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The International Writers Magazine
: Dreamscapes Fiction

Jeanette Harris on forgetting

Trish emptied her pocketbook onto the dining room table. Somewhere in there was her eye shadow case. And inside it was a one hundred dollar bill. She needed it now for groceries. Ah, she said to herself, there it is. But that was her blush case. No. The eye shadow case was gone. She could hardly believe it.
She rummaged again through the strewn contents of her purse. It simply wasn't there. She went to the bathroom and checked on the sink counter. Not there either. Then she checked the bedroom in vain. Finally, she convinced herself she had put the bill someplace else entirely. She went through the contents of her jewelry cases and through the pockets of her sweaters and coats and skirts. After hours of fruitless searching and rising panic, Trish finally accepted that the one hundred dollars was gone.

And what, she asked herself, had she to eat until payday next Friday. She checked the cabinets. No, she was out of powdered and evaporated milk. She had some canned vegetables and some spaghetti sauce and noodles. She checked the refrigerator and found half a can of margarine and some bread and juice. Trish poured herself a glass of that and sat down again at the dining room table. Who could she call for a loan this time?
"Hello, Mom, how are you doing?.... Just fine.... Well, I've had another little catastrophe...." Trish explained the situation. Her mother expressed her regret at not being able to help. She advised her daughter to keep her money in the bank and have more ample savings. 'Ten dollars a paycheck', she admonished again, 'will add up to a rainy day fund', if her daughter would just comply.
"Carol?.... How are you?.... No, I've had another of my little disasters...." Trish recounted her latest fiasco to her best friend. Carol said she could loan her twenty dollars until the following Friday. The butterflies began to leave Trish's stomach. That was better than nothing.
"Pete?.... What's up with you?.... Oh, I've had another small fiasco...." Trish retold the story and her old boyfriend offered to loan her thirty-five dollars until payday. Trish was feeling better. She finished her glass of juice and poured herself another. Checking again through the cabinets, she found crackers and peanut butter for supper.
"Janet?... How are you this afternoon, sis?.... Well, I've had a minor setback...." Trish again told the tale of the eye shadow case and her missing one hundred dollars. Janet promised to loan her forty dollars until she could pay it back, whenever that might be. Trish felt a crush lift from her chest. That was enough for groceries and sundries, including gas, until she was paid again.

Crisis averted, she drove first to visit Janet. She retrieved the forty dollars with only a minor scolding from her older sibling. Pete gave her thirty-five dollars with no words of wisdom except that she try to build up a bank account, as her mother had admonished. Carol offered her thirty dollars after all and promised to help again if she needed it. Trish stopped by the grocery on the way home and bought what she needed for the week. Passing Ted's One-Stop, she splurged and bought a fifth of white wine. Arriving at home, she called Wilma.
"Want to come over tonight for wine and cheese and crackers?" Trish asked. "I'd love some company. And you can help me resolve the latest mystery."

Intrigued, Wilma agreed and arrived at the door of Trish's apartment some hour or so later. "So what's to solve?" she asked, settling in her favorite chair.
Trish told one more time her story of the eye shadow case and the missing one hundred dollar bill.
"Are you sure that's where you put it?"
"Did you check in your wallet?"
"Of course." A momentary trepidation passed over Trish as she wondered if she really had.
"Check again. Go on."

Trish went over to the dining room table to retrieve her wallet and opened it for her friend. "There. It isn't there. See?" Wilma took the wallet and began going through it methodically.
Shortly, she pulled out a folded one hundred dollar bill from behind a credit card lodged securely in its section. "Here it is, kid. Just where you put it," she informed her friend.
Trish stared. "How did it get there?"
"I think you put it there."
"Yes, but when? I know I had it in the eye shadow case."
"Was that this one hundred dollar bill or another one?"
"No. It was this one."
"When did you go to the store last?" Wilma asked, determined to resolve the mystery before she finished her wine and left for home.
"Oh," Trish said with disgust. "I know what happened."
"I meant to go to the store last night and put it in my wallet before I left. Then they were calling for freezing rain and I decided to go tonight instead. Now all I need to find is my eye shadow case."
"Your poor head. You really need someone to help keep you straight."
"Thank you for being that person. Do you think I'm getting to that age where I need live-in help?"
"No, it's just the trauma of losing your husband, being on your own, and some other travails you've had, including getting a job after all these years."
"Well, there's nothing like old friends." Wilma gathered her pocketbook and coat and stood up to go. "Emphasis on 'old'," she replied with a grin.

© Jeanette Harris April 2004

BIO: Originally from New England, the author resides in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. She created "A Country Rag" at, an online publication that explores Appalachian culture through diverse poetry, short stories, graphics, music, regional cuisine and articles. She has been published previously online and in hardcopy.

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