pIt was a lovely morning on Harvey Street, the start of a brand new day. Three adorable little girls were in their respective homes, still asleep in their beds. As soon as their alarm clocks reached seven, however, they went off, sending all of the girls' eyes wide open as they hit the snooze buttons. They sat up in their beds for about a minute, helping themselves wake up. Audrey, with the brown hair in three pigtails, rubbed her eyes with both of her fists. Dot, with the dark skin and the black hair, yawned rather endearingly into her hand, and Lotta, who was the bigger-sized girl with the blond hair, stretched her arms up over her head. Then they all stepped out of their beds and began to get ready for the day./p

pThey brought some clean clothes into their bathrooms, changed out of their pajamas, and took a warm bath. Each of them feeling like a new girl, they dried themselves off, put on their favorite clothes, and brushed their teeth. Any sour sensations that had found their way into their mouths were washed away by the sweet, fresh scent of toothpaste and mouthwash./p

pThen they brushed their hair, running their preferred hairbrushes through every tangle they could spot and smoothing them out until they got them exactly the way they wanted them to look. Now they were neat and tidy, but they had to fill their stomachs before they were ready to get the day started. They headed out of the bathrooms and went down the stairs into the kitchens, where they all made and ate their breakfasts. Audrey had some peanut butter toast and a bowl of honey-cinnamon cereal; Dot had some buttered toast and some green apple slices; and Lotta had a bowl of marshmallow cereal./p

pFinally, Audrey, Dot and Lotta's morning routines were complete. Before they wished their parents goodbye and left their houses, however, they each filled up a basket with some items and brought them with them. Each of these baskets held the same things; they were going to need as many of these as they could carry./p

pBecause today wasn't going to be like any other day they'd had before. Today the girls were opening a business together, so they could all earn some money for themselves. But what none of them realized was just how successful their business would be... let along among people they didn't know much.../p

pBy the time Dot had gotten to the stand on the side of the sidewalk, Audrey and Lotta were already there with their baskets. She smiled at them and placed her own basket on the table./p

p"Good morning, guys!" Dot greeted them./p

p"Hey, Dot!" Audrey replied./p

p"Good morning, Dot," Lotta replied./p

p"If my calculations are correct," Dot mentioned, "all of these ingredients should be enough to produce enough delicious, quenching, sweet and sour beverages for people all over town to enjoy."/p

p"Oh, I bet!" said Audrey. "This is gonna be so much fun!"/p

pWith that, she, Dot and Lotta took out each of everything in their baskets. They had been holding a few large lemons, a couple bags of sugar, and quite a few bottles of cold water. Aside from these, they'd brought some measuring cups, a few spoons and knives, a juice squeezer, a clean plastic pitcher, and three large packs of plastic, disposable cups./p

pThey were starting a lemonade stand./p

pFirst they began to make the lemonade. Audrey cut a couple of the lemons in half, and then Lotta pressed the insides of these lemons against the squeezer, one half at a time. The juice fell into the bowl surrounding the squeezer, and when it couldn't hold any more, Dot took the squeezer and poured it into a measuring cup before she handed it back to Lotta. While Audrey and Lotta continued to cut and squeeze these lemons, Dot poured some water into the juice to dilute its sour flavor. Then she estimated how much sugar each mixture of water and lemon juice would need to taste better. She added a pinch of pure white sugar, then stirred the mixture with a metal spoon to help dissolve it. Satisfied, Dot poured the mixture into the pitcher./p

pThis whole sequence repeated, over and over, until the pitcher had been filled to the top. Then the girls prepared their packs of plastic cups for when a customer asked for a serving of their drink. And just as they finished, someone came to their stand./p

p"Why, hello there!" Dot greeted them. "How can we help you?"/p

pThe first person who had come to the lemonade stand was a man wearing a red hat, a red shirt and blue overalls. His eyes were blue as well, albeit a lighter blue, and when he spoke, it was in a high-pitched Italian accent./p

p"Hello, may I-a buy a glass'a lemonade, please?"/p

pLotta thought that his voice sounded a bit like Mickey Mouse - except Mickey didn't have an Italian accent. Of course, she didn't tell the customer that./p

