Mrs. Moore stood before the jeweler and admired the one and a half carat diamond rings on each ring finger. The yellow gold and bright crystals no longer accented the smooth young fingers of the beautiful girl she once was but instead wrapped around the pale aged fingers of the stately woman she had become. She smiled at the memory of her late husband Bill first slipping the ring on her finger. Although he was only twenty-four, he had already managed to build a successful nursery business. He had just opened a second location in town, and both nurseries remained busy. Bill had proposed to her under a tunnel of fully bloomed rose bushes. He told her later that he spent the better part of an evening, and many band-aids, setting the scene for his proposal.
“The rings look identical, Samuel,” said Mrs. Moore.
“Yes, ma’am, but there is one important difference. The ring on your left hand is fake. You can tell the difference if you look at their reflections. The fake ring reflects the light slightly more brightly. It’s actually too perfect. Every diamond contains some imperfection. Your diamond is very nice, but it just a little duller.”
Mrs. Moore responded, “Excellent. My first grandson is about to propose, and I want him to have my real ring.”
“You won’t miss it?” asked Samuel.
“Oh heavens no,” replied Mrs. Moore. “I don’t have much time left on the earth, and then what good is the ring to me? If I keep it, somebody will just sell it, or my relatives may fight over it. No, I’m going to enjoy watching my grandson marry the woman of his dreams, and she will be wearing my engagement ring.”
The two finished their business, and Mrs. Moore began to trek back to the uptown parking deck where her fifteen-year-old Cadillac was parked. Although it was only two blocks away, Mrs. Moore made the trip slowly. Her old joints were not what they used to be. Several minutes later she was standing in front of her car. A large white Suburban was parked on the passenger’s side, and the stall was empty on her side. Just beyond it sat a large pickup truck.
She barely had time to see a reflection in the window of her car before her body was pushed painfully against the driver’s door. Her keys fell from her hand, and Mrs. Moore let out a cry. A large man with bad breath had his face covered by a ski mask. He breathed into her face as he spoke, “Give me your purse if you want to live.”
Mrs. Moore clutched her pocketbook and groaned. She felt a painful slap on the side of her face and felt a warm trail of blood begin to slide down her cheek. “Don’t die for your money you stupid hag!” the man yelled.
Mrs. Moore began to weep and attempted to speak between her painful tears. “You can have everything, even my car. Just please let me get my grandson’s gift out of my purse.”
In one painful yank, Mrs. Moore’s arm gave way, and she felt the thief’s forearm pressing against the right side of her head and force the other side of her face against the glass. “What’s so great about this gift?” the gruff voice asked.
He dumped the contents of her purse on the asphalt, and two ring boxes fell out. The stranger gave Mrs. Moore a shove and reached down quickly to retrieve both boxes. He opened them both and let out a whistle as he held Mrs. Moore in place with his shoulder placed firmly against the middle of her back. He stared at both of them and turned them in the light.
“One of these has to be a fake, am I right?” He dug his shoulder painfully into Mrs. Moore’s spine as he asked the question.
“Yes,” she groaned in reply.
Mrs. Moore stood there quietly and prayed someone would interrupt them. The feeling of a small cold pipe against the back of her skull pulled her attention back to the brutal thief.
Mrs. Moore could hear the anger in the man’s voice as he asked her, “Which one? I could take both, but then I won’t know which one to pawn. Nobody carries two identical engagement rings around. Especially not this size. Tell me which ring and I’ll be on my way. If you don’t, I’ll take your purse, and your life.”
Mrs. Moore felt the ruffian back off her body. She turned around to see a pistol pointed at her face. He lowered the gun down to her stomach. His dead green eyes stared into her’s through his ski mask. His voice was icy cold as he spoke again, “I promise you’ll die slowly and painfully. Now, speak!”
Mrs. Moore had tears streaming down her cheeks, she nodded, and said, “Please turn them so I can see them.”
The thief complied. Mrs. Moore studied them in the light.
“What are you doing?” The thief asked.
“I am only able to tell the difference by the reflection in the light.” Mrs. Moore answered honestly.
The man’s lips smiled beneath the masked, and he turned them around. “I knew it. I know which one it is already.” He closed the boxes, tossed one to the ground and sprinted off.
Mrs. Moore slid down the side of her car to the asphalt and began to cry. Her body was hurting, and her cheek throbbed with pain. Very slowly she started to retrieve her belongings. After getting her belongings together, she recovered her cell phone and called the police.
A short time later a patrol car arrived. Mrs. Moore was holding the ring box tightly in her hands. The EMTs arrived immediately behind the policewoman. Mrs. Moore still sat there and clutched the remaining ring box in her hands.
The policewoman called for backup. “Are you okay?” she asked. Mrs. Moore nodded. The policewoman walked away for a moment to check the areas around the parked cars. Although her old body hurt Mrs. Moore had a smile on her face. The EMTs checked her over and then moved her to the back of the ambulance.
The EMT pointed to the box in her hands, and asked, “May I hold that for you?”
She slowly shook her head. He nodded and then bandaged her face. The EMT then checked the other areas where she was hit.
The policewoman walked up and asked, “Are you, Mrs. Moore?”
Mrs. Moore sat up in surprise. “Why yes, how did you know?”
The young policewoman smiled. “Your thief has just been arrested two blocks from here. He tried to sell a fake diamond ring to a jeweler. I believe the jeweler’s name is Samuel. He recognized his ring and pushed the panic button underneath his counter.”
“Good” replied Mrs. Moore. “Maybe that brute will learn not to chase after shiny objects.”