It had been dreadful, until Rocky had showed up and helped her sort Nockman out. Molly had left New York behind, bringing with her the money that she'd earned and a large diamond that had come her way the day of the bank robbery and Professor Nockman. Back at Hardwick House, things began to get better at last. Molly had removed the witchy orphanage mistress, the building had been renamed, and the kindalthough slightly battywidow called Mrs. Trinklebury, who had worked at the orphanage before had come to help permanently. Molly had told her that the money she'd brought back from America was from a rich person called the Benefactor who wanted to help the children's home. Molly had also hypnotized Nockman and brought him with her to be Mrs. Trinklebury's assistant. She was hoping that by working with someone as kind as Mrs. Trinklebury, Nockman would soon reform and become a genuinely kind person too. So far the experiment was working well.
Molly checked her list. They had about everything now.
All the healthy foodthe vegetables and fruit that Mrs. Trinklebury had asked forlay squashed at the bottom of the cart underneath milk and fizzy drinks. On top were the special itemsthe presents for the six children from the orphanage who were away.
Gordon Boils and Cynthia Redmon were at an Outward Bound course, where Gordon, wanting to look meaner, had shaved his head. Molly had bought shaving foam and razors for him and chocolates for Cynthia.
Hazel Hackersly and Craig Redmon, Cynthia's twin, were at a ballroom-dancing course, so Molly was sending them lip gloss and teeth whitener.
Jinx and Ruby, the two five-year-olds, were staying at Mrs. Trinklebury's lovely sister's pig farm. Molly was mailing them a package of popcorn and bubble gum.
Molly scratched her head, hoping she hadn't got lice again. "All that's left now is something for everyone who's still at home. Roger needs his nits . . . I mean his nuts."
"Poor Roger. He's nuts," said Rocky, lobbing some cashews into the cart. Indeed, Roger Fibbin was. Since Molly had returned, he had grown more and more muddled by the world. He spent most of his time up the orphanage oak tree.
"Mmm," agreed Molly. "Got my ketchup and Mr. Nockman's parakeet food . . . got Gemma's sherbet and Gerry's cheesy biscuits. Just need our candy and Mrs. Trinklebury's magazines."
Molly pushed the heavily laden cart down the last aisle toward the front of the store and scooped up a carton of toffees, a bag of candy sticks, some Heaven Bars, and a giant package of Moon's Marshmallows.
Rocky plucked Celebrity Globe and Welcome to My WorldAt Home with the Stars from the magazine rack.
KID NUTTEL KIDNAP!, the Briersville Evening Chronicle declared in black print, but Rocky didn't look at the newspapers. He and Molly piled their purchases onto the checkout conveyor belt. A pretty young woman with thick hair and gentle hands started tapping out prices on her register. Molly looked at her fresh country face and her nylon apron. She could almost belong to a different species from the people on the front of the glossy magazines that lay in front of her.
OSCARS SPECIAL ISSUE, trumpeted the headline on Celebrity Globe, beside a close-up photo of a woman with tumbling golden hair and a smile so full of teeth that Molly thought she must have had extra ones put in. Her lips were like shiny pink slugs, and her eyes were like a leopard's. Molly knew her face well. Everyone did.
"Suky Champagne, Academy Award Nominee, Shows Us Her Shoes," it said under the picture.
Mrs. Trinklebury would be pleased. Her favorite time of year was when the Academy Awards came aroundthe time when Hollywood handed out prizes, the Oscars, to the most talented people in the film business. Mrs. T. usually talked of nothing else for weeks.
From Molly Moon Stops The World by Georgia Byng. Copyright 2003. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of Harper Collins Publishers.
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