M r. Renard’s face contorted as he climbed off his horse. Unstable on his feet from the fever and throbbing in his arm, he stumbled to the entrance of the General Store.

“You okay, Mister?” the shopkeeper asked.

Mr. Renard glared at the thin man behind the counter. “My arm is hurt. I need some pain medicine.”

“I don’t have such a big selection like the drugstore on the corner, but he’s closed for the next few days. I’ll see what I can find for you.” He searched through the shelves picking up one small flask after another. “Most of these are tonics and ointments.” He looked over his shoulder. “You interested in a healing tonic?”

Mr. Renard leaned heavily on the counter and grit his teeth. “I need something for the pain, now.”

“Why don’t you pay a visit to Doc Brown? He’ll fix your arm up, good as new.”

“How much does he charge?”

“Depends on the damage, but he’s a good man. He’ll charge you fairly.”

Mr. Renard wiped the sweat from his brow. “Where is he?”

“Not too far, but by the looks of you, I don’t think you’ll get there. Looks like you’re burning up with fever.”

“Never mind my fever. Where’s the doc?”

The shopkeeper walked to the large window at the front, and motioned with his hand. “You’ll walk left for about five minutes, then when you reach the—”

“Hey!” Mr. Renard shouted. He rushed to the coat stand in the corner.

The shopkeeper held his hand on his chest. “You nearly gave me a heart attack!”

“This jacket,” Mr. Renard said, searching the pockets. “How’d it get here?”

The shopkeeper’s shoulders straightened. “You know who it belongs to?”

“It belongs to me! Where’s my money?” He grabbed the shopkeeper by the collar. “Where’s my money?!”

The thin man gawked. “The girl has it… Hey! Did she do that to your arm? I knew she was a bad one.”

Mr. Renard immediately loosened his grip. “She was here? You saw her?”

“Sure did. She came in here with a little kid, couldn’t be more than two or three years old. They were muddy and asked me for a sink.”

Mr. Renard licked his lips. “How long ago?”

“A few hours ago. I ran for the police, but she was gone when we got back.”

“The police didn’t go after her,” the shopkeeper said, “They said it was because there was no way of knowing which direction she went. I think the lady might have had something to do with the girl getting away. I told the police that, but,” he lowered his voice, “I think they didn’t believe me.”

“What lady?”

“A customer I didn’t know. When I got back with the police, they were both gone. So was the money.”

Mr. Renard breathed heavily. “You didn’t see which way they went?”

“Nope. But the lady wasn’t from town, so I assume she’s farm folk.”

“From a farm? Are there lots of them round here?”

The man chuckled. “More farms than customers. That’s for sure.” (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 670)