January 11, 2012
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The picture in this catalogue must be the closest I will ever come to seeing the real Karma.

Karma is a toy horse, but not just any toy horse. It’s the rarest toy horse out there. Not very many were manufactured, and there was never a certain place to find one. It’s almost impossible to get your hands on one. I have collected horses for a couple years now, so owning Karma would make my collection complete. It would be a dream come true.

Wait a second! I am looking at a catalogue! Why didn’t I think of this earlier? My insides racing, I quickly grabbed the phone off my nightstand and dialed the number underneath the picture.

“Hello?” I said to the lady that answered. “My name is Addie Valery, and I’m looking at your catalogue. I’m interested into ordering something.”

“What will it be?” said the lady.

“The toy horse, Karma.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, but we do not have any in supply. They hardly gave us any to start out with. Seems silly, right? Would you like to be put on our ordering list? That way if we ever get one, we’ll send it to you.”

“All right, sure.”

“Thank you. You’re number 382 on our list.”

“Oh, never mind.”

Giving up hope, I hung up the phone. The catalogue was unlikely to ever get more than three. It was never going to get 382. There was no use. Disappointment filled me like a glass being filled with lemonade. I didn’t even want to look at how high the prices had gone up for it on the Internet. Last time I did that my heart sank so low I didn’t think I’d ever be able to get it back.

I walked over to my collection. There was a large, empty space in the middle from one day when I rearranged them so I would have room for Karma. Now, however, that space just seemed to mock me. I wanted to change it back.

All my horses came from different places. Some of them made it in my collection because they looked neat in the store. Others were gifts from friends and family. And there were some that I obtained through other ways such as finding them on the sidewalk, or winning them at carnivals. That’s my favorite part about collecting, the memories that each one comes with.

During the time I was rearranging, I lifted up a light brown one that I named Falcon because it has wings growing out of it‘s back. I admired it for a second. But before I knew what was happening, it slipped out of my hands. I watched it in horror as it fell to the ground. The second it hit my floor, it broke. I scooped everything up to look at its condition. Since it’s not made out of glass, it did not completely shatter. Phew! Only two of its legs and one of its wings broke off. Nothing a little glue can’t fix. Thank goodness for plastic.

I entered my kitchen and started opening drawers searching for some glue. After what seemed like forever of rummaging around inside them, no glue could be found. My mom was in the kitchen at the time, so I asked her if she knew where any was.

“If you can’t find any, we probably used up the last drop,” she told me.

I stopped looking. Great.

“Why don’t you go run down to the little shop down the street and pick up some more?” she suggested. “You can take five dollars out of my wallet if you want.”

Usually I would procrastinate going to the store for a little while, but since she was offering to let me use her money instead of making me use my own, I took the opportunity before she forgot about it. I took some money from her purse and grabbed by bag as I left the house.

The store is walking distance from my house. It’s convenient at times like this. I love how I don’t have to get my mom to drive me every time I need something. Sometimes I go down there and look around in it just because I want to be alone. It usually doesn’t have very many customers.

When I opened the door to the shop, a small bell above the door rang, almost as if it was welcoming me. A young man behind the cash register glanced up at me when I came in, but did not say anything. The only light was coming from large windows in the front, making the whole store look rather dim.

I wandered around the store, looking for some glue. It would have been a lot easier if the store was more organized, instead of a bunch of tables and shelves with obscure items stacked on them. Eventually, I found a small bottle of glue on a shelf close to the back of the store. I grabbed the bottle of glue, and continued to walk further down the aisle. On the very back shelf of the store, there was something that made me freeze.


There was an actual Karma horse right in front of me. I stared at it in disbelief, looking for clues that it wasn‘t real. It couldn’t be true. But it was. Somehow, Karma made it into this little small-town store. Just looking at it must have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I flipped the box over and read the price: $74.95. There was no way I could afford that, especially since all I had was five dollars. I couldn’t leave the store without it, because somebody else might buy it. I only had one option; I had to steal it.

Just the thought made me nervous. I’d never stolen anything before. But there was no way I was going to pass up this opportunity. I checked my surroundings. Nobody else was in the store. I quietly slipped the light-green box inside my purse. I looked around once more just to be safe. Nobody saw me. I tried to act calm as I walked to the register and handed the cashier the bottle of glue.

