"And then, quite suddenly, summer was over.
He knew it first when walking downtown. Tom grabbed his arm and pointed gasping, at the dime-store window. They stood there unable to move because of the things from another world displayed so neatly, so innocently, so frighteningly, there.
"Pencils, Doug, ten thousand pencils!"
"Oh my gosh!"
"Nickel tablets, dime tablets, notebooks, erasers, water colors, rulers, compasses, a hundred thousand of them!"
"Don't look. Maybe it's just a mirage."
"No," moaned Tom in despair. "School. School straight on ahead! Why, why do dime stores show things like that in windows before summer's even over! Ruin half the vacation!"
They walked on home and found Grandfather lone on the sere, bald-spotted lawn, plucking the last few dandelions. They worked with him silently for a time and then Douglas, bent in his own shadow, said:
"Tom, if this year's gone like this, what will next year be, better or worse?"
"Don't ask me." Tom blew a tune on a dandelion stem. "I didn't make the world." He thought about it. "Though some days I feel like I did." He spat happily.
"I got a hunch," said Douglas.
"Next year's going to be even bigger, days will be brighter, nights longer and darker, more people dying, more babies born, and me in the middle of it all."
"You and two zillion other people, Doug, remember."
"Day like today," murmured Douglas, "I feel it'll be...just me!"
"Need any help," said Tom, "just yell."
"What could a ten-year-old brother do?"
"A ten-year-old brother'll be eleven next summer. I'll unwind the world like the rubber band on a golf ball's insides every morning, put it back together every night. Show you how, if you ask."
"Always was." Tom crossed his eyes, stuck out his tongue. "Always will be."
Douglas laughed. They went down in the cellar with Grandpa and while he decapitated the flowers they looked at all the summer shelved and glimmering there in the motionless streams, the bottles of dandelion wine. Numbered from one to ninety-odd, there the ketchup bottles, most of them full now, stood burning in cellar twilight, one for every living summer day.
"Boy," said Tom, "what a swell way to save June, July, and August. Real practical."
-excerpt from Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury