Spritle's Daughter Summary: Spritle's daughter, Kaylynn, comes home after being kicked out of her o ld school.

Warning: Language in second chapter, and spanking of a twelve-year-ol d. Disclaimer: I do not own "Speed Racer: The Next Generation"©, anything with an ©, ®, o r ™. And the character Conor from the show is spelled that way because Nicktoons© sp ells it that way on the website. Contains OCs. I made up the Racer boys middle n ames. I gotta give a shout out to my beta-reader, Kira-kira-katsu. Thank you! Kaylynn got out of the car at her father's house. She had two bags with her- a b ackpack and shoulder bag- but she had a suitcase in the trunk. Speed Racer, Jr., her cousin and a young man of sixteen, got her blue bag and large red suitcase out of the trunk for her. Kaylynn -twelve years old and in the sixth grade- just stood staring at the two-story house. Speed came up behind her, carrying her th ings from the trunk. "I know its pretty on the outside, but it's even prettier inside." Kaylynn dropp ed her head. Her brown hair fell around her face. Speed laughed. "Don't you want to see your father and meet my friends and brother?" "I'm not sure about meeting Dad. I mean, he sent me off to boarding school when I was six. It's like he never even wanted me." Kaylynn said. "Where did you spend vacations?" Speed asked. "The headmaster was best friends with Dad in college. He let me stay with him. E ven though he kicked me out of the school." Kaylynn replied. "That was the school board. And you're the one who kept getting into trouble." "I was only sent to see him once." Kaylynn added "This year," under her breath. "Come on. Let's go inside." Speed starting walking toward the house. Kaylynn tra iled after him. She climbed the big steps slowly. One. Two. Three. Four. Five.Sh e dragged her feet toward the front door. "Sure is a slow walker, isn't she?" She heard a boy ask. "She isn't quite sure about seeing her father after so many years apart. And she 's probably real tired after flying from Alabama to Utah." Speed explained. "I sent her letters and presents. Why doesn't she want to meet me?" She heard he r father ask. She had made it through the door, but she hadn't looked up. Speed closed the door behind her. Kaylynn dropped her bags. "The presents and letters were nice, but what I wanted most was you." She said, looking up, and saw a man about fifty years old with brown hair and black eyes. He stood about five feet tall and was wearing a light blue shirt, a brown jacket , and brown pants. He also wore brown loafers. He stepped up to her and put his hands on her shoulders. Kaylynn was wearing a green short sleeved shirt and blue jean shorts. She was also wearing brown sandals. "I thought you didn't want me, Father." She said. "Father is so formal." Spritle sighed. "After your mother died, I couldn't bear to raise you on my own. I knew my friend Connor Knightly would see to it that yo u got a good education. I paid for it, but he saw to it that you studied."

"Yes, and he punished me for bad grades." "How?" Spritle asked. "I was grounded and I had the TV taken out of my room." "You had a TV in your room?" She heard a girl ask. She looked to the left of her father to see who had spoken. She saw an African-American girl wearing a light blue mechanic's jumpsuit. "Yes. Everyone HATED dmaster, even though he was an old friend to point out that he none of it." me because I had such an enviable relationship with the hea I wasn't the only one who lived with him. I explained that of my father's from collage, but that didn't help. I tried didn't give anyone special treatment, but they were having

"That would make growing up awful hard." She heard a boy say. She looked to the right of the girl and saw a red headed boy with white pants, a blue polo shirt w ith a white collar, and brown shoes. He looked to be about sixteen. She glanced to the right of her father and saw a young man wearing a gray shirt with a black "X" on his right arm, and blue jeans. He wore black shoes. Speed was to his lef t. "Let me introduce you to everyone, Kaylynn." Her father turned around. He indica ted the brown haired boy, who looked to be about seventeen. "This is your cousin , X Racer. His little brother, Speed, is the one who brought you home." He indic ated the girl who looked to be about sixteen. "This is Lucy Jackson." He indicat ed the red-head. "And this is Conor Bryan. They all attend my Racing Academy." "Hello, it's nice to meet you all. Racing wasn't allowed at my old school. We co uldn't discuss it, watch it, or even run." "You weren't allowed to RUN?" Conor asked, aghast. "No." "Connor Knightly wasn't a racing fan." Her father explained. "We were only allowed to watch educational television, so that explains the no w atching it." Kaylynn said. "It would." Lucy agreed. "Of course, that probably made it easier to get to Speed's car, too." Conor said . "I didn't drive the Mach Six© to pick her up, anyway. That isn't street legal." Sp eed said. "He picked me up at the airport. Why was I expelled? It's not like I was the onl y one to ever pull that prank, and it wasn't even that dangerous." "They -and I- have a zero tolerance policy on pranks," Her father said. "What did you do?" Conor asked. "Promise not to pull this on anyone?" Kaylynn asked. I promise NOT to pull it on anyone." He said.

"No, Kaylynn. Don't tell him." Spritle said. "Later." Kaylynn mouthed to Conor. "I still can't believe you sent me away just because my mother died. You wanted someone else to raise me, why didn't you just dump me in an orphanage? Besides, if you didn't want anything to do with me, why did you send me presents every ye ar on my birthday and Christmas? Why did you write to me?" "The headmaster took pictures of you to send me. I couldn't bear to be reminded of your mother's death every time I looked at you. You look so much like her. Yo u even have her favorite name as your middle name-Jessica. I didn't want someone else raising you because you were MY child. I sent you presents because even th ough I knew looking at you would cause me pain, I love you. I was glad to get th ose pictures of you." "Talk about getting right down to it." X said. "Mr. Knightly never believed in beating around the bush, and so he raised me the same way." Kaylynn considered what her father had just said. "But you let Mr. K nightly raise me. You just said you didn't want someone else raising me." "I know. I helped raise you from afar. He would write to me with hypothetical pr oblems, and I would tell him how to handle it." "So it wasn't the board of directors that sent me home for the phone prank. It w as you." "Yes. That phone prank was one I myself pulled when I was your age. It seems you got plenty from me as well." "Zero- tolerance policy on pranks my foot." "That didn't come until later when one of my pranks really hurt someone." "I never took it that far." "Not now, but what about later?" "You were afraid I'd hurt someone, so you took me from school? Have you even con sidered where I'll go to school now?" "Yes, I have young lady. Why don't you go get settled in? We have one story for you to pick from." "What about the second floor?" "No bedrooms up there." "Have all the rooms been made ready? I mean, have they been aired out, the beds made-I'm gonna need some clothes. Most of my clothes were school uniforms. They' re all alike, but I can at least cut them, maybe have them altered." "Of course you can have them altered. Wait…in one of his letters, Conner said that you only had five uniforms." "He insisted on buying me five more." "Uniforms?" Lucy asked.

