"Who's that?" he yelled. "Caulfield? Come in boy."

I shuffled reluctantly into Old Spencer's room. It didn't smell too tasty, I have to admit, on account of all the closed windows and Vicks that Spencer had been overdosing on.

"Afternoon, Sir," I returned as cheerfully as I could. "I came because I got your note. Actually, I would have come anyway."

"Now, now, you don't have to pretend with me, boy, I want us to have a serious talk. I want you to be honest with me."

I gulped and stared at my shoes. Being honest was not my strong suit. I mean I could tell the truth, sure I could, I just didn't always feel like it, especially when there were so many phonies around.

"I'll certainly try, Sir." I paused to contemplate the idea of being honest. Me, Holden Caulfield. "If we're going to be honest, I'll tell you something right away and that is that I hate being called 'boy'. I know I'm young and all - well, except for my height and grey hair and all - so I don't particularly get a bang out of being reminded."

Spencer looked at me sharply, like he was trying to pierce my skull and read the thoughts that were held within.

"Certainly, certainly, I understand. Just the bad habit of an old man, if you'll forgive me."

He sure was being nice and agreeable. I think my instincts were right - he really did care about me.