The kid who glared across my desk at me had stolen our petty cash. We’d trusted him with a job and with proximity and access or acted as if we had. Suddenly, we needed to fire him or have him arrested, or somehow get him to pay us back, or all of the above. It sickened us to see him in the office, sickened and infuriated us. His moping depressed us; on the other hand if he dared to laugh we felt like slapping him. I had to poll the staff at a meeting for approval to keep him around. The women held their pocketbooks in their laps. I know now that what troubled me then was how to tell the story. Among the details, I wanted to suppress his race. The truth seemed shabby and stereotyped. Of course, facts are no excuse for sloppy narrative, but there you are, if you want to be honest, stuck with what is. With no satisfaction, I’d gotten him to confess. When he finally admitted to taking the money, for the first time I doubted he had. I’d made it clear no other explanation would do. Perhaps he thought perversely it would save his job and for a time it did. I’d wanted to get rid of him, but now I kept him on to run errands and buy our forgiveness. I haven’t told it right. One thing is certain, that while he was making restitution and worried I might have him arrested I told him I didn’t care if he stole to make his Friday installments as long as he didn’t steal from us. What that was supposed to prove I don’t like to think. The day he paid us fully back I fired him from my life, I hope, forever.

Copyright © March 16, 2009 David Hodges

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Too Like Truth by davidbdale is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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