Beautiful Dreamer

by Allen Morgan


no illustrations

nine chapters - 107 pages


Chapter Three (part 1)

On Monday afternoon Katie and Gale went to pick up their papers. Katie brought the $28.50 that they owed, and Gale brought a stack of advertising flyers for the Beautiful Dreamers. They paid the newspaper company and started on their paper route.

"We'll ring every doorbell," said Katie. "I'll ask for whatever money people owe us and you can give out the flyers and explain about our business."

"Do you think we'll get any jobs?" asked Gale.

"We might," said Katie. "But it's only the first day and the main thing is to let everyone know that we're open for business - and to collect some of that money everyone owes us."

"I bet no one gives us any money. They've never paid us before."

"Today's the day we start getting tough. Just watch me. I'm going to be so tough they'll be paying us weeks in advance."

It didn't work out the way Katie had planned. Hardly anyone was home. The only person Katie had a chance to get tough with was Mrs. Johnston's four-year-old son and he turned out to be tougher than Katie was.

"My mummy's in the bathtub," he told her. He grabbed the paper and kicked Katie in the shins. Katie grabbed her leg and tried to grab him too but he was too fast. He ducked inside and slammed the door.

"Who's next?" growled Katie between clenched teeth.

"The Crandells," Gale told her. "They're the worst. They owe ten dollars."

Katie groaned. She didn't like the Crandells. They complained a lot and always had excuses for not paying. But when the Crandells didn't even answer the door it was the last straw. Katie knew they were there because she heard Mr. Crandell coughing. It made her so mad that she kicked their front door. She was about to kick it again when suddenly it swung open and old Mr. Crandell stood facing her.

"What's this?" he demanded. Katie's foot froze in mid-kick. "Ethel, come here," he cried. "Two hooligans are breaking down our front door." He sneezed loudly, took a tattered handkerchief from his bathrobe pocket and sneezed again.

Mrs. Crandell appeared behind him. "Arthur, come away from that door," she said. "You'll catch your death."

Mr. Crandell sneezed a few more times and let his wife push past him to inspect the damage. She shook her head and tsk-tsk'ed. "Really," she exclaimed, "this is absolutely disgraceful. What is this neighbourhood coming to? My own house attacked in broad daylight!"

Katie turned bright red.

"Aren't you the paper girl?" asked Mrs. Crandell suspiciously.

"The paper hooligan you mean," growled her husband. "Don't you know your place young lady? You're supposed to deliver papers not kick down doors. She kicks in windows too, Ethel. I've seen her."

"Now you go upstairs Arthur, and away from this door. I'll take care of everything," said Mrs. Crandell and she shooed him away.

"Well?" she asked pointedly when she returned. Gale gave her a paper and looked over at Katie.

Katie took a deep breath. "We're collecting for the paper ma'am. You owe us ten dollars."

"Well, I certainly don't think we can talk about that after what just happened," said Mrs. Crandell. "And I think I shall call the paper authorities about this as soon as I can. And I shall call your father and most probably the police too." Then she slammed the door.

Katie and Gale just stood there with their mouths open. Katie felt like giving the door another kick but she decided against it. She wasn't too keen on seeing Mrs. Crandell again.

"I guess I blew that one," she said as they walked down the street to the next house.

"I guess you did," agreed Gale.

"You don't think she'll really call anybody, do you?"

"She might," said Gale. "Mrs. Crandell complains about everything. She called the police once because Brenda's dog did his business on her lawn. She puts mothballs out on the grass now to keep dogs away. She calls them dog-don'ts."

"So that's what those white things are," said Katie. "Do they work?"

Gale laughed. "Most of the time. Especially when Mr. Crandell gets out his sling shot and shoots them at any dogs who don't catch the hint."

Mrs. Thompson was next on their newspaper list, but she wasn't home. Katie remembered that she had a three-year-old who ate his weight in cookies so she wrote "we do baby-sitting" across the top of the advertising flyer. She slipped it through the mail slot.

