Her satchel full of wallets, billfolds, and money-holders, Juno calmly but purposely strode to her house. This was the best day of her thievous career, and Juno wore an ear-to-ear greedy smile. She had worked the crowds at seven venues to accomplish this. Her rule was, “Never more than ten in any venue.” Once someone realized that money or valuable was missing, word would spread through a crowd like a fierce wind. She even skipped lunch as the finger-findings were so plentiful; Juno seemed to fill up on her catchings. Juno had challenged herself to set new highs today and she was certain that it was “mission accomplished”! She entered her house, set the house’s security settings to “perimeter alert”, and brought her satchel up to her workroom. She hung her coat and took a deep breath and sighed. Since it was a bit late and having no lunch, Juno found herself hungrier than usual. She decided to have a nice dinner, then attend to her day’s successes. Bouncing down to the kitchen, Juno pulled out leftover fish, and sides. She ate slowly so that she would not over eat. A nice white wine accompanied her dinner and helped her relax, recollecting what she had done today, where she had done it, and to whom. She chucked as she remembered warmly advising an elderly woman to better secure her purse and envelope holding her shopping money, telling that there were always thieves and pickpockets about in such crowds. The woman had thanked her profusely and toddered off. Juno did not like feeding off the elderly, even though she sometimes did. She shook her head as she got up and cleaned the kitchen. Next she went to her workroom and got down to her task at hand. As she sat putting on her medical gloves, Juno hummed, “You’re simply the best! You are better than all the rest!” She pondered at her rather amazing results. With a slight dip into melancholy memories, she smiled and felt that her daddy would be proud of her, wielding her expert hands at this “sleight-of-lifting”. Her dad had been a superb pickpocket and had patiently yet firmly taught Juno his skills. He had commented often at how good she was, better than him, but had to keep her ego in check. “Thinking that you will never get caught is when you let your ego get you into the wrong situation and into jail … or worse.” It was his typical retort when he saw her drifting out her controlled thinking, approaches, or execution. He would not take her with him on “trips” if he felt she was too heady or sassy as they prepared for an “outing”.
With gloved hands Juno opened her satchel and dumped her collected booty onto her workbench. She guessed that she would have close to 65 items to check through. Her greedy smile returned as she began her searching and reaping. She was methodical to a fault as she had learned. Many wallets and billfolds had “secret” folds. This lesson alone had given many unexpected findings, such as several $100 bills in a recessed area in a thick billfold. She found the recess by pulling open the backside of the billfold. She chortled over her find for days. A few times, when she realized that she had victimized an elderly person, she had packaged and anonymously mailed the wallet back with gloved hands, and a note that is was found on the ground, under something, somewhere.
Juno was working diligently. She sorted items into piles, envelopes, billfolds, wallets, items. Envelopes and miscellaneous items were easiest. She counted and stacked cash, tallying it on a paper tablet. Items she noted on a separate page as she would search online for potential worth of each item she now held. With wallets and billfolds, Juno always took out everything they contained to insure that she had thoroughly searched through them. She would also look at each item taken out to determine potential worth, if not outright currency. Having spent a few hours at her task, Juno was through the envelops and about three quarters through her leather loot. She yawned as the evening was getting on. Grabbing a lady’s wallet, Juno said out loud to herself, “OK, one more, and the rest can wait until morning.” She went through her process of pulling out everything … “cash, coin, credit cards, license, 57 years old …” she remarked to herself, “a stash of papers, an old, fading, folded postcard, pictures, and some lint and dust”. She chuckled at the last, “There always seems to be lint and dust in a lady’s wallet.” She count the cash, “Wow, several hundreds here ...” Going through the rest Juno came to the pictures and at one of them she became rigid as shock raced through her. She blinked, shook her head, blinked again and looked at the picture again. In disbelief Juno jumped out of her chair, ran to her bedroom, tore open her small cedar chest, rummaged through the contents until she came to a small, oldish, pink album, pulled it out of the mess, and sat … gently … on her floor … with album in her lap … and wallet picture in her hand. Swallowing dryly, Juno opened the album. There, on the cover’s side, was a special slot, holding a truly special picture, the exact same one as Juno held …. Juno almost fainted. She could not relate to what she was seeing. It made no sense. But it was obviously the truth. Juno admitted to herself that the wallet’s owner was her mother.
Gathering her wits, Juno got up and returned to her work-space. She put everything away in their secure places except for her “mother’s” wallet and its contents. “What am I going to do with this …?”, she wondered. “I’ve got to decide now, or I will never get to sleep.” Sleep …. That was unlikely anyways as her memories about her mother came flooding back. Juno did not really remember her mother. Her dad said her mother left them when Juno was three. He never said why, but he never spoke badly of her. “He obviously missed her,” she thought, “Me, I never knew her.” Juno paused, thinking, “Well, one thing for sure, I am returning her wallet and money.” One of daddy’s top rules was “You never picked a relative, or close friend, and if you did and learned of it later, you always, always, always returned it … money included … all of it!”
With that decided, Juno’s mind now crept into the “I wonder what she is like, where she is living, what she does” shadows. Juno had another glass of wine, got ready for bed, and crawled in, ready for a fretful tossing. And tossed she did. Eventually, Juno fell asleep from exhaustion, and slept well into the morning. When she awoke, she got up, got dressed, got her breakfast, and got back to her quandary. In her sleep she had decided. She would contact her mother and return the wallet in person. Juno hoped that they would meet so that Juno could inquire about the picture; not that she had any idea yet as how to approach this.
Getting the wallet, Juno looked at the license. She called information to get her mother’s phone number. Next, she needed to gather the willingness to make that next call. At some point she willed herself forward and made the call. Several rings …. Juno was about to hang up when the phone clicked and a rather soft, almost feeble voice spoke. “Hello? Who’s calling?”, said the voice. “Umm, hello, is this Mrs. DeKcip? Laverna DeKcip? My name is Juno Feiht. My reason for calling is I believe that I have found your wallet.” For several seconds there was only … Silence. Then a soft sob. “Oh my, Ms. Feiht …! Oh, my goodness ….”, Laverna eked out with obvious tears in her words. Juno trembled, “Um, Mrs. DeKcip …? Laverna? Please don’t cry. I don’t know for sure, but the wallet seems intact, money, your license, papers and stuff. One question though, there was a picture on the ground next to the wallet. I am not sure that it is yours.” At that Laverna described the picture as if she herself was holding to describe it to Juno. “That’s it, exactly as you described it” Juno sighed, “I would like to return your wallet to you personally, if you and your husband would be so kind as to have lunch or dinner with me.” Again, several seconds of silence. “I am not married … my husband passed away some years ago …. But I would appreciate meeting you for lunch and chat with you.” Juno beamed, “Wonderful, Laverna … Is it ok that I call you Laverna? I will make a reservation at Willy’s in town for us. Let’s make it for 11:30.” Laverna responded, “Laverna is fine and Willy’s at 11:30 is also fine. See you then. Juno, you have truly made my day!” Juno heard the smile in Laverna’s voice. Now, she had to get ready for her lunch with her unknowing mom. Juno considered as she dressed, “I have been the best at what I do, taking things away. I hope that I can be as good getting things back together.”
As 11:30 rolled up, Juno was sitting at the reserved table, awaiting her mother. Shortly, Laverna came in. Juno waved at her from the table. Laverna walked toward the table, smiling at Juno. About eight feet from the table, Laverna stopped quickly, and stared at Juno. Juno was standing at the table with a baby’s picture in one hand, and a small, old, pink picture album in her other arm. Juno smiled warmly, with tears running down her face.