Katiebug- Two DImes
B.S. Johnson | James Brown
“Good night, Katiebug,” June said, as she tucked her little girl into bed. “Sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite!”
And then June turned out the light, leaving her daughter nestled in her bed. But Katiebug knew she wouldn’t be able to go to sleep right away. She was awaiting the tooth fairy. There was a tooth under her pillow. And she was going to put whatever the tooth fairy brought her into her brand new piggy bank that she had gotten for Christmas. She kept wondering what time of night she would come, or how she would get there. How much would she leave under Katiebug’s pillow? Fifty cents? A dollar? All these thoughts were racing through Katiebug’s head, and sleep was not going to come easy. Maybe she could stay awake and actually see the tooth fairy! After all, none of her friends had ever seen her, and wouldn’t it be awesome if she could be the one to describe her to her friends? Her eyes were getting heavy, so sleepy…
Clank! Bang! Katiebug jumped up in bed from the noise. What in the world was that? After a few moments of listening, she realized it was her mom in the kitchen cooking breakfast. Katiebug got up and started getting dressed. From the sounds of it, breakfast would be ready soon. But wait- the pillow! She hadn’t checked it yet. She darted back over to her bed, lifted up her pillow, and she saw not one, but two, shiny dimes. Katiebug picked them up and held them in her hand. She stared at them a while. “Katiebug,” her mom called, “breakfast is ready.”
Katiebug made her way to the kitchen, clenching the dimes in her fist. When she walked into the kitchen, her mom noticed the strange, almost upset look on her face.
“Why the long face, Bug?” her mom asked.
“Well, I guess I just thought the tooth fairy would leave more, that’s all.” Katiebug slumped down in the chair at the kitchen table.
June served her some blueberry pancakes with syrup and set her down a big glass of milk. Katiebug watched her mom as she did all this, noticing how tired her mom looked. The pancakes looked great, and she couldn’t wait to eat them, but she wanted to wait for her mom to sit down and eat too.
“Mom, are you gonna eat with me?” she asked.
“Yes, honey. Give me a minute,” June replied.
At last, her mom joined her at the table.
“Now, let’s talk about why you’re upset with the tooth fairy,” June said.
“I told you,” Katiebug said, “because I thought I’d get more than twenty cents.”
“Well, some kids don’t get anything at all, so isn’t twenty cents better than nothing at all?” June asked.
Katiebug just sat there, pouting. “I guess so,” Katiebug replied.
“Now come on, eat your pancakes,” June said.
As Katiebug was walking home from the school bus stop the next day, she was thinking about the two dimes. She hadn’t put them in her new piggy bank yet. She was so disappointed about what the tooth fairy brought, she had forgotten to. Then she got to thinking about what her mom had said. Twenty cents didn’t seem like much, but then, when you compare it to nothing, it seems like a lot. Oh well, she thought, I’ll just put it in my piggy bank and save up.
Katiebug walked in the front door to her house. She could hear her mom talking, and figured she was in the kitchen on the phone. Katiebug set her book bag on the couch, and went to her room to put the twenty cents in her piggy bank. She looked at the shiny dimes one last time, and then dropped them into the pink pig. Tink! Tink! There. She had saved twenty cents. Satisfied with herself, she walked toward the kitchen to get a snack. As she got to the doorway, she heard her mom talking to someone on the phone.
“Yes, April, that’s right. It is sad. I will pray for her. I forget sometimes about all the blessings I have in my life. I am reminded of how lucky I really am when I hear of someone like your friend Sally, who doesn’t even have two nickels to rub together,” she heard her mom say.
Wow! Katiebug thought. I really AM lucky. I have two dimes saved, a mama who cares for me, a new piggybank, a nice bike, and neat toys. Just then, as if she forgot all about the snack she was going to get, Katiebug turned around and went back to her room. She picked up the piggybank, turned it over to take the rubber stopper out of the bottom. But there was no rubber stopper. Oh no! How am I going to get my dimes out? Katie thought a moment, and there was only one way. She would have to break her new piggy bank. She didn’t want to, but if she was to get the dimes out, it had to be done. She picked up the pink pig, and hit it on the floor. It broke. The two dimes fell out. She picked them up, and started back toward the kitchen. When she got there, her mom had already hung up the phone, and was sitting at the kitchen table, sniffling.
“Mama, are you crying?” Katiebug asked.
“Just a little, dear,” her mom replied.
Katiebug took her mama’s hand, opened it up, and placed the two dimes in her palm. “Mama, I don’t know who Sally is, but I’ll bet she’d be real glad to get two dimes to rub together,” Katiebug said.
And with that, June took her daughter and held her tightly.
“You, my little Bug, are so very sweet!” June said. “But you gave up a tooth to get this money.”
“But mama,” Katiebug replied, “I want to. Sally needs it more than me, and I can get more. And another piggy bank, because I had to break it to get to the dimes. Besides, I have another tooth that’s loose!”
The next day when Katiebug got home from school, she heard her mom talking to someone in the kitchen. Only this time, she heard another voice talking too. She went into the kitchen and saw a very pretty lady sitting next to her mom.
“Oh, here’s Katiebug now,” her mom said. “Katiebug, this is Sally, the lady we were talking about yesterday.”
“Hello,” Katiebug said, curious as to why Sally was in her kitchen.
“Katiebug,” Sally said, “your mom told me about the very sweet thing you did yesterday. I wanted to come over here myself and thank you.”
Katiebug got a little red in the face over this, but she kindly replied, “You’re welcome.”
Sally added, “I also wanted to bring you something.” Sally reached into a bag sitting on the table, and started pulling out something very shiny. As it came out of the bag the rest of the way, Katiebug’s eyes lit up. It was a shiny, silver clown piggybank! It was twice as big as her piggybank was!
“This was my grandmother’s,” Sally said, “then my mother’s, then mine. When I heard what you did for me, and you had to break your piggybank, I knew it was meant for you next.” She handed it to Katiebug, and smiled. “Here you go, sweetheart,” Sally said.
“Thank you very much. I love it,” Katiebug replied. Katiebug hugged Sally, and took off towards her room to put the clown piggybank away. As she was running, the piggybank started clanking. She flipped it over, and saw a rubber stopper. She pulled it out, and a quarter fell out. A whole quarter! That’s more than I had before, Katiebug thought. She ran into the kitchen to ask Sally why she had given that to her, but she wasn’t there. She had already left. Her mom was cleaning up the table from where they had been drinking tea.
“Mom, where did Sally go?” Katiebug asked.
“She had to leave, honey, but she said to tell you it was nice meeting you and to stay sweet,” June replied.
“Mom,” Katie said, “there is a quarter in the new clown piggybank. Why do you think Sally did that?”
“I’m sure that’s just her way of thanking you for what you did for her. That was very unselfish of you, you know?” June replied.
Katiebug nodded and smiled softly and turned around and went back to her room. She felt really good inside, and she knew that Sally did too. And in the end, that’s what matters. D