p"Of course you can!" Lotta picked up the pitcher, then picked up one of the plastic cups and filled it halfway with lemonade. Then she handed it to the customer. "That'll be 25 cents."/p

p"Thank-a you."/p

pThe man reached into his pocket, pulled out a quarter, and handed it to the Harvey Girls. As the girls pulled out a large coin bank and dropped the quarter inside, their customer took a sip of the lemonade. His eyes widened as he took a minute to let his taste buds comprehend the flavor, and then he swallowed./p

p"Mama Mia!"/p

p"How is it?" Dot wanted to know./p

p"How is it?!" The customer looked at the cup, and then smiled in delight. "It's-a perfection!"/p

pAll three of the Harvey Girls gasped in happy surprise when they heard that./p

p"In fact, I think I'm-a come back tomorrow," the customer went on. He reached into his pocket once more, pulled out two more quarters and gave them to the girls. "I'm Mario, by the way."/p

p"Well, it's very nice to meet you, Mario!" Audrey replied with a smile. "And thanks for stopping at our lemonade stand!"/p

p"Bye-bye!" Mario walked away from the stand, contentedly enjoying his glass of lemonade as he did so. The Harvey Girls stayed where they were, each smiling in joy./p

p"I can't believe this," said Lotta. "He paid us extra for one glass of lemonade!"/p

p"And to think that was our first customer of the day!" Dot replied./p

p"I don't know about you girls, but I think we're in for an awesome work day," said Audrey./p

pNot long after she'd said that, she heard a bit of someone else's voice greet her: "Hi!"/p

pAudrey winced a bit in surprise, and then turned to look at the next customer./p

p"Hey, there!" Audrey greeted him with a smile./p

pNow that she'd seen him, though, she noticed this customer shared some similarities with the last one who came to this stand. This one was also wearing a hat, shirt and overalls, and had blue eyes, but his hat and shirt were green rather than red./p

p"You know, you kinda look familiar," Audrey commented./p

p"Yeah, didn't we sell you some of our lemonade just now?" Lotta agreed./p

p"Actually, no, you didn't," the customer replied. "My name's-a Luigi, and I have a big-a brother named Mario."/p

p"Oh, I'm so sorry!" Lotta looked a bit embarrassed. "We didn't realize how similar you guys looked..."/p

p"It's alright," Luigi replied. "I'd like a glass of lemonade, please."/p

p"Piece of cake." Audrey picked up the pitcher, pulled out another plastic cup and filled it halfway with lemonade. Then she handed it to Luigi. "That'll be 25 cents."/p

p"Excellent. Thank-a you." Luigi reached into his pocket, pulled out a quarter and handed it to Audrey. As she placed it in the Girls' coin bank, Luigi picked up the cup and took a sip of the lemonade. "Mmm..."/p

p"That's-a pretty good lemonade," Luigi commented. "I'm-a come back tomorrow, okay?"/p

p"Sounds good!" said Audrey./p

p"You're coming back, too?" Dot asked, a bit surprised. "How kind of you, thank you!"/p

p"Thank you, too. In the mean-a-time, here's a tip." Luigi pulled another quarter out of his pocket and placed it on the table for the Harvey Girls. Then he turned and walked away, his cup of lemonade in his hand. Before he was out of earshot, however, the Girls could hear him tell them, "Bye-bye!"/p

p"So we have two regular customers now," Dot acknowledged./p

p"Wow! Talk about a booming business!" Lotta said./p

p"And it looks like it's gonna boom even more!" Audrey had her head turned away from the stand, as though she had seen someone heading to their lemonade stand./p

pWhen Dot and Lotta turned their heads to look where Audrey was looking, they saw that they were right. Two people - or rather, creatures - were coming. One of them was a yellow sponge with blue eyes, and the other was a pink starfish wearing green and purple pants. Audrey, Dot and Lotta turned back to the lemonade stand and waited until the sponge and starfish had arrived./p

p"Excuse me, are you selling lemonade?" the sponge asked./p

p"Why, yes, we are," Lotta replied./p

p"It's freshly-made, hand-squeezed lemonade, and it's only 25 cents a cup," Dot finished for her./p

