As Hannah made her way back to Mommom’s, she thought about what Mr. Channing had told her. Frustrated, she plopped her pink rain boots into a puddle in front of Mommom’s house and watched the water splash up. What does Mr. Channing know? Hannah thought. He is just an old man with crazy dreams. She made sure to hit every puddle along the walkway because it made her feel better, even if only for a moment. After she jumped in them, her mind wandered back to Mr. Channing’s strange tale.
Mommom had Hannah take off her wet coat and boots before she led her back inside. In the kitchen she had set out lunch for them, but Hannah was not in the mood to eat. The lead Mommom gave her had gotten her nowhere. She climbed onto the chair and stared at George who had escaped from her pocket (with a little help from her). He now sat on the table next to the ham and cheese sandwich.
“Did you get any ideas from Mr. Channing?” Mommom asked.
“He told me about his cats and fell asleep.”
“What about his cats?”
“That he thought they were outside, but they weren’t. And now they’re gone,” Hannah removed the fedora and placed it on the other side of the sandwich. “I don’t think I want to be a writer anymore.”
“It takes practice, time, and patience, Hannah. I did not write my book all in one day. Why don’t we enjoy our lunch and then we can get back to making a story from what Mr. Channing told you.”
“No, thank you,” Hannah said, bummed out. She started to pick at her sandwich, but quickly realized that she did not want it. She excused herself from the table and headed upstairs with George into the spare room again.
They talked about everything they heard and seen at the old man’s house. If the house smelled of kitty litter, then how were his two Bengals gone? He might have just locked them outside and forgot to let them back in. It seemed Mr. Channing seemed to forget a lot of things. Especially about not taking naps when company was over. Everything just seemed so fishy to Hannah anyway. Why was he so calm if his tigers were missing? How did no one in the neighborhood seem to see two of them escape? It did not seem that Mr. Channing was telling the truth at all.
She took her toys and arranged them in a group and then sat in front of them. She cleared her throat and sat up straight. “Now that I have your attention, I have called you all here to tell you: I will not be a writer. No, George, Mommom said it takes patience and time, but I can’t write anything that Mr. Channing told me. It just doesn’t make sense. He said that his cats or tigers – whatever they are – had twins appear and then vanished!”
The more she thought about it, and said it out loud, the more it reminded her of a bedtime story her mom read to her; the one where two birds escape their cage and decide to go on an adventure to find others like themselves. Birds can’t get out of their cage without help, she thought to herself so the impromptu press conference didn’t hear her. Maybe if I write this it’ll become a bedtime story!
She got up from the floor, grabbed George from the middle of the crowd, and rushed down the stairs. The food was no longer on the kitchen table and neither was the fedora!
“Mommom! Where’s the fedora?! I have an idea!”