Soda had been gone for an hour when he shouldn't have been gone for more than twenty minutes. The problem with Soda was: he had a very short attention span which was responsible for him getting distracted and drawing out simple tasks to a very unnecessary length. It was also probably the reason he failed school, and drove too fast. The normal accepted ways of doing things bored Sodapop. That was also probably why he was so happy; he didn't have time to get fed up with life before he was on looking at the next aspect of it.

Pony looked up from his book, Soda wasn't in the living room, he was vaguely aware that he had walked out the door, but he hadn't really realized. For some reason the reality made his stomach sick. In his mind's eye he saw Soda walk out the front, but then the door turned into the door in Johnny's hospital room and Soda turned into Dally. The sick feeling he had that night washed over him again and settled in his stomach and the pictures suck in his brain.

In a small somewhat panicked and shaky voice Pony voiced his concern. "Darry, where'd Soda go? How long has he been gone?"

Darry folded down the paper he was reading. He had noticed Soda's prolonged absents, but he wasn't really concerned about it. Soda probably saw a pretty girl or car and got busy using his charm. He could tell by the expression in Pony's voice he was worried, and with Pony's nerves being what they had been lately he was going to end the fear before it got worse.

"Eh, you know Soda Ponyboy, Soda's probably petting a puppy or something. He went to get ice cream and he probably can't pick. He'll be back." Then Darry gave his brother and uncharacteristic smile.

Pony tried to smile back but couldn't quite manage it to the caliber Darry had, he turned his head back down to his book and stared blankly.

"Maybe we can go find him, Darry." He said looking at his eldest brother with a helpless face.

Darry gave in easily. He could imagine the thoughts that were going on in Pony's head.

"Sure, baby."

Both young men grabbed their jackets and started got in the truck and started toward town. Darry drove slowly and they inspected every boy they past but none was their brother. They pulled into the parking lot at the drug store and they went in. They quickly scanned the occupants but Soda wasn't there.

"Hey Larry, has Sodapop been in tonight?" Darry asked walking to the counter to inquire of older man.

"Nope, ant seen him all day. He get lost?" Larry made a poor attempt at humor.

Ponyboy looked pleadingly up at Darry, like all his worst fears were coming true. The look on Darry's face faltered and instantly was replaced with an empty, forced calm and amused expression.

He slapped Ponyboy on the shoulder and said, "Don't worry, I'm sure he's around somewhere. I'll check Steve's first." Then Darry turned to the payphone.

After a brief conversation he turned and related to Ponyboy that Two-Bit had picked Steve up earlier and the two were going to the double; witch really meant that they could be anywhere.

"So don't worry huh? He's out goffin' around."

Pony took a second to proses. But he nodded reluctantly.

If the two boys had been observant of the ground when they left, they would have seen a splatter of blood belonging to Soda.