I learned three important things about Cycleville. Every dog in town was afraid of Miss Whiskers the tabby, Maribelle craved butter-brickle soft serves down at the mall, and Shasta loved me … or she would, if I ever got a chance to meet her.
That’s why I dropped the golf ball down the rain gutter of the hardware store.
I saw Shasta for the first time on Sunday, August 15th, three days after my family moved in from Jersey. She was in the choir loft. I thought she was an angel. Seriously. She was the cutest girl wearing the burgundy and gold robes of the Cycleville Christian Choir. Shasta’s eyes had the fizz of warm soda. Her lips were the color of cinnamon jelly beans. And her smile … wow.
I knew I had to meet her.
I saw her at sophomore registration the next week. She seemed to have an entourage buzzing around her. Who could blame ‘em? I tried to introduce myself but, no way. I couldn’t even get close enough to wave. It was obvious that meeting her at school was gonna be tough. Way too many people.
I joined the youth group. Each Wednesday at 7:00 PM. Shasta sat with the other girls … all the girls … dozens and dozens of girls. They gathered in rows about her, feminine walls lined up like a geometric castle, and she was the princess in the center. I never got past the gargoyles.
I knew something had to be done. That’s where the golf ball came in.
Miss Whiskers slept under the bushes near the nursery all day, every day. The clatter of the falling ball in the pipe woke her. When it bounced onto the sidewalk and skittered down the street, Miss Whiskers, as expected, couldn’t resist her mousing instincts. She leapt after it.
Life is synchronized. After another day as librarian of the Cycleville main branch, Maribelle Swanson’s mother turned and crossed Center Street on the way to her regular afternoon latte. She stayed away from the dog park. Everyone knew she had allergies.
The golf ball, with the tabby close behind, went straight.
At the sight of the charging Miss Whiskers the dogs panicked and a park full of canine bowels loosened. A bluish pug sprinted towards his basket — which happened to be in a back room behind some old percolators — tail between his legs and eyes wet. He stepped on Mrs. Swanson’s foot just as they both entered the coffee shop.
Mrs. Swanson sneezed twice and stumbled away, waving her hand in front of her nose. “Oh my! Allergies!” She pulled her keys from her purse and fled, a mess of mucus. The shop at the mall didn’t have dogs.
The rhythm was broken.
Maribelle saw the logo on the latte cup when her mother arrived home late. “Oh no, you didn’t! You went to the mall without me? You know I wanted a soft serve! I need one … like, now!”
A great mystery of life precludes sophomore girls from going anywhere alone. I counted on that. Maribelle would ask her friend, her best friend, to go with her. She had to, it was in her genes.
She’d call Shasta.
I waited. People coupled and grouped under pink umbrellas that dotted about the mall. It was a matter of time. Any system can be manipulated; you simply must understand cause and effect. I had a pretty good handle on it.
Then she appeared.
Shasta floated across the floor; the light followed her and the crowds parted before her. She laughed, sharing a joke with Maribelle.
“Oh, hi, Maribelle.” I did my best to act surprised. “Not studying history tonight?”
“I so gotta score some butter-brickle soft serve first. My mom is lame. She was here and totally didn’t get me —”
I interrupted. “Sounds good. Where do you find those?”
Shasta pointed behind me. “Right here.”
“That’s so funny you didn’t know!”
I pulled a booklet from my back pocket. “I’ve got coupons for some of these shops.” I looked at the girls. “Half price. We could each get two.”
Maribelle grinned. “Two? You’re, like, so with us. Let’s go.”
We turned towards the counter.
“I won’t have time for two,” Shasta said. “I’ve got choir practice tonight at 7:00.”
The corner of my mouth flickered into a smile. Success! “What a coincidence. I’m meeting the pastor. My name’s Danny. Maybe I could walk with you.”
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.