By Jamie Adams
When I was in grade school my best friend lived down the street. (I’ll call her Anna) Anna was a year older than me and went to the middle school with my sister. Anna would come to our house before school to meet up with my sister. When the time came they would leave together, and I would head in the opposite direction.
One morning after we’d all left my mom discovered her wallet was missing. She’d had it out earlier to give us lunch money. Mom called the middle school and discussed the situation with them. They called Anna into the office. She denied any wrongdoing, but she told them she had seen me hide something under my shirt when I left the house.
I was in sixth grade that day and we had a substitute teacher. A call came into the classroom before lunch. As she listened to whoever was on the other end of the line a funny look came across her face and she said, “Oh, really?” After she hung up she told me the nurse needed to see me.
Unbeknownst to my mother, the middle school had called the grade school. In the nurse’s office I was searched under the guise of a rash going around. Innocent and gullible I proceeded to give the woman my whole life history of health issues. She called my mom and said I didn’t not seem to have any idea of what was going on. My mom was livid. She knew that I had not taken the wallet and never asked them to talk to me.
A few days later Anna’s mother found the wallet in Anna’s things and returned it to us. As you can imagine the friendship was strained. Eventually I took the first step by inviting her to play. To this day I can’t watch a movie or read a book where the plot involves someone being falsely accused of something.
When I sat down to plot The Welcome Wagon my intentions were to challenge myself. To try and heal that old childhood pain through words. Although betrayal and false accusations are hinted at, I didn’t quite nail it. As most of my stories do, the characters took over and gave me a much better plot. Maybe next time.