“Hey baby, we’re here.”
Katie’s Six by Peggy McFarland
Moving …… 5 Stopping …… 6 Coloring …… 7 Riding …… 8 Eating …… 9 Leaving …… 10
About the Author …… 11 3
Moving (Katie’s Six / One)
White/gray, white/gray, white/gray. The dotted line on the highway mesmerized as Katie pressed her forehead against the cool window. Drops of rain plastered her hair against her scalp – mom’s cigarette smoke pooled into a cloud near, but never escaped through the crack. A passing sign’s letters spelled WELCOME, but Katie doubted they’d stop in this state long enough to find out if it were true. Mom mumbled it wasn’t far enough. Maybe in the next place, the boogeyman wouldn’t find and hide inside mom’s boyfriend.
Stopping (Katie’s Six / Two)
“Hey baby, we’re here.” Katie yawned, rubbed her eyes and saw her mom’s tears and a ‘v_can_y’ sign blinking behind her mother’s bent form. “Come on, little angel, get your backpack.” Katie stepped out of the car and into a puddle, the dirty water cold and squishy inside her thin sneakers. A thick rope clanked against the flagpole, striking a rhythm that signaled the rain to attack. She wanted mom to carry her, but mom had already disappeared in the dark room behind the dented door marked with the crooked six.
Coloring (Katie’s Six / Three)
“SpongeBob is yellow.” Katie knew that. It took almost twenty minutes and digging through three plastic buckets before she found the broken crayon. She didn’t care what color everyone else used. Tonya-with-an-‘O’ could use the sunshine yellow crayon, and the burnt sienna, and the carnation pink, and the pine green, and any and every other crayon, except one. Because, despite all the colorful names in the world, Katie knew – truth was gray.
Riding (Katie’s Six / Four)
Katie liked the song but pressed her lips tight together, even though the bus driver hummed along and winked at her in the slanted giant mirror. The bus driver wore a sleeveless shirt. Birds’ nests filled the space under the woman's arms, but Katie never spied a canary, or a nightingale, or even a parakeet. No, birds couldn’t live under arms. Sometimes, they lived in cages, but only if they didn’t sing. The boogeyman snapped the necks of canaries that sing.
Eating (Katieâ€™s Six / Five)
Katie poked her straw into the thin membrane and imagined she broke the juice box's head. She wished she could poke a hole in another head. She stared at her plate and counted. Fourteen peas. Eighteen macaroni elbows. Four mommy screamsâ€Ś and one more boogeyman.
Leaving (Katieâ€™s Six / Six)
A cold breeze woke Katie. A moonbeam shone on the backpack. Katie pulled on her sweatshirt and slipped on her sneakers. Mom threw the backpack out the open window and then climbed over the sill. Katie leaned into the night and let her mom pull her close. She wrapped her arms around momâ€™s neck, laid her head on mom's shoulder and hummed a tuneless song.
About the Author
Peggy McFarland bartends, reads, and occasionally writes; usually, six at a time. Full 6S Catalog: sixsentences.blogspot.com/search?q=Peggy+McFarland
Personal Page on the 6S Social Network: sixsentences.ning.com/profile/peggy