The Trouble With Bernie

The Penny Hike -2

“Simple,” said Alex, as he pushed his thick eyeglasses back onto the bridge of his nose. “We start off on the street corner and take turns. When it’s my turn I point one way and say, ‘Heads it’s this way,’ then I point another way and say, ‘tails it’s that way.’ Then I flip a coin and whatever comes up, we walk that way for one block. Then it’s your turn. You pick a direction for heads and one for tails, flip the coin and the penny tells us which way to go.”

“I get it,” said Bernie. “That’s why they call it a penny hike.”

“Yup,” said Alex, proud to once again be the bringer of new and interesting stuff to the neighborhood. Visits to his cousins in the city often netted these results.

Usually on Saturdays the boys did a variety of things, but no matter whatever else they did, they almost always walked the eight blocks to downtown, where they visited their favorite places: the Big Scoop, Brown’s Hardware, the 88-cent store, and any other shops that caught their fancy.

The boys checked with their mothers, grabbed their jackets and met outside, under the apple tree. Like always, they walked to the corner, but instead of turning left and walking toward town, the first flip of the coin sent the boys in the opposite direction, up the hill toward their school. Their next turn took them another block up the hill. Soon they were even further away from town, so that Bernie had to face the sad fact that, if they played this game long enough, they might never make it to the Big Scoop or Brown’s Hardware.

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Katie's drawing of a coin flip
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