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Dawn Anderson

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Red Handed
By Dawn Anderson
Monday, September 01, 2008

Rated "G" by the Author.

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A piece of flash fiction that was recently published by Still Crazy Literary Magazine

“I’m sorry, Ma’am.”   

            “But I don’t want my money back,” she explained for the second time.  “I just want to exchange the dress for a smaller size.”

            “I understand that, but without a receipt, we’re not able to.”  It was obvious the man behind the counter was not going to change his mind.

            “Fine.”  She turned in disgust and began to walk in the direction of the Ladies Department.

            “Ma’am, if you’re going to shop you need to leave your package here.”

            Rolling her eyes, she turned back to the Courtesy Desk and handed the package to him. 

            Once in the Ladies Department, she quickly headed over to a rack of dresses and almost immediately found the same dress in a smaller size.  She loved it from the moment she saw it and now she could kick herself for not trying it on before she had bought it and for not saving the receipt.  Taking the dress from the rack, she went into the dressing room to try it on.  It fit her perfectly…almost as though it had been made for her.  As she took it off, a thought popped into her head.  It would be so easy to slip into my bag. 

            She finished dressing and after pulling on her jacket, she carefully looked around to see if she could spot a security camera.  There was none, or at least if there was, she was not able to locate it.  She quickly pulled off the tags and stuffed the dress into her bag.  She had never done anything like this before and as she left the dressing room, she could feel her heart pounding hard in her chest.

            Stay calm!  She leisurely walked out of the dressing room and then continued to browse for a few minutes more so as not to look suspicious before finally heading toward the exit.  She felt a rush of excitement wash over her, but she had barely gotten out the door when she heard someone call after her.

            “Ma’am!  Stop!”

            She recognized the voice as the man’s from the Courtesy Desk.  She continued to walk, pretending she had not heard him.

            “Ma’am!  Stop!  The dress in your bag!”

She froze dead in her tracks, standing there with her back turned toward him.  There was nothing she could do.  They had caught her.  After unzipping her bag, she reached inside for the dress and slowly turned to face him.  Keeping her eyes to the ground, she forced herself to speak.  “I’m sorry.  I’ve never done anything like this before.  It’s just that you wouldn’t let me exchange it,” she said.  As she raised her eyes to look at him, he was standing there, holding the bag that contained the dress she had brought in earlier.

            “Ma’am, you forgot this at the Courtesy Desk,” he said.  “But now, I’m afraid you’ll have to come with me.”


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Reviewed by JMS Bell 6/24/2011
Reviewed by Sheila Roy 9/22/2008
I actually felt her shame towards the end! Nicely crafted:)
Reviewed by Sage Sweetwater 9/2/2008
Oh, what a confession before it was time! See, a guilty conscious will get ya every time! Confession is good for the soul, isn't it? Walking around in rags is better than going's how you look on the inside, Dawn! Hea, congratulations on this piece being published by Still Crazy Literary Magazine! Go out and buy you a new dress! Be well you...

Reviewed by Cryssa C 9/2/2008
loved this... it made me laugh. :~) I hate that it is next to impossible to exchange things in this day and age! But I loved the message of the story most of all. It reminded me of a recent experience I had with my son who I knew had broken a rule. I asked him why I had called him in to talk to him...he said yes, and then proceeded to tell me numerous OTHER things he had done that he shouldn't have done that morning. (All of which were far more serious than what I was going to talk to him about... hee, hee...) Needless to say, his honesty was rewarded, but...he was still punished for his actions. hee, hee...

Reviewed by m j hollingshead 9/1/2008
well done
Reviewed by Linda Law 9/1/2008
Painful lesson... good write... important too... :-)) lindalaw
Reviewed by William Bonilla 9/1/2008
Great write Dawn
A long time ago I worked for a dept store as plain clothes security
You managed to take me back to that era.....Great Job
Love & peace be with you

Reviewed by Karen Vanderlaan 9/1/2008
wonderful story!
Reviewed by Susan Sonnen 9/1/2008
Reviewed by Ron Karcz 9/1/2008
Hi Dawn...Great story! I just let a friend of mine read this. She is the manager of a shoe store of a large international chain. She told me to tell you this is great and things like this happen every day. Once again...5 Stars for you!

Reviewed by Sandie Angel 9/1/2008
Oh my, all that risk just for a dress? It isn't worth it! But then there are some foolish people who would really risk their reputation just for a dress.

A good lesson and a sound message here. Thank you Dawn!

Sandie Angel :o)
Reviewed by Felix Perry 9/1/2008
Great story with a good lesson. I think we all at times out of frustration have been tempted to do this or something similiar but this write shows how easily it is to turn that frustration into a world of hurt.

Reviewed by Bonnie May 9/1/2008
Our inner brain is magnificent. We've all felt her frustration and have all had her thoughts, but not all have followed through. We need to strengthen our will power. Great write. Love, Bonnie
Reviewed by Amber Moonstone 9/1/2008
Oh My, see she really was an honest person at heart. Very good, I could actually feel her despair and frustration. Nicely written Dawn.
Peace, love, and light,

Amber "V"

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