The bulky man inside the Sears store grabbed the two twelve year old girls by their elbows and began dragging them down the store aisle.
“Stop it, you big bastard! Who do you think you are, let go of my arm right now! Are you nuts?”
The girl with red hair and freckles protested so loudly that everyone in the store stopped to look. But nobody moved to help either girl. Not the red haired girl or her suddenly struck dumb friend with the dirty blonde hair.
“You little bitches think you can get away with anything!” The man yelled right back.
Nothing was making any sense to the red-haired girl and it never dawned on her to question her friend’s silence. Being the eldest of her father’s children, she had grown used to speaking out for others and knew when her younger siblings were afraid. Right now her friend was acting very afraid. Wriggling away the whole time the man’s grip grew tighter, the red-haired girl did not stop shouting until they were in the administration office. Even then, you could hear her all the way down the halls, perhaps even outside the mall.
“Let go of me, you fucking bastard. I am telling my dad on you! You can’t go around just grabbing girls – what are you, a pervert? Let go of me, you big pig!” Later it struck her that the man was likely as pissed off about her mouth going off at him as he was anything else. But when you believe you are wronged, you believe it and she did. At the time.
When the bulky man tipped out her friend’s purse, the red haired girl turned to her friend and cut loose in a different way.
“What the hell were you thinking? Why did you steal sunglasses for Chrissakes? If I were going to steal something, I’d make it worth my while. Why didn’t you tell me so I could leave the store? You are no friend of mine! What a rotten liar you are and now I am in trouble because of you! I would never do this to you! But I wouldn’t steal anything either! I never want to see your face again!” The red – haired girl said this without listening to a word the adults around the two girls were all saying.
Then she turned back to the store detective, “If you’d have said what was wrong and who you were, I could have told you I never did anything wrong!”
“You are an accomplice,” one of the adults said.
“I am NOT an accomplice! I didn’t even see her take them! I never even knew she was going to steal anything! Don’t you have to be in on it to be an accomplice? I was NOT in on anything, she never said a word until we got here.”
The blonde friend still hadn’t uttered a word and even after the police and their parents came to fetch them, the red-haired girl kept her word. She never called her blonde haired friend again. She doesn’t even know what happened to her friend. Herself, she got one year probation but she told them she never did anything wrong and wasn’t going to go see a Probation Officer for no reason. Even her mother said, “It’s probation, you have to go. You were with your friend when it happened.”
“Okay, I’ll go,” the red haired girl told her mother. And she did. Once.
Just long enough to tell the probation officer that she was not guilty, had not committed any crime and would not be coming back.
She never heard from her friend, Sears or the probation officer again.