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44

Fleeced

Im sorry! Clara cried into the phone. Ill make it up to you.

How? Thomas snapped. Havent you ever heard that once a persons or an institutions reputation has been ruined, its very hard to regain?

My aunt regained her reputation! Clara said triumphantly.

What are you talking about?

Clara sat in her chair. A long time ago, when she was working in somebodys house as a maid, some jewelry disappeared. The poor old lady who lost the jewelry insisted it must have been my Aunt Gladys who took it. So she got fired. Well, a few months later they found the jewelry in the house. Turns out the lady was a little dotty and kept forgetting where she hid things!

Its not the same, Thomas insisted.

But it was terrible. Aunt Gladys lost a lot of weight in those months. It was only when she got her reputation back that she went back to eating like there was no tomorrow.

Clara, I am not calling to hear about your Aunt Gladys. I am calling to request that you do not talk to anyone about anything that goes on at the club. Reporters might try to reach you. Please dont say another word. Now do you understand?

Yes, Thomas. Im very sorry but Ill make it up to you.

How?

I know youve got the party tomorrow. Ill come in and work for free!

Thatll make a big difference, Thomas thought wryly. But Clara meant well. All right, Clara. Im sure we can use your help in the morning.

Ill be there bright and early.

The phone clicked in Thomass ear. He turned to Janey. Lets go eat.

Youd better call the members back first.

Thomas winced and picked up the phone again. Here goes nothing.


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