"Two brief cases for the cost of one," shouted the pavement seller which attracted Merlyn Rachel, who had come to the busy Sultan Bazaar Market in the heart of Hyderabad city, to buy a brief case for her husband, Eric Davidson. As they are planning to buy a flat, and as the deal involves heavy cash transactions, Eric urgently wanted a brief case. It being a Sunday, a holiday for all the shops, Merlyn had no choice other than to buy these brief cases, the brand names of which she had never heard.
"Chinese make madam," said the seller, as Merlyn approached him. "Very cheap. Very strong." And to demonstrate it's toughness he threw it down and caught it as it bounced back. Opening the brief case, which was stuffed with news papers, he showed the working of the lock, "Don't worry about the newspapers, it's kept to keep the brief case firm. Just see the soft interiors."
After much bargaining she brought two brown brief cases and climbing into her car asked the driver to take her home. Taking out her mobile phone she called her husband and told him that she had brought two brief cases, which clearly annoyed him and asked her firmly to return one.
Going back to the pavement seller, she asked him to take back one, which he flatly refused. "Madam, these brief cases are dead cheap. I have to sell all of these today only as I have no place to keep. Sorry madam, no exchange and no taking back."
Disappointed she thought of a plan so as not to spoil Eric's mood and kept one brief case in the dickey of the car and gave the other to him.
Merlyn and Eric, employed, were married for over ten years and have two children; both girls aged six and three. The next day was Monday, and as Eric wanted to sign the Sale deed and complete the formalities regarding the purchase of the flat, they both took leave.
Eric and Merlyn were Christians, but out of the two, Merlyn is more devout, so it was no wonder that before stepping out of the house to go to the bank to draw cash, she prayed.
"Jesus Christ as we go to the bank to draw money, we pray that you be with us and protect us against any untoward incidents in the bank or in the builders office. We pray in your precious name, Amen."
Eric smiled, as usual, at her insistence of praying at their door before stepping out.
The three, Eric, Merlyn and the car driver made their way to Khairatabad towards the bank and as it was just the start of the banking hours, there were hardly any customers and for once Merlyn found out that the car was parked near a fruit and vegetable kiosk. As Eric made his way to the bank, she asked the driver to take out two vegetable bags from the dickey and made her purchases at a very leisurely pace.
Making her way to the car, she asked the driver, who was sitting in the car to keep the bags in the dickey and opening the door, seated in the back seat and to her surprise found out that the Chinese briefcase which she had purchased yesterday was kept in the back seat.
'Oh my, the driver must have kept it,' thought Merlyn angrily, and looked out for the driver. Finding that he was nowhere in sight, she opened the dickey herself and hurriedly kept the brief case inside. As soon as she sat in the back seat, the driver made his appearance and looked at the back seat and not finding the brief case in the back seat, asked her, startled, "Madam where is the brief case? Eric sir drew cash and gave the brief case to me for safe keeping. He went back to the bank as he had to take a Demand Draft."
"Don't worry; I have kept it in the dickey. Please open it and bring it here."
Bringing the briefcase the driver went back to close the dickey. She pressed the brief case's lock to see whether it was locked and to her surprise it opened and found out that it was stuffed with newspapers. Hurriedly closing it, she kept it in the back seat and stepped out. Rushing to the back of car as the driver was closing the dickey, said, "Open it."
And as the driver opened the dickey, she saw the other brief case, snugly between the vegetable bags. Asking the driver to lock the dickey, she made sure that he lock it in front of her and taking the keys, went back and sat in her usual back seat. Just then a messenger in the Bank's uniform came running and asked her, "Mrs. Eric?"
"Ma'am you are wanted in the bank."
"Me? But why?"
"Your signature is required."
"My signature?" said Merlyn puzzled and stepping out of the car went into the bank to find Eric walking towards her.
"You wanted my signature?"
"No, I never wanted your signature."
"Oh my, but that messenger..."
Before she could complete the sentence Eric butted in "Oh my God, No! Where is the brief case?"
"Don't worry. It is in the dickey."
They both ran towards the car, to find the driver picking up ten rupee notes from under it. The car's back door was open and there was no sight of the brief case.
"Driver what are doing?"
"Sir, I am picking out Madam's ten rupee notes, which she had dropped."
"Driver, that fellow who pointed out the ten rupee notes lying near the car is an attention diversion thief. You have fallen for the oldest trick."
"And he has picked the brief case in the back seat," said Merlyn, "Thank God; I have kept the one with the cash in the dickey."
"Other one?" asked Eric.
"I will tell you all about it on our way to the builder's office."
Victor Jasti lives in India and is passionate about writing short stories based on the Bible and real incidents. He also writes Christian fiction and poetry. Five of his poems were published in Temporal Currents compiled by an American author, Ms. Christine Tricarico.
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