p"Sounds pretty yummy," the starfish commented with a chuckle./p

p"Oh, it is," Audrey agreed. "Would you like some?"/p

p"Oh, yes, please!" the sponge replied./p

pDot took the pitcher, then pulled two plastic cups out from their pack. She made sure to separate them before she filled one cup halfway, and then the other cup. Then she handed them to the sponge and starfish./p

p"That'll be fifty cents," said Dot, "since you're buying two glasses."/p

pThe sponge removed a quarter from a pocket in his pants, and the starfish did the same. They handed them to Dot, who handed them their glasses of lemonade./p

p"Thank you very much," said Dot./p

p"And thank you, too," said the sponge./p

pAudrey slipped the quarters into the coin bank as she and her friends watched the two sea creatures sipped their beverages. The smiled that appeared on their faces afterward told them they liked it./p

p"Ah... you're right, this is delicious!" the sponge commented./p

p"Yeah, it's almost better than water!" the starfish replied, causing Dot to chuckle a bit./p

p"You know what?" The sponge reached back into his pocket with his free hand, and pulled out a dollar bill. "I think you girls deserve a tip for making such a tasty drink. Here you go."/p

pHe handed the dollar to Audrey, who smiled joyfully as she held the dollar in her hands./p

p"No way! Thank you!" Audrey thanked them./p

p"Hope you guys come on back soon," said Lotta./p

p"How couldn't we? Hahahahaha!" The sponge gave a funny-sounding but amusing laugh. He then walked away, the lemonade in his hand. "Bye now!"/p

p"See ya!" the starfish replied as he left as well, following the sponge. Meanwhile, Audrey held the dollar in her hands, letting Dot and Lotta have a look at it as well./p

p"He gave us a whole dollar, for two glasses of lemonade!"/p

p"Such a generous sponge," Dot replied. "I'd say this dollar would net us thirty-three cents each. We should save it for a rainy day."/p

p"Good idea. Why don't you hold onto it?" Audrey handed the dollar to Dot./p

p"Thank you for the idea, Audrey." Dot folded the dollar halfway, and then placed it in her pocket./p

p"Hey, look!" Lotta said as she pointed to someone in the distance. "More customers!"/p

pAudrey and Dot turned to look where Lotta was looking, and they all saw that she was right. A family of five was coming. They consisted of a mother who was a blue cat, a father who was a pink rabbit, and their children: a son who was a blue cat like his mom, a daughter who was a pink rabbit like her dad, and an orange fish who didn't look like either of his parents. Audrey, Dot and Lotta waited until they had arrived at the lemonade stand./p

p"Hello!" the feline son greeted the Girls./p

p"Hi there!" Audrey greeted them./p

p"How may we help you on this lovely day?" Dot wanted to know./p

p"We'd like to buy a few glasses of your lemonade, please," the mom said./p

p"I haven't drank anything tasty all day!" the dad mentioned, causing the cat son and the fish to chuckle a bit. Audrey giggled a bit as well./p

p"Alright, coming right up."/p

pAudrey pulled out five plastic cups, then picked up the pitcher. One by one, she filled the cups halfway, and once she'd finally put down the pitcher, each member of the family took a cup./p

p"That'll be a dollar and 25 cents," Dot mentioned./p

p"Alright, then," the mom said. She looked down at her kids. "Gumball, Darwin, Anais, do you have your quarters?" Audrey, Dot and Lotta couldn't tell who of the kids was named what./p

pEach of the three kids reached into their pockets - including the fish, somehow - and each pulled out a quarter. They placed their coins on the table, while the mom and dad also placed a quarter on the table. Lotta scooped the coins into her hands and placed them in the coin bank while the family took a sip of their lemonades./p

p"Oh!" The rabbit daughter's eyes widened and sparkled in amazement. "Such a perfect mix of sweet and sour!"/p

p"You know, it is!" the cat son replied./p

p"Yeah!" the fish agreed./p

p"Girls, I am impressed," the mom said. "Thank you very much."/p

p"This stuff tastes great!" the dad said./p

p"I'm glad you enjoyed them!" Dot replied./p

pJust then, the cat son reached into his pocket and pulled out a dollar. "Hey, Mom? Can I give them a tip?"/p

