I have to admit I find Miss Lizzy a bit strange. You would think someone whose family is as well off as hers wouldn't be filching trifling items from our store. It doesn't make sense to me, but there is no loss for us. I just charge what I see her take to her father's account.
Today, as my father-in-law sees her enter our store, he whispers he'll be watching to see if she tries to steal something. If she does, he's going to have her locked up.
Her father, while not a well-loved or popular man, has considerable influence. Embarrass him like that, and he wouldn't hesitate to ruin us.
Before he can start to follow her, I tell him to stop. I'll handle things. He doesn't say anything, but his eyes tell me he knows I'm right. Mumbling under his breath, he goes into the storeroom to retrieve some flour for another customer.
I watch her shopping, pausing here and there to look at something that catches her eye. She doesn't realize I see her slide something into her large canvas bag.
I don't say anything.
After using a scarf in her bag to hopefully keep me from seeing it, she comes to the counter to pay for some sewing thread, buttons, and soap.
"Is that all for you today?"
"That will be fifty-six cents."
I don't say anything as I glance at the wooden handle barely protruding from beneath the scarf. I just take the money and bid her goodbye.
After she leaves, my father-in-law comes and asks me how things went.
I tell him everything is fine. "I just have to add the cost of an axe to Mister Borden's account."
Edward Lee Moore lives in Northern California and works as an environmental professional for the only automotive plant on the West Coast. He has been writing since he was in third grade and enjoys incorporating odd but intriguing information into his stories. This is his first published story.
Cartoon Copyright © Steve Midgley