Beautiful Dreamer

by Allen Morgan


no illustrations

nine chapters - 107 pages


Chapter Two (part 1)


The next morning Katie and her best friend Gale delivered the Saturday papers. They were full partners on the route and split everything down the middle, fifty-fifty. Unfortunately, the only things they ever split were the work and the expenses. This Saturday their situation looked particularly grim because on Monday they had to pay the newspaper company $28.50.

They met in Katie's bedroom after lunch to see if they had collected enough over the last two weeks to make the payment. Gale got the cigar box bank from under Katie's bed and started to count the money. Katie went into the kitchen and made lemonade on the rocks, with a cherry in each glass. When she brought the glasses back to the bedroom, Gale was ready with the bad news.

"We've only got $25.50," she announced.

"With or without the three dollars we got today?" asked Katie.


"I was afraid of that. That makes us three dollars short."

"I got my allowance last night," said Gale.

"So did I" said Katie, and they both reached into their pockets.

"Okay, that makes $29.50," said Gale. "We're one dollar over."

"At least we won't get fired," said Katie. "How much do our customers still owe us?"

Gale looked it up in the records. When she read the amount aloud, Katie could hardly believe it. She was furious.

"They owe us thirty-five dollars. They can't do that. It's highway robbery."

Gale agreed. "Maybe we should charge them interest."

"Maybe we should just cream them," said Katie. "Get some tough high school kids to go around and beat them up. Break a few arms and if that doesn't work, break a few legs too."

"Maybe we should just break a few windows," said Gale.

"Yeah," said Katie. "That's the least we should do."

Katie sighed and stretched back on the bed. She thought about how she had only put a quarter in the cookie jar the night before. "I've got to make some real money by next Friday," she decided. "I'm tired of everyone in the family treating me like I'm just a little kid." She took the cherry out of her lemonade glass and bit off the stem. Then she worked out the pit with her tongue and spat it at the waste basket. It was a perfect shot. It went right in.

"Gale," she said aloud, "I'm tired of being poor. The paper route is a real zero and even if all our customers paid up tomorrow it wouldn't be nearly enough to make us rich. And I want to be rich. Thousands, that's what I want to make, thousands of thousands. More if I can."

"You aren't ever going to make thousands," said Gale. "My mother doesn't even make thousands very often. Why don't you try for hundreds?"

"Okay, I'll start with hundreds then," agreed Katie. "But the problem is how can we do it?"

They thought about it for awhile. It wasn't so easy to think of ways to be hundredaires. All the best ideas were already used up and the ones that were left weren't that good.

"My mother will pay us for pulling out dandelions," said Gale.

"How much?" Katie wanted to know.

"Three for a penny."

"Three for a penny! That's slave labour," complained Katie. "We'd have to pick three hundred just to make a dollar. It'd take years to make a hundred that way."

Gale agreed. It was why she had never taken the job herself.

They thought for a while longer. Katie had the next idea. "You know what I think we should do?" she said. "I think we should start charging for all the chores we do around the house. Fifty cents for helping with dinner, seventy-five cents for doing the laundry, a dime for making the beds."

Gale laughed. "My mother would never go for that in a million years."

"Neither would my dad," Katie admitted. "Or worse, he'd go for it like a ton of bricks and he'd start charging me back for all the things he does. He'd charge more and I'd end up owing him."

Both girls thought for a while in silence. Suddenly Katie smiled. "Listen," she said, "We can't get our own families to pay us for all the chores we do, right? So let's get other people to pay us."

"For doing our own chores?"

"No, no, no. For doing their chores. If we don't like doing things around our own house there must be tons of stuff other people don't like to do around theirs. I bet they'd pay us lots."

Gale thought about it for a moment. "If we don't like a job, we don't have to do it, do we?"

"Of course not," Katie told her. "But I wouldn't mind hardly anything if I was getting paid for it. I'm telling you, we could make a fortune with this. We'll be hundredaires in no time. And you know what I'm going to do with my first hundred? I'm going to drop it right into the cookie jar. Or better still I'll wait until I get a whole thousand instead. I'll let Jim and Susie have some to pay their university fees and dad can have the rest to fix up his cab."

"We'll never make a thousand," said Gale. "But if we do make a hundred, do you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to go right to the bus station and get a ticket for Calgary. I'll take a trip out there and see my dad. I'll surprise him."

