Our toaster is moody.
When I got down to the kitchen this morning, just my sisters were there. I said good morning to them. Allison grunted. Quinn said, "Morning. Waffles?" She was putting three frozen waffles into the toaster, one for each of us.
"Yum," I said, but I couldn't wait, so I grabbed a Smoothie out of the fridge. "Where's my Teen Vogue?"
"Should be in the trash. How can you read that crap?" Allison said, grabbing the Smoothie out of my hand to read the label. "You like these?"
I shrugged. "I wake up hungry."
"I'd give anything for your metabolism," Allison grumbled, handing the Smoothie back to me.
"Trade you for your white sweater," I said between gulps.
"I wish." She kicked off her sneakers.
"You're both skinnier than I am, so shut up," Quinn commented without looking up from whatever she was doing on her laptop.
"I'm not skinny," Allison said, yanking off her socks. "I'm interesting looking."
"Get over it," Quinn said. "Grandma didn't mean anything"
"She meant ugly," Allison interrupted, stomping barefoot toward the back hall. "Whatever. Phoebe, did you take my new flip-flops?"
"No!" I yelled, trying to remember if I had.
The toaster lever popped up. "Phoebe!" Allison yelled at me from inside the back hall closet. "You're standing right there! Could you get the waffles? Come on. Quinn and I have to go or we'll miss our bus!"
"Oh, like the middle-school bus is so much later? Please!" I hate when Allison acts like she and Quinn are a team I'm too young to try out for. I am fourteen, not four, and she is closer to my age than Quinn's by three months.
I tossed my empty Smoothie bottle in the sink, and then, slowly enough to totally torture my sisters, opened the toaster door to check. All three waffles were soggy on the edges and hard in the middles, with little ice crystals still clinging to the tops.
"Still frozen." I closed the glass door of the stainless steel toaster oven and pressed the lever again.
Quinn's head jerked up. "Seriously? Retoasting?"
"No way," Allison yelled, coming back into the kitchen with my new flip-flops dangling from her fingers. "You know the toaster gets insulted."
"No, only you do," I told her. "Those are my flip-flops."
"They're mine! You just stole them yesterday. Yours have the stripey thing, remember?"
"Oh, yeah," I said.
I found the Teen Vogue in my bag and brought it over to where Allison was standing at the sink, wet-paper-toweling invisible dirt specks off the edges of her/my flip-flops.
"Want to see the dress I found for my graduation party?" I asked her, flipping pages. "It's green. Do you think that's"
Allison cursed and pointed at the toaster. Smoke was curling out of it. I cursed, too, and dashed across the kitchen. When I yanked the toaster door open, a huge ball of dark smoke exploded out.
The smoke alarm started blaring.
"It's not a fire," Allison yelled at the smoke alarm on the ceiling. "Just more exploding waffles." Dropping the flip-flops, she ran to open the sliding glass door to the deck and yelled back at me, "I told you, Phoebe!"
Quinn and I waved our arms in front of the smoke, guiding it toward the fresh air, until the alarm finally quit.
"Our appliances have scary amounts of personality," Quinn said.
"Like the thing," I said, laughing. "Remember? With Mom?"
My sisters both looked at me blankly.
"The electric tea kettle! Remember?" I unplugged the toaster from the wall and, holding out the cord like a sword, announced to my sisters, "Never be intimidated!"
The foregoing is excerpted from Lucky by Rachel Vail. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
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