Wanda Pennington awoke after a restless night of sleep. All night
long she was bothered by what her next door neighbor, Marty did
to her yesterday. Just because he was 14 and she was only 11, he
thought he was so superior to her. He was taller, stronger, and
maybe not smarter, but three years' experience is a lot to make
up when you're that young.
She saw him taking money
from his mother's purse. Naturally she told her mother and his mother
what she saw. Of course, when her mom asked if he took the money,
he said no. So they told his mom who checked her purse and said,
"I don't see anything missing; at least not anything I notice.
I had a 20, a 5 and a couple of singles. Unless he took some change,
there's nothing missing."
Mrs. Pennington asked
her daughter, "Are you sure you saw Marty with my purse?"
"Well, there's nothing
missing. Why would you make up such a story?"
"Mom! I'm not making
it up. I saw him!"
Marty came to the girl's
defense, "Mrs. Pennington, it's nothing. I don't know why she
would tell such stories about me, but she's just a little girl.
No harm was done. As you can see, I didn't take any money."
Wanda fumed at the "little
"That's not the
point, Marty. She's old enough to know the difference between telling
a lie and telling the truth."
"I'm not lying!"
Wanda insisted. She was incensed that she was considered guilty
without a trail.
"I'll talk to you
about that later, young woman," her mother responded icily.
"Right now, I think you owe Martin an apology."
Wanda wanted to scream,
but she knew it would only make matters worse. She managed to blurt
out, "I'm sorry I told my mother that you took money from her
Marty tussled her hair
and said, "That's OK, kid. Apology accepted."
Later in the day she
came across Martin again and asked, "I know what I saw. What
were you doing in your mom's purse?"
"Well, since there
isn't anything you can do about it, I'll tell you. I was setting
"Yeah, I took money
out, and I knew you were watching. What you didn't see me do was
put the money back."
"Why would you do
"Just to get you
in trouble. I know what a tattle-tale you are and I wanted to teach
you a lesson."
Wanda bristled, "There is a big difference between being a
tattle-tale, and reporting a crime. Taking money from my mother's
purse is stealing."
"It would be stealing
if I actually took the money, which I didn't." He said, sticking
his tongue out at her.
"You just wait.
I'll get back at you." She didn't have the faintest clue how
at the moment.
"That will be rather
tough in the position you're in. Your mom thinks you're a liar,
and everyone thinks you have it out for me. Nobody is going to believe
anything you say about me. Now I can do anything I want and you
can't stop me."
He was right Wanda had
to admit. As things stood now, her credibility was in ruins.
As things stood now. First, she'd have to clear her name, then she
could go after Martin.
All this was going through
her mind as she tossed and turned all night. But today was a new
day, and new days often bring new beginnings.
The day started on a
hopeful note, Mrs. Dorney and her mom were taking her to the mall
to do some shopping. The problem was that Martin was coming along.
Mrs. Dorney wanted to buy some school shoes for him. It was a small
revenge, but revenge it was. Girls love shopping at the mall. Guys
like the mall too, but to hang out and look at girls. They were
like lions hanging out at the watering hole waiting for the gazelles
to come down for a drink. That wasn't going to happen to Martin
with his mom tagging along. He was fated to a doom every teenage
male dreads: shopping in public with his own mother.
Things were fine until
they actually got to the mall and started to shop. At the first
store when Mrs. Dorney went into her purse to get her credit card
she noticed that her money was missing! She managed to complete
her purchases: the shoes for Martin, and retreated to the benches
outside to rummage through her purse to see if it somehow got misplaced.
After searching for several minutes it was obvious that it was gone
Mrs. Dorney looked at
Wanda who just shrugged her shoulders.
"I guess, I'll have
to hit the ATM machine," she told her shopping mates.
"If you're done
with me mom, can I go out and hang out at the arcade?"
his mother said, "We'll come get you for lunch."
Martin shambled off.
Mrs. Dorney headed for the ATM machine,
By lunchtime, the women
and girl were loaded down with their purchases. Finally Mrs. Dorney
put her packages down and said, "Pam, watch this stuff,"
she told Mrs. Pennington, "I'm going to find Marty and have
him bring them to the car so we can get our lunch without doing
a juggling act."
Wanda skipped off after
her and they got there just as Marty was getting change at the cashier.
He was so busy with his transaction that he didn't even see them
standing there. That is, until his mom reached over and grabbed
the bill from his hand just as the cashier was reaching for it.
She held the bill, back
facing her son, and recited, "555-9836." To everyone else,
it made absolutely no sense. To her son, it was a mind reading act
as that very number was scribbled on the back of the bill. To Mrs.
Dorney it was the number she scribbled there the previous day.
"So it was you!
You're the one who took the money from my purse." She didn't
even wait. She grabbed her son by the ear and dragged him out into
the mall. People were looking at them. A couple of girls giggled.
Wanda followed in shock. Marty's face was getting redder by the
The curious parade passed
right by Wanda's mom. Wanda and her mom merely gathered up the packages
and followed the mom-with-son-in-tow right into the ladies room.
If anyone thought about the inappropriateness of bringing a teenage
boy into a ladies room, they didn't express it. As for Marty, he
was way too busy being embarrassed to notice anything. A couple
of women stared at them but said nothing.
Mrs. Dorney dragged her
son over to the area where the infant changing table was set up.
"Pants down!" She commanded. So strong was her command
that Marty had his belt undone before he even though about protesting.
She cut off all such protests with an icy glare.
Marty dropped his pants.
His mother ordered, "Turn around," and then pulled down
his underwear. Wanda wanted to squeal with delight, but thought
better of it. She was afraid that if she announced her presence
too loudly, Marty's mom would remember she was there and maybe stop
whatever she planned to do.
"Hands on ankles,"
was the next command. The boy bent over putting his naked buttocks
on display for the women and girls in the room. "Raising teenage
boys can be a pain sometimes
especially for him," she
said fishing into her purse for an item not stolen: her hairbrush!
She took a roundhouse
swing, landing the brush squarely on his right cheek. In the confines
of the ladies room, the sound sounded like a small explosion. Matrin
let out a yelp. She pulled back and started padding in earnest.
The blows echoed along the walls and stalls and reverberated even
out into the mall. Martin was screaming and crying and begging with
Mrs. Dorney stopped.
Martin began to get up. "Stay!" she commanded him sharply.
"Your punishment isn't even half over."
said handing the brush to Mrs. Pennington, "it seems he set
up your daughter yesterday. I'm sorry about that. Would you like
to continue his punishment?"
Mrs. Pennington rolled
up her sleeves and went to work on the recalcitrant boy. When she
was done, she offered the brush to her daughter and said, "Now
it's your turn, dear."
There was a soft knock
and the door opened slowly. Wanda's mom stuck her head into her
daughter's bedroom. "Wake up sleepyhead. Today we're going
to the mall with Mrs. Dorney and Martin to buy him some school shoes."