"Yes. It was a boarding school, so we had red and black plaid jumpers, white shi rts-long sleeves in winter and fall, short in spring and summer, white socks and Mary Janes®. The boys had white collar shirts, blue jeans, white socks, and brown loafers." Speed and X had picked up Kaylynn's bags and suitcase. They followed her as she walked to the back of the house. "Dinner will be in an hour. Conor, Lucy, X, Speed, would you like to stay?" "Yes, Headmaster!" In the back of the house, Kaylynn peered into each room after turning on the light. "I think I want a room near Dad's, with my own bathroom." "His room is right down this way." X led the way down the hall. "Why does Dad need such a big house?" Kaylynn asked. "He just likes it. I think he sleeps in a different room every night." Speed sai d. "Speed Yakama Racer, Jr. How DARE you spread lies like that about your uncle." X joked. "Actually, I think so, too." "Well, I think I'll take this one." Kaylynn had just looked into a room and turn ed on the light. The room she chose had blue wall paper, red carpet, yellow trim, a mahoga ny dresser with a mirror and chest of drawers, mahogany bed tables, a full mahogany bed with a green bedspread, and white lamps. She went over to the bed and pulled the bedspread down. The sheets were yellow. "The help have the day off." Speed said, leading his older brother into the room after his cousin. "You have a bathroom next door. Do you have any hobbies, like reading, writing, driving race cars?" He sat down on the bed. Kaylynn got up ne xt to him. "Speed Yakama Racer, Jr., I'm only twelve. Of course I don't race cars! Besides, don't you remember me saying that wasn't allowed?" "Oh, yeah. Now I remember." "I can't wait to start watching non-educational TV. I do read, just not always f or education." "I wouldn't be too sure Uncle Spritle will allow that. The non-educational TV-wa tching, I mean." X said. "X Paulson Racer, how DARE you spread lies like that about your uncle?" Speed te ased. "My full name is Kaylynn Jessica Racer. I used to think it was Knightly, but Mr. Knightly said it wasn't."

"You never knew your real name?" Speed asked. "Not my last name. There were several other children like me. Mr. Knightly went to college with a lot of parents. They all sent their children to his school, an d they all lived with him." "So it was kind of like an orphanage." X said. "No. Everyone has parents- or at least had. No one came in to see if they wanted to adopt anyone. There were only five of us, four boys and me. I wasn't the onl y one with a TV in their room. I wasn't the only one to pull pranks on him, eith er. But I was the only one whose father uprooted them. I'm pretty sure that if M r. Knightly had used that as a hypothetical problem, Father didn't suggest he se nd me home. Matter of fact, I'm positive now." "You heard your father. Mr. Knightly has a zero tolerance policy on pranks." X s aid. "No, he doesn't. Then Caleb, Curran, Dean, and Cyril would have all been expelle d, too." "True. But maybe they will be." Speed suggested. "Maybe they have no where to go now." X suggested. "He asked all of them if they had taped down the button on his phone receiver so that it kept ringing and ringing and ringing." "I'll tell Conor about that." Speed said. "Thanks." "He really takes care of all of those kids?" X asked. "Yes. I'm sure none of them are charity cases. He did let an older couple live i n one of his spare rooms in exchange for helping out with the kids." "You think all of their parents pay for them to live there?" "Yes. Mr. Knightly is kind, but not kind enough to let everyone off scot-free. N o one gets through life without paying for things." "Good philosophy." X commented. "It's Mr. Knightly's. He reminded us of it every chance he got." "Need help unpacking?" Speed asked. "No thanks. But could you bring me some hangers, please? I don't know where the laundry room is." "How many do you think you'll need?" "Ten. I only have ten shirts and ten uniforms. I'll put my shirts in the drawers ." "They should all have sachets in them." X said. "Thanks. Could you please ask Dad if he has my medical records?"

"Oh, sure." Speed said, standing up. The boys left and went to the front. Kaylyn n got up and opened her suitcase, which had been placed on the floor. She took her pajama s out first. She put them in the third drawer of the chestor. She closed the drawer an d opened the second one. There were only four. She put her socks in the second. "I need T -shirts, jeans, tennis shoes, some more socks-since these are getting a little threadbare - I'll need some shelves, some school supplies. Do I have to wear a uniform? Why am I asking myself these things? When will I start school? What if the other kids mak e fun of me?" "You sure are full of questions tonight." Spritle said as he brought the hangers in. "Oh, hi, Dad. I was just…" "Going over the questions you want to ask me at dinner tonight so that I have no choice but to answer them?" Spritle finished. "You mean because Lucy, Conor, Speed, and X are going to be here? Yes." "I'll answer any questions at dinner." "Yes, sir. But can I get this trim repainted?" "What color?" Kaylynn thought for a moment. "Red!" Spritle laughed "Red it is, then. But that means you have to move. I don't want you in here while people are painting. It may make you sick." "Yes, sir." Kaylynn put her underwear (including her bras) in the top drawer of the chestor. She saw a sachet before she closed it. That explained the lavender smel l. She went to her larger red bag; she had a small blue bag as well. "I have something for you. I wanted to send it to you for Christmas, but since I was expelled, I brought it myself." She dug down almost to the bottom. She came back

