Willie is nervous to go into Ruppe’s drugstore and buy rubbers. At first he tries to run away because he is scared to get into any trouble. Pato and the other boys make Willie do it though, telling him to ask for the brand name “Mereh Willows.”
When Willie goes into the store, he cannot find what he is looking for. The girl behind the desk calls out to him and asks what he wants. He tries to explain by pronouncing the brand name but she does not understand. He then tries to explain what they are used for, but she still does not understand. Willie initially thinks her confusion is because she is a virgin.
The girl then asks for help from the pharmacist to see if he can figure out what Willie wants. Willie again tries to pronounce the brand name, but the pharmacist is still confused. Willie tries explaining that he is looking for them for his father, but this just makes the pharmacist think that Willie’s father is sick. Willie eventually becomes so frustrated that he shouts, “Don’t you know that Mer-eh-willows are rubbers!" The pharmacist and the girl laugh so hard that they cry, and show Willie a box that says “Merry Widow.” Then they let him take the box for free.
Overall this experience is quite embarrassing for Willie. He is frustrated that he cannot communicate what he is looking for, and he is nervous because he is young and self-conscious.