s breakfast.

He’d only half finished his breakfast when a car horn honked from next door. Jessie cringed thinking Mrs. Evans was going to yell at him again.

“Finish your juice and get going,” Mrs. Hardin urged. “You’ll make yourself and Kevin late for school.”

Jessie spit a mouth full of orange juice across the table. Kevin was dead... wasn’t he? How could he make him late for school.

“Honestly Jessie. Are you feeling sick or just planning a new way to play hooky?” Mrs Hardin scoffed as she began to clean up the mess. “Get your things and get going.”

Bewildered and confused, Jessie put on his coat, grabbed his books and headed out the back door. Looking next door he saw Mrs Evans and Kevin sitting in the front of their car waiting for him! After a brief moment of shock, he ran over and pulled open the back door and climbed in the car. “Kevin,” he said excitedly. “You’re okay!”

“Yeah,” Kevin answered. “Why wouldn’t I be okay? You’re the one whose team lost the Super Bowl!”

Jessie shook his head and laughed. “Sorry, I had a rough night and guess I’m still not fully awake.” It had all been a nightmare!

With that Kevin launched into an animated conversation about the Super Bowl. Jessie was stunned and listened to his friend only occasionally nodding, it was his first case of deja vu.

“Honestly,” Mrs. Evans laughed. “I’d have thought you’d had enough of that macho stuff yesterday. Kevin, turn on the radio and listen to the broadcast. You two can learn a bit of Pennsylvania Dutch humor.

“Welcome to this morning’s broadcast sponsored in part by Grundsow Lodge #2 - We have Bobby Bubbenmoyer from the Shoemakersville School of Broadcasting, the Mountain Folk Show’s “East Side Dave” Kline and WEEU Radio and Exeter House Publishing’s Charles J. Adams III for the annual gathering of the Grundsow Lodge #2, where the hosts chew the fat about this and that and present some stuff that you’re very unlikely to hear anywhere else. Don’t tell anyone you’re listening to the “lodge” because, as the hosts say, “it’s a secret!” Folksy and sometimes on the edge of good taste, the Grundsow Lodge #2 is the place where the hosts are all for one and one ferhuddled!”

“Join us now as WEEU celebrates Groundhog's Day with a raucous remote broadcast in front of the Strand Theater at Fourth and State Streets in downtown Hamburg. Partially Sponsored by the "Our Town Foundation" of Hamburg, with the cooperation of several downtown Hamburg merchants, the broadcast by WEEU morning guy Charlie Adams is enhanced by the gathering of the "Northern Berks Grundsow Pack" for music and mayhem. For the uninitiated, it's the local version of the Las Vegas "Rat Pack."

“Hundreds of folks have gathered to be entertained by the likes of Keith Brintzenhoff on auto harp, East Side Dave Kline on banjo and tuba, Nancy James on washboard, Yodeling Betty Naftzinger on guitar and vocals, Harvey Hartman (from down Oley way) and his 12-foot high grundsow-opped sousaphone, Domer Leibensperger on drums, and the Mystery Mouth Organ Man. Even Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach chimes in with vocals. Remember, this live music in the heart of Hamburg is being broadcast on WEEU!

“As you’ve already heard, "Shoey Louie," the official groundhog of the Shoemakersville School of Broadcasting and the "Grundsow Lodge #2," is still among the missing. Shoemakersville S.O.B. general manager Bobby Bubbenmoyer reported that when the time came at dawn for Louie to emerge from his hole, he never did. Bobby also has his dog, Bobbo the Shitzu, with him this Groundhog day morning. Bobby reports he has been having trouble keeping the dog outta the groundhog den for some reason. Donny Dunkelberger had the bright idea to lure Louie up with a fresh fastnacht. Louie still didn't make an appearance. Donny dropped the fastnacht into the hole, but still nothing. So, he dropped a full dozen fastnachts down Louie's hole. Alas, the hole was plugged by the fastnachts. It is feared that Shoey Louie may be trapped inside his own hole. But, being the intrepid grundsow that he is, he may well have dug another hole and found an escape from his predicament. In case anything would ever happen to Punxatawney Phil, he has a successor waiting on Hinnerschitz Hill to carry the torch of groundhog prognostication.”

“Lets go to a live remote update from our radio station field reporter Bobby Bubbenmoyer, on the scene up on Hinnerschitz Hill. First a little background on Bobby. He's a certified SOB graduate, which means he graduated from the Shoey School of Broadcasting. You gotta understand that we here in Pennsylvania take our groundhogs seriously!”

(A guy with a thick Pennsylvania Dutch accent) "Gud mornin, evryone, dis is Bobby Bubbenmoyer from da Shoomakersfill School uf Broadcastin reportin live from Hinnerschitz Hill in Perry Township. Ve're vaitin for Shoey Louie to make his appearance. But so faar, it ain't lookin too good. Dis is the third hyear in a row I'm out on dis hill vaitin on Shoey Louie to vatch if he sees his shadow so vee can learn if it's gonna be six more veeks uf vinter or if ve'll haf an early spring."

