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  • This story is based on childrens imagination and fear. A bedtime tale that will take more than one cowbird story to complete.
    Illustration: depicts Julie, the older sister.

    • • • • •

    Two sisters sitting on the back porch steps in Santa Monica, California in 1954. Julie is 11 and Angelina is age 4.

    Older sister:
    “Momma said you have to listen and I know you always do as mama says”, said Julie. Angelina protested, “ I want to go with you, why can’t I go?” “Your not old enough and besides you wouldn’t have much fun cause you couldn’t keep up”. Angelina said, “I could try and you could help me.” Julie, “Its only for big girls not for little ones.” Angelina started to cry. Julie said, “Maybe next time you’ll get to come too, but not this time.” Angelina looked up and said, “Mama sometimes calls me a big girl.” Julie gave Angelina a hug and said, “Your the biggest little girl I know. But there are some things big girls need to know so they stay safe. You understand me?” Angelina just looked at her with wide eyes. Then Julie leaned in closer to Angelina, very close, and told her:

    “They live at the Bergamot Station near the train tracks. You know they are coming when the train whistle blows. Dressed in dirty rags and scruffy face they smell of stale booze and cigarette butts. They huddle round burning trash cans to keep warm and sleep under newspapers. They steal clothes from clotheslines. They don’t even try to get work cause there ain’t none. They lie, steal, cheat and swindle.

    You've see them carry the burlap bag? Those bags are for the children they steal. Late at night they sneak through an open bedroom window and snatch children. Tie and gag them and carry them off to sell for money. If your lucky your parents pay and you get to go home, if your parents don’t pay you never get to go home.

    Sometimes they hide under the bed and when you kneel to say your prayers they grab you. You needn’t worry, cause they can’t see you if you lie really still and don’t move. Just be quiet and no one will know your there. Quiet, no whimpering, just quiet. Don’t move.”
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