1. Jackie's Vow
Most girls were yuck.
They wore pink dresses, and drew brightly coloured pictures of ponies and flowers and other icky things.
They tied ribbons into the hair of their dolls, and held pretend tea parties with dainty floral cups and saucers.
But on the day of his sixth birthday, Jackie made himself a vow.
Within the week - if he could - and most definitely within the month, he was going to marry Molly O'Brien.
2. The Thing About Hair
Most girls were yuck, but Molly wasn't.
She had wide brown eyes, and her hair made Jackie think about silk.
He'd never seen silk before. He'd certainly never touched it. But he was sure that if he ever should, it would be just like Molly O'Brien's hair.
He guessed that it was soft, like the fur of the neighbours' cat, but not painful, like its claws. And on that very afternoon, Jackie decided that he was going to find out.
He stood and watched the door until the chime sounded and his mother went to answer.
Molly raced inside. "Hi, Jackie," she said.
Jackie scowled, until his mother cuffed him around the ears. "Well?"
"Hi," he grumbled. He didn't really know what else to say.
They sat at the table with milk and cookies. Jackie's cookie had chocolate in it. Molly had milk stuck above her lip.
Molly's hair was long and dark, and gleamed in the light of the room. She was sitting beside him. This was it. Jackie Peterson was going to find out about Molly's hair.
He reached out, and grabbed it in his hand. With her milk half empty on the table, Molly's eyes were full of tears. She started to wail, and jumped down and ran to Jackie's mother.
With the shock of Mrs Peterson's hand on his backside, Jackie was soon crying as well.
Molly's hair had been soft, but not like silk. And not like the fur of the neighbours' cat either.
3. Jumja Sticks
One old man on the Promenade, whose earring flashed and glinted, was a little grumpy, and scary. When he called out to Jackie, the boy didn't want to make his feet move closer. But then the old man smiled.
"See that lady over there?" he asked, pointing to the shop across the way. "She's really pretty, don't you think?"
Jackie just thought that she was really old.
"Tell you what," said the old man on the Promenade. "You find out her name for me, and I'll buy you a jumja stick."
So Jackie went over to the old woman across the way. She stared at him. Her earring flashed and glinted just as brightly. "Can I help you?"
Jackie pointed across the Promenade. "That man wants to know your name."
The old woman and the old man smiled at each other. "Well then," she said, laughing slightly. "You tell him my name is Folan Jari."
The old man looked happy when he heard the old woman's name, and smiled at her again. "Here," he said, and handed Jackie a jumja stick.
Jackie liked jumja sticks. He was so excited that he almost forgot to thank the old man.
As he walked away along the Promenade, he looked at his new jumja stick. He thought about eating it, about how it would taste. And then he thought about Molly O'Brien.
And he decided that he would give the jumja stick to Molly.
"Out of the way!" shouted a sudden voice. Everybody on the Promenade spun around to look. Someone ran towards him - an alien with a bag slung over one shoulder. And just behind him were two Security men. And just behind them was Constable Odo.
The stranger was running directly for him, and there was no time for either one to get out of the way. Jackie was knocked to one side, hands and legs colliding with the hard floor.
The alien ran past him, with Security close behind. On his way along the Promenade, Constable Odo trod on Molly's jumja stick.
Want more? The review button's right there! Also, I have a few ideas for subsequent chapters, but if anyone has any I'd be happy to hear them. (PM me or something) L.T.