© Copyright 2001, 2003 by frog, all rights reserved, except those described below. Permission is granted to download, archive, and repost provided that the contents are not altered, including the disclaimers, copyrights and limitations on use and provided that no fee is charged for access. This story contains material of a sexual nature. The author does not necessarily condone or endorse the behavior described in this story. All persons and events in this story are fictitious and any similarity to persons living or dead or to actual events is purely coincidental.
Mona Brewton touched the low neckline of her bejeweled blouse. Her hands trembled so intensely that she could hardly grasp the tiny top button. She was about to undress before a group of total strangers. She glanced quickly down at the people seated around her hoping that they somehow might be ignoring her. Instead, eyes of lust and lasciviousness stared back at her. She was mortified. Her mind and her emotions were on high alert as she tried desperately to comprehend all that had happened.
How could I have possibly gotten into such a dire predicament? Me-quiet, conservative Mona Brewton? Traditional, religious, devout, pure Mona, wife of a Baptist preacher and a living example of things righteous and moral?
It had started so innocently.
It was one of those perfect spring days. Birds sang sweet songs, the fragrance of flowers perfumed the air, and Mona was bored. There were no church meetings to attend, no Sunday school lessons to prepare, and no wifely chores to perform. On a whim, Mona had decided to go shopping. She knew from the outset that she could not afford to buy anything in particular. Her husband made a meager pastor's salary and proper preachers' wives didn't work outside the home. But, today was a gorgeous day, so Mona had decided to treat herself to a brush with the finer things in this life by going to the most exclusive department store in town, just to look.
After browsing about the store and even trying on a delicious dress (she had gasped at the $900 price tag on the dress), she felt somewhat ashamed. Covetousness was a sin after all, but Mona instant solace in that it wasn't another person's possessions she coveted. It was just a store's merchandize, for goodness sake, reasoned Mona. It was just a bit of fun, not a sin.
Mona was about to leave her fashion revelries when she found herself in the store's jewelry section. Sitting on top of the counter, left there by a careless sales person, was a tray of beautiful bracelets. Mona reached for the loveliest of the group. Suddenly she realized that there was no other person in sight. She held the bracelet for a moment, felt its exquisite weight, and, on impulse, dropped it into her purse. She would never in her life be able to buy a bauble like that. Other women had such beautiful jewelry and didn't appreciate what they had.
She instantly knew that what she had done was wrong. But, she rationalized, whom am I hurting? Just a store owned by a giant conglomerate? They won't miss this one little trifle. And I will never have this chance again.
Mona looked around once more and saw the sales clerk emerging from the stockroom.
"Can I help you," she asked Mona in a charmingly unsuspicious voice.
"No, thanks. Just browsing. These are gorgeous bracelets," said Mona. She tried to act as nonchalant as possible.
"Yes, they are," replied the clerk. "We just got those in."
"Too expensive for me," sighed Mona.
"Me, too," laughed the clerk. She slipped the tray back under the glass-topped counter.
Mona slowly headed for the door, stopping along the way to gaze into the lovely displays.
When Mona arrived at the doorway, the obviously bored clerk drawled, "Come back to see us now, you here."
Mona was about ten yards out the store's entrance when suddenly she found herself in the grip of a very large security guard. Terror shot through her. It was as if all of her insides had disappeared at once, leaving a big, empty void.
"Would you come with me, please," ordered the guard.
In seemingly seconds, Mona was seated in a security room with no windows, a table and a couple of chairs. The guard wordlessly emptied the contents of her purse on the table. Out dropped the bracelet with the $1,800 price tag still dangling from its clasp. Mona made eye contact with the guard and realized that she was in trouble, serious trouble, for the first time in her life.
"Ma'am, I am going to have to turn you over to the police on a charge of shoplifting merchandize greater than $1,000 in value. I must tell you that this is a felony in our state. Just remain seated right there."
Mona burst into tears. All at once, her life, at least as she knew, ended. She was ruined. She had been a perfect person all her life and now, in one brief moment, she had become a common criminal.
