Friday, August 31, 2012

The Price of Groceries


by M. J. Joachim

Bess walked down the grocery store aisle. Canned tomatoes on her left, her cart snuggled close against the coffee on her right. Display boxes were piled high, blocking her view from all the choices on the shelf, crowding the path.  After three months of living in this new town, she’d hoped to know the layout of the store a little better. It was not to be; she cursed the grocer, Nate, for constantly changing the scene.

This was to be her territory, a place she could meet new people, engage them in conversation about her enchanting artwork, and dazzle them with her charm. Nate understood perfectly; it was a game he’d played before. He waited patiently for the day Bess finally approached him to fix the situation.  Without warning she was whirled around as she heard the words, “Bess Harper, you are under arrest for the attempted murder on Nathaniel Braxtner. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will…” Nate was lucky. At Bess’s trial, she was convicted as the most notorious woman serial killer in Merced, California. Only one victim managed to get away.

Photo Credit: National Archives, Public Domain