TITLE: The Many Adventures of Courtesy and Patience
GENRE: Middle Grade
The drying earth and pig refuse chafed Patty’s backside, up into her petticoat. She itched at the spot and several boys snickered behind her. She would have to remind them of their mistake later, once she was cleaner and more confident. Out of a curtain of mud-caked hair she glowered at them. Two of the boys shifted warily.
“Patience Tabitha Cowdery, come here at once,” called Mrs. Hibberd, steel in her voice.
The boys snickered again and Patty gritted her teeth. Now she would have to pay them double, this time for laughing at her name. Nobody but The Hibberd had the courage to call her Patience. She wondered how long it would take to make the boys cry when she and her best friend, Court, pinned them down and pounded their flabby bellies. Manky wouldn’t last long. For all the help his height gave him, he wasn’t the toughest of sorts.
“You boys too,” The Hibberd commanded.
That shut them up quick enough. They followed Patty around the side of the two-story ramshackle house. Keeping her back to them, Patty trudged from the backyard to the front, stepping clear of the boards that supported the home for displaced orphans like a crutch. Knocking over that crutch would make their crooked house a flattened house instead. Where would she go then?
Patty halted below the front porch steps and picked at the old blue paint on the banister, avoiding the look of dismay on The Hibberd’s face above her.