out with something medium sized, wrapped in newspaper. She handed it to her father. "Early Merry Christmas, happy birthday. Mr. Knightly said your birthday is a mon th after mine." "Yes, it's month after next." Spritle sat on the floor and unwrapped his present . It was a green vase, with blue squiggles. "Mr. Knightly said you used to like green and that you used to call me 'Squiggle s"." "Yes. Did you paint this yourself?" "Yes. We had a unit on throwing pots in art, so I decided to make a vase for you . The teacher put it in the kiln after I painted it. She told me how to ship it to you myself. I had a box for it." Spritle looked at her bag. Sure enough, there was a box shape to th e bottom of it. "Why did you call me 'Squiggles'?" "When your mother was pregnant with you, she said you didn't move; you squiggled . And I wasn't the only one who called you that. Even Speed called you that." "My cousin?" "No, your uncle. He's gone missing, but he'd be very proud of you, and how you g rew up to be a very beautiful young lady, with those big green eyes and that childish s mile of yours." Kaylynn smiled. "There it is." Spritle said. "I've had a good life. You and Mom were the only people missing. That I knew of, anyway." "I thought of you everyday. I wondered what you were doing all the time. 'Is she eating well? How are her grades? Is she interested in things other girls her age are in terested

in?'" "Seems you were full of questions, too. And no, I was never interested in things girls my age were. At least not at the same time. I was usually like, two months behind. Some girls blamed it on me living with so many boys. It was really just four." "Four?" "Yes. I think they were in the same situation as me. We had separate rooms, of c ourse." Spritle heaved a big sigh of relief. "You think Mr. Knightly would make us sleep in the same room?" "I was afraid so." "We learned how babies are made in the fourth grade, but that's it. Although we also learned the difference between boys and girls." "You would have to." "True." Kaylynn took the hangers and started hanging her uniforms on them. She c arried the uniforms over to the closet when she was through. Her father opened the door for her. "Thank you." She hung her uniforms in the back. "I need T-shirts, jeans, tennis shoes, some more socks-since these are getting a little threadbare- I'll need some shel ves, some school supplies. Do I have to wear a uniform? What if the other kids make f un of me?" "Didn't I say I'd answer your questions at dinner?" "Yes, sir. It's just that….well, I'm curious." "I understand. Come along. We're having an 'Everyone for themselves' dinner." He carried the vase. Kaylynn followed her father to the front of the house. "When will I start school ?" "More questions."

"I have to get them out or else I'll burst." "Heaven knows I don't want that happening to my baby girl. I just met her after six years." When they reached the kitchen, Kaylynn saw Lucy getting a plate out of one of th e cabinets. She walked over to it and got her own plate. She started fixing her pl ate with raw carrots and mashed potatoes. "She would have to be the only twelve-year-old I know who likes vegetables." Speed said, noticing his cousin. "I liked veggies when I was her age." Conor said. "I didn't know you then." "True." "You were the lucky one." Lucy teased. "I wasn't that bad." Conor said defensively. Kaylynn got some meat loaf and looked for the table. "Where's the table?" "In the next room." Her father said. She headed for the next room. She saw that there were already napkins and silverware at each place. She put he r plate in front of one chair and went back into the kitchen. She found the glasses and got one out. She put it beside the refrigerator and opened the fridge. She pulled the Coke® out and opened it. She poured herself a glass and put the lid back on the Coke®, then tightened it. She took the glass and went back into the dining room. She saw that Conor, Lucy, and X had also sat down. She slid into her chair besid e Lucy. Everyone had Coke©. "Still eating with four guys." She said. "What do you mean by that?" Lucy asked. "She's been eating with four guys since she was six." Speed laughed, coming in a nd sitting on the other side of Lucy. They waited for Spritle. He came in, carrying

both his drink and plate. "I hate the lighting in here." Kaylynn said. "Why?" Speed asked, thinking there would be a good explanation. "It makes Dad look old." She said simply. Spritle laughed the loudest. "But, Squiggles, I AM old." He said. "Maybe you should stop calling her Squiggles." X suggested. "She sits still pretty well." "Except in class." Kaylynn said. "Where did you get that pretty vase you put in the kitchen?" Lucy asked. "I made it for him. We had a unit on throwing pots in art, so I decided to make a vase for Dad. The teacher put it in the kiln after I painted it. She told me how to ship it, but since I was coming home, I brought it myself. I had a box for it, and I wrapped it in ne wspaper. I was very careful with the bag." "I put it in the trunk so that it wouldn't roll around much, but she kept freaki ng out about it breaking the entire way home." Speed said. "It was the first gift I ever gave Dad and the first one I ever made myself." Ka ylynn said defensively. "So of course she was worried about it." Lucy said. "But having a conniption every time I had to slam on the brakes or make a sharp turn?" Kaylynn giggled nervously. "I'm going to put it in here." Spritle said. "Now, Kaylynn, please tell us about the Academy." Speed said. "Shouldn't we say the blessing first?" Kaylynn asked. "Yes." Spritle agreed. They bowed their heads and Spritle said the blessing.Afte r, Kaylynn took a bite of meatloaf, a sip of Coke®, and started talking. "I still have to unpack the rest of my suitcase and my bag. I don't remember how I got