p"Of course, Gumball," the mom replied, revealing his name as she did so. "They could use the money."/p

p"Took the words right out of my mouth." Gumball chuckled and placed the dollar on the table. Dot took it, folded it up and placed it in her pocket as well./p

p"Thank you!" Each member of the family said individually; first the mom, then the dad, then the fish, then the daughter, and finally Gumball. Then they walked away from the lemonade stand, everyone still having their glass of lemonade in their hand./p

p"All we have to do is earn one more dollar bill," Dot told Audrey and Lotta in private, "and then we can each have a dollar to ourselves."/p

p"Cool!" Audrey replied with an excited smile./p

p"Oh, wouldn't that be nice?" Lotta replied./p

pSuddenly, Audrey saw someone coming. There were three young ponies approaching the lemonade stand. The first of these ponies was light yellow with a red mane and tail, as well as a pinkish-red bow in her mane; the second pony was an orange Pegasus with a purple mane and tail; and the third pony was a white unicorn with a purple and pink mane and tail. They all approached the lemonade stand and greeted the Harvey Girls, one by one./p

p"Hi!" said the yellow pony./p

p"Hey!" said the Pegasus./p

p"Hi!" said the unicorn./p

p"Hey there!" Audrey greeted them. She wouldn't mention this to Dot or Lotta, but she thought all three of the fillies looked simply adorable./p

p"Do ya suppose we could buy some lemonade from you, please?" the yellow pony asked. She had a bit of a Southern accent in her polite young voice. "I prefer apple juice and all, but I'd like something different."/p

p"Yeah, me too," the Pegasus agreed. "I've been drinking nothing but water and milk all week!"/p

p"And I'd like to drink something that isn't tea for once," the unicorn said./p

p"Well, you girls have come to the right place," Audrey told them with a smile, which made all three of the ponies smile as well. Or was it the fact that she was about to serve them that made them smile?/p

pEither way, Audrey pulled out three plastic cups, picked up the pitcher, and filled each cup halfway with lemonade. Then she told the ponies how much she charged them./p

p"By the way, all this will cost about 75 cents."/p

p"Good thing we traded enough of our bits for real money, huh, girls?" the Pegasus asked her friends./p

pThe yellow pony and white unicorn nodded in agreement, and then the ponies each pulled out a quarter and placed it on the table for the Harvey Girls. Lotta picked each of the coins up and placed them in the coin bank as Audrey handed the ponies their lemonades. They each took a sip, and then smiled in satisfaction./p

p"This is some pretty awesome lemonade," the Pegasus said./p

p"Yep," the yellow pony agreed as the unicorn nodded./p

p"Well, I'm glad you enjoyed them," Dot said as she smiled at them. "If you'd like to come back tomorrow, feel free to do that."/p

p"Sounds like a plan!" said the Pegasus./p

pWhen she was finished with her lemonade, she dropped the empty cup in the nearby trash bin next to the lemonade stand. The other two ponies did the same./p

p"Thank you!" they all said as they walked away from the stand, while the Harvey Girls stayed behind and waved goodbye to them./p

p"Hey, Dot, how many cups do we have left?" Audrey wanted to know./p

pDot checked the packs of cups. "We've sold 12 glasses of lemonade so far, so that's 12 cups gone. Luckily, we can sell 78 more before we run out."/p

p"Nice." Audrey smiled. Then she looked over at the pitcher, seeing it was halfway empty. "Let's make some more lemonade while we wait for more customers."/p

p"Good idea," Lotta replied./p

pSo they proceeded onto their sequence of making lemonade again; Audrey cut the lemons, Lotta squeezed them, and then Dot made sure to add just the right amounts of water and sugar./p

pBy the time the pitcher was full again, another customer was approaching. The Harvey Girls quickly and neatly put away most of their lemonade-preparing supplies, until only the pitcher and plastic cups were left. When the customer made it to them, they could see that she was a girl with black hair in pigtails, which were held together by light blue hairbands. She was wearing purple glasses with light blue lenses, as well as a black shirt with white sleeves, a gray skirt, and black shoes./p

