April 18, 2018

P is for Polly

        The girl paused at the corner and looked back.  She was two or three inches taller than Chen with straight brown hair to her chin like a Flapper from the Roaring Twenties.  Her knobby knees showed beneath the short skirt of a dress that looked like it was really an oversized man’s Hawaiian shirt belted at the waist with a bright blue hip pouch.  Her sneakers appeared to have been hand-painted with multicolored polka dots and were made even more outrageous by the bright, mismatched socks that showed above them.  Dressed like that, and appearing so suddenly out of nowhere, Chen thought she might as well have appeared from another planet.
        The girl unzipped her hip pouch and pulled something out before replying to Chen.  “Well, hurry up, then,” she said.  “Oh, and by the way, where are we?”
        Chen frowned as he caught up with her.  “What do you mean?”
        “I mean where are we?  City, country, building, institution, any other relevant info?”
        “The Cleveland Museum of Art.  How can you not know where you are?”
        “Well, I didn’t come through the front door,” she replied, as though this were a wholly rational and satisfactory explanation.  And then she whistled, two high notes followed by three short notes going up the scale.  It resonated loudly in the atrium.
        She had paused and then repeated the pattern by the time Chen exclaimed, “Hush!  You’re in the art museum, didn’t you hear me?  You can’t just go around whistling like that in a museum!”
        “Well, you can’t have a cat in a museum, either, and yet mine’s here, right?  So I’m trying to get her back.”
        Chen was beginning to wonder if the girl was a little bit insane or something.  Maybe she was here with a field trip from some kind of special school and had gotten away from her class group.  He tried to identify the weird look the girl was giving him.  It wasn’t scornful.  It wasn’t scared.  It wasn’t really anything, he thought.  Just a look.  And then it occurred to him how weird that was.  Nobody ever just simply looked at someone.  It was embarrassing.  Just to break the awkward silence, he cleared his throat and said, “So, what’s your name?”
        To Chen’s astonishment, the girl darted forward, seized his hand, and shook it heartily.  “I’m Polly Goggin and my cat is Uber Goggin.  Pleased to meet you.  What’s your name?”

        Polly Goggin from The Extraordinary Book of Doors, an
upper middle grade fantasy (excerpt from Chapter 4: The Cat in the Museum).  More information here, or “Look inside” at Amazon.

[Picture: Drawing of Polly by AEGN, 2018.]

A-Z Challenge, all posts for the letter P


Kristin said...

Sounds like another interesting book.If only this challenge would end, I could read one or more!

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

"If only this challenge would end..." Ha ha! We're barely over halfway through!