December’s Short Story: The Other Jewelry Box

In my bedroom, I continued my morning of packing. “I dreamed about moving boxes last night, honey.” I called out, then coughed, and wiped the drops of sweat from under my bangs, between taping up the umpteenth brown, cardboard, square thing. The word, “box,” had choked me.

Out in the living room, an object dragged across the vinyl floor designed with the appearance of worn barn wood. One of our favorite features about this apartment was the flooring. My husband yelled back, “Did you say something about a box, honey?”

“Never mind!” I stared at the 7 x 11, cardboard container I’d finished taping shut, and slapped on my last, “Handle With Care-Fragile,” sticker on the end. With the wide black marker, I wrote, “Jewelry.” Should I add “Costume?” Hm, no need. The label is only for me. All my jewelry was cheap anyway. I set the container aside.

***

The next day, I glanced at the fragile-labeled, “Jewelry” container. It was much smaller than the others stacked up to the ceiling. I really should find a larger container to stuff it in. I tried for three more days. Every container I packed didn’t have enough room for it. I gave up. But the niggly thought of the fact I wrote, “Jewelry” on it just wouldn’t go away. I guess marking it out might work. No, I’m too tired to find a marker.

***

Moving day dawned. I stared at the “Fragile, Jewelry” container. Maybe I should take it in the car with us? I opened the car doors and searched for a space. No room for one more thing. I was out of brown containers anyway and requested two more from the mover, with more tape, too. I planned to pack the “Jewelry” in one of those. It didn’t fit. Then with the speed and chaos that erupted as three men scrambled to load our belongings, I forgot about the “Jewelry.”

***

With *name-changes, here’s what transpired: X is a local mover and business owner, Y was his assistant.

Our head shipper, Charlie, told me small boxes like the jewelry box slow down movers. I told him if he had another box, I might pack it inside? Charlie didn’t.

Next, Charlie hassled his hired assistants, X and Y. The brothers became resentful. I wondered why Charlie’s personality changed into rudeness, and I heard why later on. X and Y grumbled about Charlie to us. They wanted to quit. We didn’t want X and Y to leave our job unfinished, because we had a deadline to make that day! We were really nice and polite to the brothers. Hubby was diplomatic and encouraging. Eventually, X was the only one in our apartment. What had happened to Charlie and Y?

***

X complained to us that he was a helper, a business owner, and resented that Charlie had told him to wrap our furniture, when gruff shouting outside froze us in our living room. The argument got louder and echoed through the outside hallway. Charlie and Y stormed inside.

“Where’s the box?” Charlie yelled. “You took it, you had it, I saw you!”

Y stepped away from Charlie, had a panicked expression, and asked my husband, “Did you see the small box? I brought it back up here, and put it somewhere.” He swiveled, and searched around. “Did you see it?” Y asked me.

I shook my head. I didn’t know what Y meant, my hubby didn’t know, and neither did Y’s brother, X. We hadn’t seen Y upstairs for a while. Charlie explained it was the “Jewelry” box, he had already inventoried it, and it was missing. Oh, dear Lord.

Shortening the fight and conversation at this point to this:

Charlie was suspicious because X had left the vetted and actual hired assistant back at the moving company at 6:30 am, to give his brother Y the job. Charlie didn’t like the situation at ALL, and had kept his eye on interloper Y. So, when the “Jewelry” box disappeared, Charlie kept his attention on Y. He caught Y covering up something with his jacket while he stepped through the bushes toward his brother X’s blue Ford truck. When Charlie witnessed Y’s behavior, he tackled Y, grappled with him, and snatched the object inside Y’s jacket. (Charlie has 40 years of moving experience, plus people have stolen from him before. Charlie is required to use his own pay for missing items).

***

“Call 911,” Charlie growled, “he needs to be arrested.”

We didn’t want to call. We were angry at what Y did, but we were more than halfway finished with being loaded up and an hour away from leaving. Charlie dialed 911. We argued that it was only about $50 in costume jewelry, and not worth the huge delays. Charlie didn’t care. He wasn’t taking any blame for this.

I felt sorry for Charlie and X, they were the victims. Y had repaid his own brother for the kind gesture of giving him a job by attempted robbery of a customer, and tragedy for X’s own business. X had five children and owned two businesses to support them. It was seven days before Christmas, and X’s wife called him twice during this disgrace. I suppose thieves, even if relatives, have no qualms about who they hurt.

Unbeknownst to us, Charlie had left the 911 dispatch on and the call continuing. Five police officers arrived. Oh, dear Lord. If only I’d hid that troublesome other jewelry box. The officers split us up, asked each of us questions. After half an hour, three left, and two stayed near our stairs to monitor the situation. (I took photos in case I need them, but hope I won’t). We didn’t press charges for a $50 item, but Charlie called it right. His job was on the line and X’s.

***

We left our apartment complex right on time.

***

Is there something good out of that tragic event? Yes, some things. I prayed for X and Y. When tempted, Y has something in his heart that isn’t good for him. His actions revealed his motives, issues, and that he can sacrifice his own brother for money. Their relationship has a broken trust.

As for me, this is what can happen when I don’t pay attention to the Quiet Voice. I know I have trouble with believing the Quiet Voice, and addressing small things, like the other jewelry box.

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