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The Autograph (1) [The Autograph]

The Autograph (1)

One Saturday afternoon, Mark was sitting back in an armchair feeling really upset.

One leg was in a cast and it was resting on a pillow on a stool in front of him.

" I'm fed up, " he said to his mother.

" Never mind, " she said, " Broken legs get better, you know. Now why don't you watch football on television, while I go in the kitchen and make a cake ? Shall I switch the set on for you ? "

” No, ” frowned Mark.
He was still upset.
Imagine falling off his bike and breaking his leg.

And it would have to happen just when his Dad and his big brother, Steve, had promised to take him to a real football game.

His first real football game, in the stadium, and with Vince Oliver playing.

Dad's newspaper called Vince Oliver 'the fastest thing on two legs ’ ー and the game was today, and he was going to have to miss it, because of his broken leg.

" I'm fed up, " said Mark again.

" Never mind, " said his Dad, " I'll bring you my program back, and I bet they'll be showing the game on TV later this evening. I'll ask Mom to let you stay up to set it. "

(1/6)


The Autograph (2) [The Autograph]

The Autograph (2)

" I'm still fed up, said Mark.

Steve came in with an ice-cream cone.

14 - 1.jpg

" Here you are, " he said.
" I've just bought it for you from Sam. He asked how you are, and I said you were fed up because you were missing the game. So he put an extra sprinkle of nuts on top and stuck an extra chocolate bar inーsaid it was Sam's Specia land it would cheer you up. "

Now Mark had to smile and began to lick the ice cream.

" W'll have to go now, son, " said his Dad, coming in with his red and white scarf around his neck.
" I won't foget your program. "

" And I tell you what, " said Steve, " I'll try to get Vince Oliver's autograph for you. His very own name, written by himself in his very own handwriting
ーhow about that ? "

Mark felt really cheerful now, and he waved goodbye to them and let his mother switch o the televition for him, while he enjoyed his Sam's Special.

He watched televition most of that Sturday afternoon.

Then his leg began to itch, and because there was a cast on it, he couldn't get at it to scratch.

Then he began to get stiff from sitting in the same position in the same chair for hours on end.

(2/6) 


The Autograph (3) [The Autograph]

The Autograph (3)

" I hate this cast, " he said to his mother when she came in to see how he was.

" Never mind, " she said.

Everybody seems to be saying that to me today, thought Mark.
But I do mind.
I don't want a rotten old cast on my leg. I want to be at the game with Steve and Dad. I want to see Vince Oliver play.

"Will you come in the kitchen and ice the top of the cake for me,Mark ? " asked his mother.
"I'll let you use the icing bag to make squiggly patterns, if you like. "

Mark sniffed, then cheered up and hopped into the kitchen on his good leg.

He had to hold onto chairs and doorjambs to help him.
Then his mother helped him up onto a high stool to do the icing.

(3/6)


The Autograph (4) [The Autograph]

The Autograph (4)

When his Dad and Steve got home, he could see that their team had won.

They both looked pleased.
Dad was smiling, and Steve was chanting.

" Hooray Reds ! Hooray R-e-ds ! "

" Here's the program, " said Dad, handing it to Mark.
" We won. "


" Did you see Vince Oliver ? "

" Course, " said Steve.
" He got two touchdowns. Guess what, thoughーnear the end of the game, he was tackled, and he fell against one of the goal posts. They had to help him off. "

" Hey. I hope he's not badly hurt, "
said Mark.
" So you didn't get his autograph ? "

" No, sorry, I'll try next time he's playing. "

But they found out later that Vince Oliver was to be out of football for some time ; he had broken his arm.

Two weeks later, Mark had to go back to the hospital.
The doctor wanted to see his leg and put on a new cast.

He sat with his Mom in the waiting room.

A nurse came in.
" Mark Foster, your turn, please. "

(4/6)

The Autograph (5) [The Autograph]

The Autograph (5)

Mark and his Mom went into a little room where another nurse cut down the side of his cast with a pair of specially strong scissors.

After that, a doctor examined his leg and said it was mending beautifully.

Then the nurse put fresh plaster around his leg.

His Mom pushed him back to the waiting room in a wheelchair,and they sat and waited for the plaster to dry.


" Two more weeks, Mark, and you should be playing football again, " smiled the nurse.

His Mom went over to her to make the next appointment for him.

The man in the chair next to Mark's had his arm in plaster.
Hehad been listening .

" Do you like football, then  ? " he asked.

" Oh, yes, " said Mark.

He told the man about howhe'd been going to see his first live football game  when he fell off his bike and couldn't go.


" And I specially wanted to see Vince Oliver play, said Mark.
" So when I had to stay at home, my brother said he'd get his autograph, but he couldn't, because Vince broken his arm. "

" Yes, " said the man with the arm in plaster
.
" Yes, I did. "

(5/6)  
 

The Autograph (6 完) [The Autograph]

The Autograph (6 完)

"You, did ?" said Mark.
He stared.

" You ? Are you Vince Oliver ? But you're not like my pictures of you. You're not in your football things. "

" No, I only wear them for training and for games," laughed Vince.
" Usually I wear ordinary clothes. That's why you didin't recognize me. You're usedto seeing pictures of me in red and white. "

Mark was so amazed, he couldn't speak.
He just stared.

Vince Oliver, was sitting on the chair next to him.

He
couldn't believe it.

" Tell you what, "said Vince.
" I can still write with my left hand. would you like my autograph nowーor is it too late ? "

Mark could only shake his head.

Vince took a pen from his pocket and bent down over Mark's leg.


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Mark squinted sideways to watch.
Vince was writing:
" From one footballer to another. All the best, Vince Oliver. "

The plaster was tasken off two weeks later.

When the nurse had removed it, Mark said.
" I want to keep that please. It's my autograph from Vince. "

The nurse looked very surprised,but she gave it back to him.

Now it's hanging on Mark's bedroom wall for everyone to see.
A little label is pinned next to it.

It read
:
" The fastest thing on two legs autographed this for the slowest thing on one leg. "

(6/6 完)
 

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