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The Tell-tale Dish Towel (My Homage to E.A. Poe)


True! – guilty —very, very guilty I am, but it was unintentional.  The act has made me aware of what I have done.  I know everything there is to know about heaven and hell, so I always intended to return the object, so – hearken! – and observe as I calmly tell you the whole story of how I came to steal the red dish towel from the church fellowship hall.

It is impossible to say when the idea first entered my brain; but once conceived, I made up my mind. I had no choice.  I had to take it and thus mop up the serving table of the mess I had caused.

You fancy me a thief, but thieves do not intend to return the objects they purloin. Stealing the dish towel was unintentional.  Object there is none.  I own dozens of dish towels of my own. Passion there is none. I hold no grudge or malice toward its owner. 

I think it was the spill!  The pooling spill that made me reach for the towel.  I had tried a handful of paper napkins but they were useless in my efforts to stay the spreading wave of mulled cider, so anxiety seized me – it was headed for the floor!

With a loud yelp, I leaped upon a towel that was lying nearby and dragged it over the hot, sticky mess. At length, the spill was no more. I placed my hand upon my heart and held it there several seconds.  The puddle had soaked inside the wet towel.  The mess would no longer trouble our Christmas party.

If you still think me a thief, you will think so no longer when I tell you that I had no choice but to take the towel home with me that evening, wash it, and return it the next time I was in the vicinity. What should I have done?  Handed a soppy towel to its owner or returned it to the church fellowship’s kitchen in that condition?

Oh no, I had to take it home and wash it out – leaving no stain of any kind, no spot whatever - and return it with a smile.  I do smile, - for what have I to fear?

“Here!” I will say.  “I borrowed this at the Christmas party last month!  I admit I took it without telling anyone, but dissemble no more.  I have returned the red dish towel!”

                                               

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