The sun was beaming and bounced off the lake in a blinding glare. Pat O'Sullivan Pinkerton watched the ceremony, moved, but all along secretly thinking, "Just slap some hot chocolate sauce on all that lovely stuff, and I'd soon have it spooned off."
Once the lake was cleared of snow, Old Jack and his crew fitted together rink boards, making three rinks—one in the shade of the mountain for home games only, one practice rink for the first squad and a smaller one for lower-school brat games. Hockey practice started that afternoon. Non-players were allowed to skate outside the rinks.
Mr. and Mrs. Pinkerton had thought it strange the school didn't furnish Pat with the expensive goalie equipment for which he'd written.
"He's such a big boy," Mr. Pinkerton said with a note of pride, "that must be why. Our Pat is man-sized, you know."
"And our darling dumpling has found a new interest," Mrs. Pinkerton added, beaming. It was the first letter from Pat that hadn't demanded food or money. They bundled the equipment off at once.
The package arrived the day after hockey practice started. Pat rushed it up to try it on. He stood admiring his shadow against Jim Finger's hockey-goal diagram. The pads fattened him out even more. He was busy testing the moves he'd seen Jim Finger make so often when Jim walked in, totally unexpected. He took one look at Pat and pretended to faint. He reeled around the room grasping his throat and crumpled up on the floor, moaning, "Good grief, it's the Blob, the Blob lives, the Blob lives!"
"Very funny," Pat said. Then in a tough voice, protected by some 35 pounds of padding, he added, "O.K., One-Point-Two-Five, get your beanbags. Stand over there by that window and wing 'em in. Come on, Jimbo Baby, ring those bells!"
"You?" Jim Finger shouted scornfully. "Porko von Popbutton? Don't waste my time, you manager!" Then he paused.
He looked curiously at Pat standing there in front of his goal diagram. He looked at him with that circular motion of the head that Pat had noticed when he first met Jim. He pulled open his bottom dresser drawer, took out the beanbags and said simply, "Ready, Porko?"
"Ring those bells, Jimbo Baby." He bent over in position—knees flexed—limbering up, fat and loose. "Be fast, be mean!"