The Ring Pop

The Ring Pop

Just after 5 p.m. young Mrs. Williams comes back into my store pushing her son Teddy in front of her. Their expressions tell me this is something more than her forgetting a quart of milk when they were in about two hours ago. Before I can say anything they are at my counter, his mother nudging Teddy hard. I see his eyes are very wet.
Mrs. Williams shoves a Ring Pop from her purse onto my counter.  “Go on, tell him.”
Teddy hunches his entire body and says with a sniffle “I – I took this. I didn't pay for it. I'm very sorry.”
Her eyes are fierce points of both darkness and light as she looks at me. I feel a slight smile slide from my face and swallow hard just as Teddy does at that second. “It's alright” comes to my mind and flees like the smile did. What to say that will help both of them? 
“I'm sorry you did that too, Teddy. I know you're normally a good boy, you help your mother.”
“But he was wrong, wasn't he, Mr. Porter?” Mrs. Williams was now as mad at me as she was her shoplifting 6 year-old son. Teddy started to weep.
“Yes, well, yes he was, but, umm... Yes.”
“I'm so sorry. I won't do it again.”
Teddy's mother nudged him again and he reached up onto my counter and put a quarter on it. 
His mother turned him around hard and they left my store. I put the Ring Pop back in the jar just at Teddy's eye-level on the other side of my counter.    

Michael A. Griffith

Michael A. Griffith began writing poetry as he recovered from a life-changing injury. His poems, essays, and non-fiction articles have appeared in many print and online publications and anthologies. He resides and teaches near Princeton, NJ. His first poetry chapbook is slated to appear later this year

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