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The files for the assignment are attached below, along with instructions and the short story needed.

by Evan Hunter
B.A.J. 2020
The boy lay on the sidewalk bleeding in the rain. He was sixteen years old, and he wore a bright purple jacket, and the lettering across
the back of the jacket read THE ROYALS. The boy’s name was Andy and the name was delicately scripted in black thread on the front
of the jacket, just over the heart. ANDY.
He had been stabbed ten minutes ago. The knife entered just below his rib cage and had been drawn across his body violently, tearing
a wide gap in his flesh. He lay on the sidewalk with the March rain drilling his jacket and drilling his body and washing away the
blood that poured from his open wound. He had known excruciating pain when the knife had torn across his body, and then sudden
comparative relief when the blade was pulled away. He had heard the voice saying, ‘that’s for you Royal! “and then the sound of
footsteps hurrying into the rain, and then he had fallen to the sidewalk, clutching his stomach, trying to stop the flow of blood.
He tried to yell for help, but he had no voice. He did not know why his voice had deserted him, or why there was an open hole in his
body from which his life ran readily, steadily, or why the rain had become so suddenly fierce. It was 11:13 p.m. but he did not know
the time.
There was another thing he did not know.
He did not know he was dying. He lay on the sidewalk, bleeding, and he thought only: That was a fierce rumble. They got me good
that time, but he did not know he was dying. He would have been frightened had he known. In his ignorance he lay bleeding and
wishing he could cry out for help, but there was no voice in his throat. There was only the bubbling of blood from between his lips
whenever he opened his mouth to speak. He lay in his pain, waiting, waiting for someone to find him.
He could hear the sound of automobile tires hushed on the rain swept streets, far away at the other end of the long alley. He lay with
his face pressed to the sidewalk, and he could see the splash of neon far away at the other end of the alley, tinting the pavement red
and green, slickly brilliant in the rain.
He wondered if Laura would be angry. He had left the jump to get a package of cigarettes. He had told her he would be back in a few
minutes, and then he had gone downstairs and found the candy store closed. He knew that Alfredo’s on the next block would be open.
He had started through the alley, and that was when he had been ambushed.
He could hear the faint sound of music now, coming from a long, long way off. He wondered if Laura was dancing, wondered if she
had missed him yet. Maybe she thought he wasn’t coming back. Maybe she thought he’d cut out for good. Maybe she had already left
the jump and gone home. He thought of her face, the brown eyes and the jet-black hair, and thinking of her he forgot his pain a little,
forgot that blood was rushing from his body.
Someday he would marry Laura. Someday he would marry her, and they would have a lot of kids, and then they would get out of the
neighborhood. They would move to a clean project in the Bronx, or maybe they would move to Staten Island. When they were
married, when they had kids.
B.A.J. 2020
2
He heard footsteps at the other end of the alley, and he lifted his cheek from the sidewalk and looked into the darkness and tried to cry
out, but again there was only a soft hissing bubble of blood on his mouth.
The man came down the alley. He had not seen Andy yet. He walked, and then stopped to lean against the brick of the building, and
then walked again. He saw Andy then and came toward him, and he stood over him for a long time, the minutes ticking, ticking,
watching him and not speaking.
Then he said, “What’s the matter, buddy’?”
Andy could not speak, and he could barely move. He lifted his face slightly and looked up at the man, and in the rain swept alley he
smelled the sickening odor of alcohol. The man was drunk.
The man was smiling.
“Did you fall down, buddy?” he asked. “You must be as drunk as I am.” He squatted alongside Andy.
‘You gonna catch cold there,” he said. “What’s the matter? You like layin’ in the wet?”
Andy could not answer. The rain spattered around them.
You like a drink?”
Andy shook his head.
“I gotta bottle. Here,” the man said. He pulled a pint bottle from his inside jacket pocket. Andy tried to move, but pain wrenched him
back flat against the sidewalk.