"But it looks like it'll be a bust again cause dat dang ol rascal ain't even gettin near the entrance to his hole. Vhy I bet he's curled up all snug and varm in his nest while I'm out here freezin my butt off. I bet he's laughin his darn head off knowin I'm out here vaitin. Vhy I haf half a mind to let Bobbo go down da hole and roust him out! Course we gotta clean da fasnachts out first. I sent Donny Dunkelberger home for wastin such good Dutch bakin. My knees won’t take kindly to getting down to dig em out. Maybe I'll just get my shotgun and...."

"Thanks for the report, Bobby. We'll check with you in another hour. This is Charlie Adams, welcome back to the Groundhog Day Celebration in downtown Hamburg on WEEU 830 on your AM dial."

Jessie was totally gobsmacked. That was the exact broadcast they’d heard yesterday on the way to school! Kevin was laughing and shaking his head at the antics. “Hey mom, why don’t we go to the celebration. I bet it’ll be educational and we might even get to meet a county commissioner and a published author!”

“It might be fun, but I can’t take you from school for something so silly,” Mrs. Evans chuckled.

“Aw,” Kevin complained.

Jessie felt sick, everything was like yesterday. Then it hit him... was Kevin wearing the pink panties?

By then they’d pulled up to the school. Kevin thanked his mother for the ride and exited the car. Mrs. Evans looked back to see Jessie was bewildered and a bit out of it.

“Are you all right, Jessie,” she asked with concern. “If you’re feeling ill I can take you back home.”

“Ah... no... I’m all right,” Jessie snapped out of his confusion. “Thanks for the ride,” as he exited the car. Jessie was in a daze as they entered the school through the gauntlet of bullying sixth graders. Once in their classroom they began their geography lesson. Jessie was shocked as it was the same lesson they’d had yesterday, yet no one but him seemed to notice. After geography, came language arts, again the same lesson as yesterday, then recess. Jessie numbly hung back with Kevin until the jocks get out the door, then in a daze followed just in front of the girls. He wanted to pull Kevin into the boys room to ask him about the panties but was to unsure of all that was happening to risk being wrong. As they exited the building a couple of older guys snuck up behind them and again did a double pantsing. Jessie wasn’t humiliated like yesterday, he was frozen in terror. Just like yesterday there was a shocked silence, then the laughter began, and the teasing and comments. With his pants down at his ankles, Kevin slowly turned his head to look at his best friend. Kevin was wearing the pair of pink nylon panties trimmed with white lace!

Then the taunting began. "I always thought Kevin was damn sissy." "Look at his girly panties!" "What a faggot!" and on and on just like yesterday. Again Kevin was too shocked to move, he just stood there shaking looking white as a ghost. Jessie was frozen in place too, watching what was happening and unable to do anything. The girls who had again followed the unfortunate pair saw everything and were giggling and pointing at Kevin. Again the crowd around them swelled as more kids came to see what was going on and join in the humiliation. Their raucous laughter echoed off the sides of the school building just like yesterday.

"All right, break it up," yelled Mrs. Conrad, the kindergarten teacher on recess duty. As the kids began to scatter she saw Jessie and Kevin's standing side by side with their jeans about their ankles. Jessie was staring in open-mouthed horror at his best friend standing in his exposed panties. "Jessie, Kevin, pull up your pants!”

The command snapped Jessie from his frozen living nightmare. Unable to think clearly, he bent down and pulled up his jeans.

Realizing Kevin was in shock and unable to respond, Mrs Conrad stepped in front of Kevin and with years of experience dealing with kindergartners deftly pulled his jeans back into place. Then she slipped a protective arm about him and began to guide him inside the building. "Jessie, come with me," she gently urged.

So it was that Jessie found himself sitting in the nurse’s office as the nurse, Miss Wanner, tended to Kevin. Principal Wiggins entered and Jessie jerked in fear.

“It’s okay, Jessie,” Principal Wiggins soothed. “I’m here to help. Do you know who did this to you?”

This was too much like yesterday... except this time he’d been recognized as a victim too. Confused as hell, Jessie shook his head no.

Jessie had no idea how much time had passed but Principal Wiggins re-entered the nurse’s office with his mother and Mrs Evans. Mrs. Evans swept the still virtually comatose Kevin into her arms. Jessie watched in silence hardly noticing his mother wrap her arms about him.

“Jessie has been silent but at least is responsive, Kevin is totally out of it,” Miss Wanner explained to the concerned mothers. “I think they should be taken to the hospital to be checked.”

“We can call an ambulance if you’d like,” Principal Wiggins asked.

“Were they molested,” Mrs Hardin softly asked as she cuddled Jessie.

