The Trouble With Bernie

The Penny Hike - 4

The boys continued on their penny hike identifying cars as they went.

Then Bernie’s gaze drifted slightly, across the street, and he noticed a woman wearing a blue hat. She looked about Grandpa’s age. He had seen her, a few minutes ago, coming out of Myerson’s Jewelry. She had walked to the corner, but instead of crossing the street, she had turned around and gone back into the jewelry store. A minute later she stepped back out, headed in the other direction, and disappeared around the corner. Now here she was again, back at the jewelry store.

Alex, staring in the opposite direction, pointed to a shiny yellow and white car and said “Pontiac.” He took another lick of his triple-scoop Neapolitan cone, pointed again and said, “Studebaker.” Bernie, eager to show off, identified two more Fords, all the while keeping an eye on the blue-hatted lady.

She was going from shop to shop, walking in, then walking right back out. After a while, Bernie could see that something was definitely wrong.

“Look at that lady over there, the one in the blue hat,” he said to Alex. “I think there’s something wrong with her.”

Just as Bernie pointed her out, she settled herself onto the wrought-iron bench by Blaine’s Fashion Wear, shaded her eyes with her hand, and began to weep.

“Holy cow,” said Bernie, “she’s crying.”

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What's wrong with her?