It's always a big deal going anywhere more than five miles away with my mom. She is a garage sale maniac, referred to more politely, as a "bargain seeker." I was not in the mood to be polite. This was our fifth stop in twelve miles. The car was hot. The seats were sticking to the back of my legs, which were crammed into the tiny space allotted to me, while the lamps, end tables, and old movies my mom had accumulated were piled up all around. The lemonade I had bought at our last stop had dissolved into a lukewarm, murky substance. Even with the window down, the everlasting Oklahoma breeze blew hot, dusty air into my lungs. All in all, the car was not a very nice place to be. Weighing my advantages, I decided to brave the garage sale maniacs. I was in search of something to quench my thirst. After wandering pointlessly about for several minutes, I discovered to my dismay that no one was selling anything drinkable. I was still unwilling to return to the sizzling atmosphere of the brown and green Volkswagen. The tables to the south of the brown, withered grass were littered with the usual items: a frequent lone shoe, battered lamps, and old video games with titles like, The Blob, and Moonwarriors. They were all rather disappointing. Glancing around at the hastily erected tents, tables, and booths that were a common sight at community garage sales, I spied a small gray tent proclaiming to sale "genuine items from the Far East." I approached, hoping fervently that I would find something to transform my boring, mundane life into something adventuresome. Heck, considering my life, at this point I'd even settle for just interesting.

Pushing aside the grungy tent flap, I peered into the shadowed depths, overcome with a profusion of scents: spices, incense, and the overwhelming smell of cheap, flowery perfume. As my mind and nose were processing this, I was bowled over by a rather large woman in a bright pink muumuu who was hastily exiting the tent. As I sat wheezing in the dust, a small man, who reminded me of Mr. Miagi in the Karate Kid movies, hurried over, apologizing for the rudeness of the woman. He offered me a drink, an offer that I accepted eagerly. When he turned around, I saw hanging down his back a long braid, that I seemed to remember from some long ago English class being called a queue, a queue. I couldn't believe it! A man with a queue in OKLAHOMA! I thought they stopped wearing those, well, a long time ago.

While I was sipping the cold cherry pop he had brought me, I looked at the variety of items that were lying on the two short tables that filled the room to its capacity. I saw small bronze, wooden, and paper dragons that were hanging from the tent supports. There were small intricately painted wooden eggs, bowls, and the occasional incense holder that was puffing the scented smoke into the air.

The bizarreness of my situation reminded me of a book I had read a long time ago. It was called Paper Dragon, a small thinpaperback, tucked behind a tall shelf of books. I had checked it out at the local library. I remembered it vaguely. It was the day we first moved here from a small town in South Dakota. As I was wandering around the blistering streets looking for some other kids or anything interesting to do, I spied the library on Oak Street. I went in and applied for my library card. I was only allowed to check out three books on my first visit, so I found all the ones I liked and then picked out the two thickest ones and the small thin paperback called Paper Dragon. It was about a small boy who went into a shop quite like this one. He bought a large dragon kite with which he flew over distant magical lands, in which he had various adventures. The most memorable was meeting a magical creature called Kalump. It was an annoying creature that always spoke of itself in the third person. Kalump was a small, brown; chicken like figure covered in vines. So anyway, it ended with Kalump also going with the boy, like one of the other adventurers. Hmmmmm, I wonder if this store has any kites.

"Excuse me, sir, but do you have any kites?" I asked, rather loudly, as he seemed to be snoozing. He jerked awake, eager for a sale, and said,

"Yes, yes, right this way please," weaving through the tables and small statues adroitly. He quickly approached his destination, a dark shadowy corner. I, on the other hand, went more slowly, praying I wouldn't knock over what was sure to be a priceless vase. As I reached the corner at which he waited rather impatiently, he said, "Yes, here are the kites," and continued stressing their good points of which there were rather a lot. I tuned out, spotting a huge, dissembled kite that assembled would probably be eight feet high in the shape of a dragon. Rejoicing, I asked the price of this magnificent creation that would hopefully allow me to fly. Hearing the price, I no longer rejoiced; it would take almost all the money I had earned babysitting the Bearstein twins, otherwise known as the terrible two. But what was money? I am Roslyn McCray, the girl who once climbed through the gully and onto the other side so she could stand on a mound of dirt, convinced it was a portal to the Fae world. I am Roslyn, the girl who closed her eyes, turned around three times counterclockwise because this was the way to the Underhill. I am Roslyn, who, come three o'clock in the morning, was still standing on the mound, trying different variations of turning three times and counterclockwise. What is money to Roslyn McCray?

Okay, okay, I realize I went off on a tangent of thought, but bear with me. Money is very precious to me. Forking over the money, I was loaded down with string, paper and a large collection of sticks by a very cheerful little man. As I lumbered out of the tent, weaving off precariously balanced, I made my way back to the brown and green Volkswagen to await the arrival of my mother and her slew of junk. Waiting in the car, cheerfully contemplating my new (old) kite, I was content.

In my room, strewn with a multitude of dragons, unicorns, and the occasional Garfield, I was doggedly trying to put together the mass of now tangled string and slightly crumpled paper, all the while looking at the diagram on a small creased yellow scrap of parchment that was written in Chinese. Crumpling up the diagram and tossing it out the two-story window of my room, I decided to just try to make the kite look like I wanted it to look. This, surprisingly enough, succeeded. Looking at my creation, I couldn't help the small grin of smugness. I had achieved my goal. Whether it flew or not, my kite was a testament to my imagination and hard work. It stood two feet taller than myself and four feet wider. Glistening with acrylic paint, the Chinese dragon stood proudly, head reared, and scales quivering from the slight breeze from my window. Taking the now huge kite to the window, I prepared to shinny down the tree with it on my back. But? Looking out the window, I discovered this would be the perfect height at which to test my theory. Attaching the kite to my arms, I leapt out of the open window. I felt the wonderful sensation of soaring through…

Lying awake on the hospital bed with my arm in a sling and my leg in a heavy plaster cast, I felt disappointed and slightly depressed. My hopes were so high and now they were dashed to the ground, much like I was. But thinking back on the garage sale, building the kite and the little man's shop I decided that that was in its self a pretty good adventure. Still I wished it could have flown. Ah well, better luck next time.