Beautiful Dreamer

by Allen Morgan


no illustrations

nine chapters - 107 pages

Chapter Six (part 2)

But things were worse than Katie realized. When she looked in the cigar box, after dinner, she found that there was no money at all. There was only the lottery ticket and she knew what that was worth. Katie searched in her pockets. She had $1.40 left over from their shoplifting trip.

It was all very discouraging. Beautiful Dreamers had been in business for almost a week and they had less money now than when they had started. Katie knew where all the money had gone. She had the sales slips and the empty candy wrappers to remind her.

"What a waste," she thought. "We must have spent more money shoplifting than we spent on anything in the whole last month."

And if that wasn't bad enough, it was already Thursday. Tomorrow was Friday. Friday meant the cookie jar again. Katie sighed. It didn't seem fair. It wasn't as if she wasn't trying.

When Susie came home Katie helped her get dinner ready. "We took everything back," Katie said as she put the potatoes on.

"That's fine," said Susie. "You didn't get caught, did you?"

"No, but we almost did," said Katie, and she told her sister the whole story.

"You were lucky. I can just imagine what Max would have said if it had turned out the other way."

So could Katie. She could imagine it all too well. It was bad enough that her father thought she was just a little kid, but if he knew she was a thief besides. Susie called Max in for dinner and then went back to the bathroom to wash up. The phone rang just as Max sat down at the table. He answered it.

"Yes this is Mr. Moore... yes Mrs. Crandell, I remember you very well. I hope Katie came by the other day and did what she was supposed to do ... she did? I'm very glad to hear that." Max looked up at Katie and smiled at her. "... what's that, Mrs. Crandell .... Now don't be silly, there's no reason for you to apologize. You were absolutely right to make her come back and clean your door. She shouldn't have kicked it in the first place .... Of course she could help it... her leg? What about her leg?"

Max's smile faded as he listened. Katie's heart was beginning to beat faster and faster. She wished Mrs. Crandell would shut up and get off the phone, but she knew there wasn't much chance of that.

"Her leg what?" said Max. "... yes ' .. yes ... Oh that pin, of course... it slipped? No, I can't say that I've noticed that happening lately but I'll check on it as soon as I hang up." Max tried to catch Katie's eye but she was already back at the stove trying to look busy. "What's that you say... back to the hospital? ... No I don't think she'll have to go there.... Yes, automobiles are quite dangerous, I agree.... I beg your pardon? ... Now just a minute Mrs. Crandell, you're making a mistake about that. I haven't had a driving accident in over ten years.... No, I wasn't driving when it happened.... Who was? How should I know who was driving.... Of course I know where my daughter goes at night. Look, Mrs. Crandell, my dinner's on the table and I have to hang up now. I think you have some of the details a little mixed up. It didn't happen the way you think it happened. Goodbye."

Max put down the phone and stared at Katie. "Katie B. Moore! That was the most ridiculous phone call I've ever had the misfortune to receive. Just what did you mean by telling that lady such a pack of lies?"

"I only told her one lie," protested Katie.

"But did you have to go into so many details?" demanded Max.

"What's going on?" asked Susie as she came into the kitchen. Max told her about Mrs. Crandell's phone call. When he got to the part about the accident, Susie began to smile. When he told her about the pin, she giggled. When Katie's leg fell off, she laughed.

"It isn't funny," Max told her. "Lying is a serious business."

"Oh for goodness' sake Max, don't make such a big deal out of it," said Susie. "She's just a kid. Kids make up stories all the time."

"I am not just a kid," protested Katie.

"Yes you are, but that's not the point right now," said Max. "The point is about lying. No matter what your age is, lying is wrong."

"Holy bullfrogs, dad. I only told her all that because she was so creepy. She was going to make me wash the whole house."

"It doesn't matter," insisted Max. "You shouldn't have lied. Now that lady thinks I smashed up my cab and sent my own daughter to the hospital with her legs falling off." Susie giggled again. Max glared at her.

"Okay, okay," said Katie. "I'll go over tomorrow and tell Mrs. Crandell it wasn't you who had the accident."

"You'll do no such thing," bellowed Max. "Then she'd say I let you hitch-hike all over town and you had the accident with some stranger."

"What accident?" asked Katie innocently.

"The accident you didn't have in the first place," Max exclaimed and he ran his hand through his hair. "You're getting me off track here - you're missing the whole point. What I'm trying to talk to you about is lying, Katie. I'm trying to tell you that lying just isn't worth the trouble. You start off with one lie and that's all right because it's just one, but then you have to tell another lie to keep the first lie going, and pretty soon you have to tell so many lies that you don't know where you started from or where you're going to. And the worst part of it is Katie, once you start telling lies to other people you start telling lies to yourself too. You start believing those lies and before you know it, your head is so full of stories that you just can't tell what's really going on anymore. That's just what could happen to you if you don't start paying attention. So no more lies - okay Katie? In the long run they just make everything more complicated for you. I hope you've been listening to what I've been saying."

"Oh I have dad," said Katie, but actually that was another lie right there. Actually, she had been thinking about cutting Mrs. Crandell's telephone wires. Not that it would stop her or anything, but Katie was thinking it might slow Mrs. Crandell down a little.

continue on to part three of Chapter Six

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