“No, but a couple of sixth grade boys pulled down their pants as they went out for recess,” Principal Wiggins explained. “We’ve identified them and they’re in detention now awaiting their parents. I assure you they’ll be punished to the fullest extant possible.”

“Oh my God,” Mrs. Evans gasped. “That means everyone saw...”

“Yes,” Mrs. Conrad cut in. “I pulled his jeans up as soon as I reached them, but the damage was already done.”

“Oh my,” Mrs Hardin said as she reached a hand out to her friend. “Kevin’s wearing...”

“Panties...,” Jessie whispered. “Kevin’s wearing panties... and everyone saw it.”

Mrs Evans began crying. “It doesn’t hurt anything and he likes wearing them. Oh God, what are we going to do?”

“”The first thing we’re going to do is get our sons to the hospital,” Mrs. Hardin declared taking command.

“Do you want an ambulance,” Principal Wiggins again asked.

“No, I’ll drive us there,” Mrs. Hardin replied. “It would be helpful if you call ahead and let them know we’re on our way and that discretion is needed.”

“Of course,” Principal Wiggins responded. “I’ll tell them to bill the school district.”

“Thank you,” Mrs Hardin answered. “Could you escort us to my car?”

“Certainly,” Principal Wiggins agreed.

Jessie sat in front with his mother as Mrs. Evans sat in the back with Kevin cooing and cuddling the senseless lad. Jessie kept looking back at his friend. “I’m sorry... I’m sorry... I’m sorry...,“ he kept mumbling.

When they reached the hospital, Jessie meekly followed his mom out of her car. Inside she ushered him to the receptionist and whispered who they were and that they needed help to get Kevin inside. In moments two orderlies appeared with a wheelchair as they followed Mrs. Hardin back to her car while a nurse led Jessie back to an exam room. A few minutes later his mother joined him.

“Where’s Kevin,” Jessie fearfully asked.

“He’s in the room next door,” Mrs Hardin answered. “He’s with his mom and getting excellent care. They’ll get to you as soon as they check him out.”

“”I’m okay, but Kevin isn’t,” Jessie sniffled. “He’ll kill himself when they leave.”

Mrs Hardin was stunned. “Kevin won’t do any such thing. The doctors will give him some sedatives to calm him down, then his parents will take him home for a good night’s rest, just like you’ll be getting.”

“No, he’ll run away from his parents as they leave and he’ll get hit by a truck,” Jessie insisted as tears rolled down his cheeks. “Just like it happened yesterday!”

“Jessie, what are you talking about,” Mrs. Hardin asked in fear that this experience had sent her son over the edge.

“It all happened yesterday, but today is yesterday,” Kevin explained in exasperation. “Only I got blamed for pantsing Kevin and you and dad sent me to bed without supper. Then Officer Dibble came to the house and told us Kevin ran out in front of a truck and was killed. Then Mrs Evans threw a rock through my window and accused me of killing Kevin.”

“Jessie, that’s quite a fantastic story,” Mrs Hardin gently soothed her distraught son. “Just lay on the exam table and relax. You’re getting too worked up. I’ll go check on Kevin if it’ll make you feel better.”

Jessie lay back and tried to relax. In a few minutes his mother returned with his father. Jessie sat up and desperately repeated his tale to his disbelieving parents. When the doctor entered Jessie blurted the tale out to him.

The doctor, having been for warned by Mrs Hardin, smiled. “Obviously, if all that happened yesterday, Kevin wouldn’t be here now, would he?”

Jessie frowned. “I haven’t figured that out yet.”

“Jessie, I think you’re suffering from a bout of hysteria,” the doctor gently explained. “What happened to you today was embarrassing and seeing what your friend was wearing has confused you quite a bit. Now, let me give you a quick exam.”

Twenty minutes later Jessie was seated beside his mother in their car as she followed his father home. They’d been assured Kevin was doing fine and needed a bit of time to unwind but that he’d be going home tonight too. The pills They’d given Jessie made him feel like he was floating in the sky. He even smiled and giggled at his fears.

They stopped at Mickey D’s and got some supper, then went home. The doctors had told Mr and Mrs Hardin to let Jessie stay up until Kevin came home to ease his fears. As they ate their food, Mr. Hardin flipped on the TV and found one of his favorite movies... GROUNDHOG DAY staring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. Jessie sat their mesmerized by the story line but was too mellowed by the medications to do more than giggle.

It was late when the Hardins heard the Evans arrive home. Snapping out of his stupor, Jessie raced out to greet his friend. When he saw the crying couple, he knew Kevin was dead. “NOOOO....” he screamed and fainted.

******************

“Jessie, get up now or you’ll be late for school,’ Mrs Hardin called out as she knocked on his bedroom door.

