The suspect in the theft, her 18 year old son, sits on the easy chair opposite his mother, sullenly looking at her with the outraged indignation of the guilty, trying to somehow magically hasten his mother’s date with destiny before she can draw official notice to his alleged misdeeds. I query her as to the amount of money she alleges was taken and she says “$80” and goes on to tell me that she had a hundred dollar bill when she went to the grocery store, where she spent twenty dollars, putting the change in her purse. Complainant says that she went home where she lay down, putting her purse, containing the eighty dollars, under her pillow. She is adamant about the bills she was given as change, so I ask her, wanting to be accurate, “what denomination.” She stares at me for a moment, as if I have grown horns, before she answers “Well, when I go to church, it’s the Assembly of God,” an answer which so startles her son and I that we both laugh in unison and stop just as suddenly as both of us remember our roles in this melodrama.
Apparently, however, her son recognizes that he is taking candy from a baby and cleanses his soul through confession, an act which so captivates the fancy of my complainant, she agrees not to pursue charges and signs a Decline of Prosecution affidavit. As I pull out of the driveway I see my complainant and her son sharing a tender moment and there is a ray of hope in my heart, the hope that their goodwill towards each other lasts at least until my shift is over.