Beautiful Dreamer

by Allen Morgan


no illustrations

nine chapters - 107 pages


Chapter Three (part 2)

On the way home, Katie and Gale cashed in the bottles at a milk store. They were considering the candy selection when Brenda walked in. Brenda was a friend from school and she lived next door. Katie called to her.

"Hey, Brenda, do you want some gum or something. One of our customers just paid us and we're having a kind of celebration."

Brenda looked at the candy counter and sniffed. "I don't chew much gum these days - maybe a candy bar though."

She picked up one of the more expensive ones and went over to the magazine stand. Katie and Gale picked out some gum and paid the store owner. Then they joined Brenda, who was thumbing through a fashion magazine. She was studying the photographs with great interest.

"Where have you been?" Katie asked her. "We haven't seen you around anywhere since school ended last week."

"Oh I've just been down at the beach," she said without looking up.

"You have?" asked Gale. "We go down to Jericho almost every morning and we haven't seen you there once."

"I don't go to Jericho anymore," Brenda said. "I go to Kitsilano. It's much more interesting, you know."

Katie and Gale knew all right. They looked at each other and smirked. Kitsilano was where all the boys hung out and all the girls who were interested in boys hung around there too. Katie and Gale couldn't see much point to it but they didn't tell Brenda that.

Brenda was a year older than they were, and had just graduated from grade seven. She had even talked about having a boyfriend the month before. Neither Katie nor Gale wanted a boyfriend themselves but it was interesting to listen to Brenda talk. She seemed to know a lot. Katie looked over Brenda's shoulder and noticed the same eye shadow advertisement she had seen in Susie's magazine.

"That's really something, isn't it?" she said

"Pretty sophisticated," Brenda agreed. "It's not easy to make yourself up that way. It takes practice."

"We were going to try that one the other day," Gale told her. "Only Katie's sister came in and caught us, so we couldn't."

"It was her make-up," Katie explained, "But we're going to get our own pretty soon and then we'll be able to practice anytime we want."

Brenda looked up from the magazine. "I didn't know you two were into that sort of thing."

"Sure we are," said Katie, and Gale nodded.

"I've got some make-up like that at home," said Brenda.

"You do?" said Gale.

"In my room," Brenda told her. "You want to try it out?"

"Sure," said Katie and Gale nodded.

"Come on," said Brenda and she tucked the magazine under her arm and started out of the store.

She was halfway through the doorway when the owner called out to her. "Just a minute there, you haven't paid for that yet."

Brenda stopped and looked down at the magazine she was carrying. Then she looked back at the store owner. Her face turned red. Katie came to her rescue.

"Oh that's all right; she was going to pay for it. We were just talking together and she forgot, didn't you Brenda?"

Brenda nodded and opened her purse. She paid for the magazine and then they all left. Katie was indignant.

"He sure has some nerve, doesn't he?" she said as they walked to Brenda's house. "He was just about saying you were a crook or something. You should have told him off."'

"If I were you I wouldn't go back to that store again," said Gale.

"I won't," said Brenda as they turned up her front walk.

They went upstairs to Brenda's bedroom. Katie and Gale sat on the bed. Brenda locked the door and then went into her closet. She returned with an old shoe box and placed it on the bed in front of Katie and Gale.

"This is just some of my stuff," she told them as she took off the lid. The shoebox was full of cosmetics. There were ten different tubes of lipstick, and six kinds of eye shadow ranging from misty mauve to lizard green. There were seven eyebrow pencils and an assortment of blushes. There was even a wide variety of fingernail polish. It was very impressive.

Katie and Gale stared at the collection for a long time. "Where did you get all that?" asked Gale in a whisper.

"At the stores downtown," answered Brenda. "Not bad, eh?"

Katie whistled softly, "Not bad? It's fantastic. How much money do you get for an allowance anyway? This must have cost a fortune."

Brenda smiled. "Oh I've got ways to stretch my money. I don't have to pay full price - nowhere near." She leaned forward and whispered. "What if I told you that I didn't spend a cent getting any of this? What if I told you I got it all absolutely free?"

"Are you kidding?" said Gale. "How can you get something for nothing?"

But Katie knew. Suddenly, everything was very clear. "She steals it!"

"What?" exclaimed Gale.

"It isn't really stealing," explained Brenda. "Listen, if I sold it again that would be stealing. But I don't do that. I just keep it for myself, and anyway I don't take very much. The store never misses it, so who am I hurting?"

Katie didn't say anything. She didn't know what to say. She had always thought that shoplifting was one of the worst things that a person could do. It was stealing! But here was Brenda doing it. Brenda wasn't her best friend or anything but she lived right next door. She couldn't be a criminal. Katie found herself wondering how Brenda did it. She finally decided it wouldn't do any harm to ask. After all, it wasn't as if she were thinking of doing it herself.

Brenda told her all about it. "Shoplifting's no sweat if you know what you're doing. The big thing is to act absolutely natural. If you don't look guilty then no one will even notice you. You just pick out one of the big department stores and go to work. The best time is during lunch when the sales people are too busy to notice you. It's good to have a few tricks though. One of the ones I use a lot is to pin the bottom of my slip up onto the waistband. It makes a pouch, and then I can slip anything I want into it without giving myself away. It might bulge a bit, but so what? I just end up looking fat, that's all."

She demonstrated the trick with one of her lipsticks. Katie decided to try it too. She found that it was really quite easy.

"You're pretty good," Brenda told her. "It took me days to get the knack when I first started."

"Hey, I could have been a million dollar thief," laughed Katie. "I should have tried this ages ago."

"Shoplifting's no big deal," said Brenda. "Everybody does it; all the kids in grade nine do, that's for sure. It's just a game and it's really fun. Nobody ever gets caught."

Brenda showed them a couple more tricks and they all tried out the eye shadow. Then Katie and Gale had to go home for dinner.

"I didn't know Brenda was a crook," said Gale as they walked back to their house. Katie was lost in thought and didn't answer for a moment. "What are you thinking about?" Gale asked her. "You don't think she was right to take all that stuff, do you?"

"No way," said Katie. "But I was just thinking. I only need a couple of things, some eye shadow like Susie has and maybe a lipstick or two. If I only did it once..."

"Katie, you're crazy," exclaimed Gale.

"Don't worry," laughed Katie. "I was just thinking, that's all. In a few days we'll be making lots of money with the Beautiful Dreamers and we'll be able to buy whatever we want. What do we need to shoplift for?"

"That's right," agreed Gale, and they went into the house.

continue on to part three of Chapter Three

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