Jessie wearily rolled out of bed quite upset. He'd not gotten much sleep, too much to think about. Memories of the last two days flooded his confused mind. Just like yesterday he just wanted to hide under his covers but knew he had to get up. Wearily he got dressed and stumbled down the steps not ready to face the world without his best friend Kevin

“Good morning, sleepy head,” Mrs Hardin warmly greeted her son as he entered the kitchen.

Jessie stopped short, totally confused. His smiling mother sat at the table drinking her coffee and a plate of scrambled eggs and toast sat beside the orange juice and vitamins at his place at the table. Just like yesterday! This was too much. Shaking his head to clear the cobwebs he gave a bewildered look at his mother.

“Are you feeling all right,” Mrs. Hardin asked with motherly concern. “I hardly ever have to call you for breakfast and you usually come bounding down the steps. Come here and let me feel your forehead.”

Numbly Jessie did as she commanded as he tried to figure out what was going on.

“Nope, you don’t feel hot,” Mrs Hardin pronounced. “But your eyes are a bit bloodshot. Didn’t you sleep well last night?”

“How could I with everything that happened,” he sniffled already missing his best friend.

“You must have had a bad dream,” Mrs. Hardin soothed. “Just sit yourself down and eat. You’ll feel better with a full tummy.”

He’d only half finished his breakfast when a car horn honked from next door. Jessie cringed, then ran out the back door.

“Jessie,” Mrs Hardin worriedly called after her son, following him outside.

Jessie stopped when he saw Kevin and his mom waiting in their car. Without warning his breakfast leapt from his throat.

No one listened to his protests as he was bundled back to bed. As hard as he tried, Kevin went off to school alone.

Totally exhausted, Jessie fell into a deep but troubled sleep. When he woke up, it was dark outside and he stumbled out of bed needing the bathroom. As he exited the bathroom he heard his mother crying. Fear engulfed him as he rushed down the stairs. His fears were confirmed when he was hugged and told that Kevin had been killed. Once more he passed out.

*********

“Jessie, get up now or you’ll be late for school,’ Mrs Hardin called out as she knocked on his bedroom door.

Jessie wearily rolled out of bed. Things were getting out of hand. Although he’d gotten sleep, it had been anything but restful. Just like the movie, he was repeating groundhog day over and over. Probably until he found a way to save his friend. Wearily he got dressed and stumbled down the steps not ready to face the world but determined to save his best friend Kevin

“Good morning, sleepy head,” Mrs Hardin warmly greeted her son as he entered the kitchen.

Jessie stopped and recognized the scenario. His smiling mother sat at the table drinking her coffee and a plate of scrambled eggs and toast sat beside the orange juice and vitamins at his place at the table.

“Good morning mom,” he put on a smiling face as he sat and tucked into breakfast.
As he finished his breakfast he put the dishes in the sink, hugged his mom who had been sitting across the table enjoying her morning coffee, and grabbed his books and coat before bounding out the door.

Next door Mrs Evans and Kevin were just coming out their back door. “Morning Mrs. Evans,” Jessie called out as he scampered over to their car to slip into the back seat.

Kevin took shotgun. Jessie just smiled enjoying Kevin’s animated conversation about yesterday’s Super Bowl. It felt comforting and right. All Jessie could think about was why Kevin was wearing panties and how could he save his best friend.

“Honestly,” Mrs. Evans laughed. “I’d have thought you’d had enough of that macho stuff yesterday. Kevin, turn on the radio and listen to the broadcast. You two can learn a bit of Pennsylvania Dutch humor.

“Welcome to this morning’s broadcast sponsored in part by Grundsow Lodge #2 - We have Bobby Bubbenmoyer from the Shoemakersville School of Broadcasting, the Mountain Folk Show’s “East Side Dave” Kline and WEEU Radio and Exeter House Publishing’s Charles J. Adams III for the annual gathering of the Grundsow Lodge #2, where the hosts chew the fat about this and that and present some stuff that you’re very unlikely to hear anywhere else. Don’t tell anyone you’re listening to the “lodge” because, as the hosts say, “it’s a secret!” Folksy and sometimes on the edge of good taste, the Grundsow Lodge #2 is the place where the hosts are all for one and one ferhuddled!”

“Join us now as WEEU celebrates Groundhog's Day with a raucous remote broadcast in front of the Strand Theater at Fourth and State Streets in downtown Hamburg. Partially Sponsored by the "Our Town Foundation" of Hamburg, with the cooperation of several downtown Hamburg merchants, the broadcast by WEEU morning guy Charlie Adams is enhanced by the gathering of the "Northern Berks Grundsow Pack" for music and mayhem. For the uninitiated, it's the local version of the Las Vegas "Rat Pack."

“Hundreds of folks have gathered to be entertained by the likes of Keith Brintzenhoff on auto harp, East Side Dave Kline on banjo and tuba, Nancy James on washboard, Yodeling Betty Naftzinger on guitar and vocals, Harvey Hartman (from down Oley way) and his 12-foot high grundsow-opped sousaphone, Domer Leibensperger on drums, and the Mystery Mouth Organ Man. Even Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach chimes in with vocals. Remember, this live music in the heart of Hamburg is being broadcast on WEEU!

