A stunning Scout emerged from the rubble, with skin that seemed to be made of rough stone. She wore a bathing suit ensemble that appeared to be made of rocks. She tapped a tall, long- haired girl in a plain, dingy cotton dress. The dress wasn't nearly as fancy as most of the outfits the other girls were wearing, and its front was wet with tears.
When the girl looked up and saw the Scout, her jaw dropped.
"Are you sure you have to pick me?" the girl whimpered incredulously.
A pointy-chinned competitor in a poufy-sleeved dress and studded boots pushed to the front. "Pick me, she doesn't want it!"
The plainly dressed girl's mother tugged the Scout's arm.
"No, my Desperada does want it! Please take her! I don't have the money to feed her anymore."
The Scout nodded and grabbed the sobbing girl's hand, and they both disappeared into a hole in the ground. Immediately, all the broken marble flew into the sky, reassembled, and then dropped right back to exactly where it'd been before the disruption.
The clock edged past the five-minutes-left mark. The shopping cart of one of the homeless women flew from her hands and rolled wildly around the square. Girls near the cart ran away screaming. The cart flipped forward, and old food and tattered clothes spilled to the ground.
A Scout in a dress with rips in all the right places materialized from beneath the decrepit belongings. She strutted to the middle of the square and stopped in front of a raven- haired girl who was wearing a dress with an enormous bustle.
The girl's mother, who was clad in a muumuu, held out her own arm. "You want . . . me?" With a slight, tired, "Oh how the old ones always do this" roll of her eyes, the Scout touched the daughter's shoulder instead.
"Oh!" the mother squealed. "Well, of course, of course!"
She enveloped her daughter in her arms and cooed how proud she was of her and then let go. But as the Scout and the daughter descended into the worn clothes and rotten food within the cart, there was the tiniest look of disappointment on the mother's face.
"Three minutes, fifty seconds!" Mayor Rump announced from his VIP perch. Myrracle strutted on, posing and turning. Mrs. De La Crème bit her nails. Mr. De La Crème paced back and forth.
Eruptions occurred all over the square. The reporters swiveled their cameras and microphones, trying to keep up with the mayhem. Walkers to the left, right, front, and back bumped into Myrracle. She walked two steps, posed, turned, and walked again. Even Zarpessa was losing space, walking in a tight circle near the strange obelisks.
"Tookie, climb up here so your sister has more room to walk!" Mr. De La Crème commanded behind her. Tookie turned and saw her parents and Brian standing on the roof of the wildest car she had ever seen: a blinged-out golden low- rider with a pavé roof and hubcaps that spun in place, even when the car wasn't moving.
The gaudy and glam automobile was parked on a piece of marble that had a huge crack down the middle that looked, strangely, like a question mark.
Tookie dutifully climbed onto the shiny bumper. Mrs. De La Crème anxiously compared the time on her watch to the time on the huge clock in the center of the square. Worry marred her wrinkled face. "We still have time," she murmured. "A miracle will happen for The Myrracle. I just know it."