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Wilbur’s pocket watch mysteriously disappeared – Friday Fiction

Wilbur’s pocket watch mysteriously disappeared – Friday Fiction

In early May Wilbur’s pocket watch mysteriously disappeared. He
searched the house, looking in even the most unlikely nooks and
crannies, but found nothing. He asked each of the residents if they’d
happened upon his watch, and when they answered no he lifted the sofa
cushions and peered beneath the beds.

Sixty years of pulling the watch from his pocket to check the time was
a habit Wilbur found impossible to break. And once the watch was gone
it seemed he reached for it all the more often. His hand would slip to his
vest pocket and feel the emptiness; then a look of longing would drift
across his face.

Caroline noticed.

On the third Tuesday of May, she returned to the Previously Loved
Treasures store in search of a pocket watch.

“With large numbers,” she said, “and a chain.”

“Got it,” Peter Pennington replied. He climbed onto the yellow step
stool, pulled a box from the shelf, and removed a watch that could have
easily been the one Wilbur lost. It wasn’t just similar to the missing
watch; it was an exact replica.

When she asked the price, Peter said, “One coin.”

“One coin?”

He nodded in that strange way he had of bobbing his head without
taking his eyes from hers. “Reach in your pocket and pull out a coin.
Whatever that coin is will be the price of the watch.”

“What if it’s a penny?”

“Then that’s the price.”

Caroline laughed. With little to lose, she stuck her hand in her pocket
and pulled out a quarter.

“Oh, dear.” Peter furrowed his brow. “I thought it was going to be a

“Isn’t a quarter better?”

“No, it’s way too much.”

Caroline eyed the watch. It ticked with the precision of Big Ben and
was without flaw. “Too much?”

“It’s used,” Peter explained. “Previously loved.”

Sticking with his opinion that a quarter was overpriced, Peter
scrambled back up the yellow step stool and brought down a music box.
“I’ll include this,” he said. He twisted the key, and the angel atop the box
turned round and round as the music tinkled.

With great delight Caroline watched and listened. When the music
stopped, she said, “I don’t recognize this song.”

Peter laughed. “In time you will. In time.”

Before she left the store he asked if she’d hung the picture.
“Yes, I have,” Caroline answered, but as she spoke the bitterness of
the lie tripled in size and stung her throat.

“Good.” Peter nodded. “Very good.”

On the drive home Caroline made a mental note to hang the picture.
She thought it charming that Peter Pennington believed it might inspire
her; unrealistic perhaps, but charming. Obviously he had no knowledge
of her schedule. From early morning until near bedtime she rushed
around cooking, cleaning, buying groceries, running errands, paying
bills, and a dozen other things. Writing a novel had been a foolish idea to
start with.

“Maybe someday,” she told herself. “Maybe someday.”

About the author

Bette Lee Crosby

USA Today Bestselling and Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby's books are "Well-crafted storytelling populated by memorable characters caught up in equally memorable circumstances." - Midwest Book Review The Seattle Post Intelligencer says Crosby's writing is, "A quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about important things in life and madcap adventures." Samantha from Reader's Favorite raves, "Crosby writes the type of book you can't stop thinking about long after you put it down." "Storytelling is in my blood," Crosby laughingly admits, "My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write." It is the wit and wisdom of that Southern Mama Crosby brings to her works of fiction; the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away. Her work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. She has since gone on to win nineteen awards for her work; these include: TheRoyal Palm Literary Award, the FPA President's Book Award Gold Medal, Reader's Favorite Award Gold Medal, and the Reviewer's Choice Award.

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