“As you’ve already heard, "Shoey Louie," the official groundhog of the Shoemakersville School of Broadcasting and the "Grundsow Lodge #2," is still among the missing. Shoemakersville S.O.B. general manager Bobby Bubbenmoyer reported that when the time came at dawn for Louie to emerge from his hole, he never did. Bobby also has his dog, Bobbo the Shitzu, with him this Groundhog day morning. Bobby reports he has been having trouble keeping the dog outta the groundhog den for some reason. Donny Dunkelberger had the bright idea to lure Louie up with a fresh fastnacht. Louie still didn't make an appearance. Donny dropped the fastnacht into the hole, but still nothing. So, he dropped a full dozen fastnachts down Louie's hole. Alas, the hole was plugged by the fastnachts. It is feared that Shoey Louie may be trapped inside his own hole. But, being the intrepid grundsow that he is, he may well have dug another hole and found an escape from his predicament. In case anything would ever happen to Punxatawney Phil, he has a successor waiting on Hinnerschitz Hill to carry the torch of groundhog prognostication.”

“Lets go to a live remote update from our radio station field reporter Bobby Bubbenmoyer, on the scene up on Hinnerschitz Hill. First a little background on Bobby. He's a certified SOB graduate, which means he graduated from the Shoey School of Broadcasting. You gotta understand that we here in Pennsylvania take our groundhogs seriously!”

(A guy with a thick Pennsylvania Dutch accent) "Gud mornin, evryone, dis is Bobby Bubbenmoyer from da Shoomakersfill School uf Broadcastin reportin live from Hinnerschitz Hill in Perry Township. Ve're vaitin for Shoey Louie to make his appearance. But so faar, it ain't lookin too good. Dis is the third hyear in a row I'm out on dis hill vaitin on Shoey Louie to vatch if he sees his shadow so vee can learn if it's gonna be six more veeks uf vinter or if ve'll haf an early spring."

"But it looks like it'll be a bust again cause dat dang ol rascal ain't even gettin near the entrance to his hole. Vhy I bet he's curled up all snug and varm in his nest while I'm out here freezin my butt off. I bet he's laughin his darn head off knowin I'm out here vaitin. Vhy I haf half a mind to let Bobbo go down da hole and roust him out! Course we gotta clean da fasnachts out first. I sent Donny Dunkelberger home for wastin such good Dutch bakin. My knees won’t take kindly to getting down to dig em out. Maybe I'll just get my shotgun and...."

"Thanks for the report, Bobby. We'll check with you in another hour. This is Charlie Adams, welcome back to the Groundhog Day Celebration in downtown Hamburg on WEEU 830 on your AM dial."

Despite having heard this before Jessie knew Kevin hadn’t and eagerly joined his buddy in laughing and shaking their heads at the antics.

“Hey mom, why don’t we go to the celebration,” Kevin asked. “I bet it’ll be educational and we might even get to meet a county commissioner and a published author!”

“It might be fun, but I can’t take you from school for something so silly,” Mrs. Evans chuckled.

“Aw,” Kevin complained.

“At least you made a good try,” Jessie laughed going along with the scenario.

By then they’d pulled up to the school. The best friends thanked Mrs. Evans for the ride and exited the car. The duo entered the school running the gauntlet of bullying sixth graders. Jessie wondered which two were planning to do the pantsing. They made it into their classroom without any incidents and began their geography lesson. After geography, came language arts, then recess. Jessie could barely keep a straight face as he raised his hand to every question the teacher asked and to everyone’s surprise knew the answers. When recess began, Jessie and Kevin hung back letting the class jocks get out the door, then as Kevin went to slip out in front of the girls Jessie stopped him.

“What,” Kevin asked.

“We’re being set up,” Jessie said as he pulled his friend over to the window where they could see their classmates exiting the building. “So, it’s Eddie and Willie,” Jessie sighed.

“Huh,” Kevin asked. “They’re a couple of jerks. What about them?’

“They’re waiting for us to come out so they can pants us,” Jessie explained.

“How do you know that,” Kevin asked as he paled a bit.

“Watch, here comes our class,” Jessie answered.

As the last guys exited the door, Eddie and Willie stepped up and prepared to grab their quarry. As the Jessie and Kevin watched, they saw the perplexed expressions appear on the miscreants faces as the girls came out the door. Kevin and Jessie could see the boys looking at the guys from their class mouthing the words “Where are they?”

“How’d you know,” Kevin shakily asked.

“It’s happened three times already,” Jessie sighed.

“What are you talking about,” Kevin asked.

“I’ve been living this day over and over,” Jessie explained. “I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. How do you think I knew everything in class this morning?”