“Will this be all for today?” the boy asked.

“Yep, that’s all for today.” I noticed my voice sounded extra-perky. I almost had this feeling that he could see right through me, and any second is going to point and loudly call me a thief. He didn‘t. Instead, he asked me for one dollar and fifty cents for the glue. For half a second, I felt busted, until I remembered I put my mom’s money in my pocket and not the purse. I gave it to him, and he gave me the bottle of glue in return, which I placed in my purse next to Karma.

“Have a good day,” he said unenthusiastically.

Leaving the store, my heart almost leaped clear out of my chest at the sound of the bell above the door ringing. But what did that matter? I now owned Karma. My life was complete.

All the adrenalin running through me caused me to race to my house and up to my bedroom as fast as I could. Containing my excitement would have been close to impossible. I locked the door to my room and started opening the box. I made sure to be extra careful while doing so, because it was not just any box. It was Karma’s box. I couldn’t just shred it up like a Christmas present. Once I did that, I dumped all of the contents onto the floor. The first thing that fell out was Karma, looking more glorious than ever, followed by a plastic hairbrush for her mane, and a little piece of paper about the size of a sticky note. I picked it up and flipped it over. There was a message on it that said nothing but, “Be aware: Karma is real.”

I didn’t know Karma was based off of a real horse. That’s so cool! Maybe that’s one of the reasons that it’s so special.

I went over to my half-rearranged horse collection on it and put it back to the way it was this morning so that Karma would have her own place. When I got to Falcon, I simply lied the broken version of him where he would eventually stand. I could deal with him later. Then I placed Karma front and center of the display so she could stand proudly from them on.

Suddenly, my telephone rang, awakening me from my infatuation.

“Hello?” I answered.

“Hi, Addie, it’s Casey,” the voice on the other end said. Casey is my best friend.

“Oh, hi Casey.”

“Do you think you can come to my house tomorrow and help me bake some cookies for the food drive?”

“Oh, I can’t, I’m sorry. Tomorrow’s basketball tryouts, and I really want to make the team this year. Basketball tryouts can be so difficult sometimes. There is so much running around, and balls are flying everywhere, and trust me, you have to really work to be on the team or you’ll never survive it. Oh, that reminds me…” I went over to my drawer and pulled out a long pair of socks with black and white stripes running up and down them.

“What?” Casey asked, making me realize I never told her what I was reminded of.

“Oh, my lucky socks. I need to make sure to wear them tomorrow.”

We talked about nothing particularly important for a couple of hours. I kept a casual eye on Karma the whole time. Once the idea sank in that I owned the rarest toy horse in the world, I knew I wouldn’t be so obsessed. But right then, I was really excited.

That night, as I was getting ready for bed, I said goodnight to Karma and gently kissed her on the nose.

The next morning my alarm clock seemed louder than usual. It startled me, causing me to roll out of bed and hit my floor. I looked up and saw my alarm had been moved right next to my ear. That’s strange. How did that get there? I wondered. Oh well, I needed to get ready for school.

Almost the second I stepped outside for school, a semi-truck drove by and splashed a mucky puddle right at me. I was cold, wet, and furious about having to go to school so dirty. I had to keep my chin up, though. I had basketball tryouts that day.

Throughout the day, more misfortune happened. They ran out of cake at lunch so I didn’t get a slice. I slammed my locker door on my finger, sat on a chair that had chewed gum stuck to the top, and my History teacher gave us a pop quiz about the reading I hadn’t done.

OK, I thought once school got out. I can still make this day good by dominating the floor at basketball tryouts!

Once I got to the gym, I opened my bag to find that nothing was in it. I stared at its emptiness for a full thirty seconds. I closed it and opened it once more, hoping something would appear. Anything. My shoes weren’t in there, and neither were my lucky socks. All there was to see was black emptiness. There was no way I could try out in the shoes I was already wearing.

I still went to the tryouts, though. Let’s just say I don’t think I made the team.

When I got home, I threw my bag on the floor in and stormed up to my bedroom in frustration. The first thing I saw when I opened the door was Karma sitting on the shelf. I immediately felt better seeing her.

“Oh Karma, I love you,” I told her as I walked over to stroke her nose.

“Addie, what’s that?” a squeaky voice said. It was my seven-year-old sister, Beatrice, standing in my bedroom.

“It’s a horse for my collection,” I explained. “I got it yesterday.”

“Let me see it!” Quick as a wink, she ran over as fast as her legs could carry her and reached up to grab it.

That second, I noticed Falcon, lying there helplessly in three pieces. If gravity and a wooden floor could do that to a plastic horse, imagine what a seven-year-old could do! And there is no way I was ever going to let Karma of all things get destroyed in any way. She’s too valuable.

Almost like a reflex, I shouted, “NO!” at Beatrice. I grabbed my sister by her hair, shoved her out of my room as quickly as I could. I heard Beatrice’s wail get quieter and quieter as she got further away. Phew.

“Sorry about that, Karma,” I said out loud to my toy. “It won’t happen again.” I rolled my eyes. “Trust me.”

Right then, as I turned around to go lie on my bed, I slipped on something and crash-landed on my floor. Now I know how Falcon must have felt yesterday.

The next day was not much better. At lunch, I spilled my sloppy joe all over my white shirt. During PE, I was trying to do a pull-up, but my hands slipped off and I landed on my butt in front of everybody. I got kicked out of science class because I accidentally caused something to combust, even though I swear I was following the instructions perfectly.

“ADDIE, IS THAT YOU??” my mom screamed when I opened my front door after school that day. “GET IN HERE, NOW!”

I did not know what to expect as I was walking into my kitchen. But from the tone of her voice, I knew it couldn’t be good.

“I just go an email from your History teacher. Is it true that you failing his class?”

Oh. Right. That pop quiz we took the other day. It must have really knocked down my grade. “Mom, let me explain…”

“No! I do not want any excuses! I want you to start stepping it up. Starting right now. In fact, until you can raise your grade to at least a C, you are not allowed to hang out with your friends outside of school!”

“OK, fine, whatever!” I shouted. Tears were rising up inside me. As if my week hadn’t been bad enough so far. Not knowing what else to say, I yelled, “CAN’T YOU JUST LEAVE ME ALONE?” and stormed off to my bedroom. I jumped on my bed and buried my face in my pillow to cry.

I looked up to see Karma, giving me the idea of going to the store, just so I could be alone for a while.

“Afternoon, Addie,” a man with a thick white mustache said when I came in. He is the owner of the store who sometimes works behind the register, like he is today. We know each other pretty well since I visit so often. “How’s you day going?”

“Well, I’ve definitely had better,” I said, trying to be honest without being rude. There were some small wooden statues on a table in front of me. I picked up one that looked like a horse. It turned out they were all chess pieces, and I had just picked up a knight.

“Can’t say I disagree with you,” he said in his raspy voice. “We were robbed the other day, and I didn’t find out until this morning.”

My head shot up. “Robbed? By who?”

“Oh, who knows, really? This place doesn’t really have very tight security. I’m trying to find out a way that I can fix that, but security costs money, which we don’t got a whole lot of. No surprise there, with all these good-for-nothing crooks running around.”

“That’s terrible.” While saying this, I secretly felt a cold feeling of guilt sprinkle inside me. I was trying to hide it by being sympathetic.

“Yup,” he sighed. “We’re down seventy-four dollars and ninety five cents now. Oh well. I guess we‘ll survive.”

I went to school the next day, not sure how it was going to go. After all, the whole week had been bad so far. But that day was the third day of the week, and they do say that third time’s the charm.

Going to History was the absolute last thing I wanted to do, but I needed to get my grade up in order for me to not be grounded anymore.

“Today,” our teacher began. “We are going to learn about Indian beliefs, specifically, one called karma.”

Karma? I thought. That’s what my horse is named. What a coincidence. When he said that, I thought about briefly telling everybody that I am lucky enough to own the rarest horse collectible out there, but I didn’t want to seem like I was bragging. And I especially didn’t want people to ask me how I got my hands on one.

“Karma,” he started to explain. “Is the belief that by doing good things, good things will happen to you. If you do bad things, bad things will happen to you. So, in short, what goes around comes around.”

Wait--what did he just say?

The world stopped. My head started to spin. Memories of the past two days spun around in my head. The injured finger, the gum, the last piece of cake, the pop quiz, the tryouts, the sloppy joe, the failed pull-up, the fire, my mom yelling at me… all of it happened after I robbed the store

I faintly heard the teacher say, “A lot of people still believe that karma is real.”