Take it,” the man said. He kept watching Andy. “Take it.” When Andy did not move, he said, “Nev’ mind, I’ll have one m’self.” He
tilted the bottle to his lips, and then wiped the back of his hand across his mouth. “You too young to be drinkin’ anyway. Should be
‘shamed of yourself, drunk and layin ‘in a alley, all wet. Shame on you. I gotta good mind to call a cop.”
Andy nodded. Yes, he tried to say. Yes, call a cop. Please call one.
“Oh, you don’ like that, huh?” the drunk said. “You don’ wanna cop to fin’ you all drunk an’ wet in an alley, huh: Okay, buddy. This
time you get off easy.” He got to his feet. “This time you get off easy,” he said again. He waved broadly at Andy, and then almost lost
his footing. “S’long, buddy,” he said.
Wait, Andy thought. Wait, please, I’m bleeding.
“S’long,” the drunk said again, “I see you around,” and the he staggered off up the alley.
B.A.J. 2020
3
Andy lay and thought: Laura, Laura. Are you dancing:?
The couple came into the alley suddenly. They ran into the alley together, running from the rain, the boy holding the girl’s elbow, the
girl spreading a newspaper over her head to protect her hair. Andy watched them run into the alley laughing, and then duck into the
doorway not ten feet from him.
“Man, what rain!” the boy said. ‘You could drown out there.”
“I have to get home,” the girl said. “It’s late, Freddie. I have to get home.”
“We got time,” Freddie said. ‘Your people won’t raise a fuss if you’re a little late. Not with this with kind of weather.”
“It’s dark,” the girl said, and she giggled.
‘Yeah,” the boy answered, his voice very low.
“Freddie . . . . ?
“Um?”
“You’re … standing very close to me.”
“Um.”
There was a long silence. Then the girl said, “Oh,” only that single word, and Andy knew she had been kissed , and he suddenly
hungered for Laura’s mouth. It was then that he wondered if he would ever kiss Laura again. It was then that he wondered if he was
dying.
No, he thought, I can’t be dying, not from a little street rumble, not from just being cut. Guys get cut all the time in rumbles. I can’t be
dying. No, that’s stupid. That don’t make any sense at all.
“You shouldn’t,” the girl said.
“Why not?”
“Do you like it?”
“Yes.”
“So?”
“I don’t know.”
B.A.J. 2020
4
“I love you, Angela,” the boy said.
“I love you, too, Freddie,” the girl said, and Andy listened and thought: I love you, Laura. Laura, I think maybe I’m dying. Laura, this
is stupid but I think maybe I’m dying. Laura, I think I’m dying
He tried to speak. He tried to move. He tried to crawl toward the doorway. He tried to make a noise, a sound, and a grunt came, a low
animal grunt of pain.
“What was that?” the girl said, suddenly alarmed, breaking away from the boy.
“I don’t know,” he answered.
“Go look, Freddie.”
“No. Wait.”
Andy moved his lips again. Again the sound came from him.
Freddie!”
“What?”
“I’m scared.”
“I’ll go see,” the boy said.
He stepped into the alley. He walked over to where Andy lay on the ground. He stood over him, watching him.
“You all right?” he asked.
“What is it?” Angela said from the doorway.
“Somebody’s hurt,” Freddie said.
“Let’s get out of here,” Angela said.
“No. Wait a minute.” He knelt down beside Andy. “You cut?” he asked.
Andy nodded. The boy kept looking at him. He saw the lettering on the jacket then. THE ROYALS. He turned to Angela.
“He’s a Royal,” he said.
“Let’s what. . . .what . . . do you want to do, Freddie?”
B.A.J. 2020
5
“I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t want to get mixed up in this. He’s a Royal. We help him, and the Guardians’ll be down on our
necks. I don’t want to get mixed up in this, Angela.”
“Is he . . . is he hurt bad?”
“Yeah, it looks that way.”
“What shall we do?”
