The Plan

July 23, 2008
By Madeline Fisher, Wauwatosa, WI

I kicked the ball and spinning, it soared into the air. Over the telephone line it went finally skidding across our garage roof… right into Mrs. Arnold’s yard. I groaned as I started towards the rotting wooden gate that separated me from Mrs. Arnold.

“Mrs. Arnold?” I yelled

“What! I mean, what you need dear?” she replied. I rolled my eyes as she walked over to the gate. She started to brush off the garden soil that had caked up on her new speckled garden gloves.

“This dirt is so messy!” she exclaimed flapping her rubbery pale arms up and down. That’s when I saw it. My necklace! My most prized possession! How in the world did my neighbor get a hold of something I never brought outside for her to admire? Not trying to be rude I said,

“Mrs. Arnold, that isn’t my necklace, is it?” I stuttered trying not to scream out and yank it off her body. She stiffened, then looked at me and paused as if she didn’t know what to say.

“Why Bella! How could you say such a thing, of course this is mine. How rude! Now what were you going to tell me before this?” she said using quite a lot of hand gestures. My face was turning beet red. I felt humiliated yet full of anger. One side of me wanted to burst into tears while the other wanted to murder that lady right then and there. I really was about to knock the fuzzy gray-haired women right off her brown hiking boots that stood behind the gate in front of me.

“Nothing” I said swallowing a lump in my throat. It took almost all my inner strength not to rip my precious, smooth, shiny necklace right off her disgusting old people neck. It was invested with moles the size of baseballs. I took a deep breath and causally walked over by my garage. The question wandered in my mind on how she got my necklace. I was more interested though on a different subject. How to get my necklace from Mrs. Arnold back into my hands. I knew at that very moment in my life that the neighborly war had just begun.

Throughout the next week I used up most of my time watching Mrs. Arnold. Well, it was more like spying on her. I watched her go about her daily activities whether it be driving to the supermarket or reading on a lawn chair I was always on the watch. After quite a few days thinking I came up with a delicious plan. I loved it. It was fool-proof yet seemed very risky. Mrs. Arnold has this notion that yoga spiritually helps the mind so she has a class every day at about 3:30 p.m. That would be the perfect time to get back what was rightfully mine.

The next day I was in my driveway. It was about 3:15. I knew she would leave any minute now. Waiting, a thought came across my mind on what would happen if I got caught but I brushed it away. She was exiting the driveway.

“Yes!” I whispered to myself. I watched as her old Alero slowly moved down the freshly paved driveway. It seemed out of place. Although cherry red you couldn’t tell. It was full of small, white scratches and the wheels were brown with mud. She really needed to wash that thing. After a minute or two after she left, I started with my plan.

Getting into her house was no challenge. She leaves her back door open so all that’s there is a screen door. I entered the house. Although clean, it smelled of dead skin, perfume, and out-dated air fresheners. The scent was very strong and played with my nose making it sneeze. The house also smelled of mildew; disgusting. Slowly, I crept upstairs and scanned the hallway. I checked a few rooms until I located her bedroom. After a few seconds of searching I found a jewelry box and on top was my one and only necklace! I checked the back. I found my engraved initials on and my heart leaped. Now I knew the necklace was genuinely mine.

Suddenly a car door slammed outside. I heard footsteps coming up the stairs. It seemed that every other step squeaked and groaned under the weight of it’s passenger. Thump! The person had reached the top of the stairway. Frantically I spun around and quickly dove under the bed. I was so scared of being caught by Mrs. Arnold my heart was beating a mile a minute. I watched as she came in happily humming. Her bed was so close to the ground my back was squished upon the floor. I felt the scratchy carpet beneath my bare legs. The ground felt cold and damp. In fact I could taste it in my mouth because of my closeness to it. It was dry and very bitter, almost grainy in a way.

“Here they are those darn sunglasses!” she said continuing with her humming. I observed her feet walking out of the room. I waited and soon I heard her car door slam and drive away. I let out an exhausted sigh but wasting no time I ran out of that house like someone running the marathon. The rest of the day I didn’t go outside in fear of Mrs. Arnold.

After a few days Mr. and Mrs. Arnold did come around to asking us if we’d perhaps seen a crystal necklace. My mother not knowing of my plan innocently said the only one she’d seen was mine, which was the only one I had. When they questioned me I just politely smiled and said,

“Oh no. I haven’t seen any necklace for a while, except of course … mine.”

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