One of the Group

by Sally

June was a pretty girl, not extraordinary, but nice to look at. Her main goal in life was to marry a rich man and give all of his money away to poor people.

She would look at all the pretty things in store windows, and go to the market where all the different types of food would be, and would think how she would cook them and have a big table that only would serve people in need.

June was the child of a single mom. They had just enough to get by with, but her mom’s job didn’t allow for any extras. Living in a very small apartment, June had no room for anything but her bed and a rocking chair her grandmother left her. She loved that chair and would put a towel over the back to comfort her head as she sat rocking back and forth, dreaming of what she would buy her mom when she married that rich man.

When June reached the age of 16 her ideas began to change. Oh, she still wanted to marry a rich man, but now it was to buy all the clothes the other kids had. June started making friends with other classmates, but felt she needed clothes like they had to “fit in” better.

One day when June and her friend Kate went to the mall looking at all the new trends, she noticed Kate pulling a tag off of a scarf. Kate looked at her and got a half smile on her face and said, “Don’t tell me you never did this!” “No,” June said. Kate wrapped the scarf around her waist and said, “Let’s go!” “Where?” June asked. “Anywhere, just get out of here!” Kate said as she started for the door, pulling June with her.

As they stepped out into the mall, Kate said, “There, wasn’t that easy?” June didn’t know what to say as she kept walking and looking to see if anyone was going to stop them.

When June got home that day, she was relieved that no one had seen what Kate had done. She remembered asking Kate, “Why did you do that?” And Kate’s reply was, “Just to see if I could.” Well, she did, thought June. I wonder how many times she’s done something like that. The next day Kate asked June if she wanted to go to the mall and they would meet some of the other girls there. June wasn’t sure she wanted to, but as she thought about what Kate had done and got away with – it was kind of exciting, and nothing happened – so she went to the mall.

Meeting up with the other girls, Kate told them what she did the day before and that June was with her. Upon hearing that, all the other girls became very friendly to June and she felt big. The girls agreed to split up and go to all the stores in the mall to see what they could “get away with.” Once again Kate took June with her, only this time June knew what would happen and didn’t care; she was one of the girls!

After walking the mall for a couple of hours, they went to get a drink. While sitting on a bench, talking and sipping their drinks, Kate became aware of a man watching them. She whispered to June, alerting her of the man, and June became very scared. “Why is he staring at us?” she asked, turning her head to get a better look. “Don’t do that; don’t look,” said Kate as she grabbed June’s hand and put something into it. “Just act natural; don’t stare; get up and walk away.” June stood up and started to walk away with Kate, putting the pair of earrings Kate had given her in her pocket when the man approached them. “I’d like to talk to the both of you – would you step this way?” he said as he led them to a small store marked “MALL SECURITY.” Entering the room, they were surprised to see some of the other girls. Each one was taken aside and questioned. It seemed there was a witness who had seen the girls taking things, and the man asked them to open their bags.

As June opened her bag, she remembered putting the earrings Kate had given her into her pocket. After the man inspected her bag he asked if she had anything in her pockets and would she empty them on the table. June looked at Kate and slowly put her hand in her pocket and pulled out the earrings. Looking at the man, she said, “I didn’t take them,” glancing at Kate expecting her to admit her part in taking the earrings. But Kate said nothing and looked away.

The man said, “If you didn’t take them, who did? They were in your pocket, which tells me you took them. Can you tell me any different? Which one of these girls took them?” June didn’t know what to say. She didn’t actually see anyone take them, but Kate had put them in her hand. But Kate was her friend. Kate wouldn’t get her in trouble would she? June looked at all the other girls watching her, waiting to see what she was going to do – or what the man would do to her! The man made a call on his cell phone and after a few moments he said, “I’ve called the store detective to come and identify you. She’ll be here in a few moments. All of you just wait. Sit down; you’re going to be here for a while.”

The girls and June waited for what seemed like an hour to them, but was only ten minutes. The door opened and the store detective walked in. June looked up and started to cry – the store detective was her mother.

This is not the girl that took the earrings, but that one (pointing to Kate) is. All the girls were searched by June’s mom for any other objects, and a few more surprises came up. They were all sent to juvenile court except June, who, but the way, is still waiting for that rich man.

Nov, 2011

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