“I don’t know.”
“We can’t leave him here in the rain,” Angela hesitated. “Can we?”
“If we get a cop, the Guardians’ll find out who,” Freddie said. “I don’t know, Angela. I don’t know.”
Angela hesitated a long time before answering. Then she said, “I want to go home, Freddie. My people will begin to worry.”
“Yeah,” Freddie said. He looked at Andy again. “You all right?” he asked. Andy lifted his face from the sidewalk, and his eyes said:
Please, please help me, and maybe Freddie read what his eyes were saying, and maybe he didn’t.
Behind him, Angela said, “Freddie, let’s get out of here! Please!” Freddie stood up. He looked at Andy again, and then mumbled, “I’m
sorry.” He took Angela’s arm and together they ran towards the neon splash at the other end of the alley.
Why, they’re afraid of the Guardians, Andy thought in amazement. By why should they be? I wasn’t afraid of the Guardians. I never
turkeyed out of a rumble with the Guardians. I got heart. But I’m bleeding.
The rain was soothing somehow. It was a cold rain, but his body was hot all over, and the rain helped cool him. He had always liked
rain. He could remember sitting in Laura’s house one time, the rain running down the windows, and just looking out over the street,
watching the people running from the rain. That was when he’d first joined the Royals.
He could remember how happy he was when the Royals had taken him. The Royals and the Guardians, two of the biggest. He was a
Royal. There had been meaning to the title.
Now, in the alley, with the cold rain washing his hot body, he wondered about the meaning. If he died, he was Andy. He was not a
Royal. He was simply Andy, and he was dead. And he wondered suddenly if the Guardians who had ambushed him and knifed him
had ever once realized he was Andy? Had they known that he was Andy or had they simply known that he was Royal wearing a
purple silk jacket? Had they stabbed him, Andy, or had they only stabbed the jacket and the title and what good was the title if you
were dying?
I’m Andy, he screamed wordlessly, I’m Andy.
B.A.J. 2020
6
An old lady stopped at the other end of the alley. The garbage cans were stacked there, beating noisily in the rain. The old lady carried
an umbrella with broken ribs, carried it like a queen. She stepped into the mouth of the alley, shopping bag over one arm. She lifted
the lids of the garbage cans. She did not hear Andy grunt because she was a little deaf and because the rain was beating on the cans.
She collected her string and her newspapers, an old hat with a feather on it from one of the garbage cans, and a broken footstool from
another of the cans. And then she replaced the lids and lifted her umbrella high and walked out of the alley mouth. She had worked
quickly and soundlessly, and now she was gone.
The alley looked very long now. He could see people passing at the other end of it, and he wondered who the people were, and he
wondered if he would ever get to know them, wondered who it was of the Guardians who had stabbed him, who had plunged the knife
into his body.
“That’s for you, Royal!” the voice had said. “That’s for you, Royal!” Even in his pain, there had been some sort of pride in knowing he
was a Royal. Now there was no pride at all. With the rain beginning to chill him, with the blood pouring steadily between his fingers,
he knew only a sort of dizziness. He could only think: I want to be Andy.
It was not very much to ask of the world.
He watched the world passing at the other end of the alley. The world didn’t know he was Andy. The world didn’t know he was alive.
He wanted to say, “Hey, I’m alive! Hey, look at me! I’m alive! Don’t you know I’m alive? Don’t you know I exist?”
He felt weak and very tired. He felt alone, and wet and feverish and chilled. He knew he was going to die now. That made him
suddenly sad. He was filled with sadness that his life would be over at sixteen. He felt all at once as if he had never done anything,
never seen anything, never been anywhere. There were so many things to do. He wondered why he’d never thought of them before,
wondered why the rumbles and the jumps and the purple jackets had always seemed so important to him before. Now they seemed
like such small things in a world he was missing, a world that was rushing past at the other end of the alley.
