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The missing purse
It was the gloomiest Wednesday of that month and Chloris had yet again lost her favourite purse . She could've sworn it had been squatting so innocently on her antique chest of drawers just the night before but now it was nowhere to be seen.
It came as no surprise to her that something as unfortunate as this was happening to her on a Wednesday, for she'd always had a fearful loathing towards them. The worst of things happened to her only on Wednesdays. According to her, Wednesdays hated her more than 'Gremlins and glassware' which was a rather strong statement coming from Chloris since she really did believe that gremlins and all types of glassware were both somehow jinxed forcefully against her.
For example, whenever she'd want something to work, like her coffee machine or her ancient record player or her TV, they would suddenly, and only then, not properly function and she'd go, "Goddamn those wretched gremlins!".
And glassware, Chloris despised glassware. She believed they had never really agreed with her at any point in her life. Whether they were glass tumblers or dishes or ornaments, Chloris believed anything made of glass brought her bad luck and avoided them as much as possible. But when it came to the point of her having to wear spectacles, she had no choice but to wear glasses. She couldn't stand the idea of having a transparent, round layer of God-knows-what resting over her pupils, what were they called? Ah, yes--contract lens? Well, whatever they were, Chloris had no wish to obtain them so she made an exception and forced herself to wear glasses but only the condition that they were silver-rimmed. Chloris loved all things silver and believed it would compensate the bad luck the glass lenses would be bringing her.
Now, as Chloris waddled - much like an old duck - out of her crammed bedroom in a cold sweat after having ransacked every nook and corner of the room in order to find her missing purse, she wondered how long it would take for her friend Dionis to get there. Poor Dionis was getting too old herself. Lately, her palsy worsened by the day and her back pains were getting more unbearable like barking dogs at midnight. Thankfully neither Chloris nor Dionis suffered from any deadly diseases which seemed to be multiplying and on a quest to afflict the old first these days.
Chloris Godfrey was a woman of extraordinary fondness for her possessions, especially her collection of purses. She owned exactly sixty eight different types of purses and she loved each and every one of them dearly. They weren't brand made or anything, she just liked buying and stocking up purses that pleased her eye from random department stores. Her favourite one, the one she had now lost, was an expensive and astonishingly beautiful one. It had been gifted to her a while ago on her seventieth birthday and it had such fetching beads and ornaments (she made sure that none of them were made of glass) glinting off its surface like little dewdrops from heaven. How she wished she could find it soon!
Chloris was seventy-two years old now and very ditzy. She had no husband or children and lived all by herself in her father's capacious house which she 'd inherited after his premature death. She was quite affluent and didn't have any trouble finding help when she needed it.
She had all sorts of people hired to look after her and her precious garden. And she was content with her life and was prepared to go peacefully when her time came. Chloris had no regrets of never having had a family of her own. She was the kind of woman who completely lacked sentimental feelings other woman had about families and children and puppies and that sort of stuff. And instead of regretting it, she thanked God for having given her the mind to reject it.
Chloris was also a woman of unusual height. In her youth, Chloris had been about six feet tall and now, even though she had shrunk because of old age, she was still taller than most in her age. She was rather bulky with a bent spine so she couldn't stand or do anything for long. Her short salt-and-pepper hair rolled into itself at the edges like rolling waves and she loved combing it at least ten times a day. She also had an ungainly penchant for being untidy. Her house-maids had to be hired on the basis of their patience and stamina to clean up terrible messes. Everyday there awaited a new mess ,an even bigger one than the day before, begging to be cleaned up around Chloris' ever topsy-turvy house. Whether Chloris enjoyed clumsy spaces or throwing messes, she didn't know but she did know that she hated cleaning them up.
Dusk arrived quickly and in her delirious search to find her missing purse, Chloris remembered that she had missed her favourite TV show. Once again, she cursed Wednesdays as she doddered into her glassware-free kitchen to pour herself a steaming cup of black coffee. She was exhausted and needed a break from the feverish purse-hunt.
Then, suddenly the door bell rang as a faint feminine voice called out "Chloe! It's me!" .
"Come on in, Di," shouted back Chloris, too tired to walk to the door.
Dionis Leighton, Chloris' closest and long-time friend, walked in with a mauve handbag hanging limp from her bejeweled wrist. "Hello, dear." she said stepping over haphazardly lying pieces of clothing, random objects and accessories over the carpeted floor. Her mascaraed eyes searched the commodious living room for her friend then found the hem of Chloris' florid frock peeping out from the kitchen.
