THE TRIALS OF SAMMY
The new day dawned clear and hot, promising to be yet another scorcher. Phoebe woke to a bad headache. It was hard to stand up. The swelling in her right knee was as bad as anything since the operation. On arriving home the night before, Dr. Bear had bandaged her cuts, but both her eyes were swollen and her cheek and forehead bruised. She glanced at herself in the mirror and went back to sleep.
The sound of voices floated through the open window and woke Phoebe from a doze. Penny and Jeremy were talking on the front steps.
“She’s sleeping,” said Penny. “Banged up pretty bad. And the party for Sammy we’d planned for the toy store courtyard won’t happen. The toy store’s been closed too.”
“What?” cried Jeremy. “What for?”
“Chester called me a couple of hours ago,” Penny replied. “He says the papers from the Health Department are on the courtyard gate and Sammy’s door. It was a bad ending last night. Sammy dragged himself home without a word. He already knew he’d be closed down for overcrowding, even though we kept the audience below the limit.”
“I’m sorry,” said Jeremy. “That hurts.”
“Yes, it does. And all my cakes will go to waste.”
“I’m awake!” called Phoebe through the window. “I heard all that!”
Penny and Jeremy were upstairs in a moment, talking to Phoebe. They decided to head to town and have the party on the sidewalk if necessary. Penny and Phoebe’s parents were due in town soon, and others would be showing up.
In half an hour a group had formed on the sidewalk in front of the toy store and coffee shop. Peter Hood was giving away his carved figures of the Good Fairy and Santa Claus. Patricia Hood gave bunches of flowers to passers-by. Tom Winkle gave finger beans and lemon cukes, and Penny handed out pieces of cake. A crowd formed, and discussed the events of the night before. Phoebe joined her father behind his display of figures laid out on wooden crates.
“I actually wanted to give these away,” Peter told her. “As I made them I imagined giving one to every person in town.” He turned and looked her in the eye. “Phoebe, I’m so proud of you. I want you to know.”
She was speechless.
“I just want you to know,” her father said.
Later on Phoebe limped to the small frame house where Sammy lived alone. She rapped on the door again and again. “Look, Sammy!” she yelled. “I’m not going away until you talk to me. We need your help.”
“You don’t fool me,” came Sammy’s voice from an upper window. “You’re trying to trick me into feeling good. I don’t feel good, and I’m not going to.”
“I don’t feel good either! You should see my face. But we’ve got things to do. We’re running a free store in front of the coffee shop.”
In a moment Sammy appeared at the front door. “All right, let’s go. This free store idea, I like that. I can’t miss it.”
As they turned the corner onto Bridge Avenue Sammy stared at the enormous crowd collected in front of his store. Officer Harley and many others were standing in front of Peter’s carvings. Phoebe and Sammy joined the group.
Peter was saying, “But we’re not selling anything! We haven’t taken a dime. If the stores have to close, we thought we’d give a last gift. Join us, Harley! Or you could arrest us, we understand. But first take a couple of these toys for your grandkids.”
“Well said!” cried Sammy.
“Hey Sammy’s here!” people yelled. The crowd gathered round and began to clap.
“Arrest us both,” Sammy told Harley. “You’d be doing me a favor. I don’t know what to do with my life.”
“Oh leave me alone, you two,” Harley replied. “I’ll be damned if I’ll arrest you. But watch out for those gray hats off the highway.”
And at that moment they saw a state police car double parked down the block. Two officers with wide brimmed hats walked up the sidewalk. Phoebe recognized Captain Bloward from the night before. Sammy stepped into the path of the police.
“Good to see you gentlemen,” said Sammy. “I was hoping we’d meet again.”
“It’s too much, old man,” said the captain. “This time you’re going in.”
“I know I’m a menace to public safety,” returned Sammy. “I really shouldn’t be out on the street. You know, it’s great to have a job where you can really do good and help people. It’s a rare thing these days.”
“Cuff him, Austin, I’m tired of his mouth,” the captain said.
The policeman stepped in, and with a quick move cuffed Sammy’s hands behind his back.
PHOEBE COMES HOME (Book I)
PHOEBE BREAKS THROUGH (Book II)
And The Upcoming...GHOST GIRL (Book III)
by John KixMiller
THE TRIALS OF SAMMY illustration
by Carlos Uribe
Learn More About Phoebe And The Players In Middletown!