Thursday, June 18, 2015

AN EXCERPT FROM "BLESSINGS IN DISGUISE"




FROM "BLESSINGS IN DISGUISE"

A young woman dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt came up to the counter with something in her hands. Naomi saw her and moved over so she could make her purchase. The woman stared at Naomi for a moment, taking in her modest dress and prayer covering. Then she smiled and held out a cloth doll without a face.

“I love this Amish doll. How much is it?”

Cheryl shook her head. “I have no idea. I don’t recall seeing it on my shelves.” She looked at Naomi. “Did Aunt Mitzi sell these?”

Naomi frowned. “I do not remember these dolls, but I do not know all of the store’s inventory.” She smiled at Cheryl. “These dolls sell for twenty dollars at the gift shop down the street.”

“Twenty dollars is fine,” the woman said as she opened her purse.

Cheryl rang up the purchase, then wrapped the doll in tissue paper and put it into a bag. The woman thanked her and walked out of the store.

“That’s the fourth item someone has found on my shelves that I didn’t know anything about,” she told Naomi. “I checked and they’re not on my inventory list. I didn’t sell the first two things, but I sold the third and put the money in an envelope until I can figure out what to do. I’m assuming my list is wrong. I guess I need to do a new inventory so I know what’s going on.” She reached down and picked up a large manila envelope under the counter. After opening it, she slid the money inside and made a note about the doll on the outside.

“Mitzi was always very precise and organized,” Naomi said. “I find it odd that your information is wrong. What other items were not on your inventory list?”

“A woven basket, a carved wooden horse, and a cross-stitched dish towel.” She picked up the horse and the towel from a shelf under the counter and put them on the glass countertop. “They’re beautifully made, but I don’t feel right selling them. I have no idea where the money is supposed to go.”

“Maybe someone is trying to bless you,” Naomi said gently. “I would not worry about it.”

“Maybe,” Cheryl said slowly.

A man came up to the women with a Bible in his hands. “I’m sorry. I didn’t see a price tag anywhere.”

The Bible was tucked into a beautiful hand-tooled leather cover. Cheryl shot Naomi a look. “I’m sorry, sir,” she said. “Where did you find this?”

The man motioned over to a shelf near the front door. “It was there, next to the wooden birdhouses.”

“I think someone left it here by mistake,” Cheryl said. “I’m terribly sorry, but I can’t sell it to you.”

The man shook his head. “That’s too bad.” He ran his hand over the cover. “This work is exceptional.”

“Yes, it is,” she agreed. “Again, I apologize.”

“Not a problem,” he said with a smile. “I wouldn’t want to make off with someone else’s Bible.” He put it on the counter. “I own a hardware store in Oklahoma. My advice to you is to find out who made this cover and acquire some for your shop. I guarantee you they’ll sell.”

Cheryl thanked him and the man left to join a woman who was looking at jars of apple butter.

“See,” she whispered to Naomi. “That’s what I’m talking about. Something really strange is going on.”

She picked up the Bible so she could put it on the shelf behind the counter with the wooden horse and the basket. As she leaned over, a piece of paper fell out from between the pages. Cheryl picked it up and read:

You need to be very careful. Someone in Sugarcreek is not who they say they are!


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