Bottle Caps

Margot looked out of her living room window, trying to see if the neighbor’s dog was out. She hadn’t heard it all morning, but it sometimes slept under the porch if it was a hot day.

What are you doing inside?” Mom asked, coming into the room.

Nothing,” Margot said quickly, knowing what Mom would say if she told the truth.

Mom, though, was not to be fooled. “It’s a gorgeous day, Margot, you should be outside.”

I know,” Margot said, looking down. There was no sense telling her mother. She didn’t believe that things like barking dogs should stop people from doing things.

Go on, outside,” Mom said, giving her a little nudge. “Go play in the mud or something.”

Okay,” Margot said. If it had been up to her, she wouldn’t ever go out. But, of course, hardly anything was ever up to her.

Out in the yard, though, things were quiet. If the horrible dog was out, it wasn’t in view. She spent some time playing with her jump rope, soon tiring of it. There were only so many times she could sing the same rhyme to herself. Finally, she collected her basket of toy cars and chalk, and lay down on the sidewalk to draw roads.

As she began constructing her highway, she noticed a bottle cap. It was on one of the sidewalk squares outside of the neighbor’s house, the creepy woman who owned the frightening dog. Margot picked it up, and inspected it. It was a simple cap, from a beer brand she’d never heard of.

As she held it in her hand, she heard the back door of the neighbor’s house open. She looked up just in time to see the dog, the big, loud, slobbering dog come running for her. He was already barking madly.

She knew he couldn’t reach her, not on his chain. Still, the sound was terrifying.

Stop it, shut up!” she cried.

Much to her surprise, though, the dog did stop making sounds. It’s mouth was still moving, but nothing was coming out. The bottle cap in Margot’s hand was glowing.

Not a moment later, the front door of the neighbor’s house burst open, and the lady who lived there came out. “Hey,” she said, coming to the sidewalk. “What did you do to my dog?”

I didn’t do anything,” Margot said, hiding the bottle cap behind her.

Little kids are bad liars,” the woman said, “Give me whatever you’re holding or I’m going to tell your mom.”

Reluctantly, Margot handed over the bottle cap. The woman looked at it. Her eyes narrowed, and she gave the girl a suspicious look. “How did you get this?” she asked.

I found it on the ground,” she said, pointing to the spot where she’d found it.

Don’t pick up stuff outside of my house,” she said. Then, she took her dog by the collar, and led him inside.

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