p"Hi!" the girl greeted them politely, causing all three of the Harvey Girls to smile./p

p"Why, hello there!" Dot greeted them./p

p"How may we help you on this beautiful day?" Lotta asked politely./p

p"Well, my name is Tootie," the cute customer told them as though she wanted to be her friend, "and I was a little thirsty from jump-roping all morning. So I was wondering if I could buy a glass of lemonade."/p

p"Of course, Tootie," said Lotta with a smile. She picked up the pitcher, then pulled out a plastic cup and filled it halfway with lemonade. She then handed it to Tootie. "That'll be 25 cents, please."/p

pTootie smiled, reached into her skirt pocket, pulled out a quarter and handed it to Lotta./p

p"Thank you," they thanked one another in unison. As Lotta handed the quarter to Audrey, who placed it in the coin bank, Tootie picked up the glass of lemonade and took a sip of it./p

pImmediately, her eyes widened and began to sparkle. A massive smile appeared on her face as well./p

p"Well? How is it?" Audrey wanted to know, although she could already tell that Tootie had something incredibly positive to say./p

p"How is it?! This is amazing!" Tootie said. "I haven't tasted anything this yummy in a long time!"/p

pAudrey, Dot and Lotta all smiled at her comment. Tootie then took a couple more sips of her lemonade, until the cup had been emptied./p

p"In fact..." Tootie reached into her pocket once again and pulled out another quarter. "May I have another, please?"/p

p"Of course you may," Dot replied with a smile. When Tootie held out her cup, Dot picked up the pitcher and filled her cup with some more lemonade. Tootie responded by handing her her quarter, and then took a sip of her lemonade./p

p"Oh, my... This is so much better than what I have to drink at school," Tootie mentioned. "I think I'll come back tomorrow."/p

p"You're gonna come back, too?" Lotta asked, a hint of surprise in her tone as well as her facial expression. Audrey and Dot looked like they couldn't believe it, either./p

p"Yeah!" Tootie nodded. "That's what happens when people like your lemonade. They'll come back tomorrow, and the next day... They could be coming back for days, weeks or even years!"/p

p"By the way, I think that's exactly what I'm gonna do. Thank you, girls!"/p

pTootie walked away from her lemonade stand, smiling happily as she held her glass of lemonade in her hand. Audrey, Dot and Lotta remained at their lemonade stand, all of them smiling in joy./p

p"This... this is incredible!" said Dot. "We now have at least three regular customers who will come back tomorrow!"/p

p"I know, this is so awesome!" Audrey commented./p

p"Yeah. I can't think of anything that could go wrong at this moment," Lotta replied./p

pNot long after she said that, however, Audrey felt a tickle in her nose. Her eyes widened as her nose twitched about, and her nostrils flared slightly. Both of her friends turned to look at her in curiosity./p

p"Audrey?" Lotta asked. "Are you alright?"/p

pAs she thought about why her friend was like this, Dot's eyes suddenly widened in realization. "Audrey, quick! Turn your head away from the lemonade!"/p

pAudrey did as she was told and turned away from the stand. She shut her eyes as her breath hitched. She was going to sneeze./p

p"Aaah... Ahhh... Haaaah..." Each time she inhaled, she tilted her neck farther and farther back, her nose still wiggling around. Just as Dot plugged her ears with her forefingers and Lotta placed her hands over her ears, Audrey exploded, shooting her upper body forward. "HAAAAAH- CHOO!"/p

pThey were lucky it wasn't that big a sneeze, but it was loud and a bit forceful. It was loud enough to cause Dot and Lotta to wince, and forceful enough to expel a small amount of spray from Audrey's mouth. Audrey sulked for a moment, and then turned back to face her friends, rubbing her nose with her forefinger./p

p"Bless you, Audrey," said Lotta./p

p"Indeed. Bless you," Dot replied./p

p"Thank you..." Audrey continued to rub her nose as she sniffled. "I guess that sneeze came right out of nowhere."/p

p"I'm not sure about that," said Dot. "Perhaps it was from the amount of pollen in the air."/p

p"Besides, it has made you sneeze before," Lotta said. "It's made me and Dot sneeze before, too."/p