there, but I do remember my first day. I was excited about learning to read. I d idn't really pay a whole lot of attention until it was reading time." "And why not?" Spritle asked. "I was only six, Dad. Anyway, I had already learned my letters and letter sounds thanks to Mr. Knightly reading to me every night." "That was Conner. Always trying to help people learn." Spritle said. "I remember getting into trouble with the P.E. teacher every time I ran. Little kids have a lot of energy. I needed to run. Mr. Knightly disagreed. I was sent to him more t han once that year. This year, I was only sent to him once after I put a lotion bottle fu ll of water in the teacher's chair. That wasn't why I was expelled. I actually only got a paddling for that, and my Disc man® taken away. Yes, I have several albums. Mostly Rick Nelson™. I also have a lot of Hootie and the Blowfish®. "(I don't really know if that's registered or not, but I don't own it.) "So you like oldies?" Lucy asked. Kaylynn nodded. She had her mouth full of mash ed potatoes. "I could always teach Kaylynn how to cook if you want me to, Headmaster Spritle. " Lucy offered. "Thanks, but I think I'll wait a little bit. She will be starting puberty soon, though. Do you think you could…?" He didn't want to finish. Lucy understood. "Yes, sir. Did you have someone you could talk to about puberty at your last sch ool, Kaylynn?" "Yes, the nurse. She's the one who taught us about how…" Kaylynn didn't want to fi nish her sentence. Lucy and Spritle understood. "Well, don't leave us in suspense! What'd she teach you?" Conor asked. "How babies are made and how they come into the world." X said, after swallowing . "How did you know that?" Kaylynn asked. "I remember the nurse teaching us about it at school when I was your age." "What was the name of your school again, Kaylynn?" Speed asked. "Wood Academy." Kaylynn said simply.

"I knew it ended in 'Academy'." "All of our school supplies came from the school store, and they all read 'Wood Academy: where Academia is important.' Which confused me, because wouldn't academia be important at every school? And I thought it should have been "Where running is discouraged." The age group only went up to fourteen." "So you would have had to leave in two years anyway." Spritle said. "That doesn't change how I feel about being uprooted." Kaylynn said. Everyone st opped and watched to see how the headmaster would react. "I know it doesn't. But we can't keep talking about it. And I don't want you to pull your pranks at your new school. I also don't want you to keep talking about how much you 'hate' this school and wish you were back at your old school." "We can't keep talking about it or you won't keep talking about it? Because I wa nt to know why you didn't just let me grow out of my pranking phase." "You may not have outgrown it." Spritle said, worriedly. "Back to being 'worried that I would hurt someone', are we?" Kaylynn asked, shar ply. "Yes. Of course I'm worried about that! You're my baby girl." Kaylynn sighed. "I'm sorry, Dad. It's just that today's been very surprising. I always thought I'd be at old Westie until I was fourteen, then come to find out I have two older cousins, my father is the headmaster of a RACING Academy, which I've always thou ght was something bad -even though I never thought running was- and to top it off, I discover I have an uncle who's missing, and I have his sticker on my binder." "I know it's tough, baby, but don't you think I'm stressed, too?" Spritle said. "I know you are." "As to your questions from upstairs…. You can get the trim repainted, I don't know if you have to wear a uniform, we'll go out tomorrow and get you some clothes."

"But what if the other kids make fun of me?" "Just don't react." Lucy said, patting Kaylynn on the head. Kaylynn scowled. "I don't like strangers patting me on the head." She started eating her carrots. "I was wondering when you'd get to those." Spritle said. Kaylynn grinned and chewed. She swallowed and asked "When will I start school, a nd where am I going?" "I'm sending you to a nearby public school called P.S. 181. You'll be in the six th grade since your records all transferred. You'll have to stay in after-school care bec ause it's two blocks from here, and I don't get off until 4:00." "I can pick her up." Speed offered. "You have homework." "Not every day. And besides, I can put it off until after I pick her up." "No, Speed. Thank you for the offer, though. Besides, you'd be mobbed." "I can always take another car." "I could pick her up." X offered. "He could. We don't want her to be stuck in after school care." Speed said. "She'll get help with her homework." Spritle said. "You're not going to let us win this, are you?" Speed asked. "He picks his battles well." Conor said. Kaylynn laughed. "I'm usually non-confrontational." She said. "That's good. Then the principal won't have to call me." Spritle said. "The principal calling you for something as trivial as a fight, Dad? You serious ly think that'll happen?" "It better not." Spritle said gruffly, putting a bite of meatloaf in his mouth a nd chewing vigorously. "Yes, sir." "So, you're used to being grounded?" Spritle asked.

"Yes, sir. And lectured, paddled, sent to bed without dinner, having to read out loud-I like reading, just not out loud- and sent to my room." "He did all that?" Lucy asked. "On separate occasions. Usually when I broke the rules at his house." "Is there anything you were supposed to give me when you came home?"Speed slappe d his forehead. Kaylynn laughed and said "There was a note Mr. Knightly sent home that I gave Speed because Mr. Knightly told me to give it to whoever picked me up. I th ink he was expecting you." Speed pulled the note out of his back pocket and stood up to hand it to his uncle. Spritle took the note, opened it, and read it. He laughed. "He's just telling me what you just told me. How you kept trying to run when you were younger- he says you are very hard-headed-how he punished you by making you read out loud, grounding you, paddling you, sending you to bed without dinner, and le cturing you." "He also sent me to bed early, but not often. I suppose he thought it wasn't imp ortant enough to mention." "Did he make sure you had your homework done, your dinner, your bath…?" Lucy start ed to ask. "Yes. I HAD to have all that done before bed. Unless he was sending me to bed ea rly in conjunction with sending me to bed without dinner." "He punished you twice?!" Spritle asked, dumbfounded. "Sometimes." "Where did we go wrong raising you? I tried to raise you to be a sweet obedient little girl. Instead, you were so bad you had to be punished twice for the same thing. Evil l ittle girl." Spritle said.