"I'll bet anything she comes through with a job," Katie said. "She always pays for her paper on time. She likes us."

Katie and Gale went to the last house on their route. Katie paused at the door before ringing the bell. She looked at Gale. "Do we have to get tough with Mr. Waverly?" she asked.

Gale looked at her list and nodded. "He owes us $3.60," she said.

Katie sighed. Mr. Waverly was sixty-eight going on eighty. He lived alone and had hardly any money. It didn't seem very fair to get tough with him, but she knew that Gale was right. Business was business! Katie rang the doorbell but secretly she hoped that Mr. Waverly wasn't home. He was.

"Why Katie, Gale, you've come just in time," he said with a big smile. "You've brought my paper I hope?"

"We've got it," said Katie, but she didn't give it to him. She just stood there looking uncomfortable.

Gale stepped forward. "Actually, what we're doing is collecting, " she said as nicely as she could. "You owe us two weeks, Mr. Waverly. That's $3.60."

"Oh dear," said Mr. Waverly looking quite upset. "I forgot all about it. I'm always forgetting things. Now let's see; I just went shopping. I should have some change somewhere, but where did I put it?"

He fumbled in his pockets. As he was looking, a cute little puppy wriggled between his legs and licked Gale's shoe. Gale leaned over and patted him on the head. The puppy went wild with happiness. His tail wagged and his body wiggled all over.

"Nice doggie!" cooed Gale. "Nice puppy."

"Oh dear," said Mr. Waverly, "Don't say that."

But it was too late. As soon as the puppy heard Gale talking to him he started to pee.

Mr. Waverly just shook his head. "That's the way it's been since I bought him' " he told the girls. "Every time I speak to him he loses control. I've got puddles all over the house. I sure do need my paper today. I've used up all the old ones. Now where is my change?"

"Oh that's okay, Mr. Waverly," said Gale quickly. "We trust you."

"You can pay us tomorrow," added Katie and she held out his paper.

But Mr. Waverly wouldn't take it. He shook his head. "It isn't fair to you girls," he told them. "You work hard delivering these papers. I can't take another one until my debt is paid."

Katie and Gale felt horrible. Both of them wished they hadn't decided to get tough but it was too late. Mr. Waverly was very set in his ways and when he decided something, that was that.

"Now wait a minute," said Mr. Waverly suddenly. "I just thought of something' "

He disappeared into the house and returned a few minutes later with a large cardboard box. "Here you are," he said happily. "Twelve empty pop bottles. They're worth thirty cents each, you know. That's $3.60 right on the nose."

Everyone thought it was the perfect solution.

"Here's your paper," said Katie.

"And have one of these too," said Gale, handing him a flyer.

"What's this?" asked Mr. Waverly and he held the flyer at arms length to read it. "Beautiful Dreamers, eh? Say, I know that one. It's one of my favourite songs." He hummed a few bars and smiled at them.

"It's the name of our new business," said Katie proudly.

"We do things for people," said Gale. "We could walk your dog, for instance."

"What a wonderful idea," said Mr. Waverly. "He'd like that. I can't get out as much as he'd like. What do you charge?"

"Oh we don't charge very much," said Gale.

"Just give us another pop bottle," said Katie. "That'll cover the week."

"Seems to me that's a little low," said Mr. Waverly.

"Oh no," said Katie. "That's all we ever charge."

"Well I must admit this puppy is costing a little more than I bargained for," said Mr. Waverly. "With dog food and collars and what not, I've just about spent all I can afford. But if you really take empty bottles I can pay just fine. I have plenty of those. They're too hard for me to take back to the store; you'd be doing me a favour by taking them. Now, how many times a day could you come?"

"Twice a day," said Katie. "Once in the morning and once at night."

"Then it should be worth at least two bottles," said Mr. Waverly. "You can't work for nothing, you know."

He went back to his kitchen and brought two more out. "See you tomorrow," he said.

continue on to part two of Chapter Three

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