p"Yeah, that'd make sense." Audrey finally removed her forefinger from her nose. At least it hadn't started running since she'd sneezed./p

pNow that Audrey had recovered from her sneeze, she and her friends saw some more customers approaching their lemonade stand. It was another family, but a family of four; a mother, a father, and two children, one boy and one girl. The boy had orange skin and blue hair that covered his eyes; however, his parents and sister all had yellow skin, and the girl had a ponytail in her equally yellow hair./p

p"Hello there," the mom greeted them./p

p"Good day to you," the dad added./p

p"Hello," Lotta greeted them in return. "How can we help you?"/p

p"We'd like to buy a few glasses of lemonade from you, please," the girl said./p

p"I've never tried it before," the boy mentioned, "so can we have some?"/p

p"Sure!" Audrey said with a smile./p

pShe pulled out four plastic cups, then picked up the pitcher and filled each cup halfway with lemonade. She then held out her hand for some payment./p

p"Alright, that'll be one dollar," Audrey said./p

pThe mom, the dad, the boy and the ponytailed girl each pulled out a quarter and placed them into Audrey's hand. As she inserted the shiny gray coins into the coin bank, Dot and Lotta watched the family take their lemonades and take a sip. None of them expressed their opinions on their drinks until they had swallowed./p

p"Mmm, yes, quite impressive," the dad mentioned. He didn't sound the same as Gumball's dad; he sounded more like a gentleman./p

p"This is lovely," the mom agreed./p

pThe girl breathed a sigh of satisfaction. "There's nothing like freshly-made lemonade to satisfy your thirst and please your taste buds," she commented./p

p"Yeah, this stuff sure tastes good!" the boy replied with a smile. "Can I have some more, please?"/p

p"Of course you can," Dot said with a nod, "although that'll cost an extra 25 cents."/p

p"Okay." The boy nodded in understanding. The Harvey Girls didn't know if he was unhappy with the idea, but if so, at least he didn't show it or sound like it./p

p"I'd like some more, too, please," the girl replied. "Even with the amount of sugar it has, lemonade is better for you than other sugary drinks."/p

p"That's true." Dot picked the pitcher back up, and then refilled the boy and girl's glasses of lemonade. "Here you go, kids."/p

p"Thank you very much." The girl reached into her pocket, pulled out a dollar bill and handed it to Dot. Dot was about to open her coin bank so she could give her some change, but before she could, the girl spoke again. "And you may keep the change, too."/p

p"Very well, then." Dot folded up the dollar bill and placed it in her pocket./p

p"Thank you," the family thanked the Harvey Girls in unison, and then walked away from the stand./p

pOnce they were out of earshot, Dot reached into her pocket once more and pulled out the three dollar bills. They belonged to her and her friends now. She handed one of the dollar bills to Audrey and one to Lotta, while she kept the last remaining dollar to herself./p

p"It may not be much, but it's certainly better than none," Dot mentioned./p

p"And the more of these we receive, the more money we'll have!" Audrey said with an excited smile./p

p"You know what I would buy with a bunch of these?" Lotta asked./p

p"Bunnies, or bunny food?" Audrey asked, and she and Dot laughed at her joke./p

p"That, too," Lotta replied, "but I think keeping our lemonade stand alive and running is more important. We should make sure we save all of our dollar bills that we earn, so when we need to buy something important with them, we'll have enough."/p

p"That is very true, Lotta," Dot told her with a smile./p

p"Maybe that wasn't something I ever thought you'd say, but I sure am glad you said it!" said Audrey./p

pEach of the Harvey Girls placed their dollar bills in their pockets, and then stayed by the lemonade stand to wait for more customers. As they were waiting, however, the rays of sunlight made it into Dot's eyes, causing a light tickle to form in her nose./p

p"Ugh..." Dot sniffled lightly, and then brought her hand up to rub her nose. It became clear that it wasn't helping, however; the sunlight was making her need to sneeze. Dot pulled her hand away from her nose as her breath began to hitch./p

