After lunch, Katie and Gale went to Mrs. Thompson's house to pick up
Henry. Mrs. Thompson suggested that they take him down to Kitsilano Beach
and before they left she even gave them some money for ice-cream cones.
Katie and Gale packed up Henry's sand toys and walked down to the beach.
They found a spot not far from the water and spread their towels while Henry
made a road in the sand for his trucks. A few minutes later Brenda came
walking down the beach.
Katie called to her, "Come and sit with us for a while, we've got
plenty of room."
Brenda came over and spread her towel. She was looking very sophisticated.
She had on big round sunglasses and a pair of long dangling earrings. She
had rolled up the cuffs of her shorts until she couldn't anymore and her
shirt was tied up halfway around her middle.
"I'm trying to get a tan," she told them casually as she sat
down. But Katie and Gale knew better. What she was trying to get was a boy.
They both hoped she would. It might be interesting to see how she did it.
They looked at Brenda who had just taken off her sneakers. All her toenails
Katie and Gale stared at Brenda's toes.
"Not a bad colour, eh?" she said. "It's called passion
"I didn't know boys got passionate about feet," said Katie.
"Boys can get passionate about anything," Brenda told her.
"Boys are a serious business. If you had a boyfriend, you would know
"Have you got one?" asked Gale.
"Of course I do. When you get to grade seven you have to have one.
All the girls do."
"Who is he?"
Brenda smiled. "Nobody you know."
Katie and Gale looked at each other. They were both pretty sure that
Brenda didn't really have a boyfriend but they were curious in spite of
"Is he nice?" Gale asked. Brenda nodded.
"Have you kissed him yet?" asked Katie.
"Of course I have," said Brenda. "What's the use of having
a boyfriend if you don't kiss him?"
Katie thought about that. "Did you like it?" she asked finally.
"Sure I liked it. It was dreamy."
"Did he like it?" asked Gale.
"Of course he did," Brenda told her. "He's my boyfriend,
isn't he? He has to like it." She talked some more about boyfriends
and how to get them and what to do with them once you did get them.
Then, Gale had to go deliver the papers, but she promised to come down
to Katie's room after dinner. "Don't forget to buy Henry his ice cream,"
she reminded Katie as she left.
Katie checked her pockets for the money. She looked down the beach to
see where the nearest ice-cream stand was. It was a long way off. Henry
would never be able to walk it and he was too heavy for her to carry. She
looked over to see how he was doing. He seemed quite happy. He was digging
a road into the sand for his cars and singing to himself.
"Listen Brenda, could you watch Henry for a couple of minutes while
I go buy some ice cream?" she asked. "I'll get you one."
"Okay," said Brenda, "Make mine mocha."
It took longer than Katie thought to get the ice cream. There was quite
a line and only one person scooping. It was half an hour before she returned.
She found Brenda lying on one of the towels with her eyes closed. There
was no sign of Henry.
"Where is he?" demanded Katie.
"Where is who?" asked Brenda sleepily.
"Henry. The little boy you were supposed to be watching."
"Oh him," said Brenda and she opened her eyes to look. "Gee,
I don't know. He was here a minute ago."
"Holy bullfrogs," cried Katie. "You've lost him."
She dumped the ice-cream cones onto Brenda's lap and raced off to look for
Katie hunted up and down the beach. She asked everybody she met and
called his name over and over but with no luck. The longer she looked, the
more worried she got. Her stomach began to feel funny and she wondered if
maybe Henry had tried to go swimming by himself.
"He couldn't have drowned," she told herself, scanning the
water. "If he had drowned, someone would have seen him doing it and
called a lifeguard." She looked back up the beach. All the lifeguards
were sitting in their chairs looking bored and getting suntans.
"Maybe he got kidnapped," Katie thought desperately. She was
just trying to decide whether to call the police or check back at the towels
for a ransom note, when she noticed a crowd of people gathered around one
of the hot dog stands near the road.
"Oh no, they've found his body."
Henry's body was there all right, but it wasn't the least bit dead.
He had a hot dog in each fist and another in his mouth. His face and stomach
were covered with mustard and relish.
"He's the most amazing thing I've ever seen," said a boy who
was standing nearby. "He's eaten four already."
"He doesn't eat the buns though," said a girl. "He stuffs
those into his bathing suit. Maybe he's saving them for later."
"I hope he hasn't been causing any trouble," Katie told the
hot dog man as she wiped Henry off with a towel.
"Oh, no trouble with him," said the man. "Business has
doubled since he showed up. Bring him back anytime; I'll feed him for free."