“I don’t know, but it’s just too weird,” Kevin replied, then he swallowed nervously. “So what happened when they pants’d us?”

“You freaked when they exposed your panties,” Jessie whispered.

“What are you talking about,” Kevin blushed and beads of sweat formed on his forehead.

“The pink nylon panties with white lace trim you’re wearing right now,” Jessie looked steadily into his friend’s terrified eyes.

“But you can’t know that,” Kevin almost blubbered.

“I wouldn’t if I hadn’t lived this day before,” Jessie answered as he put a reassuring hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Your secret is safe with me.”

“What happens afterward,” Kevin asked after a long brooding silence.

“You freeze and everyone sees and laughs,” Jessie replied. “You just sort of phase out and are taken to the hospital. After they get you settled down, you head out with your parents to come home, but I guess you’re too embarrassed and scared about what everyone will say at school, so as soon as you get outside you run off and get hit by a truck.”

Kevin shuddered at his words. “Yeah, I probably would do that,” he whispered after a bit of reflection. “Am I...”

“Killed,” Jessie completed the phrase his friend couldn’t. “Your mom and dad are devastated. So am I. Kevin, I don’t want to lose you. You’re my best friend. It took you getting killed three times before I figured out how to stop it... I hope.”

“Thanks,” Kevin whispered.

“”You’re welcome, bud,” Jessie smiled. “But you gotta tell me why you’re wearing panties?”

“I can’t,” Kevin sighed. “It’s too embarrassing.”

“Only if you get exposed,” Jessie declared. “Look, if I wanted you to be hurt I wouldn’t have stopped you from going outside. But it’s eating at me, you’ve got to tell me why!”

“Not here,” Kevin begged. “Please wait until we get home.”

“Okay,” Jessie agreed. “But you’d better promise cause I’m finding out today!”

Kevin anxiously nodded his head.

The rest of the day Kevin was quite anxious, looking at Jessie for reassurance that his secret was safe. Both lads were cautious whenever they went through a door. Finally, the day ended and Kevin breathed a sigh of relief as he slid into the front seat of his mother’s car.

“What’s wrong,” Mrs. Evans asked with obvious concern while staying in the parking space.

“Jessie saved my life,” Kevin answered.

“WHAT? What happened? Why wasn’t I called,” Mrs Evans gasped.

“I didn’t save his life yet,” Jessie said.

Now she was really confused. “You two are making no sense. Please tell me what’s going on.”

Kevin looked at Jessie,” It’s hard to explain, but... Jessie knew things he shouldn’t have known, and he saved me from being pants’d at first recess.”

Mrs Evans paled, “Pants’d... and you’re wearing... ah...,” she looked guiltily at Jessie.

“Pink nylon panties with white lace trim,” Jessie finished. “But I haven’t seen them because I kept us from being pants’d.”

“You’re making my head hurt,” Mrs Evans said. “Please tell me what’s going on.”

Jessie repeated what he’d told Kevin, including Kevin’s death, and that this was the fourth time he was going through the day and the only one where they hadn’t been pants’d.

“Dear God,” Mrs Evans gasped. “That’s like what happened in the movie Groundhog Day... and today is Groundhog day. But that can’t really happen.”

“That’s what I thought,” Jessie replied. “But it did. Last night... err, the third time through... Dad found that movie on TV and I watched it. It’s on the FX channel from 6 to 8. Check the listings. That’s when I realized I’d keep repeating the day until I found a way to prevent Kevin from killing himself.”

“It’s still a bit much to believe,”Mrs Evans said. “But it’s the only thing that explains how you knew what was going to happen”

“Jessie wants to know why I’m wearing panties,” Kevin said. “I promised him I’d explain it when we got home.”

“You don’t have a problem with Kevin wearing panties,” Mrs Evans asked.

“I did the first day,’ Jessie explained. “I wondered why he was wearing panties. But each time I went through it, I realized I was supposed to learn why, not to reject him. It was the fear of rejection at being found out that made him kill himself. Now, since I really haven’t seen the panties, I’m curious. Besides, I’m pretty sure my mom knows about it.”

“Let’s go home,” Mrs Evans announced as she dug in her purse for her cell phone handing it to Jessie. “This is just too spooky. Call your mother and tell her what’s happened and to meet us when we get home.”

Jessie had a hard time explaining things to his mother but the fact he knew about Kevin’s panties made her realize something was afoot. As the car pulled into the Evans driveway, Mrs. Harden came rushing from her house. Inside the Evans kitchen, her questions burst forth as Mrs. Evans started some hot water for tea and hot chocolate.

“Helen, please take your coat off and sit down,” Mrs Evans ordered. “Kevin, please go to Karen’s bedroom and change.”

“But mom,” Kevin gasped. “I can’t...”

“You said you promised to explain things to Jessie. This is the best way,” Mrs Hardin looked kindly but steadily at her son.