p"Ehh... Aaah..."/p

pHer eyelids lowered, and then fell shut as she tilted her neck back. She reached into her pocket - the one that didn't have her dollar inside - and pulled out a white, cotton handkerchief that she'd brought with her. Just as Audrey and Lotta heard her inhales and turned to look at her in curiosity, Dot tilted her upper body as far back as it could go, accompanied by a final inhale, and then fired a sneeze directly into her handkerchief./p


pThe sneeze was forceful enough to cause the edges of her hanky to flutter about, but other than that, no germs were spread. It did cause Audrey and Lotta to wince in surprise, however. As Dot recovered from her sneeze, she sniffled and wiped her nose with her handkerchief./p

p"Bless you, Dot!" said Lotta./p

p"Yeah, what she said!" Audrey replied./p

p"Thank you..." Dot gave another sniffle as she continued to wipe her nose. "It's pretty strange how the sun can make you sneeze."/p

p"It sure is," Audrey replied./p

p"But at least you kept your sneeze to yourself," Lotta said with a smile of relief./p

pDot nodded in agreement, then pulled her handkerchief away from her nose and placed it back in her pocket. After a few minutes of waiting for some more customers, the girls heard a rather squeaky voice./p


pAudrey's eyes widened in surprise when she heard the voice. She and her friends looked around from where they sat, each of them trying to find who had said that word. There didn't seem to be anyone next to the stand, so Lotta took a few steps away from the stand to look in front of it./p

pThere was a short, pink little creature with red shoes and blue eyes. He waved one of his fingerless hands to greet Lotta./p


p"Awww..." Lotta said as her eyes twinkled in adoration. This being didn't look familiar at all, but he sure looked cute and innocent. "Who's this little guy?"/p

pAudrey and Dot moved to see who Lotta was talking about, and also fell in love with the pink creature who had stumbled upon their lemonade stand./p

p"Aww, he's so cute," said Audrey./p

p"I think this little thing wants to try our lemonade, too," said Dot./p

pThe pink creature nodded to confirm that, so Lotta bent over, picked him up as gently as he could, and then set him on the lemonade stand. He was just far away enough from the pitcher of lemonade to avoid spilling it./p

p"Would you like a glass of lemonade, little guy?" Lotta asked, and the creature nodded once more. "Gee, I'd love to let you have some of our yummy, sweet and sour lemonade, but we kind of intend on selling it for 25 cents a cup..."/p

p"Poyo!" The pink thing said as he raised his hand. He reached behind his back and pulled out a dollar. "Poyo, poyopoyo!"/p

p"Oh, cool!" said Audrey with a smile. "With one dollar, you can buy four lemonades! Is that what you'd like?"/p

pThe pink thing thought about this for a moment, but then shook his head. He placed the dollar on the stand and again said, "Poyo!"/p

p"So you'd just like one lemonade, and you'd like us to keep the change," Dot figured, and then the being nodded to confirm that. "Of course, you little cutie!"/p

pDot picked up the pitcher while Audrey pulled out a plastic cup and held it for Dot. She filled the cup halfway with lemonade, and then handed it to the pink being. He smiled and then took the cup - but then he turned it sideways toward his mouth and inhaled deeply, causing all of the sweet yellow beverage to fall into his mouth. Then he swallowed and smiled in enjoyment./p


p"Looks like he likes it!" Audrey said, smiling herself./p

p"Well, I'm glad you enjoyed it, little guy," Dot said. "And thank you very much for the dollar." She picked up the dollar bill, folded it up and placed it in her pocket. "But do you think you could tell us your name before you leave?"/p

p"Kirby," the creature said./p

p"Well, it's very nice to meet you, Kirby," Lotta replied./p

p"It sure is!" Audrey said with a smile. "And if you want to come back tomorrow for some more lemonade, well... we're not gonna stop you."/p

pKirby thought for a moment, then smiled and nodded to let the girls know that he, indeed, would come back tomorrow. Each of the Harvey Girls petted him to thank him, although Audrey tugged his cheek a bit as well, and Lotta gave him a quick, affectionate kiss on his other cheek. Kirby blushed, then hopped off the lemonade stand./p

pAs he walked away, Audrey, Dot and Lotta could clearly hear him telling them, "Bye-bye!"/p

p"Whoever Kirby is, he has to be my favorite customer so far," Audrey commented./p

