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Petty Cash

by Colleen Kearney Rich

It’s like Big Little Lies, I tell Annie. Only without the sex. She says, how do you know there isn’t sex. I don’t, I admit. I look at Renata and try to picture her with the swim coach. We even have a Renata, I say. Renata in the book is not a great character. In fact, she’s a troublemaker, not unlike our Renata. Oh, stop, Annie whispers, nudging me, I like Renata. The pool is in trouble. There is to be vote tonight, and they needed all the bond members to attend. The bond members are huddling on the tiny chairs in the elementary school cafeteria (See, a school! Just like in the book). Bob Nichols is sitting up front almost cuddling the cash box. Some young guy, the treasurer, I don’t know him, is explaining reconciling the books. I don’t think there is money missing, he says, it is just taking time to figure it all out. Bob mutters something about receipts and waves some sheets of paper. Mindy the president tells him he doesn’t have the floor. We are fighting over ice cream money, I say to Annie. How much money is missing, Annie asks. I have no idea. Hundreds? I shrug. The ice cream discussion has gone on for more than 10 minutes. I Google the treasurer on my phone and find him on LinkedIn. He has a real job dealing with money at a government agency. He is the most legitimate person on the little cafeteria stage. Mindy the president has been standing for the whole meeting as if she is going to control us with her imposing figure. Ha. We take a vote about not paying for stuff out of the cash box anymore. Mindy has 27 proxies voting with her, and that takes almost as long as the discussion when they read out the names and make sure those people aren’t present and voting twice. Renata has proxies too. This could take all night. Renata was forced to resign in the fall as president. This is the only job she has listed on her LinkedIn, president of the community pool, which is open for, what, 90 days. We should go have a drink after this, I say. Annie says, I can’t. I gave it up for Lent.

Author's Note

Ah, the drama of the suburbs. I wrote this is in a Kathy Fish online workshop, and this story isn’t too far from my reality. I’ve encountered lots of angst around kids’ sports and activities. It was fun to write.

Colleen Kearney Rich is a fiction editor for Literary Mama. Her writing has been published in Smokelong Quarterly, Harpoon Review, Minerva Rising, and the anthology Amazing Graces: Yet Another Collection of Fiction by Washington Area Women, among others.

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