big kids up the street had long hair. Sukhis
mother said they were hippies and they were dangerous
because they lived together in that big dirty
house and ate drugs all day. Her mother said to
stay away from that house and those people and
to remember that they didnt like our
Sukhi did stay away. A few times her four-year-old
brother, Magic, rolled over to their part of the
street on his inchworm and Sukhi had to run after
him to bring him back. She was happy to stay away
from that scary house, except that now Magics
inchworm was missing.
would have thought it was just any old green worm,
but her best friend Jenny told her that it was
an inchworm. She said she knew because it was
squeezed up in the middle. She said thats
how inchworms move, they squeeze their back toward
their front, and the middle part of their body
goes up into a little hill. Then they straighten
up and do it again until they get to wherever
theyre going. Magics inchworm was
granny-apple green, with a bright tomato-colored
seat at the top of the hill that its body
made, and four shiny, tomato-colored wheels at
the bottom. Its face had a wide, happy smile
and one eye was closed in a wink.
now, it was in the front yard of the scary house
and one of the hippies had his feet propped up
on it. Sukhi went inside and told her mother that
the hippies took Magics inchworm. Her mother
stopped washing the plate that was in her hand,
and said, Well they were going to throw it
out anyway. Ill bring him something else
from work. Sukhis mother worked at a
said, But its Magics inchworm.
mothers voice got louder, You two have
been outside long enough, go bring your brother
inside and do some work.
Sukhi went back outside, Magic was sitting on
a bench all by himself, staring at his inchworm
down the street. He looked at her and said, Thats
told him to stay where he was and dont move.
Her mouth was dry as she walked over to the hippie
house. She stood on the sidewalk in front of their
lawn and said to the man whose feet were on Magics
inchworm, Excuse me Mister, thats my
man put down his beer and looked at her. Then
he smiled and said, No its not. I bought
this. Its mines.
said Oh. Maybe she was wrong. Maybe it
wasnt Magics at all. Except that it
had the same crack on the front left wheel as
Magics inchworm. Her eyes were stinging
as she walked back to where Magic was still sitting.
He asked her, Are they gonna give it back Sukhi?
Are they gonna give me my inchworm back?
told him to shut up. Thats not yours,
you shouldnt have lost your stupid inchworm
in the first place! Magic started to cry and
she shoved him. She wished he would just stop
crying and forget about the dumb worm. They went
inside and her mother looked at Magics splotchy
wet face and told him to wash up and get ready
the next few days, Jenny and her little brother,
Scott, came outside and brought a soccer ball.
Magic didnt want to play. He just sat on
the bench like Sukhis Raggedy Ann doll and
swung his feet. She looked at the inchworm in
the front lawn of the hippie house. They werent
even using it. It was lying on its side next to
a broken stove and an old, ripped up sofa.
day when Jenny and Scott werent allowed
to play outside, Sukhi sat next to Magic on the
bench. She was looking over at the lawn again,
when she saw the hippies get into a van and drive
away. The inchworm was still outside. Sukhi told
Magic, Dont move, and started walking toward
the house slowly, in case the car came
back. Her mouth was dry again.
stopped in front of the lawn for a minute to see
if anyone came running out the front door. She
took a deep breath and stopped thinking. She was
just moving now. Her legs were moving fast and
her arms snatched Magics inchworm. Then,
she was running towards Magic, who had jumped
off the bench, his mouth hanging open. Sukhi yelled
Come inside! Come inside! as she ran past Magic.
He ran behind her into the building. They didnt
stop running until they were upstairs in front
of their apartment door, where they leaned against
the wall trying to catch their breath. Then, Sukhi
gently set down Magics inchworm.
she said, now dont take it ouside.
Magic nodded, his eyes wide. He looked at his
inchworm and his eyes started to sparkle.
that, anytime Magic wanted to play with his inchworm,
he rolled up and down the hallway on it in front
of their apartment, making loud Vroom Vroom!
sounds until the neighbors complained to Sukhi
and Magics mother. She knew what they were
saying, but just smiled and nodded her head to
them like she didnt understand English.
She let Magic play as long as he wanted to in
Dosanjh has been published in various anthologies,
journals, newspapers and magazines. She has produced
two films which are currently being distributed
internationally. Whether on film or in print,
she tells universal stories with multicultural
characters, paying careful attention to the lives
of girls and women.
us with your comments.