Katie nodded in sympathy. She knew just how Gale felt. Gale's father Doug and her mother Ellie had separated six months ago and Gale hadn't seen her father since he had moved away. Even though they never talked about it, Katie knew that Gale missed him a lot. They never talked about how much Katie missed her mother either. Gale just knew. It was one of the reasons why Katie and Gale were best friends. They both knew how the other felt and they didn't have to explain.

Katie and Gale shared everything; the paper route, money, clothes, even the house. The house was actually Gale's. Katie and her family were only renting the bottom floor, but as time went by and everyone got to know each other, it began to seem like Gale and Ellie were almost part of the family. Or maybe it was the other way around; Katie was never quite sure. In any case, Gale was always nearby and the two girls spent a lot of time together. They were best friends and whatever was good for Gale was good for Katie too.

"Listen," she told Gale, "We're going to make so much money you'll be able to go to Calgary every month. We'll be rich."

"I hope you're right," said Gale. "But you'll have to promise me one thing. While we're making all this money you can't let on to my mother what I'm saving for."

"We can't let my dad hear anything about it either. He thinks I'm too young to have a real job and he'd hit the roof if he knew."

They both swore an oath of secrecy. "Nobody will know about our money but us," said Katie. "We'll keep it hidden and only use it when we have enough to make our dreams come true. It's our dreaming money for all our beautiful dreams."

Katie suddenly remembered an old song her father sometimes sang in the shower, Beautiful Dreamer. Katie smiled. She kind of liked that song. All at once, she had a very good idea.

"Listen Gale," she said, "I think I have the perfect name for our business." She paused for a moment and then leaned over and whispered, "Beautiful Dreamers."

"Beautiful Dreamers," repeated Gale and she smiled. "Hey, that's great."

"And we'll advertise ourselves," Katie said excitedly. "We'll make up announcements and stick them in all the papers we deliver; real businesses do that all the time."

Katie and Gale worked on advertising sheets most of the afternoon. While they were working they talked about all the money they would make and what they wanted to buy with it. It took a lot of talking. Although each knew what they wanted to do with their first hundred, spending the second hundred opened up a whole new range of possibilities.

"A hundred dollars worth of ice cream," suggested Gale.

"A hundred dollars worth of movies," said Katie.

"A thousand jump ropes," said Gale.

"A million jelly beans," said Katie and they both laughed.

But the more they talked about all the crazy things they could get, the more Katie realized that she wouldn't be satisfied with any of it. She wanted something different. Something more exciting.

"Ice cream and movies, that's just kids stuff," she said. "We're not kids anymore. We need something more sophisticated."

Gale agreed. They got out one of Susie's magazines and thumbed through the pages looking for ideas.

"There sure is some neat stuff in here," said Katie. She saw a particularly interesting ad for eye make-up, and pointed it out to Gale. "Hey, look at this."

Gale looked, then wrinkled up her nose. "Weird," she said.

"I think it's supposed to be sexy," said Katie.

"But her eyelids are all blue," said Gale.

"That's the way you wear it when you go out on dates late at night," explained Katie. "Susie wears it like that sometimes."

"She does?" asked Gale. Katie nodded. She went over to her sister's dresser and rummaged through one of the drawers.

"Here it is," she said, pulling out a small container. "It's called midnight blue."

"Open it up," said Gale. "Let's see if it is."

Katie opened it. The eye shadow was blue all right, but was it as blue as midnight? The only way to know for sure was to try some on.

Unfortunately, they never got the chance because, just then, Susie came into the room.

"Katie B. Moore," she exclaimed, "you take your hands off my make-up this minute. How many times have I told you to leave my things alone?"

"We were just wondering what it looked like," Katie said.

"Oh sure," said Susie. "I'll bet you were. Listen to me my fine young sister, I may be sharing this bedroom with you but that doesn't mean I'm sharing all my possessions with you too. Especially not my make-up. You're too young to be wearing make-up. You know how Max feels about that sort of thing. And stop reading my magazines in the kitchen, will you? You get peanut butter all over them and the pages stick together. Really Katie, I wish you'd grow up and realize that the rest of us in this family are entitled to a little privacy. You get into absolutely everything."

Susie picked up the eye shadow and went back to the living room. When she was safely out of range, Katie stuck out her tongue at her.

"We don't need your dumb make-up anyway. Pretty soon we'll be so rich we'll buy our own and practice with it whenever we want. We're not kids anymore no matter what you and dad think. We've got rights."

Gale agreed with her 100 percent. They talked about all the make-up they were going to buy as they worked on the rest of the advertising flyers.

continue on to part two of Chapter Two

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