Dad’s D-23

“You have to do something about this,” Timmy McGettigan said, pointing down at an empty desk drawer.

“I don’t even know Larry stole it,” i said, staring along with timmy at where my wallet should have been. “Maybe something else happened.”

“ Like your mom was cleaning drawers and threw away a wallet where you spend the whole year saving money?”

“No, not that,” I said.  “Something else might have happened to it.  Maybe burglars broke into the house.”

“You have to have a bigger town than Darlington to have burglars.”

I closed the desk drawer and stood there, next to the desk, in the living room.  There didn’t seem to be any other place to go.  The Lafayette county fair was the following week, and the money I’d been saving for rides and booths and food was gone–stashed inside a wallet that was no longer in the desk drawer where it had been all year.  

“We have to have a plan,” Timmy said, as he began to pace up and down the living room.  I had never seen someone actually pace before except in movies, so I watched him, wondering if pacing actually helped a person think.  If I ever had another life–one that I didn’t spend standing in front of the desk, I thought I might pace too.  

Finally, I said, “We can’t just go over and knock on Larry Schultz’s house and say, ‘Hand over the wallet!’ to whoever opens the door.  His parents will take his side no matter what, and if it’s him that opens the door, he’ll just deny he took my wallet.  Plus, his father’s a dentist.”

“What does that have to do with it?”  Timmy asked from the far end of the living where he’d paced himself to.

“I don’t know.  It just makes Larry and his family seem more official”

“What’s official is that Larry is a thief.”

“I didn’t actually see him take the wallet.  He came over yesterday morning to hang out even though I hadn’t asked him, and when he told me to show him things so we’d have something to do, I showed him the wallet and told him how I save money all year long for the fair.  He didn’t say anything about that, but then last night I opened the drawer and the wallet was gone.

“And you said that after you showed him the wallet he was alone in here?”

“Mom made kool-aid for Larry and me, and I went into the kitchen to get it, and he stayed in here.”

“Did he do anything suspicious after you came back?”

“Do you mean was he suddenly wearing a burglar costume when I got back from the kitchen?”

“Did he seem shifty somehow?”

“I don’t know what a shifty person looks like.  Do their eyes go back and forth in their head and they pretend like they’re twirling a moustache?”

Instead of answering me, Timmy stopped pacing and stared at me.  He looked disappointed.  Finally he said, “Do you want my help or don’t you?”

“I suppose,” I said.  “I mean, I don’t know if there’s anything we can do.  It’s not like the sheriff is going to get a search warrant because my wallet is gone and Larry was over here.”

“Why not?”

“For one thing, sheriff’s probably don’t stay sheriffs if they search dentists’ houses every time somebody wants them too.”

“Would you forget about his dad being a dentist?   It’s not like he’s a diplomat with immunity and his family can go around stealing whatever it wants.”

“I never said he was a diplomat.  I don’t even know anything about diplomats and I’m surprised you do.”

“They’re in the stories I’ve been reading so far this summer, but it doesn’t matter because I said he isn’t a diplomat. What matters is that we take action.”

All the thoughts I’d had about spending the rest of my life standing next to the desk turned out to be wrong because when Timmy mentioned that we had to take action, I went over to couch and sat down.  “Some things just happen,” I said from there.

“And some things can unhappen, and this is one of them,” Timmy said.  “I have a plan.”



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