Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Week(s) (02/10/11)
TITLE: The Lion's Share
By Kimberly Russell
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But she didn't even notice.
With a huff, I sat down, hoping she wouldn't lecture me about patience. She knew how I looked forward to Saturday every week. Shouldn't that make her hurry just a little?
She swished by, stopping to jot on her grocery list as I fidgeted, anxious to get going. "For heaven's sake, Little Wendy, the library will still be there..."
I hated when she called me that but I didn't comment. "Yes, Mama. Sorry." No sense in starting something that might delay us even more.
Much to my relief, she picked up her pocketbook and we got into the little blue Rambler for the twenty-minute-forever drive into town.
She had barely pulled up to the curb when I hopped out. "I'll be back in half an hour," she called after me. "Behave yourself."
I gave her a wave and sprinted up the first few cement steps before returning to pat the lion statue standing guard on the left hand side of the staircase.
The lion on the right would get attention when I came back out.
The huge double doors creaked like a haunted house on television. I was surprised Old Mrs. Higgins didn't make someone fix it. She was a cranky old bat and was always nagging kids about making too much racket. "No noise allowed in the library or out you go," she would chant.
I, of course, was always church-mouse quiet.
Mrs. Higgins appeared behind the counter, causing me to wonder if she'd been hiding in anticipation of my arrival. Her glare bore down on me as she twitched her sweater, lips pursed with disapproval.
"Well," she demanded, "What can I do for you today, Little Wendy?" She could call me whatever she wanted as long as she let me check out books.
"I'd like to return these, Ma'am. And take out some more."
She squinted over her glasses; lips puckering like she'd just drank lemonade. "And have you finished these?"
With a gulp, I nodded. "Yes, Mrs. Higgins. I finished them. Just like always."
She sniffed and turned as if she'd lost interest. "Hmmm...well, in that case, go on then. I'm busy." She didn't need to tell me twice.
Knowing my time was limited, I moved on to "My Section". I liked to pretend it belonged to me since it held all my friends like <i>Amelia Bedelia, The Boxcar Children, </i> and <i>Little House in the Big Woods.</i>
Only seemed right that I should claim it as my own.
I also did a quick scan through <i>Nancy Drew, Sue Barton,</i> and <i>Hardy Boys Mysteries</i> to see if by chance the next book in the series had magically appeared since last week.
No such luck.
Then it was time to get down to business. I settled on the floor in front of the red construction paper marker I had left the week before, glad it hadn't been moved. My habit was to methodically go through every shelf and the marker helped me to know where to start from the previous week.
You just never knew when you might find "The Best Book Ever."
Mama would be returning soon so I would have to hurry. A dozen books ended up in my "want" pile and I bit my lip, agonizing over which to take and which to leave behind. Sadly, I kept out four, started to put the rest away and in a reckless moment, kept one more.
My heart thumped as I headed back to the desk in search of Mrs. Higgins. She popped up like a Jack-in-the-Box and clawed at my pile.
I held my breath as she snatched the card out of each one, hesitating as if something was amiss, and finally slapped a number two pencil (the only kind she allowed) in front of me.
Hastily, I scratched my name, afraid she would figure out I had pulled a fast one, and raced for the door. "Bye, Mrs. Higgins," I called and skipped down the staircase, quite satisfied with myself.
Mama pulled up just as I reached the bottom of the steps. "See you soon," I whispered to the right lion, giving him a pat on the head. "Maybe next week I'll go for six."
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