by Margo Griffin
One Saturday morning, a certain plastic shopping bag went missing. But it wasn’t one of the empty and perfectly-fine used bags Agnes collected. Instead, this bag of Agnes’ contained something quite personal and special.
“Sweet baby Jesus! Where’s that damn bag?!” exclaimed Agnes.
“What bag?” asked her sister, Martha.
“My bag! There’s an important envelope inside,” said Agnes.
This particular missing envelope in the certain missing plastic bag wasn’t one of Agnes’ usual, recycled envelopes with lists and reminders scrawled across the back. Instead, this envelope contained a winning daily number lottery ticket worth almost a thousand dollars that Agnes saved for well over ten months.
“Bob’s winning ticket is inside,” said Agnes.
“Your winning ticket, you mean?” reminded Martha.
“Stop saying that!”
“But it is! You bought the ticket!”
“Don’t sass me, Martha!”
“Sorry, I hate to break it to you again, but Bob didn’t wake from his grave and whisper his birthdate in your ear.”
“You’re a mean bitch, Martha!”
The sisters searched for ten minutes in a silence so angry it lashed at their ears like a whip.
“When was the last time you saw that bag?” asked Martha.
“Yesterday, when you were dusting! You moved it, I bet,” accused Agnes.
“I didn’t touch your bag!” sniped Martha.
“Well, we all remember my favorite readers…”
“I bought you a new pair! Why do you gotta bring that up?”
“…the bag said Stop and Shop or Hannaford; it’s beige or white,” Agnes yelled over to Martha as they continued their search.
“For the love of God, these damn bags all look alike,” laughed Martha.
“You’re always organizing my things!” said Agnes, using bunny quotes as she said organizing.
“Have you looked in your purse or your…?”
“I’m not a moron, Martha!”
Agnes scurried around the apartment looking through the various bags, but wondered if she had actually put the missing envelope with the ticket in a plastic bag after all.
As Agnes hunted, Martha sweat as she watched Agnes open and close closet doors and kitchen drawers, pulling out dozens of empty used bags. Moisture beaded on Martha’s forehead and under her armpits while her heart raced, fretting over another plastic bag that she used earlier for the morning’s cooled coffee grinds. That bag had found its way into the incinerator about an hour and fifteen minutes ago.
“Dear lord, I feel hot as a paved driveway laid out in the summer sun,” complained Martha.
“Oh, please,” snapped Agnes, looking visibly sweaty and red of face.
Agnes turned away from her sister and winced as she rubbed the side of her face that housed her bad tooth.
“If we find your ticket, Agnes, you should have that tooth fixed.”
“Mind your business. You will never understand. You’ve never been married.”
Agnes knew she stung her sister with her comment, but offered no apology.
As the sisters continued their search, more and more plastic bags tumbled onto the floor, adding to the chaos. Then, finally exhausted and worn out, Agnes collapsed on her recliner in the living room. As she wiggled about in her seat to get comfortable, she heard a loud crackling sound and reached down into the crease. Not a moment later, Agnes pulled out the beige plastic shopping bag that she had tucked into the side of her cushion a few days before.
Inside the first beige plastic bag was yet another beige plastic shopping bag wrapped three times around the envelope holding Agnes’ paper lottery prize.
“I knew it!” exclaimed Agnes.
“What a relief,” Martha cried out as she plopped herself down onto the couch exhausted.
The two sisters looked around the living room and peered sheepishly into the dining room and kitchen, staring at what must have been at least a ninety-five plastic shopping bags strewn about the apartment.
“I’m a horrid witch of a sister,” said Agnes
“Maybe we should sell that hope chest of Mama’s,” suggested Martha, ignoring Agnes’ admission.
“You must hate me,” said Agnes, paying no mind to Martha’s suggestion.
“I bet we could get close to a thousand dollars for that cedar chest. That’s more than enough money to fix your tooth,” said Martha.
Agnes reached up, touched her throbbing jaw, and nodded, giving Martha a small smile.
Finally, after several minutes of silence, the sisters got up and began the task of folding and repacking Agnes’ perfectly fine used plastic bags into the hall closet and into the kitchen and dining room drawers, never speaking of Bob’s winning lottery ticket again.
Bio: Margo Griffin has worked in public education for over thirty years and is the mother of two daughters and the best rescue dog ever, Harley. Her work has appeared in Maudlin House, Dillydoun Review, MER, HAD, and Roi Fainéant Press. You can find her on Twitter @67MGriffin