Karma is real. The image of the note flashed right before my eyes. If my head was spinning a second ago, by now it must have been completely spiraling out of control.

I was so deep in thought, I didn’t even realize how much time had gone by. The next thing I knew, the school bell was ringing. I leaped three feet out of my chair and ran all the way home without stopping for a break.

I nearly broke the door down entering my house and running to my bedroom. I rushed over to Karma and snatched her right off the shelf.

“You’re the one doing this to me, aren’t you?” I yelled at it out of shock.

Karma didn’t reply. Plastic horses have a habit of not answering when you’re talking to them.

“OK, well, what am I supposed to do to get good luck again?”

The horse stared at me blankly.

Now what did the teacher say in class today? Oh, that’s right. The memory came back to me. By doing good things, good things will happen to me. So all I had to do is do nice things.

“Karma, watch this.” I went into my kitchen. Beatrice was sitting at the table silently brushing the hair of one of her Barbie’s. “Hey, Beatrice, if you want to, you can play with my new toy horse all you want.”

Her face lit up. “Really? I can?”

“Yup, and while you are playing, make sure to stay in the kitchen while I bake you some cookies.”

She looked at me very skeptically, but shrugged and played with Karma. There were about a thousand times while supervising her that I was about to tell her to stop doing what she was doing, but I didn’t. I had to prove to Karma how nice I was.

While I was baking her cookies, I spilled the flour all over the floor, cracked an egg and had the yoke fall on my shoe, and burned my fingers on the oven at least three times. Once the cookies were done, I ask my sister very nicely for my horse back, and stubbed my toe on the leg of my table as I was leaving. It had not worked. I took Karma back to my room, sat on my bed, and looked at her in the eyes.

“Why isn’t my luck any better? I did the right thing, didn’t I?”

She said nothing.

“I guess that was a really pathetic attempt, wasn’t it?” I sighed and looked up at my ceiling. “All right, Karma. I know what I have to do.”

I put Karma back in her box, along with her hairbrush. I found the note that says “Karma is real,” glanced at it one more time, and put it back in the box. Whoever the next owner is going to be will sure need to know.

I walked at a slow pace down to the shop. Owning this horse sure gave me a lot of happiness, but a lot of pain, too. To think that if I had just done the right thing in the first place, Karma wouldn’t have turned against me, and I wouldn’t have to give her back right now.

I opened the door to the shop. The little bell ring. The shop’s owner was sitting behind the counter that day. My stomach was slowly turning and tightening.

“Good to see you, Addie,” he greeted cheerfully. “What can I do for you today?”

“Well, you see, sir…” I started slowly, not sure how to explain this. “I was the one that robbed you the other day. It was me. I know it was wrong, but owning this horse meant a lot to me. And I’m really sorry about it. So, here. You can have it back.” I slid the box next to the register.

He stared quietly at what was in front of him, then calmly said, “Well, Addie, I can’t say I’m not disappointed in you. Stealing from me and my family was a very bad thing of you to do.”

“I am so sorry, sir,” I said, looking down, ashamed.

“However, it was still very noble of you to admit your mistake before somebody made you.”

I felt a tinge guilty hearing him say this, since Karma sort of made me, but I didn’t say anything.

“So, I am not going to call the police on you. This can just be between you and me, OK?”

“Really?” My face lit up. I thought for sure he was going to tell the police, or at the very least my mother. “Oh, thank you, sir.”

“Don’t think I’m ever going to let this happen again, OK?”

“I wouldn’t try it again. Ever.” And I was telling the truth, too. After what had happened to me, shoplifting was something I was never going to even consider.

“Good.” He sighed and looked back at Karma.

“Oh, well, that’s all. Thank you, sir. Have a nice day.”

“As well, Ms. Addie.”

I walked out of the store, positive that I would have better luck. But more importantly, I felt a lot more relaxed now that I had done the right thing.

A few days later, I saw something strange. I was walking down the street, when a boy who was wearing his hood up stormed passed me on the balls of his feet. When I looked back at him, I saw he had a light green box tucked under their arm. And right when he got to the corner of the street, a giant truck drove zoomed by him, drenching him in a dirty puddle.

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