Beautiful Dreamer

by Allen Morgan


no illustrations

nine chapters - 107 pages

Chapter Seven (part 1)

The next morning, Katie and Gale made another stack of flyers to advertise the Beautiful Dreamers, and after lunch they took them door to door. It was very discouraging. Not many people were home and the ones that were didn't have any jobs for them.

"What's the matter with everybody?" demanded Katie. "Nobody wants any help with anything. They're keeping all the work to themselves."

"Maybe we'll get some jobs tomorrow," said Gale. "A couple of people said they might phone us."

"I bet nobody phones us," said Katie. "I bet we stay broke for the rest of our lives. Maybe we should try for welfare."

They picked up the newspapers and started off on their route. When they got to the Crandell's house they checked the front lawn with great care, but they didn't find a thing. Except for the moth balls, it was as clean as a whistle.

"One thing's for sure," said Katie. "The moths wilI never eat grass. You know what I think, Gale? I think it's about time we invested in those dog biscuits."

"How much do we have in the cigar box?" asked Gale.

"A dollar forty. That should be enough for at least a small box. You finish the rest of the papers and I'll buy some. We'll meet when it's dark and do the whole lawn."

Katie had just enough money. The dog biscuits cost $1.38. That left her with exactly two cents and half of that was Gale's. But Katie wasn't the only one with money problems. Max had taken his cab into the garage that morning. The funny noise he'd been worrying about turned out to be not so funny after all. It was the transmission. The bill came to over four hundred dollars.

"Four hundred and thirty nine dollars," bellowed Max as he threw the bill down on the kitchen table. "What do they think I am, a bank? Oh next week's going to be a winner, all right. The rent's due and so is the payment on the cab license. Not only that, but the cab needs new tires. Not only that, but my weekend driver decided to leave town and I'll have to drive the weekend swing shift. And if that's still not enough, I got beat for a fare first thing out of the garage. This guy jumps right out of the cab and runs into Eaton's while I'm waiting at a red light. There I am in a no-stopping, nine-to-six-zone, with three buses coming up behind. What could I do? I had to drive away with the meter still ticking- $5.75 down the tubes just like that."

"Don't worry Max, we'll get by," Susie told him. "We always do."

"Oh sure, we'll get by," answered Max. "We'll just stop eating for awhile. That should save a little money."

"Come on, it won't be as bad as all that," said Susie. "You paid the garage bill already and Ellie will trust us with the rent for a couple of weeks. We'll just have to tighten our belts a little, that's all."

"No more belly building this month, that's for sure," agreed Max. "And no more writing checks for awhile either. The bank would just laugh."

Nobody was very eager when Max brought out the cookie jar after dinner. Max went first. He put in a small wad of bills and shook his head. "Not very much this week," he said.

"Same here," said Susie as she put in her money. "Tips were lousy."

Katie reached into her pocket and got out her penny. She looked away from her father and Susie as she dropped it in.

"Well it looks like we're all broke this week," said Max sadly. "Maybe it's a good thing the weekend driver left town. We can drive the cab ourselves this weekend and make some extra money."

"I'll drive Sunday if you'll take tomorrow," said Susie. Max agreed.

Max took a two dollar bill from the cookie jar and passed it over to Katie. Then he put the top back on.

"What about you guys?" asked Katie. "What about your money?"

"Oh we'll make some extra from tips this weekend," Susie said.

"Don't worry about us. We'll get by," said Max.

Neither of them seemed too sad, but Katie wasn't fooled. She knew what was really going on. They were both going without that week because there wasn't enough money to go around. Katie wanted to help out too. She tried to give the two dollar bill back to her father but Max wouldn't take it. He kept the cookie jar lid on tight and shook his head.

"I'm sure you can use the money, Katydid. It isn't fair for you not to have any just because things are tight. Susie and I will manage."

Katie felt terrible. As if it weren't bad enough only putting a penny into the cookie jar, she was also the only person in the whole family taking anything out. "I've got to get some money," she told herself desperately. "A lot of money, and I have to get it before next Friday. I've got to have a whole bundle to put into that jar next week."

Later that night, when she met Gale at the Crandell's, Katie was in no mood for half-measures. "Let's dump the whole box," she said grimly. "I need every cent I can get."

The dog biscuits did the trick. Mrs. Crandell was on the phone to Katie at nine the next morning. "It's horrible," she exclaimed, "there's been a whole pack of animals here during the night. The lawn is so disgusting I can hardly bear to look at it. You have no idea."

Katie, however, did have a pretty good idea. It was all she could do to keep from laughing, as she told Mrs. Crandell that she would be over as soon as she could. Before hanging up, she also asked Mrs. Crandell not to call at her home number anymore. "Please call Gale's number. That's our business number; all our customers use it. Just ask for the Beautiful Dreamers and leave a message."

"I will, but hurry," said Mrs. Crandell, "The lawn is in a state."

Katie ran upstairs and told Gale the good news. Gale was delighted and even had good news of her own. "Somebody just phoned up. They want us to come over and wash some windows today."

Katie cheered. The phone started ringing. Gale answered it. "Hello... yes it's the Beautiful Dreamers... yes, we sweep garages; we'll come by later today." Gale copied down the name and address and hung up the phone. Katie started cheering again, but it didn't last long this time either. The phone was ringing. "Hello... yes this is the Beautiful Dreamers... yes we do vacuuming..."

The phone rang four times in the next half-hour. One of them was Mrs. Crandell calling back again to ask where Katie was, but it still meant five new jobs. Their luck was finally changing.

"I can't believe it," said Katie. "All of a sudden everybody wants to hire us. I could listen to that phone ring for hours."

continue on to part two of Chapter Seven

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