It’s time we talk about these guys.

Freckles and Pee-Wee Friendly.

The most obvious question, apparent to any child who read the comic, is this: why were they poor? Pee-Wee is small from childhood malnutrition; Freckles always has holes in his shoes and patches on his pants. (His sole pair of pants.) They come over to play in the compound, and see Richie pull out tottering stacks of cash to help the small boy reach the pedals . . . and then put them away when playtime was done, and they were escorted to the gate.

Perhaps they thought there was an understanding, and some day he would help them. One day there would be a bike of their own waiting - not a gold one like he had, but a regular bike for regular folk. One day there would be a letter at home that said their heating bills had been taken care of. A turkey at Thanksgiving. One day.

Richie was their pal! One day.