To Come and Go Like Magic

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Book: To Come and Go Like Magic by Katie Pickard Fawcett Read Free Book Online
Authors: Katie Pickard Fawcett
Kentucky,” Miss Matlock says. She has him close his eyes and tilt his head toward the ceiling so there’s absolutely no cheating. “Drive until the timer dings.”
    Half a breath after
Go
, Zeno’s car is sitting in the Pacific Ocean. Miss Matlock draws a little
x
on the spot and writes his name.
    All the boys
zoom
their cars across the country, but no one else gets to the Pacific. Two cars end up in Canada, but the rest stop in states across the West. The girls driveslower. Since we don’t know what kind of game we’re playing, it’s best to be cautious.
    “We’re going to Mexico,” Miss Matlock says when we’re all done and every spot has been marked with an
x
. The boys in California and Arizona and Texas are excited. They’re almost there already. Willie Bright is sitting in Laredo, right on the border, even though he didn’t try to zip across the states like the others. He just headed in the right direction.
    “Willie knew where we were going,” Ginny says. “He had to know.”
    “I didn’t know,” says Willie.
    Miss Matlock says: “This is not a race.”
    Ginny whispers to Priscilla: “A welfare wouldn’t have enough gas money to get to Texas.” The two of them giggle and everybody wants to know what they’re laughing about.
    “Enough nonsense,” says Miss Matlock. She explains the project. We each have to do a short report about the state we landed on—the historic places, the weather and crops and customs, what the land looks like. Are there mountains? Or prairie? Or wilderness? And how about lakes, rivers, or deserts? What do the people do for work? The boys who’ve made the most progress cross-country will also have to write one extra paragraph about each of the states they have driven across to get where they are sitting. They all groan. It’s not fair, they say. The girls have it easy.
    “But everyone must end up in Mexico,” Miss Matlock says. The next time we can each choose where we stop so long as we get to Mexico in two weeks. “We’ll arrive together,” she says.
    “That’s not a race,” says Zeno.
    “Exactly,” says Miss Matlock. “This is not a race.”
    “What am I supposed to do?” Zeno asks. “I’m floatin’ in the ocean.”
    “Tell us about the Pacific,” Miss Matlock says. “And, of course, a little something about all those states you drove so fast through to get to the ocean.”
    “What if I didn’t drive?” Zeno asks. “What if I flew in an airplane? I could be in Mexico in a minute.”
    Everybody laughs.
    “Hardly a minute,” Miss Matlock says. “And we’re all driving.” She takes Zeno’s blue car and places it on the coast of California. “Let’s say you stopped in Los Angeles. There is much to see and do and
write
about while you wait for the others to get across the country.”
    Zeno grabs the blue car from Miss Matlock, but she doesn’t scold him. Just raises her eyebrows, looks over her glasses.
    After class, everyone pours into the hallway, and soon there’s a huddle and they’re all complaining about Miss Matlock and the stupid assignments and how this is supposedto be English class and we haven’t opened our grammar books since she came to teach.
    “We’re writing papers,” I say. “That’s grammar.”
    “Why do you always take up for her?” Ginny asks.
    “You and that Willie Bright Eyes,” Zeno says. “The two of you knew about this project, didn’t you? Chili and Willie in a conspiracy with the old crazy lady.”
    When the bell rings, we have to run to get to the next class. Obviously, Zeno didn’t notice that I landed in northern Indiana. I would be closer to Mexico if I’d stayed in Mercy Hill, Kentucky.

O fferings 1 …
    Sunday morning. We fill up a whole pew since Pop talked Myra and Uncle Lu into coming to church.
    Two strange men and a woman walk in and sit across the aisle from us where the Murphys usually sit, and the Murphys have to take the next row and push everybody else back. Ginny’s mother is

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