Surprising Use for Money
By Curt Locklear
The old woman shopped in the store only because shopping was a habit. She did not need clothes. She had plenty. Often, she bought clothes and never wore them. They hung in her closet with the tags. In her late seventies, she had relatively smooth features and dyed brown hair, she wore a flowered house dress. The store was the last one still open in a dead strip center. That part of town was dying, walls filled with graffiti, boarded windows, vacant houses where families used to thrive and feel the warmth of love.
The old woman wobbled when she walked. “Come on, Brittany. These clothes are cute.”
She was accompanied by her sixteen-year-old granddaughter who needed no new clothes either. “Granma, these clothes are so old. They’re like stupid.” She texted a message on her phone.
The grandmother stayed insistent that the girl try on various dresses she had found – all of them reminiscent of another time and completely out-of-touch with current fashion. The young girl, petite and full of life, said, “No” to the dresses. She wanted tight, short skirts and skimpy blouses.
“Brittany,” the grandmother pleaded, “I have to find something to spend some of this jar of coins on. They’re heavy in my purse.”
Inside an abandoned appliance store two doors down, a man was being beaten severely because he owed money. He was bound to a post, bleeding and semi-conscious. His assailants held rubber hoses. In no particular hurry, they smoked cigarettes and occasionally struck the man with the hoses. They talked about sports and cars.
When the two shoppers left the store into a blustery afternoon, the girl held only one sheer dress on a hanger. A sharp blast of air ripped the dress from the girl’s hand and blew it into a high, broken window of the appliance store.
She raced towards the door which stood innocuously ajar. She stepped inside and saw her dress settled sadly in a heap on the floor. When her eyes adjusted to the shadows, she saw boxes, clothing racks and filth. Then she saw the two men just as they viciously hammered their victim. Surprised, they, too, saw her.
They charged the teen like bulls, quickly grabbing her arms. One thug clapped his hand over her mouth. Just then, Granma tottered in. Seeing the two rough fellows with their arms about her grandchild, she did what came naturally. She swung her purse, still laden with the heavy jar of coins catching one of the men full in the ribs. He tumbled hard to the floor.
“Stay away,” she yelled.
Now free, the girl fled and was dialing 911. The grandmother retreated to the doorway, “We’re calling the law!”
The second man helped his partner to his feet and they fled out a rear door.
The grandmother, winded from her effort, and, at first, a little bewildered, allowed an air of smug satisfaction to cross her face.