October 2017 Entry
We had spent a busy day in the city. The monthly groceries, the medical appointments, the prescription pick-up at the drug store finally completed, Cricket and I were heading to our peaceful country home in Wanapitei. Just before we got on our way, Cricket suggested we drop into the Sally Ann store…again…just in case.
To our surprise the store was buzzing with young men. One of them pulled a stuffed giraffe loose from a box, and dangling it by the left leg, asked the cashier, “Hey lady, how much for this thing?”
Cricket noted the school colours and the school insignia on his jacket and whispered. “Frat boys.”
“All the stuffed toys are one dollar,” the cashier responded.
“Hey, guys, these things are dirt cheap. They’ll make great targets for paintball.”
Cricket eyed up the frat boys as they went through the store talking loudly and riffling through the boxes with reckless speed, throwing things around and wrecking carefully planned displays. The cashier watched them from the corner of her eye.
I needed bedtime reading so I began looking through the books lined up on a shelf. I pushed aside an outdated set of encyclopaedias to get at some novels. One of the hard cover books fell on the floor with a loud thud, and as I bent to pick it up, I spotted her in a large blue plastic tote stuffed in among some things that might be useful to someone, but not to me.
“It’s Ellie,” I gasped, catching Cricket’s attention. We hurriedly dug the teddy bear out from among the other items in the tote. I hugged her. I took her to the counter and put her gently on the counter. I started rummaging through my purse for a dollar, and then I heard coins rolling on the counter.
“Hey guys I’ve got one here. That’s it, let’s go.”
“I was buying her,” I said.
He shrugged. “I got to it first, lady. You snooze, you lose.” He headed for the door and his waiting friends. They began piling into a rusty sedan.
My brother Cricket is not the most athletic person but before I knew it he was heading off the frat boy, and just before the young man reached the car, he tackled him. In the scuffle that ensued I was able to wrestle Ellie from her kidnapper. Some of his friends came out of the car. As he started cursing at us, I threw him some coins, double what he’d paid. This seemed to pacify him, and he told his buddies to get going.
We drove to Wanapitei with Ellie on the seat between us.