Beautiful Dreamer

by Allen Morgan


no illustrations

nine chapters - 107 pages

Chapter Six (part 1)

The next morning, Katie and Gale put everything they had shoplifted on the bed. They stood and stared at the loot. Yesterday it had seemed quite wonderful - now it seemed horrible.

"Why don't we just mail it back?" Gale suggested.

Katie shook her head. "You know what Susie said. We have to steal it back, even the candy bars. Listen, it won't be that hard. It'll be the same as yesterday only backwards."

She smiled at Gale and tried to look like she really believed what she was saying - but she didn't. Actually, she had the feeling that going backwards might be a lot harder. She pinned her slip into a pouch and stuffed the make-up and the perfume inside. Gale did the same with what was left of the candy. There were a lot of lumps showing.

"It'll never work," said Gale.

"Sure it will," said Katie. "We just look fat, that's all." But she knew they didn't look fat - what they looked was suspicious.

They bought candy bars at the corner store to replace the ones they had already eaten and then they went downtown. When they got to Granville Mall, they spent a half-hour walking up and down the sidewalk trying to get up their nerve. Neither of them felt very courageous.

"Let's just forget it and come back tomorrow," said Gale.

"No," said Katie. "Let's get it over with." She took a deep breath and went into the store. Gale followed.

They dropped off the perfume without any problems and then moved on toward the cosmetics counter. The saleslady was busy with another customer. Gale kept lookout while Katie slipped back the lipstick and blush. Everything was going along just fine and Katie was about to replace the eye shadow when Gale kicked her.

"Look out."

Gale's warning came too late. A second saleslady appeared behind the counter and surprised Katie with the eye shadow still in her hand. Katie froze. Gale closed her eyes.

"Can I help you?" asked the saleslady.

"Yes, please, " said Katie quickly. "I'd like to buy this eye shadow. It's for my sister, midnight blue, that's her favourite colour." She gave the saleslady a five dollar bill. She didn't get back much change. "Don't bother to wrap it," Katie told her, "I'll just put it in my purse."

"Be sure not to lose your sales slip then," said the woman and she handed it across the counter. "We've been having a lot of shoplifting lately and the floorwalkers are keeping a close watch. They might stop you."

"They might?" asked Katie, and her stomach flipped over. She stole a glance over at Gale. Gale was looking a little green.

"But you don't have to worry," the saleslady continued.

"We don't?" asked Gale.

"Not if your friend holds onto that slip. Just show it to the floorwalker if you get stopped and she'll know you didn't steal anything. I hope you have a nice day now," she told them.

"So do I," said Katie. "So does Gale. We all do. Goodbye." Katie and Gale walked over to the candy counter, very cautiously, keeping an eye out for floorwalkers. They didn't see any.

"The coast is clear," whispered Katie. "Do it quickly."

Gale didn't move. She was petrified.

"Everybody's watching us," she whispered back. Katie looked around but it didn't seem like anybody was watching. Katie looked back at Gale and realized that Gale would never do anything the way things were. She needed help.

"Listen," she told Gale. "I'll go down to the other end of the counter and get everyone's attention. When they're all looking at me you dump the candy on the shelf. Okay?" Gale nodded, but Katie could tell that she was very nervous. She hoped Gale wouldn't blow it.

Katie walked down the aisle and pretended to look at all the candies behind the glass. When she was far enough away she stopped and looked back at Gale to see if she was ready. Katie took a deep breath and crossed all her fingers on both hands. "Here goes nothing," she said to herself. Then she fainted.

She did it rather well. She rolled her eyes and gasped and moaned. She gave a little scream and wobbled. Then she just keeled over and landed with a thump on the floor. Everyone in the store stopped talking. They stared at Katie in silence. They all started talking again at the same time. A man rushed over and lifted Katie's head. A crowd formed and everyone gave advice.

"Give her some air."

"Give her some water."

"Loosen her clothes."

"Where am I?" asked Katie groggily, and she opened her eyes.

"You must have fainted, dear," said a man, as he helped her to her feet.

"You better call an ambulance," suggested a woman.

"She should lie down again," suggested another.

"I'm all right now," said Katie, and she smiled sweetly at everyone. "There's nothing to worry about; it runs in the family. We faint all the time. Goodbye."

There was a shocked silence. Nobody in the crowd knew what to say, and Katie didn't want to give them a chance to think of anything. She headed straight for the door, as fast as she could. Gale raced along beside her.

But a tall woman blocked their way into the revolving doors. "Just a minute, girls," she said as they tried to go around her. "I think we better have a little talk."

She took them each by the wrist and led them to the side of the store. She looked them up and down for a long time before she said anything else. Then she frowned. "Shoplifting is a serious offense, you know."

Katie and Gale looked at each other with their mouths open. They couldn't believe what was happening. "We didn't take anything, honest we didn't," protested Katie.

"I'll just check and see," said the woman.

"Go ahead," said Katie. "We haven't got anything to hide." She crossed her fingers and hoped that Gale had gotten rid of everything.

The woman frisked them and looked puzzled. She checked their pockets a second time and looked in Katie's purse. She compared the sales slip with the eye shadow. Everything was okay. "I'd just about stake my job on the fact that you were up to something," she said. "But I can't prove anything so I'll have to let you go - this time. But don't try it again; you may not be so lucky."

She pointed to the door, and Katie and Gale went as quickly as they could. When they got outside they started running up the Mall. They didn't stop until they were at Davie Street.

"I'll never do that again," said Gale as they got on the bus.

"Me neither," agreed Katie. "Whoever said crime doesn't pay was right."

continue on to part two of Chapter Six

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