Katie stayed in bed on Friday morning. "Maybe I should just lie
here until I die of old age," she told herself, and she tried it for
awhile. She didn't last very long. Dying in bed turned out to be quite boring.
At 8:30 she gave up and got dressed. "At least dad will be gone,"
she muttered as she walked down the hall. She didn't want to see him right
then. But when she got to the kitchen, Max was sitting at the table as large
as life and just as real. Katie stopped dead in her tracks. It was almost
nine o'clock and he hadn't started work yet. Nothing stopped Max from taking
out his cab.
Then Katie remembered - Ellie and Max were getting married. It was all
happening that morning. She looked at her father again and sure enough he
was dressed in his best suit. He was wearing a white shirt and a blue tie.
His jacket was over the back of the chair and he had tucked a napkin under
his chin to protect himself from any toast that might crumble. She stared
at him with her mouth open.
Max looked up and saw her. He laughed. "Close your mouth Katydid,
the flies will fly in." Then he soaked up the last of the egg yolks
from his plate, popped the yellowed toast into his mouth and washed it all
down with a big gulp of tea. He hummed the whole time he was doing it. "I've
got a special ride this morning. I'm picking up a very important passenger
at exactly nine o'clock and I don't want to be late. I wouldn't miss this
fare for the world."
Before Katie could say anything, the phone rang. Max was obviously expecting
"Hello Ellie, are you ready to go?" he said. "Okay, I'll
just jump out the back door and we're off. No, no, you can't back out of
it now. No cold feet at the last minute... right. See you in a minute."
Max hung up the phone. He took off his napkin and put on his jacket.
He turned to Katie. "Gale's coming to dinner. Tell Susie to put on
an extra plate - there's big doings tonight. We're going to have a celebration.
Can't tell you what it is yet. It's a surprise for you and Gale and you'll
never guess what it is."
Katie didn't have to guess about the surprise. She already knew. But
she didn't say anything about it as Max went out the back door. She watched
from the window as he started the cab. He beeped the horn and then got out.
"Come on Ellie, we're going to be late," he called.
"Coming," Ellie yelled from the upstairs window.
Max waved and picked a flower from the garden. He was just putting it
into the lapel of his jacket when Ellie came out of the house.
"Don't you look like something," she told him with a laugh.
"I won't say what sort of something but you sure are a looker all the
"Can't get too dressed up for this sort of thing," Max told
her. "You don't look half bad yourself. Look at you, pretty as a picture."
Katie made a face but she had to admit that it was true. Ellie looked
very pretty. Her hair was all fixed up and she had on a new dress. She was
also wearing the locket. It made Katie mad to see it around her neck. By
the time Max and Ellie were in the cab and driving off down the alley, Katie
was furious. "She's just about stealing it, and she's stealing dad,
too. I should call the police. That would stop them getting married quick
enough. They could go to jail instead."
Katie felt like crying. She didn't have a mother and pretty soon she'd
be losing her father. And on top of that she didn't have any money. She
had only fifty cents and half of that was Gale's. Gale! She was about to
become her sister. Katie groaned as she remembered their argument over the
"She used to be my best friend," she thought, "And now
she isn't even talking to me."
But she was wrong about that. A few minutes later Gale came in through
the back door carrying everything she had ever borrowed from Katie. Gale
stomped straight through the kitchen and into the bedroom. Katie followed
her. When Gale got to the bedroom she dumped everything on the floor. Then
she went to the cigar box.
First Gale pocketed one of the quarters and then she began to tear up
the lottery tickets one by one. "You're a low-down dirty double crossing
creep," she told Katie. "You're an idiot, a stupid idiot and you
don't have any more brains than a worm does."
"I thought you weren't going to speak to me again," said Katie.
"I'm not, this is the last time," Gale told her, and then
she pointed to all the things she had thrown on the floor. "I brought
back all the stupid clothes I borrowed; they were stinking up my closet.
And I want you to know that I meant everything I said on Wednesday. I don't
want to see you again."
"You're supposed to come down to dinner tonight," said Katie.
"I know. My mother says I have to. But I won't even talk to you
and I won't even look at you and I hope you choke on your spaghetti. I'll
Gale opened the closet door and got out the sweater she had lent to
Katie and then she stomped out the back door again. Katie came right behind.
"You're the one that's going to choke on your spaghetti,"
Katie shouted after her. "I'm going to put poison in it and worms,
too. And here's the other dumb quarter. Why don't you keep it. Keep everything."
Katie threw the quarter out the back door. Gale glared at her and then
she reached down onto the grass and picked it up.
"Thanks a lot, I think I will. At least I deserve something after
all the things you did. And I'm definitely not talking to you ever again.
From now on my lips are sealed."
"Well that goes double for me," Katie shouted back. "I
won't talk to you and I won't think about you either."
Gale went upstairs and slammed all her doors. Katie slammed all hers.
They both slammed doors at each other for almost five minutes. It was just
about a tie for loudness but Katie held out the longest and got in the last
"I guess that shows her," she said to herself. "She's
a great one to talk about stealing money. She just took my last quarter."