"OW!" said Aunt Pigg, as much in amazement as anything else.
"No more Coke for you, Pigg," said Aunt Magnolia, not wasting anyone's time by apologizing. "It's a long haul to the motel."
"Ow!" said Aunt Pigg again, making her way back to the car.
I carefully found the coin return slot, retrieved the dime, and pocketed it. As yet I had no plan to effect my egress, but one never knew.
"In fact," said Aunt Magnolia, suddenly turning around on her heel and marching back to the Coke machine, "let's get back that dime." When it wasn't there after she pushed the coin return button, she pushed it several more times increasingly harder. Then she hit the machine and kicked it. A man finally came out of the museum and said, "Here, stop that."
"This machine ate my dime," said Aunt Magnolia. "Machine clearly states Cokes cost a buck fifty," said the man. "You can't get a Coke for a dime no more, lady."
"Yes, I know that, you nincompoop," said Aunt Magnolia. "I put a dime in and I changed my mind."
"How do I know that?" said the man. "How do I know you're not out there just trying to cadge dimes off museum owners? You wouldn't believe what we see in the tourist trade."
"I want my dime," said Aunt Magnolia. The man just turned around and went back into the museum. I felt like applauding. If he had given the dime to Aunt Magnolia, I would, of course, have had to come clean and return my dime to him. So I was doubly happy that he had not.
"Waste, Pigg. Waste, waste, waste," said Aunt Magnolia, getting back into the car. She put a beach towel over her head and said, "Drive."
It was a lovely first day on the road.
Excerpt from Vacation by Polly Horvath, pages 34-39. Copyright . 2005 by Polly Horvath. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC in 2005. All rights reserved. Visitors to this web site are warned that this work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC.
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