Not in the Car! Not in the Street! Case of the Missing Wallet

It’s easy to be a cynic.

Police Officer Callinan met me in less than five minutes after I called yesterday.  Together we reviewed the video footage from four different cameras in the town’s burger joint.  From the register to the table, we could see the exchange of money for my order, my wallet, and my purse.  We were in the restaurant less than 20 minutes and after I crossed the street to the gas station, my wallet was gone.

Small, tasty and fast – the sleuths who work here ruled out the shop.

Losing your wallet is inconvenient. I had every credit and debit card, insurance cards, driver’s license and of course, cash and checks in there.  Gone.  If I lost it, dropped it or misplaced it, where was it?

I left my phone number with the restaurant manager and the police officer.  I called the bank and blocked my cards, though I didn’t cancel them, believing it just might turn up.

I replayed the sequence of events during that short lunch visit all day. If the cameras were right, the only place I could have lost it was in the street, during the 30 seconds it took to cross.

The manager and the cashier and the police officer and my teenager who were there all studied the details and the scene.  The manager said to check our shopping bags and the officer said to check my car. My teen said it might be in the street or that “someone filched it.” That’s a cool word, by the way, for a teen.

It reminded me of Dr. Suess’s Green Eggs and Ham.  The wallet was not in the restaurant. Not in the street.  Not in the bags.  Not in the car.  Not on a train!  Not in a tree!!  DAM_  that SAM!  just LET ME BE!

My kids and husband listened politely and said I needed Sherlock Holmes.

 

But I needed money to pick up the car at the dealer, so I went home and found an old checkbook.  Then I wondered about driving without a license.  Later that afternoon when I got on the DMV website, I admit a bit of despair seeped in.  I mean, think of it.  Department of Motor Vehicles.

Maybe someone needed it, the cash. I can accept that. There’s also identity theft . . .  As for the cards, I could order new ones easily enough and get them in a few days, but the license.  DEAR GOD, the license.  I have to go in person to a government agency (see earlier letter, Going Postal for Tax Season) and I got this kind of visceral nauseating reaction like some people do to, I don’t know, broccoli, or mayonnaise, or worm infested open sores.

I hung my head.  I lose everything.  Honestly.  I wear a messenger style purse which is worn across the shoulders because if I had to carry it in my hands, I’d leave it somewhere.

But SHERLOCK CALLED.

His name in this case is only three letters long.  Art.

So, I’ll tell you what happened.

I was right about the street.  When we went back into the restaurant to check out the scene of the lost wallet, two girls outside noticed a black object by the curb.  They picked it up and went to the nearest store, the Mobil gas station.

Meanwhile, back in the restaurant, there we were.  After a few minutes search, I sent my teen to look for it in the only place it could be.  The street.

The girls were inside the gas station and gave the owner the wallet.

Later, Officer Callinan and I stood on that same curb, talking about the lost wallet, the amount of petty theft in town, the number of trivial calls he got for such things.

Smart people would check their message machines.

Not until that night, did I notice messages on my machine.  The restaurant manager called, checked the video cameras and wanted to let me know.  Another call was from the owner of the Mobil gas station across the street.

Art said he had my wallet.

It’s easy to be a cynic you see.  But I believe that most people are good. I said so aloud several times yesterday, hoping to displace my doubts.

How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world. (Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 28, 2014

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About the Author

Mylinh Shattan is a writer who has lived on three continents, served in the Army, worked in corporate America, and taught in college. She loves adventures, in the world and in the mind. Literature is relevant and learning is a lifelong pursuit, so you might as well have a bit of fun along the way.

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