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“All the other kids have rocket skates,” Schutzie mentions one day, and “I could skip the bus with rocket skates” the next.

Berlin and Loretta exchange difficult glances. Loretta takes extra nursing shifts, and Berlin hocks his wristwatch. Loretta takes the L to work. Berlin skips lunch.

At last Berlin brings home the best he can find: shiny blue Goddard Inlines, with stabilizers and silver exhaust piping. But Schutzie’s listless at the velodrome, moony on the ride back. Berlin confronts him.

“I wanted red ones,” Schutzie mumbles.

“That’s what you’re moping over?” steams Berlin.

“Plus a mugger killed Mom,” adds Schutzie.