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29

Fleeced

Janey lay in the fetal position on the floor of the closet. Her eyes stung, and she was cold. She pictured her nice, warm coat draped across one of the kitchen chairs, just feet away. She still couldnt believe what had happened.

It almost felt as if her life were passing in front of her. All my hard work has come to this, she thought. A stupid mistake. Stupid, stupid, stupid. This definitely qualifies for an episode of My most embarrassing moment.

Will someone find me? she wondered. Do I even want to be found? I could jump up and down, but I dont think anyone would hear me. This place is built like a fortress.

Her cell phone rang for the third time. It was in her purse, next to her coat on the chair. With my luck, its Mrs. Buckland looking for her roast chicken. But in her heart she knew it was Thomas calling. He called her ten times a day. Sometimes if she was busy delivering meals, or stopping for a visit with one of her elderly clients, she didnt call him back right away. Like last night. So I wasnt there for him when he needed me.

Will he be there for me? He always has been. Will he even think to come looking for me here? Why would he? Who knows when theyll find the niece Ben always talked about? It could be days before they locate her and weeks before she comes to clean out the apartment.

And the anniversary party is tomorrow night! Janey didnt want to miss it. She thought of all the scrumptious desserts shed made for it, the great big cake that would be a showstopper. All the help she was going to give Thomas recruiting members to the club. It was all too much to contemplate. Black depression was closing in on her as tears not caused by the Mace formed in her eyes.

After about five more minutes of wallowing in her misery, Janey made a decision. Ive got to think positively, she thought. My life wont be over if I get out of here. How many celebrities have made big mistakes right in the public eye? All they did was apologize, some of them anyway, and then go on with their lives.

I know! she thought. Whoever sprayed that Mace in my eyes is a real criminal. They were scavenging through the apartment. Surely they must have stolen some of Bens things.

If I get out of here, Im going to do my best to help find them. Janey concentrated hard. Now lets see. It was definitely a woman. And I thought I felt long hair brush against my face when she shoved me in here. And her perfume! Id recognize that smell anywhere.

The thoughts cheered Janey somewhat as she reached in front of her and pulled a box of what turned out to be Rice Krispies off the shelf. She stuck her hand in the box and helped herself to a handful. Snap, crackle, pop, she thought. Thats exactly what Im going to do when I get out of here and find out who did this to me.

She suddenly thought of her favorite movie, The Sound of Music, and began to sing softly, When the dog bites, when the bee stings


| Fleeced | c