“Okay,” Kevin gave in. Reluctantly he headed upstairs but anxiously glanced at Jessie.

Jessie didn’t know anyone named Karen had a bedroom in the Evans home. But seeing Kevin’s pained expression, he smiled at his friend and gave him a thumbs up.

Kevin bit his lips and nodded in acknowledgment, then trudged up the steps.

“Betty, will you please explain what’s going on,” Helen asked. “Jessie was going on about Groundhog Day.”

“Jessie, please start from the beginning,” Betty asked. “I’m a bit confused too.”

Jessie took a deep breath and began to explain that he’d been repeating today, Groundhog Day, just like in the movie, and the deadly results of Kevin’s panty exposure. Betty even went to get the TV Guide to verify that the FX network was showing the movie Groundhog Day at the times Jessie claimed.

“Mommy, a timid voice called from upstairs.

Jessie recognized Kevin’s voice but also noted a subtle change in demeanor and timbre.

“It’s all right, Karen,” Mrs. Evans responded. “Please come down. It’s time you met Kevin’s best friend.”

Jessie was confused. It was Kevin’s voice, yet it wasn’t. Who was this Karen? Where did she come from? If she lived here, why hadn’t he ever met her? Why hadn’t Kevin ever said anything about her?

After a moment’s hesitation, a girlish clip-clop accompanied by a very girlish swishing sound began descending the steps. Jessie looked up and saw a girl coming down. At first all he saw was her black patent leather shoes over pink anklets with dainty turned down lace cuffs. Then came white fleshed girlish calves which disappeared into a rustling pink taffeta petticoat covered by a bright pink tartan skirt. The ultra girly petticoat obviously created the whispering girlish swishing as she descended. Next he saw a wide sash of shiny pink taffeta that had to be tied into a big bow in the back as he could see the rounded tips of the bow behind her narrow waist as well as the sash ends trimmed with a flourish of tartan fringe. The dainty collar was of fine cotton organdy trimmed with beaded lace, glossy pink buttons, and a little satin bow that matched the cuffs of the full length sleeves.

What Jessie found most shocking was the face of the timid pretty girl. It was Kevin... and yet it wasn’t... What had been somewhat rakish boyish bangs covering a boy’s forehead were now the dainty satiny bangs of a cute girl. The floppy shoulder length boyish hair was now neatly parted down the center and gathered into perky bouncy ponytails tied in place with girly miniature bows that matched the sash about her waist.

When she reached the bottom of the stairs, the pretty girl smiled anxiously and executed a perfect curtsey. Jessie’s mouth hung open in surprise.

“Come to mommy, Karen,” Betty urged as she held out her arms.

Karen giggled nervously and skipped into her mother’s warm embrace.

“Jessie, I’d like you to meet my daughter, Karen,” Betty introduced.

“Kevin...,” Jessie managed to squeak out as he looked at the pretty girl who had taken the place of his best friend.

“My name is Karen,” the girl sweetly answered. “Kevin is a nice guy, but I hate being trapped inside him all the time. You’ve been a fantastic friend for Kevin, I hope now that you know about me, we can be friends and I won’t have to hide from you.”

“But... how... why...,” Jessie gasped in absolute confusion as he drank in the appearance of pretty girl his best friend had become.

“It started last summer when we went to visit my mother,” Betty explained. “The airline lost Kevin’s luggage, and since they promised to find it and get it to us we decided not to buy new clothes.”

“My Gran often teased me that I looked like mom when she was little,” Karen added. “She suggested that while we waited for my luggage we find out just how much I looked like mom. I protested, but she laughed and asked if I was afraid of getting dressed up like a girl. Well, you know I couldn’t back down then. She made it sort of a game, so we went into the attic and dug out mom’s outgrown clothes.”

“It was amazing,” Betty continued. “Once we had Kevin dressed, he looked so much like me it was uncanny. We went down stairs to show his dad what a pretty our son made. He’d known what we were doing so he wasn’t surprised when we appeared, but he was shocked at what a pretty girl Kevin made. We played around with it a bit, and before we knew it was past supper time.”

“Since we’d planned to go out to eat, Gran said I should go out dressed as a girl,” Karen picked up the tale. “I protested, but when they pointed out I’d spent all afternoon as a girl and looked like such a pretty girl, I should give it a try. No one knew I was really a boy, so when dad said it’d be an adventure, I agreed. That’s when we decided I’d have to be Karen as it wouldn’t do to call a girl Kevin. We went to a fancy place and everyone gushed over how pretty I was and how nice it was to see a girl dressed like a girl. Everyone was so nice and we had a great time. I even forgot that I was really a boy. It was pretty late when we got back to Gran’s so I got ready for bed, only to discover Gran had gotten me a pretty nightie to wear. I protested a it but since I’d spent most of the day as a girl, I gave in. Besides, I’d discovered that it feels great to wear girly clothes. The nighty felt fantastic and I fell right asleep.”

