Katie was a clever little kid. Her momma, for the same reason was put in jail. Her dad didn’t give two craps about either of them. He lounged on the couch all day smoking out his lungs. If she was lucky, he’d leave her a half-eaten peanut butter sandwich, but if the 12 year-old didn’t get her ass in gear, she would starve.
The kids at school were cruel, would poke fun at her, poke her bony body and ask whether she’d seen a burger in the last year. Her answer was always a stuck out tongue and a middle finger, mommy-style. She used to sit with other weedy kids at lunch, but them knowing she’d stare at their lunchboxes hoping for food put them off, so they would table-hop to avoid her.
She had taken enough crap. Especially from the Girl Scouts that acted like the blonde glamour dolls of the lunch hall. They often sweetly purred to the teachers and lunch ladies, asking them to buy their stupid cookies with little smiles. They would snub Katie though if she asked for one or two with the cents she found under her sofa.
Veronica Higgins took a handful of cookies from the box and held it in front of Katie. ‘These are too nice for a skank.’ Veronica licked them all and crammed them in her mouth. The other Girl Scouts sniggered behind her, sighing as they munched into their own cookies.
If you can’t beat them, join them. Aint that what they say? Well, it’s what I’ll do. Katie thought.
The Girl Scouts always hung their uniforms, perfectly pristine in their lockers to equip for bragging rights. Some were the colour of baby pink, their sashes gagging with badges. It made Katie cringe, but as the soldier she was, she would look past it.
That day at lunch when all were called into the hall, Katie snuck out of her classroom and picked the lock on Veronica’s locker. She stuffed the uniform and a single box of cookies into her backpack, covered up all signs of entry, and sauntered back to the cafeteria.
The weekend was kind to her plotting. Her daddy had left to go somewhere without any word. She prowled around neighbouring trailer parks and other clusters close by. Katie would spit in her hand, comb her blonde hair through with her fingers, and rustle up a sugary voice before banging on each door.
‘Would ya like to buy some cookies, mister?’
‘Aint you that skeeze Billie’s kid?’ The balding guy scowled at her.
‘No.’ Katie said through gritted teeth. ‘My name is Ver-on-ica Higgins, and the cookies are five dollars.’
He snorted at her before trying to shut the door.
No one was stepping on this mouse.
She wedged her foot in the crack, and remembering those car ads on the radio she honeyed up her voice. ‘These cookies mister taste dee-licious, and I’m serving you a mean bargain, I’ll send ya two boxes in the mail for ten dollars!’
‘Fine, deal, just get outta my face kid.’ He gave her the money out of his back pocket and scrawled his address on a greasy slip of paper.
She counted the dollar bills before she popped the paper clean into a dumpster. She did this to ten more trailers, fattened them up with the hope of Girl Scout cookies and by the end of the day, skipped over to the closest KFC.
She did this for weeks. There was so many trailer parks to fool, it was a laughing matter. After a tough day of bartering she would skid down the supermarket aisles, raking candy, cakes, Buffalo wings, and anything her stomach could grumble for off the shelves and into her trolley. Candy became to her what carrots were to a rabbit. Her momma would have been glad. She plumped up proudly like a thanksgiving turkey. Even better, she set herself up a nice little black market at lunch, trading the fattiest snacks she could buy with her dollars to the chubbiest kids.
‘HOLD UP THIS HERE LUNCH LINE!’
The school kids looked around, concerned. It was the town’s sheriff.
Katie froze mid-bite into her twinkie.
‘Now I’ve got a bone to pick with one of yous.’ The sheriff stalked around the lunch hall, drinking up the fear in the kids’ eyes. ‘I have been hearing that someone in this hall have been sellin’ cookies, and partaking in fraudulent behaviour!’ The kids on Katie’s table gasped at the big word they didn’t understand.
Eliot, a regular customer, was the biggest coward in the school. He cleared his throat and was getting ready to rat Katie out.
‘You keep your dang mouth shut.’ Katie hissed and popped skittles in his mouth. He choked and sputtered a few down into his lap. The sheriff caught the movement on her table. Katie cussed at her next decision. She handed chocolate bars out to everyone under the table. ‘Let’s keep it sweet, yeah?’ She whispered, the others nodded.
‘I been told this kiddie had blonde hair.’ The Sheriff said, scrutinising Katie. She smiled her sweetest smile, and let his eyes bore into hers. The other blonde girls on the table fiddled nervously with their pigtails.
‘Her name be called… Veronica. Where is this little missy?’
One of the lunch ladies squared up to Veronica, and pulled her out of her seat by her collar. ‘She’s here Sheriff.’
‘I didn’t do anything at all, sheriff. I swear, I swear!’ She blubbered and burst into tears. Snot ran out of her nose. Katie liked the ruddiness in Veronica’s face, it made her look ugly.
‘You tell that to all the trailer-folk you done robbed!’ He gripped her by the ear and paraded the girl out of the room. The lunch hall fell into awed silence.
Katie kicked the shins of the kids on her table. With a smirk, she whispered ‘I’m gonna need some payment for those chocolate bars.’
Okay I know this is 100% American clichè but in first year I had to write an American short story. Despite its quality, I had a fun time writing it. Please feel free to comment or offer any criticisms!
© 2016 Elizabeth Brown All Rights Reserved