Excerpt of Charity Girl by Michael Lowenthal
(Page 5 of 5)
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The gestures exactness reminds Frieda of Jenny Cohn, the best-
off girl in first grade; every day, Jenny brought her doll to school and shared
it, encouraging Frieda to pretend, but all the while would stand there watching
every move, ready to snatch the doll away if Frieda played wrong.
I know life is hard, says Mrs. Sprague, for a girl like you. But
believe me, it could get a great deal worse. I visit the girls we catch we
have a brig in the Ayer Town Hall and Ill tell you, they dont look very well.
Once theyve really come a cropper, theyre begging for their old problems.
Excuse me, maam, says Mr. Crowley, fast upon them. Spittle
wets his mustache at its twists. Miss Mintz here has some purchases to
wrap. If you need assistance, can one of the salesladies help you?
No, she says. My business here is done. Then to Frieda: We
do this because we care remember that. Ill hope to see you soon. Its not
too late. She turns toward the elevators and disappears.
Frieda doesnt look at her, and not at Mr. Crowley, but at the
mound of unmentionables on the counter. She folds two chiffon negligees
slippery, obscene and boxes them as fast as she can manage, cutting
string, tying stony knots.
Copyright © 2007 by Michael Lowenthal. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.