When Dad was robbed at gunpoint in his candy store, he couldn’t believe it.
“The thief said he needed money for his wife’s medical treatments,” Dad told us. “As if I sell enough lollipops and bon bons to cover medication, surgery, doctors?” His voice wobbled like a spinning top on a sandy sidewalk. “As if my till overflows with riches?”
Mom worked at a bank. “That’s the place for robberies, I swear to God,” Dad said.
“We’ve never been robbed,” Mom said, “and let’s keep it that way, buster.”
Then, a few weeks later, Mom’s bank was robbed. She didn’t arrive home until well after dinner time. We followed her into her bedroom. “I was almost shot today,” she shouted. Her voice was cannon fire. “I almost died!”
One of the robbers had kept his single-barrel shotgun aimed at her the whole time, all because she was the lead teller. “Like staring down the scariest train tunnel ever,” Mom cried. “Then I had to deal with all the rigamarole from the police, thinking it might be an inside job. Boy, did I let them know I was this close to dying.” Both of her fists clenched her purse strap.
She wasn’t interested in changing out of her work clothes like she usually did after coming through the door. I stared at the plastic red daisy pendant she wore on a long chain, how the vibrant red flower head draped down the front of her green dress. I stared at the smaller deeply red disc at its center.
The next time she wore her green dress, she came out of her room and complained that she couldn’t find her daisy necklace. She interrogated Dad.
“You were the last one to touch it.” She was all business, as Dad says. “I told you to put it in my jewelry box that horrible day of my robbery? What did you do with it?”
“I put it in the box,” Dad said. His face pinched. “I swear to God.”
“We know how you swear to God.” She jabbed her finger at him. “Like you swore to God, jinxing that terrible robbery on me. You’re my number one suspect, buster.”
Then she turned to me. “You know the necklace, right? You know where my jewelry box is in my closet, don’t you? I’ve seen you in there digging through Dad’s coat pockets, searching for loose change.”
I imagined this was how the police grilled Mom on the day of the robbery.
“I haven’t seen it,” I lied.
The truth: the last time I saw it was after I dropped her daisy necklace into our metal trash can, then filled the can with more trash.
“I love how it looked with your dress,” Dad said, full of saccharine.
I hated how it looked. How the burst of red petals bloomed on her chest.
Dan Crawley is the author of Straight Down the Road (Ad Hoc Fiction, 2019) and The Wind, It Swirls (Cowboy Jamboree Press, 2021). His writing appears or is forthcoming in a number of journals and anthologies, including Flash Boulevard, Lost Balloon, Tiny Molecules, and Atticus Review.
Art [cropped] Kasi Metcalfe CC2.0 some rights reserved ALT: A smoking frozen red daisy
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