Beautiful Dreamer

by Allen Morgan


no illustrations

nine chapters - 107 pages

Chapter Nine (part 1)

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 it.

"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 same."

"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 lottery tickets.

"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 laugh."

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 slam.

"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."

continue on to part two of Chapter Nine

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