"That's the thing about this city," Elias sighed.
Dale unloaded laundry into a neon orange patterned basket. "Eli, I'm going to the launders. Do you want me to do yours?" she asked, staring at the stack of shirts and jumbled-up shorts and boxers piled up against the wall.
Elias bit his lip. "Yeah, whatever. I planned to take them in next week. But, sure. Anyways, there's too much crime in the city. They just reported a rob in the bank today morn'."
Dale set the basket onto the floor, and pulled up a polished chair, fanning herself. "Boy, this apartment sure is hot." she pulled a face.
Elias flipped the air cond switch to his right. "The one opposite this flat. That's what I'm concerned about. They might know about - " he lowered his voice into a whisper, "the gold bars."
Dale's eyes widened. "You gotta put it somewhere safer, Elias!" she hissed.
Elias glared at Dale, his eyes challenging. "Where should I put it? Even the banks aren't safe!" he yelled.
Then Elias inhaled, and his red ears turned brown again. They always did that when he was angry.
Dale shrugged. "Maybe you should move, Eli. I have a room free at my house. You should stay temporarily until you find another one."
Elias fingered the lines on his forehead and raised, depositing his unwashed plates in the sink. Dale glanced warily at the sink. She raised her eyebrows pointedly, "Well, you're only welcome if you do your dishes on time." she added.
Elias shook his head, "Nah, Dale. This city's been my life. I can't just move." His eyes looked hopeful now. "Could ya, maybe, take the gold bars in? Like temporarily?"
Dale stepped back firmly. She picked the laundry basket. "Nope. No Elias. You stole the gold bars. Not me. If the cops come to my house and find em, I'll get in trouble. I'm not risking my perfect record. Sorry."
Dale patrolled to the door, and halted, sticking her head in, "Do you want me to take your laun-"
"No," Elias replied shortly. His ears turned bright red.
Dale exhaled. Elias was mad. He was her best friend since fifth grade. And a gold bar couldn't break it.
Dale stuck her head in and closed her eyes. She couldn't believe she was going to do this. "Gimme the bars. I'll take them. But I'm only keeping them for a month. Find a new place to stay, but after four months, whether you've got a new flat or not, I'm returning them."
Elias looked up from his feet. His eyes shone. "You will? Aw, shucks. Thanks, Dale. Really appreciate it," he beamed.
Dale rolled her eyes and dumped Elias's clothes into her basket. She knew he was never going to do it anyway.
Dale was in the kitchen chopping up sliced chickens for the casserole tonight. Elias was coming over to get the gold bars. It had been a month.
Sirens wailed. Recently, there'd been cases of gambling around the neighborhood. The police did casual rounds just in case. Just her luck, Dale thought.
Anyways! She didn't have to worry about anything! Elias was coming over to get the bars and she didn't have to feel guilty again! Dale smiled.
The police did spot-check her house, asked questions, but they never did enter the house. Dale swallowed.
Today was going to be different.
The sirens circled her house and pulled up near the driveway. Dale nearly dropped the casserole as police officers trudged out of their cars. She swallowed anxiously.
The doorbell echoed around the house. Dale answered it anxiously. The police officers trooped in. "Sorry to disturb ma'am, but as you probably know, there's been a rouse of disturbing gambling cases around here. We caught all of em, so our job was done."
Dale nodded, puzzled. If they'd sorted out everything, then why had they come? She didn't like to think of the possible answers.
The police officer looked grim now.
"W-would you like some casserole?" she stammered.
He glanced at it. "A piece should be fine, thanks. We'd like it packed. Got strict duty around Middenville."
Dale nodded and cut four large squares of chicken casserole.
"Ma'am, someone leaked out information about the gold bar theft last year. As you probably know, we'd been looking for the thief, but he escaped. A little bird told me that you were involved in the theft."
Dale sharpened, and twisted her fingers sharply, as she fingered her cold palms. "Who told you this, exactly?"
The police officer hesitated. "Someone by the name of, Elias Gard, I believe."
Dale straightened and seethed through her teeth. Elias had no idea how much trouble he was in.
Dale forced a smile. She had to come through the truth, eventually. She just wasn't expecting to own up so soon.
"Well, yes, sir. I do have the gold bars you need, but I promise you, I wasn't in the act. Elias is my friend you see, and he was moving out of his flat, so he asked me to keep the gold bars safe." Dale nervously explained.
The police officer chuckled. "Are you tryna be funny with me, ma'am? Elias Gard hasn't moved out of his flat. He's still staying there."
Dale's eyes widened furiously. He'd been tricking her, all this while. She was so gullible.
The police officer rooted handcuffs to Dale. She protested weakly, "But, but you don't understand." she cried.
"Elias was in the act!" she yelled.
The police officer chuckled. "We believe you, ma'am."