"I'm not actually evil, Dad. I wasn't, like, John Wayne Gacy." "True. And you better not say that he's your hero." "I'm my own hero." Kaylynn said, smiling. "Speed Racer, Sr. is my hero." Conor said. "Big surprise there." Speed joked, smiling. Kaylynn finished her carrots. "You start school Monday." Spritle said. That day was Friday. "Thanks." Kaylynn said. "You may be excused. Did you ever have to ask to be excused from the table at sc hool?" Spritle said. "No, sir. At lunch, everyone ate in the lunch room." "What about breakfast?" Lucy asked. "I ate at the house." "Every day?" Spritle asked. "Yes, sir. He hired a couple to live on in his house, in one of the spare rooms. They helped out with us kids. I can't imagine what would have happened if he tried t o take care of us by himself." Kaylynn drained her Coke®. She stood up, pushed her fork f urther on the plate, picked up both plate and glass, and took it in the other room. She came back. "I also had chores to do." "Like…?" Speed asked. "I had to wash the dinner dishes; clean my room and my bathroom, do my laundry, and get through my homework. That was a REAL chore." Kaylynn laughed. "Not a real homework fan, then." Speed said. Kaylynn left the room. "Where you going, kid?" X asked, yelling. "Don't you remember her saying she still has some unpacking to do?" Lucy asked. Kaylynn was already in the back of the house, unpacking the jeans she had. She w as putting them in a drawer in her dresser when Speed came in. She had already unpa cked her carry-on.

"We need to talk about how you've been acting, young lady." "Yes, sir." Kaylynn said. Speed sat on the bed. Kaylynn went and sat by him. Spe ed put an arm around her. "Your father didn't want to send you away. He had to. It would have been hard fo r him to raise you without your mother, but at least he sent you somewhere where you'd ge t a good education. He knew his friend could -and would- take care of you." "I know, Speed. It's just that….You haven't been at a boarding school for six year s, thinking you're unwanted, then come to find it you have a missing uncle, two cou sins... and a dead mother." Kaylynn said sadly. "My dad hid me in an orphanage. I never knew my mother, and I didn't meet my bro ther until I was sixteen, and I didn't meet my cousin until today." Kaylynn hung her head. "I'm sorry." "Don't be. I've had a good life." "I meant for my behavior." "I'm not the one you need to be apologizing to." Speed said. Kaylynn got off the bed and left the room. Speed thought he knew what she was doing, but he followed her, an yway. She went to the front of the house, and found her father in the living room watc hing the big screen TV and sitting on the blue love seat. She walked across the yellow ca rpet, and sat next to him. Spritle turned the T.V. off. "I'm sorry about how I've been behaving." Spritle hugged his daughter. "I forgive you. You're just stressing over some changes. Just wait until next ye ar. There will be SEVERAL changes then. And to answer the question you asked Speed to ask me. Yes, I have your medical records." Kaylynn kissed her father's cheek and got up. She

saw Speed at the door. She walked right past him into the kitchen. She put the s topper in the sink and took her watch off. She put her watch in her pocket and started the water. She squirted the soap into the sink, and started putting the dirty dishes in. Th e dish rag was hanging on the section between the sink and drain. She picked it up and star ted washing the dishes after turning the water off. She rinsed it off and put it in the drain to dry. Speed came up behind her. "Good job apologizing. He knew I had something to do with it, though." "Does he think I'm a bad girl for not knowing to apologize on my own?" "No. He said he knows how some kids your age don't always think of others feelin gs." Speed gently tugged a lock of Kaylynn's hair. Kaylynn laughed. Conor came in. "W hat's so funny?" "Nothing." Kaylynn said. Speed looked at his watch. "We better get back to school. It's almost curfew." He and Conor said goodbye an d called to X and Lucy, who were upstairs finishing up some homework. They came up down. Conor opened his wallet to show Kaylynn a picture of her uncl e's car, the Mach Five©, which he had gotten of the Internet. "Nice meeting y'all! Why were you two upstairs?" Kaylynn said. "They knew it would be quiet upstairs, Kaylynn." Spritle called. Kaylynn finished washing the dishes. She went back to finish unpacking. She put the bag of her bath stuff in the bath tub. She stepped back and looked at it. The tu b was a white claw foot. She looked around the bathroom. It had blue walls, a red counte r, two sinks, silver fixtures, no rug, blue shelves holding the towels, bath cloths, ha nd towels,and soap, a red toothbrush holder next to one sink, and a red toilet. She knew

how she wanted to decorate this room. In rubber ducks. She put her toiletries between the sinks. She went into her room and pulled her binder out of her back pack, which had been left on the floor. It had a Speed Racer (Sr .) sticker on it. "I never knew he was my uncle." She opened it and pulled a pencil out of her pen cil pouch. She started a list. Bathroom rug Socks Toothpaste Deodorant T-shirts Jeans Tennis shoes Shelves Some school supplies- That should wait until after we get my schedule Maybe a mesh back pack 2 more sets of bed sheets Laundry sorter Body towels Combination lock for my locker Two more cars to haul all this stuff She would show this to her father- joke and all. She grabbed a plastic shopping bag out of her suitcase and went back into the bathroom and took her bath stuff out. She opened the Ziploc® bag. She pulled a rubber duck out of the bag and put it on the top she lf. She took the shopping bag to the shelves and started putting the ducks on the shelve s. She had ten. She wanted more, but they would come later. Some of the ducks she h ad