"What's the matter, Chloe? You told me to come right away." said Dionis as she laid down her handbag on a littered sofa and walked over to the kitchen.
Chloris stood mixing some sugar into her coffee, "God, I hate Wednesdays," she muttered crankily as Dionis entered the kitchen.
"What happened now?" asked Dionis, placing one hand over her hip. She was wearing a charmingly quaint lace shawl over her flashy clothes and the scent of women's perfume emanated from all over her. Dionis had always loved getting dolled up for even the smallest of occasions.
"My damn purse! It's gone missing. I can't find it, and it's my favourite one!" Chloris growled, putting down the spoon forcefully over the kitchen counter as it clanged. She adjusted her elegant silver-rimmed spectacles over her nose, wearing an annoying moue on her crinkled face.
Dionis exhaled loudly, "You called me to come right away because you lost a purse?"
"My favourite purse." corrected Chloris.
"God help me," murmured Dionis letting her hand fall to her side as she left the kitchen shaking her head in silent distaste.
"Where are y' goin'?"
"Why didn't you just call your maid to come help you look?"
"Well, she just left. I couldn't call her right back again." barked Chloris sipping her coffee as she followed Dionis into the living room.
"Okay, Chloe, I'm leaving." declared Dionis, hastily moving toward the sofa to pick up her handbag.
"Wait. At least help me clean up my bedroom. Where in the goddamn hell am I gonna sleep in this goddamn mess?"
"Well, you should've thought of that before you made the mess, Chloe!" cried Dionis.
"Look what I found!" exclaimed Chloris, adjusting her glasses as she watched Dionis fold back clothes and put them back into a tall wooden cupboard. They were in Chloris' bedroom, which had posed to be at sixes and sevens when Dionis had first entered into it that evening. Out of sympathy, Dionis had agreed to stay help Chloris clean up the mess but up until now, Dionis was the only one doing all the work.
"Your purse?" asked Dionis, her tone devoid of all curiosity.
" No, my barrette." Chloris turned it around in her fingers, admiring the barrette's graceful designs. "Remember Albie Locke? From high school?"
After a brief moment, Dionis cried out in surprise "Oh, yes! That kid who wore the checkered shirt all the time?" Dionis folded another white towel and placed it on one of the lower shelves of the cupboard. "I wonder if he's dead now."
"Probably is. I never saw him after high school." Chloris remarked plainly, "I used to wear this in my hair hoping he would notice how shiny it was. Decades passed and it still hasn't lost its glimmer." Chloris chuckled.
"Ain't that something," said Di and smiled to herself. The bedroom was almost fully clean of Chloris' mess, thanks entirely to Dionis.
"Where could that goddamn purse have gone?" said Chloris, the frown returning to her face as she placed her barrette back inside a drawer, "I remember keeping it right on top of that chest of drawers right there yesterday. Then today, it wasn't there. Like magic. Where the hell is it?"
"Oh, you are so thick, Godfrey. Did it ever occur to you that maybe your maid stole it or that you kept it somewhere else?"
"Yeah. It did occur to me, Di. I'm not stupid yet, " remarked Chloris, adjusting her spectacles once again "but Rosina didn't steal it and neither did I keep it somewhere else."
"How do you know that for sure?"
"Because-I-know." hissed Chloris in a matter-of-fact tone.
"Then, maybe someone else took it," said Dionis as she sat down on the bed clenching her hip. She had finished restoring the last piece of clothing back into the cupboard "you know, you're not twenty any more. You're allowed to misplace things."
"You know what?" said Chloris, thinking hard "maybe Gerald took it. I never trust him, you know. Sometimes you can just tell from their eyes."
"Gerald who? Your gardener?"
"No, my cook. But I wonder, why would he come into my bedroom?"
"Alright, Chloris, I'm leaving."
After Dionis left, Chloris had nothing to do but lay down on her bed. She was tired. She didn't have any more strength to go on looking for her missing purse. Before she drifted off into sleep, she thought one last time in a sleepy haze 'God, I hate Wednesdays.'
Down in the living room, her coffee sat waiting in vain over the dusty mantelpiece.
A few miles away, Chloris Godfrey's Hispanic housemaid, Rosina, had almost reached her home after a hard day of work. In her bag, she carried a gift box. And in that gift box was Chloris' missing purse resting safe and secure like a newborn baby.
Chloris herself had gifted it to Rosina as an early Christmas present. Rosina had refused but Chloris had felt that she deserved it for her hard and honest work. Little did Rosina know then, as she unlocked the door and entered her apartment room, of the hell that awaited her the next day in Chloris Godfrey's house.