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The Grocery Store Robbery
Mary, Age 12, Easton, CT

“Lisa, will you run to the store for me and pick up a gallon of milk?” My mother looked up at me with a small smile as she briskly cut up tomatoes.

“Mom, I’m going with Elizabeth to the movies tonight, do I really need to get it?” I put down my backpack and sat down at the kitchen table. I picked up a napkin from the center of the table and began folding it. It was a solid, tiny square that was no longer foldable before my mother spoke again.

“Do you need any money? Does Elizabeth need a ride? What time does the movie start?” As she threw out these questions, she chopped those vegetables like a machine. She seemed to go so fast it looked like her knife was sliding smoothly right through the tomato.

“Starts at seven, Elizabeth does not need a ride, and I have enough money. We’re going to walk. We planned to meet at the corner of Pine and Maple at six.” I put down the napkin.

“Okay, fine, have fun then…wait! Seven o’clock? It’s only four-thirty! Why don’t you call Elizabeth and you two can go together! See if you can meet up earlier so you have time to shop.” She was finally done slicing and moved on to placing the tiny pieces of tomato into a large bowl.

“I’ll do it. Besides, it will be more fun with her. I’ll give her a call.” I swiftly stood up and skipped to the phone.

“Okay, so the grocery store’s right there. All we need is milk?” Elizabeth looked at me through her light blue eyes. She pointed to the big supermarket about fifty feet in front of us.

“Yup. So we’ll just run in, get it, and be at the movies with soda and popcorn.” I pushed open the door. “A lot of popcorn, right, Elizabeth? Elizabeth?” She stood frozen, her eyes open wide.

“What’s wrong, is it closed or something?” Elizabeth asked and swallowed. She turned around, trying to read the store hours sign through the door. I slowly glanced around. There was definitely something weird. All the lights were off, but we could still see from light coming in through the large windows. We didn’t hear any shoppers, and there were no cashiers.

Elizabeth looked at me. “The store’s supposed to be open; why isn’t anyone here?” She blinked, then said forcefully, “We should leave.”

I took a step back. “We should. But what about the milk?”

“Lisa, I think your mom will understand. The store’s closed. She can’t possibly expect us to walk ten miles to the other grocery store, right?” She was staring at me with her hands on her hips.

“What’s that?” I ran towards one of the cash registers. Elizabeth followed, confused.

“This register’s open. And there’s nothing in it.”

“What?” Elizabeth ran her fingers along the register drawer.

I nudged her. “Don’t you get it? Someone stole that money. There was a robbery. That’s why no one’s here.”

She just looked at me. Then she folded her arms. “How do know this cash register isn’t just empty and somebody just left it open?”

“Because…LOOK! This computer was totally smashed. And the screen’s frozen. That’s definitely the work of a criminal.” Somehow, she still looked skeptical.

“Maybe the cashier bumped into it and broke it. You never know.” She was smiling now. I looked over at the next register.

“There. That computer’s smashed, too. And that garbage can’s knocked over. And…look! All those egg cartons were knocked off the shelves. There are broken eggs everywhere. And in that aisle everything is knocked down and all over the floor. Something happened here.” It was true; items and garbage were everywhere, and it was obviously done on purpose.

Elizabeth laughed. “Fine, I believe you. There was a robbery.” She sighed.

I giggled. “See? I told you. But…wait? Where are the police? Why isn’t there yellow tape surrounding the place keeping everybody out?” I was beginning to get scared now.
Elizabeth was pointing at the computer behind me, shaking her head. “The screen’s frozen, you said, right? We’ll check what time it says. That should be the time it was smashed.” We both stepped over all the garbage on the floor and broken computer pieces over to the screen.

“You’re right, the time’s there. Oh my gosh, this happened six hours ago!” Now I felt confused. It’s been hours, and no one found out about this?

Elizabeth nodded. “Nobody ever called the police. They all just fled out; maybe way too terrified. And the criminal ran away with the money.” She shrugged.

“How do you know that?” I asked, starring at the empty cash register.

“The cops would definitely be here by now and obviously they never came. They would have put up that tape you were talking about. Plus, we would have heard about this, don’t you think?” She jumped down from sitting on the counter and reached into her pocket.

“What are you doing?” I questioned her.

“I guess we’ll be the first.” She pulled out her purple cell phone and immediately started dialing. She held it to her ear and chuckled. I mouthed to her “what?” and she nodded.

“We’re calling the cops,” she said.

“Oh, hi…my friend and I think there’s been a robbery here…the grocery store on Main St…no, we weren’t there at the time, but we think it happened this morning. Great. Thank you, bye.”

“They’re coming?” I picked up a piece of broken computer keyboard and pressed down the “w.”

“Don’t touch that! We’re supposed to leave everything just the way it is.” I gently placed the piece back down. “Sorry,” I whispered.

After a few minutes of waiting, we heard sirens and three police cars arrived. A man in a black uniform came up to the door and opened it slowly, looking around at all the mess.

“There you are, girls,” he was smiling, “I’d like to thank you for calling us, but, how did you know this place was robbed?”

“Well,” I answered, “we saw all the mess in the aisles, the open, empty cash registers, and the smashed computers. We didn’t think a worker did this.” Elizabeth was nodding her head.

“And,” she said, “nobody was here and it was dark; like the place was closed, but it doesn’t really close until 9:00 P.M.”

“You girls are probably right. And you did the right thing. You can head off now.

We’ve got it all under control.” The officer turned around and walked towards the cash registers.

I looked at my watch. “Hey! We can still make the movie!” We both started running out the door.

“Great!” Elizabeth exclaimed, “Let’s go!”

 
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