p"Indeed," said Dot. "Aside from being cute, he's also such a friendly, innocent life form."/p

p"But where do you think he got the dollar?" Lotta wanted to know./p

pInstead of an answer, a long pause between Audrey and Dot was the response./p

p"Let's just say he found it somewhere," Dot finally said. She looked over at the pitcher. "And it looks like that was the last of our lemonade."/p

p"Oh, that's alright. We can always make some more," said Lotta./p

p"Guys? I don't think we should do that," Audrey said. She was looking up at something in the sky, and she pointed at it. "Look."/p

pDot and Lotta turned to look where Audrey was looking, and they saw the sun setting into the mountains beyond. The sky was beginning to turn an orange shade, too./p

p"Oh!" Lotta probably hadn't noticed the sky had been changing color./p

p"It's starting to get late," said Dot. "I suppose our work day's over."/p

p"Ah, well. At least we still have plenty of sugar and cups left over," Audrey said./p

p"That's good, but we'll have to bring some more lemons tomorrow morning," said Lotta./p

p"But before we leave, let's see how much money we've earned altogether," said Dot, "minus all the dollar bills we accumulated, of course."/p

pShe pulled out her coin bank, removed the lid and tilted it sideways, so that every quarter that had been inside came sliding or rolling out./p

p"Twenty-one quarters," said Dot. "That's a dollar and 75 cents for each of us!"/p

p"Cool!" Audrey cheered./p

p"But what if there are still some quarters left over?" Lotta asked./p

p"Not to worry. I'll hang onto them for the night, as I'll do for the remaining dollar bill," said Dot. She distributed the quarters equally, so that she, Audrey and Lotta would have the same amount of money. "I'd say we've earned almost ten dollars today."/p

p"Wow!" Lotta said, looking surprised. "If that's how good we did today, imagine how much money we'll make tomorrow..."/p

p"Think of all the ice cream we could afford!" Audrey mentioned, but Lotta didn't reply. She just inhaled./p

p"Ah... Aaah..."/p

pDot looked at her, raising an eyebrow in curiosity. Why wasn't Lotta answering? "Lotta?"/p

p"Haaah..." Lotta took a final inhale, and then gave an adorable, squeaky-sounding sneeze. "Tchew!"/p

pAudrey and Dot's eyes widened in surprise as they heard the sneeze, but then they smiled in mild amusement. Lotta then sulked as she rubbed her nose lightly with her hand, while Dot chuckled a bit./p

p"Bless you, Lotta. Are you feeling alright?"/p

pLotta nodded once, hand under nose. "I guess it's kinda cold out here..."/p

p"Yeah, that makes sense. In that case, let's clean up so we can return home and warm up."/p

pAudrey and Lotta agreed, then helped her pack up their remaining ingredients. Dot twisted the opening of the cups shut and held it tight with a rubber band before she placed it into her basket, along with some leftover sugar, unopened water bottles and the remaining kitchen supplies. By the time they were done, the sky was minutes away from turning the dark blue shade the night had. All three of the Harvey Girls wished each other a good night and headed on to their respective homes./p

pThe first thing they did when they got there was put away their ingredients and wash their hands, and then they sat down at the tables for dinner. Although they had different meals - Audrey had a bowl of pasta with chicken pieces and parsley bits sprinkled in, Dot had a salad that was made from several assorted vegetables, and Lotta had a bowl of warm, sweet macaroni and cheese - it was clear that they all enjoyed their supper./p

pSoon the girls were finished eating. They went upstairs to the bathrooms, where they took their baths, brushed their teeth and put on their cozy pajamas. Finally, they went into their bedrooms, stepped into their beds, and each earned a goodnight kiss from one of their parents; Lotta's mother kissed her on the cheek, Dot's father kissed her on the forehead, and Audrey's mom kissed her on the lips. And after the lights had been shut off, all three of the Harvey Girls drifted off to sleep. From that point until the morning came, they could hear the crickets chirping outside./p

pThe first day that the Harvey Girls had operated their lemonade stand had been quite the success. But they couldn't help but wonder how they would do the next morning. One thing was for sure, though; they were all in for another busy work day./p