This was was for The Angry Hourglass on October 4.
THE RIGHT THING
Jackie had something in her pocket that might get her in trouble.
She stopped in front of one of the cages to collect herself. If she started running they might chase her, but her heart was pounding and she could feel the panic rising.
Jackie glanced up at the sandy hill. The camel’s lips parted and it looked directly at her. The expression was one of smug superiority.
Oh God, she thought. The camel knows.
Jackie turned and fled. She begged her feet to slow down, but they refused. She could feel a million pairs of eyes watching her and knew the zoo people would give chase sooner or later.
Her run came to an abrupt halt when she collided with a man and his daughter.
“Watch where you’re going!” the man growled. He helped his crying daughter up off the ground.
What have I become? Jackie wondered with horror. She hurried to the next exhibit and gazed forlornly at the pony. The pony wasn’t smug at all; there was only sadness in the old brown eyes. Tears streamed down Jackie’s cheeks.
“I’m sorry, pony,” she whispered.
“What’s that?” asked the person next to her.
Jackie knew what she had to do. She now knew she wasn’t cut out for an exciting life of crime. Her conscience would simply not allow it. Her moral standards were too great.
She found her teacher and the rest of the class back at the camel exhibit.
“I found this in by the penguins,” Jackie said, and she handed Mr. Edwards the twenty dollar bill. It felt good to get rid of the evil blood money. She stood and waited for Mr. Edwards to praise her for doing the right thing.
Mr. Edwards pocketed the twenty and yelled at her for running off.
Jackie learned an important lesson about the human condition that day.
“Adults are jerks,” Jackie told the camel. The camel spat a giant wad of agreement onto the rocks below.