were from her father. Others she had bought with her allowance. The stuffed duck s she had would go in her room. She had squirters, floaters and non-floaters. Most of the nonfloaters would soak up some water. She didn't put them in the water, and she sep arated them. In the front of the house, Spritle was calling Speed. "Speed, I do want you to pick Kaylynn up after school Monday. Just be sure not t o take the Mach Six©, and keep it at twenty-five. She may want to complain about her day, so just let her. Offer her some advice if you can, but mainly you just need to listen." Spri tle paused, listening to whatever Speed had to say on the other end. "Oh, three. Just drop h er off at the house. I'll get a copy made and give it to her Monday morning." Speed said something else. Spritle replied, "I'll be sure to tell her. She shouldn't, but i f she does have detention, you should take something to do while you wait. If you get deten tion, ask X to pick her up, will you?" Spritle waited again while Speed talked. "Thanks. J ust tell him everything I told you. You can drive my car. Just come by my office and get the keys." Speed said something else. After a while, Spritle replied. "Alright. See you at school. Hopefully not because you're in trouble." He hung u p. In the back, Kaylynn got her underwear, pajama shorts and shirt. She went into t he bathroom. She closed the door, got two towels, and put them in front of the tub. She took another and spread it in front of the tub. She realized she would need a cup or something to wet her hair with. She went downstairs and into the kitchen. She go t a glass out of the cabinet and went back upstairs, into the bathroom. She put the cup in the bathtub. She closed the door, undressed, and climbed into the bathtub. She turne d the

faucet on and started to fill the cup. Once it was full, she turned the water of f and got out of the tub to get the stopper and soap. She put the stopper in the drain and got back in. She turned the water back on, and dumped the water in the cup over her head. She opened her shampoo and put it outside the tub. She got on her knees, leaned out, and poured some shampoo into her hands. She lathered up her hair and turned the wate r off. She scooped some water up and dumped it on her hair with her eyes closed. S he grabbed the soap and rag, lathered the rag up, and started bathing. She hoped he r father wouldn't call her. She also hoped he wouldn't have a lot of rules. She ri nsed the soap off and wrung out her rag. She wasn't sure where to put it. She looked in t he mirror above the sinks. There was a corner, and around the corner, she saw a towel rack . There. She stepped out of the tub, turned around, and pulled the stopper out. Sh e went and hung the rag up on the rack. She grabbed her towels and dried herself off. Afterwards, she got dressed and went into her room. She got her brush out of her bag and brushed her hair. Then she put her hair up in a ponytail. She went back into the bathroom and hung her towels up. She took her dirty clothes into her room and dr opped them in the floor. She pulled her list out of her binder. Then she grabbed her p encil, squatted, and-putting the list back on the binder- wrote Women's Degree® AerosolShower Fresh, Double "A" batteries, and Clock radio. She went to the front of th e house and gave the list to her father, whom she found in the kitchen. She handed him t he list. "This is all I need." She said. He looked it over. "You want to eat the school lunch?" "No, sir. So I'll need a lunch box."

"'Two cars to haul all of this stuff.'?" "I forgot shampoo." "You're out of shampoo?" "No, sir, I just like being at least two bottles ahead. Of everything, including deodorant and toothpaste, so I'll need toothpaste, too. And floss. Do you have my dental r ecords?" "Yes. I wasn't too happy to hear about those cavities." "It happens to everyone." "True." "Good night." "You're going to bed this early? Well, good night, then. Sweet dreams." Kaylynn skipped to her room. Spritle watched her, thinking I'm so lucky to have her. Sure, she may cause trouble, but I can handle it. I can tell her about Speed picking h er up tomorrow. In her room, Kaylynn pulled a worn black dog with a big red nose and r ed bow around her neck out of her bag. She went to the right side of her bed and turned the covers down. She turned on the lamp, and went to turn off the light. She grabbed her deodorant out of her bag and put it next to her bed. She grabbed her reading boo k out of her backpack. She turned out the light and went back to her bed. She got in, snu ggled down, and started to read. The door was closed. Spritle opened the door. "I thou ght I heard you moaning, so I was going to check on you." "I'm fine. It must have been your imagination. I didn't hear anything." He turned on the light. "What are you reading?" "How the skunk got its smell" "Would you be reading that Monday?" "I'm pretty sure. It's two stories after the last story we read as a class." "So there was a pattern."

"Yes, sir." The wind picked up. "There it is again. I'm probably going to be coming in here a lot tonight." "I'll put up with it." He closed the door. Kaylynn kept reading until she couldn 't keep her eyes open. Then she put her bookmark in her place, lowered the book to the floor , turned the light off, and lay down. She said her prayers, and snuggled down. She closed her eyes and went to sleep. She slept until her father came in, turned the light on, and pulled Puppy from her arms. She woke up. "Morning, Dad." She sat up, yawned, and stretc hed. "Good morning, Kaylynn. Get dressed, we'll have breakfast, and we'll go shopping . There's someone at the office of P.S. 181. They have Saturday School." "That sucks." "It's punishment. It's not supposed to be fun." "Do they have Saturday detention?" "That's what it is. Not Saturday School. I think the principal is there, so we c an swing by there and pick up your textbooks, ask about the backpack, any of the rules…" "Uniforms." "Yes, and uniforms." Kaylynn got out of bed and grabbed the shorts from the day before. She grabbed a shirt from the third drawer. She went into the bathroom, peed, and put her shorts on, and washed her hands after flushing. She dried her hands on her pajam a shirt. She took off her PJ shirt, and walked to her room. Her father had left. S he had her T-shirt with her. She had put her deodorant on the bedside table. She used it, a nd put it down. She put her shirt on. She made her bed, and put Puppy on the pillow. She didn't think any of the help would, but she would tell them not to do her laundry, make up her bed, clean her room, or wash

the dishes. She still wanted to do that stuff herself. She went to the front of the house, into the kitchen. She grabbed an orange and two paper towels. She went into the dining room, sat down, and started peeling her orange. Her father sat across from her. She wasn't sitting at the head. "So, you'll be meeting the help today, too. Any spec ial instructions for them?" "Don't clean my room, make my bed, do my laundry, or clean my bathroom. I've bee n cleaning my own room and making my own bed since I was six, and doing my own laundry since I was eight. I've also been cleaning my bathroom since I was eight . Don't wash the delicate dishes; I've been doing that since I was six. Someone else dri ed, and someone else handled the heavy dishes." "So you're used to it? Do you wash Puppy by hand?" "Yes. How did you know I named him Puppy?" "Mr. Knightly told me in a letter." "I should have known. You sent him to me when, exactly? When I was six? I rememb er sleeping with him for the first time then." "I'm glad you still have him." "I'm going to decorate my bathroom in rubber ducks." "Alright. I'll help if I can." Kaylynn had peeled her orange. Now she pulled it apart. Juice squirted her in the eye. She winced and wiped her eye. Her father chuckled. Kayl ynn glared at him playfully. "I'm gonna laugh my head off when that happens to you." She threatened playfully . "I suppose I deserve that." Kaylynn started eating, spitting the seeds out as sh e did. "That's gross." "I'm sorry, Dad. I just don't want to choke."