“The next day we dressed Karin in a skirt and blouse,” Betty continued. “He spent all day as Karen and had a good time. The next day was the same. We all got so used to having Karen around that when Kevin’s luggage finally arrived, no one suggested that Karen change back to Kevin. We’d always been delighted with Kevin as our son and had no complaints, but Karen was simply so much better.”

“I felt different too,” Karen explained. “I thought I’d been happy as a boy, but when I became a girl, I realized that I was happier as a girl. It’s hard to explain, but Jessie, you know how we always have to put on a tough guy image at school. I mean, look how we play here at home compared to what we have to do at school. I’d never realized how unhappy I was being a boy until I didn’t have to do it. A girl can do anything a boy does, she can wear pants, play sports, climb trees, and still she gets to wear nice clothes and can giggle or cry without anyone hassling her. As guys, we have to be tough and on guard, and if we cry we get hassled and called sissies. Being a girl is a lot better. I didn’t want to change back to being Kevin when we came home so I flew back as Karen.”

“That’s why I took you to the museum that day,” Helen told Jessie. “Betty had called me and explained what had happened, so I agreed to keep you out of the way so Karen could home in safety.”

“Yeah,” Jessie said as the pieces fell into place. “You made me change out of my good clothes before I came over to play with Kevin while you went over to greet them. Then you stopped me from coming over. You said Kevin was so tired he was going to bed early.”

“I’m sorry I had to lie to you,” Helen apologized. “But once I saw Karen, I knew she wasn’t going to go away and that she could be a big problem for you.”

“We wanted to tell you,” Betty added. “We wanted to do it when the time was right, but that time never came... until today.”

“And today... and today... and today... and today,” Jessie declared. “I understand why you didn’t tell me. I’d have probably freaked. It took having to repeat Kevin’s death three times before I realized he was my friend first. I knew Kevin would be labeled a sissy for being outed, and I was afraid I’d be lumped with him. I knew something was different since your vacation but I couldn’t figure out what it was. I just knew you were sick a lot and I couldn’t come over. Only you weren’t sick... you were being Karen.”

“Yeah,” Karen answered apologetically. “I tried to give up being a girl, but it just wouldn’t go away. I had to be Karen. I sleep in her bedroom now so I can be her every night.”

“The spare room” Jessie asked to their nods. “So what happens now?”

No one said anything for a while as they exchanged looks and thought.

“If you can handle it,” Karen softly began. “I’d like to be Karen every day after school.”

“I can handle that,” Jessie smiled at the shy girl who had replaced his best friend. “I still don’t understand it, but at least I wouldn’t be losing my best friend.”

“There is only one way to really understand,” Karen shyly giggled. “Tell me, Jessie, are you tough enough to try being a girl?”

“What,’ Jessie asked sitting up in surprise.

“That’s a wonderful suggestion,” Helen gushed. “Jessie, ever since I first saw Karen, I’ve been wondering how you’d look as a girl!”

“I think it’s a fantastic idea,” Betty agreed. “Let’s go up to Karen’s room and find Jessica!”

“Whoa,” Jessie stood up and held up his hands. “I’m not dressing up as a girl!”

“Please Jessie,” Karen asked as she stood and tenderly took one of his hands in hers. “It’s the only way you can really understand. If you’re really my best friend, you’ll at least try.”

“But...” Jessie began to protest.

“Just try it tonight,” Helen declared. “If you don’t like it, we won’t make you do it again.”

“Can’t we wait to try it another time,” Jessie asked realizing he was being outmaneuvered.

“Waiting will only make doing it harder,” Betty stated.

“Lets go upstairs,” Karen asked as she smiled at him and began tugging his hand.

Jessie sighed. Karen was so winsome. And he was so curious. What would it feel like to be dressed as a girl? Meekly, he allowed himself to be led upstairs followed by two smiling mothers.

************************

As they prepared for the first day of sixth grade in the parochial school they’d transferred to over the summer, Karen and Jessica smiled and giggled as they looked at their reflections in their school uniforms. The pleated plaid skits looked so cute. Their full ponytails girlishly bobbed in response to their every movement.

***********************

Characters:

Jessie Hardin - fifth grader
Mrs. Helen Hardin - mother of Jessie
Mr. James Hardin - father of Jessie
Kevin Evans - fifth grader, Jessie’s best friend & neighbor
Mrs. Betty Evans - mother of Kevin
Mr. Fred Evans - father of Kevin
Principal Wiggins
Mrs Conrad - kindergarten teacher
Officer Dibble
Miss Wanner - school nurse
Eddie -sixth grader
Willie - sixth grader



If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudos!
Click the Thumbs Up! button below to leave the author a kudos:
up
93 users have voted.

And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks. 
This story is 10534 words long.