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Roberta Olsen Major
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Beck and her sister are left alone when their mom is called away--just for a few hours, until their landlady gets home--but a storm hits, flooding the streets of Houston.

As the rain continues to fall, disaster follows disaster.

And someone knows they’re alone.

"It’s just for a few hours," I said for the forty-seventh time.

"You’re only sixteen," my mother responded, also for the forty-seventh time.

"I’m six-and-a-half," my little sister interrupted.

Way to go, Jilly, I thought. If I’d had to go through the whole call-and-response thing again, I might have had to resort to foot-stomping and name-calling--not the way to win an argument with my mother about my level of maturity.

"I don’t like to leave you two when there’s a storm heading this way," Mom said, moving on to the second verse of this endless song.

"It’s not necessarily heading this way," I said, barely restraining myself from rolling my eyes. "It could make landfall anywhere between here and Brownsville, Mom, and it could be days from now, or never. You know how unpredictable the weather is in Houston."

"Unpredictable," Mom repeated with special emphasis, as if proving her point.

"It’s not even a hurricane," I went on. "It’s a tropical depression. And if you don’t get on that plane, the depression around here is going to be a lot more than just tropical!"

"I’d take you both, Rebecka," Mom said, her voice trembling a little, "but I just don’t have the airfare. She was your grandmother."

"Who was my grandmother?" Jilly asked, then, "I didn’t know I had a grandmother."

Mom winced, but Jilly had it right. Grandmother Fisk washed her hands of Mom seventeen years ago, and refused to acknowledge the births of either of her only grandchildren--or even our existence--in the years since. The old lady was as unbending as a steel-reinforced girdle, and there was not a soft bone in her body.

We now had proof of the bone thing, since she’d fallen and shattered her hip a few months back. Mom’s brother had called with ghoulish updates: the bones weren’t knitting, the doctors had found underlying problems, and finally, "Ding dong, the witch is dead..."

"I’d send you over to the Campbells," Mom said for the thirtieth time, "but they’re leaving for Dallas early tomorrow morning."

I sighed. "It’s just for a few hours," I said. Wrong thing to say. I could see Mom’s lips forming the standard response for the forty-eighth time. "Mrs. Magruder will probably be back before dark," I added quickly. "We won’t even have time to notice you’re gone."


Jilly turned big eyes on Mom, her lower lip starting to wobble. "I don’t want you to go."

"Sure you do, Jilly." I said it quick, before the maternal guilt lever could be yanked any farther. "It’ll be like a sleepover, just us. We’ll make pizza--" Jilly loved to cook. "--and watch videos and paint each other’s toenails."

Jill’s eyes lit up. I figured I could live with blue toenails for one night, if it kept her happy.

I looked at Mom, who appeared marginally less conflicted. I started to relax.

"Can Patrick have a sleepover with us?" Jilly asked, as if this was the greatest idea yet.

I winced.

Before Mom could return to full meltdown mode, I said, "No, Patrick can’t come. This is just a sleepover for sisters. Patrick isn’t a sister."

Far from it. But Mom was already touchy where my newly-acquired boyfriend was concerned, so listing all of his excellent qualities would be counter-productive at the moment. Instead, I mustered up the most reasonable tone I could manage, and put a hand on my mother’s arm. "We’ll be fine, Mom. You have to go. She was your mother." She was a wicked old witch with a heart stonier than Plymouth Rock who deserves to rot in the third ring of hell for all eternity--but this was also not the thing to say right now to my tender-hearted mother. "We’ll be just fine," I added soothingly.

"You’ll keep the deadbolt on?"

I nodded.

"You won’t tell anyone you’re in the flat alone?"

I nodded again.

"You’ll make sure Jilly brushes her teeth and says her prayers?"

Two more nods--and I was beginning to feel like a rubber raft in the Gulf of Mexico: up and down, up and down, up and down.

"If I could’ve just t

Roberta Olsen Major wore out two toy typewriters as a child before her parents decided it would be more frugal to provide her with the real thing. Throughout junior high and high school, she used two fingers to tap out lurid, angst-filled stories peopled with impossibly beautiful characters speaking highly improbable dialogue.

After earning a BA from Brigham Young University, she worked as a librarian in sensible shoes, before switching her Major to the care and feeding of a scientific husband and two charming children.

A published playwright and reviewer of children’s books, she now lives in Texas, where she collects dust, gets taken for daily walks by her faithful Schnauzers, and is, as always, working on her next book.

The Ice Cream Crone: "…a galloping romp of hilarity on a quest of pure enjoyment. Roberta Olsen Major delights her readers with wit, puns, and good old silliness… filled with the perfect combination of chivalry and joviality… Life, love and the pursuit of laughter reign…” --Joyce Handzo, In the Library Reviews, October 10, 2003

The Ice Cream Crone: "… takes ‘happily ever after’ a hop, skip and a jump farther, leading the child in us all on a merry romp through ‘what if’.” -- Pam Ripling, author of Locker Shock!

Juvenile Fiction Books :: General Books

ISBN: 1590886372
ISBN(13-digit): 978590886373
Copyright: 2008
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
Binding: Perfect
No. of Pages: 180
Paper Weight (lb): 7.8

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