Law and Order
Connotation Press 2013
December 7, 2013
“Hold it right there,” the store detective said to the woman in the long winter coat. She had one hand in a bulging pocket and the other held her toddler’s hand.
“What’s your problem, Mister,” the woman spat angling the shopping cart between them. Her voice quavered and her eyes looked past him towards the front of the store. She began to turn around to head towards another aisle but her toddler’s short legs hindered her fast movement and the man caught up to her.
“What’s in your pocket? I’m the store detective. Show me what’s in your pocket.” He flashed his flimsy cardboard store detective credentials.
“I ain’t showing you shit, Mister.” She picked up her little girl, edged past the store detective, his back now to the open box of Pampers on the shelf next to him. She headed towards the exit. He turned and followed while speaking into a cell phone.
A half dozen steps outside a black and white pulled up. A runty cop got out, shoving his nightstick into the loop on his belt and held up his hand.
“What’s the problem?” Runty asked in a deep baritone.
“This pest is harassing me,” the woman said. Her little girl’s eyes welled with tears and she began to sob and hiccup. The mother took her hand out of her pocket and put her daughter down, her hand around the little girl’s shoulder.
“I saw her take something from a shelf,” the detective said, pointing at her bulging pocket, “and she wouldn’t show me what was in her pocket.“
“I told him what was in my pocket.”
“She said she wasn’t going to show me shit,” the detective said. “Make her show us what she took.”
“Please,M’am,” the cop said. “Show us and we can all be on our way.”
The mother reached into her pocket and pulled out a pamper, opened it to reveal a large loose pile of baby shit. She dropped it into the store dick’s outstretched hands.
“Enjoy,” she said and picked up her daughter and walked towards her car.
As she was climbing into her car she watched the store detective toss the dirty diaper in a nearby cart and saw the cop laughing.
Driving off, the mother turned the corner and pulled off to the side of the road. She took her daughter out of her car seat and laid her down. She unfastened the double diapers with the cellophane wrapped package of steaks in-between the two and then re-diapered with just one, her little accomplice no longer sobbing but smiling up at her mommy.
The mother put her back in her car seat and gave her a pretzel and a kiss and dropped the steaks in her purse. She headed home to make supper for a husband who would be none the wiser.