All characters here are S.E. Hinton's from the novel she began writing at the tender age of fifteen, The Outsiders. The scenario and ideas are my own. Soda would have been at the right age for the war draft when it came around. As a high school drop out he would have been one of the first to go. You'll be surprised at what happens in…

Eulogy for Soda

When I first heard the news about Sodapop I couldn't believe it. I didn't want it to be true. He was my big brother, after all, and I loved him. But when our oldest brother, Darry, came to the door of my room holding that letter and looking like his heart had just been ripped in pieces, I knew it couldn't be good.

The Vietnam War had been on all of our minds the last couple of years, but I will never forget the day when Soda came in and he also was carrying a letter. His face said everything. There was pride and excitement, and maybe even a little fear, though he hid that pretty well. Everyone else might have been fooled, but I was his brother and me and Darry could tell.

Soda always had so much energy. He was so full of life and vigor. I know he had been expecting the letter, so when it came he already knew he wanted to go and serve his country. But with the letter in his hand, it finally didn't matter what Darry or anyone else said anymore. He had to go. And for my brother Soda, it was all the excuse he needed.

Soda was the most handsome guy I've ever known. He was always smiling, and understanding, and joking with everyone. He had a way of making people feel really good and comfortable, kind of like the neighborhood dog that kids go to when they are feeling blue. It was always amazing to me, anytime he would take me with him how he would brighten a room. All of a sudden people would be smiling. The party would always begin and end with my brother Soda.

Well, with all of his good looks and personality, I kind of always had it figured we would see him in the movies some day. I love the movies and usually have to go see them alone, but I bet if Soda had made it into one, I'd have had the whole gang with me. Soda was never too good at school, but he would have made a good movie star. All the girls that knew him thought the same thing, as far as I can tell.

So, when he got his draft notice and then he and his best friend, Steve Randle went down the next day and enlisted together, it was a little bit shocking. But I guess we all just figured they'd go over there and kick some Commie butt and come home. Then we'd all be together again. That's the way I had it figured, at least. Boy, you aren't too smart when you're sixteen.

Darry stood there in my doorway and handed me the letter. "You'd better read it yourself," he said, "I don't think I could get through it for you."

I had to sit down on the edge of my bed to read it, my legs were already trembling so bad. And I started to read. It was from Steve Randle. He said:

"Dear Darry and Ponyboy,

"Well I guess its up to me to have to tell you this. So I hope your sittin down when you read it. I got some bad news for you about your brother. He got hit with some shrapnel in the arm and had to be flown to a hospital. The good news is that he is recovering pretty nicely. The bad news is pretty bad. I guess some big shots from California "discovered" him while they were taking pictures for a magazine that sells suits and stuff. He's accepted a contract with them to be in pictures all over the world when he gets out of here. So…he'll be making a lot of dough—more money than any of us ever seen. Anyway, gotta go."

It was signed "Your buddy Steve" and for once I didn't care about spelling or grammar mistakes. Heck, my own grammar is none too good sometimes, and I could hardly expect more from Steve.

I looked at Darry. He was standing there with his hands jammed into the pockets of his blue jeans. There were tears in his eyes and he was trembling a little bit. He nodded at me.

"Oh Ponyboy!" blubbered Darry, and I got up and ran to him.

We held each other for a few moments because we didn't know what else to do. In a time of family crisis you don't care about what other people think. Besides, we were the only two there at the time.

"I can't believe it!" I said bawling. "My big brother Sodapop, the tough hood, is gonna be…is gonna be…" I choked up and couldn't get the rest of the sentence out, so Darry finished for me.

"A pansy, queer fashion model!" He made a funny little snort sound in his throat, and then blew his nose on the shoulder of my good Madras shirt that Two Bit Matthews had stolen for me from a Soc.

I couldn't blame Darry, though. It was all just so terrible.