"I know the Heimlich Maneuver." "That's good." "After breakfast, run to your bathroom and brush your teeth. You'll be meeting a new dentist." "When? Today?" "No. They aren't open today. You'll be going to a kid's dentist right next door to my dentist, so it'll be easier." "Okay." Kaylynn finished her orange, and scooped it up. She stood up and went in to the kitchen. Someone walked in through the back door. Kaylynn was just throwing her garbage in the trash can. "Dad!" Kaylynn yelled. Spritle ran in. He sighed with relief when he saw that it was just Mrs. Chenora. She was tall, tan, and in her thirties. "Kaylynn, this is Mrs. Chenora. She's my house keeper. Chenora, this is my daugh ter, Kaylynn. She says for you not to go into her room, or bathroom. She can handle i t. She wants to wash the delicate dishes." "I'll wash all the dishes if necessary." Kaylynn said. "Then what will I do?" Mrs. Chenora asked. "Cook?" Kaylynn asked. Spritle and Mrs. Chenora laughed. "I do that any way." Mrs. Chenora said. "I'm just used to doing all that myself." Kaylynn said. "Okay. I'll keep that in mind." "Thanks." Kaylynn went to the back of the house to her bathroom to floss and bru sh her teeth. She put her floss on the floss holder and flossed, switching hands someti mes. She's right handed. She brushed her teeth afterwards. She looked her shirt over afterwards. She grabbed a hand towel, wiped her mouth, and hands, and put the to wel

on the counter. She left and went back into her room, and put her sandals on. Sh e went back to the front of the house. "How does two dollars a week sound? I'll give yo u some more chores, like filling the bird feeders, and I'm sure Lucy and Speed could us e some help in the garage. You could hand them tools." Her father asked when she came b ack. "Yes, sir. But how can I help them in the garage? I don't know anything about ca rs." "They can teach you. And you don't need to know anything about cars to hand tool s." "Oh." "And they can teach you about tools. The school encourages students to work on t heir own cars. That way, we save money." Spritle said, smiling. Kaylynn laughed. "Mr. Knightly always said you were thrifty. Actually, he said cheap." "He called me cheap? Why do you think he taught all you kids to do chores? So th at he wouldn't have to pay someone else to do it." Kaylynn laughed. "Did you two ever try to out-cheap each other?" "No. Although I wonder who would have won?" "How would you compete, anyhow?" "Good question. Let's go." Kaylynn went into the kitchen and got her list. She f olded it and put it in her pocket. She skipped toward the front door. She opened it and left it open for her father. Spritle had gotten his keys, told Ms Chenora where he was going, and followed her. He closed the door and locked it. Kaylynn was standing by the cara bluegreen Fiesta. "You locked it." She explained. Spritle unlocked Kaylynn's door fi rst. Kaylynn opened it and got in. She buckled up and waited for her father. "Do you have you r list?" "Yes, sir. Next stop, P.S. 181." Spritle started the car and pulled out of the d riveway. They drove to school. Kaylynn unbuckled and jumped out as soon as her father parked.

"Wait." He said. She had to stop herself from running up the steps. "I won't always be t his excited." "I know. I wasn't when I was your age." They went up the steps together and Kayl ynn pulled the door open. She followed her father to the office. Her father opened t he door. He asked the woman at the desk "Is Mr. Ken Shimatso here? We had an appointment. I'm Spritle Racer, and this is my daughter Kaylynn." He motioned for Kaylynn to come closer. She did. She saw two girls, wearing black short sleeved tops, red shorts and red sandals sitting in two blue chairs. One had red hair, the other had blonde. The outer office looked like a doctor's waiting room, just smaller. She didn't see anyone else in the room. The secretary- or so Kaylynn assumed she was a secretary- had brown hair i n a bun, wire rimmed glasses, and a short-sleeved white shirt. "He said he would be back in two minutes, Mr. Racer." The principal came back. H e had brown hair like her father, looked to be about the same age, and he wore a suit like her father, except that his was blue. "So this must be Kaylynn, the little girl you were talking about in your last le tter. I haven't seen you since you were a mere babe in your father's arms." Mr. Shimatso said. K aylynn shook his hand. "Hello. You must be the principal, Mr. Shimatso." "Yes. I'm looking forward to having you here. Your father and I were good friend s in college. I knew your mother in high school." "Ace Shimatso! It's been too long!" The two men shook hands, touched elbows, and grunted. Kaylynn was surprised. She had never seen her father act like this. The

two girls in detention laughed. "Coot reunion." One said. "Go ahead and laugh, Cordelia. You'll be the same way at our age." Mr. Shimatso said. "Kaylynn here has some questions." Spritle said. Mr. Shimatso squatted in front of Kaylynn. "Yes, honey? You look so much like your mother. Right down to the moles." Mr. Sh imatso said. "Thank you, sir. I was wondering if we need a uniform I know those two aren't we aring any, but it is Saturday." "No, you don't have a uniform, but you do have a dress code. Ms. Jillian will gi ve you a copy. She'll have to give you a copy of the code of conduct, anyway, so you don' t end up like Cordelia and Day." "I DO pull pranks sometimes. That's pretty much why I had to leave my old school ." "I guarantee we'll handle that if and when it happens." "I don't doubt that. If you're anything like Dad…" "I haven't had to punish her." Spritle interjected. "Yet." Kaylynn giggled. "Would you call Dad if I get into a fight?" she asked Mr . Shimatso. "I'd have you call and tell him that you're in detention. We have it every day, but some children get into so much trouble, that isn't long enough." Kaylynn turned to Cordelia and Day. "What did you two do?" "I taped up the door to the teacher's lounge while they were all in there." Daythe blondesaid. "How'd they catch you?" "They just know my style." Day said.