I don’t want to die, he thought. I haven’t lived yet. It seemed very important to him that he take off the purple jacket. He was very close
to dying, and when they found him, he did not want them to say, “Oh, it’s a Royal.” With great effort, he rolled over onto his back. He
felt the pain tearing at his stomach when he moved. If he never did another thing, he wanted to take off the jacket. The jacket had only
one meaning now, and that was a very simple meaning.
B.A.J. 2020
7
If he had not been wearing the jacket, he wouldn’t have been stabbed. The knife had not been plunged in hatred of Andy. The knife
hated only the purple jacket. The jacket was as stupid meaningless thing that was robbing him of his life.
He lay struggling with the shiny wet jacket. His arms were heavy. Pain ripped fire across his body whenever he moved. But he
squirmed and fought and twisted until one arm was free and then the other. He rolled away from the jacket and lay quite still,
breathing heavily, listening to the sound of his breathing and the sounds of the rain and thinking: Rain is sweet, I’m Andy.
She found him in the doorway a minute past midnight. She left the dance to look for him, and when she found him, she knelt beside
him and said, “Andy, it’s me, Laura.”
He did not answer her. She backed away from him, tears springing into her eyes, and then she ran from the alley. She did not stop
running until she found a cop.
And now, standing with the cop, she looked down at him. The cop rose and said, “He’s dead.” All the crying was out of her now. She
stood in the rain and said nothing, looking at the purple jacket that rested a foot away from his body.
The cop picked up the jacket and turned it over in his hands.
“A Royal, huh?” he said.
She looked at the cop and, very quietly, she said, “His name is Andy.”
The cop slung the jacket over his arm. He took out his black pad, and he flipped it open to a blank page.
“A Royal, ” he said. Then he began writing.
B.A.J. 2020
8
On the Sidewalk Bleeding Part 1.
Stop at “When they were married, when they had kids.”
Answer all questions with complete answers. (Highlight
answers or use a different color font)
1. Reread paragraph one. Describe the main character in your own words; what do you
know about him thus far?
2. Reread Paragraph Two. Think about what words are repeated. What can you infer is the
purpose of the author doing this?
3. Reread Paragraph Three. Once again think about the words that are repeated and
justify what is the author’s purpose for repeating these words?
4. Reread Paragraph Four. The author has a specific diction choice. Interpret why the
author repeats the words: he did not know he was dying…but there was no voice.
5. What effect does Andy’s jacket have on the people who find him in the alley?
6. What is the overall conflict so far that we have seen in this story?
7. Evaluate the importance of his thoughts? What theme do you start to see emerge in the
story?
On the Sidewalk Bleeding Part 2
Answer all questions with complete answers. (Highlight
answers or use a different color font)
1. Why are stereotypes important in ‘On the Sidewalk Bleeding’?
2. What important role does Andy’s jacket have in the story? What does it do, and
how does it play a part?
3. What kind of person do you think Andy was? To what extent did he deserve
what he got?
4. What is the police officer’s reaction to Andy? How does this contribute to the
author’s message?
5. There are two types of conflict in this story; man vs. man, and man vs. self. What
conflict is happening in the story that is related to man vs. man. What part of the
conflict is of man vs. self.
6. What does Andy try to do with the last of his strength? What does this mean in
the story?
7. Tell me about the theme of identity in this story. How does it show up, and what
does it try to teach you?
8. Tell me about the theme of stereotyping in this story, and what effect it has on
the characters.
Theme
Why do these lines demonstrate theme in the story?
“He had heard the voice saying, ‘That’s for you, Royal!’ and then the sound of footsteps hurrying into the rain,
and then he had fallen . . .”
“I don’t want to get mixed up in this. He’s a Royal.”
“I never turkeyed out of a rumble with the Guardians.”
“He could remember how happy he was the Royals had taken him.”
“If he died, he was Andy. He was not a Royal.”
Writer’s Notebook
“Gangs are a group reaction to helplessness.”
– Jesse Jackson

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