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
"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
"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
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.
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
"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
"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.