This week’s Tuesday Tale:
“Who was that?”
He sounded annoyed.
“We can’t keep sending her money.”
Sadie picked up the oven mitts. Her casserole was done cooking.
“Sadie, did you hear me?”
Sadie mumbled an acknowledgement.
“I know you feel bad for her and she’s had some awful luck, but we can’t keep paying her bills when we are barely paying our own. How long have we been paying her way?”
The question was rhetorical. Sadie knew just how long her husband thought they had been sending her sister money — too long. They had enough money to give, but it was Sadie’s sister, not Bill’s. Sadie didn’t work or she would have had some say in the issue. As it was, she was relying on her husband’s generosity, which was not a reliable commodity.
“Did you hear me, Sadie?” He shouted now from where he relaxed on the couch to the dining table where Sadie sat the plates for their meal.
“Yes, Bill, I heard you.”
“We just can’t afford to keep it up.”
“We could,” Sadie mumbled. She knew better than to contradict him, but the words fell off her tongue. Bill didn’t hear her over the news reporter talking to them from their large flat screen HDTV — a television set that Bill had bought and installed last week because college football season was starting up again. There wasn’t anything wrong with their previous set, but Bill wanted a new one.
Sadie bit her tongue. She would find a way to sneak some money to send her sister. Last month Bill had agreed to send only a few hundred. Her sister needed twice as much. Over the course of a month’s grocery shopping, Sadie had hit the cash back button and stacked the bills.
Sadie kept up her methods. August. September. October. November. December. January. February. March. She got away with it until April — tax season.
Bill came storming in one evening. He had met with his CPA that afternoon.
“I’m in the laundry room.”
Bill leaned against the door frame. He looked excited enough to have a heart attack. Sadie always thought he’d have one. She anticipated it almost a little too much.
“Sadie! How on earth have you spent over $2,000 on groceries every month?”
Sadie wanted to make a comment on the size of his girth. She glanced at his bulging midsection, but held her tongue.
He caught her look and wagged his finger in her face. “I don’t eat $2,000!”
“Do I look like I eat it?”
Sadie was thinner now than she’d been in her high school cheerleader days.
“Well, it’s getting spent.”
“Then you and the boys must be eating it. We have thrown several parties, remember.”
“Sadie, don’t lie to me. The CPA said you’re getting cash back with every transaction. What have you been doing with the money?”
Sadie stuffed the wet clothes into the dryer.
“What have you been doing?”
Sadie did not look him in the face. Bill never understood compassion.
Sadi said it very softly. She couldn’t decide if it was worse to tell the truth or a lie.
“Bill, she can’t do for herself. She’s trying to work and raise a child. She needs help.”
“She’s pulled the wool over your eyes. Your sister blows all my hard-earned money on drugs!”
“No, she doesn’t!”
“If she didn’t, she could hold a decent job.”
“Bill, it’s not true.”
“Two thousand dollars, Sadie! We are going broke because of your soft spine and your drug addict sister! You better call her up now and tell her you can’t afford to send her any money.”
Sadie looked at her feet. Sadie nodded. She called her sister that night and as she hung up the phone her son came in.
“Mom, have you seen my old baseball glove?”
“What do you want with it? Didn’t your father get you a new one just a few weeks ago?”
“Yeah, but my friend Joey wants to buy it. Fifteen bucks! Gosh, mom, don’t you remember where it is?”
“Did you check the garage?”
Sadie watched her son run out the side door. Her domestic nightmare was the clutter in the garage. She wished her son luck finding his merchandise. Then Sadie had an idea. If her twelve year old could enterprise his way to deeper pockets without asking Bill for a larger allowance, then what would stop Sadie?
Thank you for reading. Comment below with your likes or dislikes. -Abby