"She signed some of the tape." Mr. Shimatso said. Kaylynn laughed and turned to Cordelia. "I took tampons and poured catsup on them. Then I left them all over campus. The y searched my locker and found the evidence." "They search lockers?" "If we have reason to suspect the person." Mr. Shimatso explained. "Kaylynn here will be in the sixth grade." Spritle said. "Do we have to have mesh backpacks?" "Yes. And no open toed sandals." Kaylynn was wearing closed toe sandals. Ms. Jillian handed Spritle a copy of the code of conduct. It was thick, and in a clear plastic binder. Spritle took it and promised that Kaylynn would memorize it. Kaylynn wasn't so sure. She smiled at the principal. "Well, I'll see you Monday, then." She said. She took her father's hand and star ted to turn away, but then stopped and turned back. "Do you allow running?" "Not in the halls. You can run all you want outside." "Do you allow calculators?" "That's up to the teacher." "Thanks." The Racers left. "Running isn't out-ruled. Thank goodness!" Kaylynn said, going to her door. "Not in the halls. If I find out you've been running, I'll…" "Punish me." Kaylynn finished, climbing in. "Exactly. I don't know how, but I will." Spritle got in and started the car. The y had both closed their doors. Kaylynn had buckled up. Spritle buckled up and pulled out. He drove to Wal-Mart©. Kaylynn got out first after he parked. She pulled the list out of her pocket, looked both ways, and started toward the store. "What's wrong? You're too old to walk with your father?" Spritle laughed. Kaylyn n had

already made it to the front. She smiled as she waited for Spritle. "You have to think about my age, Kaylynn. I'm not as fast as you. Or as young." Kaylynn hugged Spritle's waist. "Sorry." They went in together. "Lucy needs to help you with the bras." Spritle whispered. "I know, Dad. I wouldn't ask you to help with that." Kaylynn pulled her list out as her father got a buggy. Bathroom rug Socks Toothpaste Deodorant-Women's Degree® Aerosol- Shower Fresh T-shirts Jeans Tennis shoes Shelves Some school supplies- That should wait until after we get my schedule Maybe a mesh back pack 2 more sets of bed sheets Laundry sorter Body towels Double "A" batteries Clock radio She looked at the signs and found "Home and office." She led her father to it. W hen they got there, she picked out a duck rug, put it in the buggy, and went to the end o f the aisle. She looked at the signs. "Shoe department" was closer. She knew she'd find socks there. She went to the shoe department and found her some socks made of recycled fiber. She got a ten pack of size six. Her father caught up with her. She droppe d the socks

into the buggy and looked for the next department. It wasn't busy at all. She re membered she had put tennis shoes on her list. She went to the shoe aisle and picked out some size six Shape-ups®. She sat down and tried them on. She was sitting on a stool. " I'm gonna need a pair of socks. Will they sell you pack even after it's been opened? " "They did the last time I did that.' "How long ago are we talking about?" Kaylynn asked. "Last week." Spritle grabbed the socks and tore it open. He took out a pair and tossed it to Kaylynn. He was right in front of her. She put the socks on and pulled the pa per out of the shoes. Spritle put her sandals in the box, while she laced her shoes up. She stood up and walked around a little. She looked at her list, and folded the list so th at "Bathroom rug", "Socks", and "Tennis shoes" weren't visible. She went back to " Home and office". "What size shelves do I need? I'll get rid of some books, but I don't know how m any. And what about height?" Her father had followed her. "Just get some medium sized ones. We can come back and get some more if we need to." He took the list from her. She found some mahogany shelves with four shelve son the lower shelf. She grabbed them, pulled them off, and dragged them to the buggy. A nother customer laughed at her. She put the shelves on the bottom of the buggy. Her fat her folded the list again. "You need some pencils, pens, a calculator, lunch box, and notebooks, anything e lse?" "I have the rest of this list." "I meant for school." "Mesh backpack." Kaylynn took the list back and went to look for the "Junior's c lothing" sign. She found it. She knew her father was following her. She picked some jeans and

skipped to the fitting room. She went in, closed and locked the door, and took h er shoes and socks off. She stripped her shorts off and tried on the first of three pairs . "How many do you need?" Her father asked. "Ten. This fits just fine. I'll fold them and keep them in here. If they don't f it, I'll hand them to you. Okay?" "Okay. I'll see if I can't find you some more. Juniors?" "Yes, sir. I have three in here." She tried on the next pair. They fit. She trie d on the next pair. They didn't fit. She put them aside to give them to her father. She put he r shorts back on. Her father passed her three more pairs. She folded and passed him the pair t hat didn't fit. "These don't fit?" "No, sir." "I'll put them up, then." Kaylynn slipped out of her shorts again and tried anot her pair. They didn't fit, so she slipped them off, folded them, and put them beside the d oor. She slipped the next pair on. Her father came back with four pairs. She passed him t he pair that didn't fit under the door. There was enough room under the door to pass the jeans through. She tried on all the jeans, only having to pass two back. "I need four more to make it an even ten." Her father brought her four pairs bac k. They all fit. Kaylynn folded all of the jeans and put her shorts back on. She unlocked an d opened the door, and started to come out with the jeans in her arms. "Shoes?" her fathe r asked. "I don't want you going around barefoot." "Yes, sir." She went back after dropping her jeans into the buggy. She put her s ocks and shoes back on and skipped out to her father. She banged her knee.

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