Horse Blues

Horse Blues by Bonnie Bryant

Book: Horse Blues by Bonnie Bryant Read Free Book Online
Authors: Bonnie Bryant
Friday, because they’d all been home cooking for the bake sale. But instead of talking a mile a minute, the way they usually did—especially after not seeing each other for a day—the girls kept their greetings short.
    “Did you get my message?” Stevie asked coolly.
    “Yes,” said Lisa, noncommittally, keeping one eye peeled for Simon Atherton.
    “Did you get mine?” said Carole, glancing over her shoulder.
    “Yes.”
    “Come on, girls. You can chitchat later. There’s work to be done,” Mrs. Atwood said. All three ofthem jumped at the chance to help, glad for the distraction. Mrs. Atwood instructed them to write out price lists, sort change, and tack up directional arrows on telephone poles near the shopping center.
    “Let’s split up,” Lisa said at once.
    “That’s what I was going to suggest,” Stevie said defensively.
    “So was I!” Carole attested. “But first,” she added, “I want to finish this bag of chocolate-covered potato chips that I’ve been eating
all week
.” With that, Carole reached into the snack bag and crammed a handful into her mouth.
    Stevie put her hands on her hips, hazel eyes flashing. She wasn’t going to let Carole lose the bet that easily! “Do you have a pen, Carole?” she asked.
    Carole shook her head.
    “Darn! I wanted to write a hate letter to Veronica first thing this morning,” Stevie said loudly. “The way I did
last Saturday
.”
    “Gosh, you’ve been busy!” Lisa said, feigning admiration. “I wish I could have gotten that much accomplished. But I haven’t done a thing since—since Christmas break ended. So much for embroidering a tablecloth! Ha! Was that ever a joke!”
    Overhearing Lisa’s last remark as she arrived,Mrs. Reg came over and joined the girls. “Now, Lisa, I don’t want you to be unfair to yourself. You worked very hard. And you know how to embroider now. You can make the tablecloth some other time. For now, the napkins are a marvelous accomplishment.”
    Stevie giggled as Lisa turned red. “And Stevie,” Mrs. Reg continued, “I wanted to thank you for not tattling on Veronica. You’ve gone out of your way to be nice to her, and don’t think it wasn’t noticed by both me and Max. Say, those look good,” Mrs. Reg said, eyeing Carole’s chips. “You’re finally dropping the health kick, huh?”
    “Aaaargh!” cried The Saddle Club in unison as they split up. Trust Mrs. Reg to expose them all!
    D ESPITE THEIR FEUDING , the girls had finished the tasks Mrs. Atwood had assigned by eleven sharp. The owner of Sights ’n’ Sounds came and unlocked the door of his electronics store in the shopping center. “Save a brownie for me!” the man called.
    “Will do,” Mrs. Atwood promised. She turned to the Pony Club group. “All right, everyone, this bake sale is now open for business.”
    It was dead quiet for about five minutes. The ridersand parents stood around with nothing to do. And then, all at once, the rush started.
    “How much for two of these brownies?”
    “Can I get a half dozen muffins?”
    “I used to be in Pony Club when I was little. I’ll take a piece of chocolate cake.”
    “Where’s the change? I need more quarters!”
    “Give me two raffle tickets—no, make it three.”
    “Are we out of chippers or not?”
    “Excuse me, but didn’t your daughter once ride in Horse Wise? Do you think—”
    “Mrs. Atwood, help! I added this wrong!”
    The minutes, then the hours, ticked by. Supplies dwindled. First they ran out of cookies. Then brownies. But the crowd in front of the table got bigger and bigger. People came to shop, stayed to buy a treat or a raffle ticket, and ended up adding their children’s names to a Horse Wise mailing list. Nobody seemed to mind the cold weather. With the sun out, it was almost pleasant. Many of the parents had brought hot chocolate or coffee in thermoses, which they shared with everyone. At one table Carole led a discussion about the benefits of learning to ride in Pony

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