"Please," she whimpered through the tears. "This will wreck my life. It's not just me." She gulped for air sobbing uncontrollably. "This will ruin my family too. I'm a good person. My husband is a pastor. His congregation won't understand this. He will be fired from his job. We will be homeless!" She put her head in her hands. The cold metal chair in which she sat seemed to get colder and harder. "And, I have a young child at home." The words wouldn't come out anymore. She gasped for air and she looked up at the guard helplessly. Her tears ran freely off her cheeks and splattered on the table in front of her.
The guard stared back strangely. It was as if he was trying to make a decision.
"Wait here." He took Mona's purse and abruptly left the room.
In the next office, the guard consulted a card in his wallet and dialed the phone. "I think I have another candidate for you, sir. She is a pretty one-beautiful, in fact. Preacher's wife. Very upset. Has a lot to lose."
The voice on the other end said, "Give me her number. Your fee will be on its way to your bank account immediately. Keep up the good work."
Moments later, the guard returned to the interrogation room. Mona looked and felt as if she had been kicked in the stomach.
"I think I can help you, ma'am," said the guard.
Mona gave him a puzzled look.
"Listen to me carefully," he said in a soft voice. "Go home now. In a few days, a man will call you. He will explain how you can make restitution for your offense without going to the police. If you do what he says, this won't be made public and we will destroy the videotape I made of you shoplifting that bracelet. If you don't do exactly as he says, then everyone will know, starting with the Chairman of Board of Deacons at your husband's church. Is that clear?"
Mona's heart leaped. "No one will know?"
"No one," answered the guard. "Now, go home and remember what I said."
Mona sprang out of her chair, grabbed the guard, and hugged him exuberantly. Suddenly, she realized what she was doing and released the stone-faced guard with a blush.
"Thank you, oh, thank you so very much." And, out of the room she ran.
"Mrs. Brewton," the man's voice on the other end of the line said softly. "I'm calling in regard to the... uh... incident last week at the jewelry store."
Mona's heart began to pound. She hoped that her husband, who was sitting near by, couldn't actually hear or even feel the horrible thumping of her heart.
"Yes," she said trying for nonchalance.
"Mrs. Brewton, we are willing to keep your little indiscretion quiet, if you will cooperate fully with us." The man sounded like anyone's grandfather--so calm, so trustworthy.
"Yes, of course," she replied.
"Remember this address, please. Don't write it down. 5 Alabaster Circle. You will join us there this Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. sharp. Come dressed as you would if you were going to church. Do not tell anyone where you are going."
"What?" Mona was completely confused.
"Seven o'clock, 5 Alabaster Circle. We are having a small party and you will be our guest. Remember what the security guard told you?"
"Yes," she uttered. The phone line went dead.
"Who was that, honey?" asked her husband.
"The... uh... the women's Bible study group is shifting to Friday night this week."
"That's nice, dear," said her husband returning to his newspaper.
Tears welled up in Mona's eyes again as she drove down a narrow lane leading to Alabaster Circle. She had never lied to her husband before. She felt so ashamed. He had even kissed her good bye and told her to enjoy her Bible study. Guilt brought a flood of tears once again.
"But, Mona, old girl," she said aloud as she regained control of herself, "whatever this is about, you are one lucky person. You can make it through anything if the alternative is a jail term and losing your family. Anything!"
She turned at a broad gate marked simply with a 5 and was confronted by two burly guards.
The guard smiled. "Park there. Go in the white door on the side of the main house. The others already are here."
Others, thought Mona.
Mona found her to the door and warily stepped inside. In a very large utility room stood two other women, both with terrified looks just like Mona's. One of the women had dark features, dark black hair, and a strikingly beautiful face. She was either Hispanic or Italian, Mona surmised. The other woman obviously was very wealthy. Her blond hair screamed expensive salon and her clothes were straight out of the latest women's magazines.
.... There is more of this story ...