By Brian Robinson.
Susie couldn’t wait to see her friend Emma. Emma loves a good story, and boy did she have a story to tell. Five days earlier, Susie had returned from her holiday in Morocco. Her head was full of colours, spices and flavours. She had brought her holiday back with her. Morocco was in her blood.
She knocked on her door and Emma answered. She had been expected. “You really need to get that bell fixed. I’ve been pushing that blessed thing for ten minutes, Susie said.” Emma knew she was joking. The bell hadn’t worked for months.
Emma put the kettle on and set about making coffee. “Come on then, tell me all about your holiday. I can see you’re bursting. Where did you go again?” she asked.
“Morocco, Marrakesh actually,” Susie said.
“Don’t talk to me about Morocco. That place has bad memories for me. I lost my engagement ring there. I’ve told you about that before, haven’t I?”
Susie was dumbfounded. She didn’t know what to say. All she could manage was,”No.”
“Are you sure? I could swear I’ve mentioned it.” Emma carried on making the coffee, casually, “Biscuit?” she asked.
Susie was still in shock. She kept quiet.
Emma sat down at her kitchen table sipping her coffee. “I can’t be sure where I lost it, but I’ve got a good idea. I was in a souk, you know, one of those market places, and I was trying on gloves. I’d bet you any money my engagement ring was left in one of those gloves. That’s the only thing I could come up with. It was weeks before I could tell Roger. I was shit scared. But he was very good about it. Don’t let you coffee get cold.”
Susie couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “Do you believe in coincidences?” she said. I found a ring while we were in Morocco. That was the story I was going to tell you. We went to a souk and I was trying on gloves when I felt a ring inside one of them. I didn’t tell the stallholder because I knew it couldn’t have been his.”
Emma looked astonished. “Was the market in Marrakesh?” she asked.
“Well go on, describe the place to me exactly. Tell me about the stall? What other stuff was he selling? What did he look like?” The questions came in a flood and each one tallied exactly. Susie had found Emma’s ring.
Susie couldn’t wait to tell her husband that evening. She had an even better story now. Tom smiled, and without hesitation said, “You’ve been had. I told Roger about the ring three or four days ago. Emma’s obviously come up with this cock and bull story to get it from you.”
“No,” Susie said. “She wouldn’t do that.”
“You’d be surprised what people will do when there’s gold involved. Get real will you. What are the chances of that happening? It must be millions, billions to one,” Tom said.
“But she’s my friend. I can’t believe she would stoop that low.”
“You’re too trusting dear, that’s your trouble. But think about it. She already knew about the ring. Roger must have told her. Cast your mind back. Did she give you any specific details about the souk or the stallholder? I bet she didn’t.”
“No, come to think about it. I was the one who told her. She just agreed with everything I said. She didn’t actually tell me anything. I know they went to Morocco a couple of years ago. And I know they stayed in Marrakesh. But that’s about it. What are we going to do?”
Tom sat and thought for a minute. “Did you tell her anything specific about the ring?” he asked.
“No, not really. Only that it had a single stone and was gold.”
“Right, well I didn’t describe it to Roger either. For all they know, the ring could look like gold and have any sort of stone. I’ll tell you what we’ll do. We’ll go down the charity shop and buy any old ring with a single stone. We’ll give her that. We’ll play her at her own game. I’ll get the car: you get your coat.”
As they drove to the charity shop Susie’s emotions went into melt-down. Anger; disappointment; hurt; all turned on her for being such a fool. She thanked the heavens for having Tom. Without him, she would have never worked things out. Without him, she would never have come up with such a neat plan.
Tom couldn’t wait for tomorrow. Emma was keen to get her ring back. “You need to get that doorbell fixed. “We’ve been waiting here for a half hour.”
“We’ve done that one Emma said. Try and come up with something new.”
They sat at the kitchen table again. Emma couldn’t hide her anticipation. She’d skipped all the usual formalities, no offer of coffee or biscuits. “Let’s have it,” she said.
Susie reached into her purse and produced the ring. Tom smirked. Emma’s heart sank. A voice inside whispered: that’s not my ring!