Soapy’s Choice by O. Henry

Soapy's Choice by O. Henry

The main character of this book was sitting on Maddison Square and thinking about his sad future. He was looking on the horizon line, and dry yellow leaves were falling nearby. The autumn was ending and he needed to decide what he would do next. Recently, he was in prison: so he had a roof over his head, hot food and friends. This would be a good place to wait out the cold season. After all, sleeping on the street, trying to get warm with the newspapers was not a very pleasant activity. The man decided to return to prison. First he decided to go to an expensive restaurant, eat dinner and say that he had no money. They would call the police – that’s all! Simple and effective plan. But the waiter saw his old clothes and brought him out. Then the man broke a shop window, but the policeman did not believe that he did it.

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Soapy’s Choice by O. Henry

Soapy sat on a seat in Madison Square, New York, and looked up at the sky. A dead leaf fell onto his arm. Winter was coming, and Soapy knew that he must make his plans. He moved unhappily on his seat.

He wanted three months in a nice, warm prison, with food and good friends. This was how he usually spent his winters. And now it was time, because, at night on his seat in the square, three newspapers did not keep out the cold.

Soapy's Choice by O. Henry

So Soapy decided to go to prison, and at once began to try his first plan. It was usually easy. He ate dinner in an expensive restaurant. Then he told them he had no money and they called a policeman. Nice and easy, with no trouble.

So Soapy left his seat, and walked slowly along the street. Soon he came to a bright restaurant on Broadway. Ah! This was all right. He just had to get to a table in the restaurant and sit down. That was all, because, when he sat down, people could only see his coat and his shirt, which were not very old. Nobody could see his trousers. He thought about the meal – not too expensive, but good.

But when Soapy went into the restaurant, the waiter saw Soapy’s dirty old trousers and terrible shoes.

Strong hands turned him round and helped him out into the street again.

So now he had to think of something different. Soapy walked away from Broadway and soon he found himself on Sixth Avenue. He stopped in front of a shop window and looked at it. It was nice and bright, and everybody in the street could see him. Slowly and carefully he picked up a stone and threw it at the window. The glass broke with a loud noise. People ran round the corner and Soapy was happy, because the man in front was a policeman. Soapy did not move. He stood there with his hands in his pockets, and he smiled. ‘I’ll soon be in prison now,’ he thought.

The policeman came up to Soapy. ‘Who did that?’ he asked.

‘Perhaps I did,’ Soapy replied.

But the policeman knew that people who break windows do not stop to talk to policemen. They run away. And just then the policeman saw another man, who was running to catch a bus. So the policeman ran after him. Soapy watched for a minute. Then he walked away. No luck again! He began to feel cross…

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