M rs. Sommers waited a few moments before tightening her robe and answering the knock on the door.

“Good morning, Mr. Matthews,” she said adding just the right amount of surprise to her voice. “What brings you here so early?”

“I’m sorry to disturb you, but there are two police officers here who would like to speak to you.”

“Police?” Mrs. Sommers’s eyebrow rose. “Is everything all right?”

“That’s what we’d like to find out, Ma’am,” the kidnapper said from behind Mr. Matthews.

“Certainly.”

The kidnapper cleared his throat. “Ma’am, we were told that you were shopping in town at the same time as a young girl and her baby sister.”

Mrs. Sommers knew there was no way out of it. Denying that she hadn’t seen the girls wouldn’t be wise. “Yes, I saw them in the store. What is it that you’d like to know?”

The kidnappers looked at each other for an instant. “We have a witness that says you helped the girls escape a crime scene.”

Mrs. Sommers laughed. “I don’t call a little girl grabbing a bagel from a basket a crime scene.”

The kidnappers looked confused.

Mrs. Sommers tilted her head. “We are talking about a blond young woman and her blond little sister, aren’t we?”

“Yes, but you are aware that the young woman tried to kill a man, then stole his money?”

Mrs. Sommers placed her hand on her heart. “I know nothing of the sort. All I know is that a hungry little girl took a bagel, and her big sister apologized to the irate shopkeeper.”

“You didn’t see the jacket she was carrying or the bundle of cash she pulled from its pocket?”

“I did see an old dirty jacket, but the girl said it was given to her. The man who gave it to her must have forgotten that he had left money in the pocket. It’s happened to me several times. That’s hardly reason to believe she was involved in a serious crime. And besides, she was so slight, and judging by the size of the large jacket, there’s no way she could have overcome a man that size. She could hardly cause harm to a fly.”

“So you helped them flee?”

“I assure you, I did not help them flee. The shopkeeper overreacted. He had the poor girl trembling. I couldn’t bear to watch, and I told him so. I handed him the money for the bagel and asked him to leave the girls alone. I thought it was over, and I left. I didn’t know that he went to the police with his farfetched story.”

“The girl is a thief, Ma’am. She tried to kill a man,” one kidnapper said. Both kidnappers took a step forward.

“We’d like to search your house.”

Mr. Matthews held out his arm. “Do you have a search warrant?”

“No.”

Mrs. Sommers licked her lips. “It’s all right, Mr. Matthews. I have nothing to hide. The officers may search, if they feel they must.”

The men entered the small house, and searched the living room and kitchen.

“What’s in there?”

“That’s a closet.” Mrs. Sommers opened the door.

“And in there?”

“That’s my room.”

The men walked in and looked around. The bed was disheveled from sleep, and nothing looked out of the ordinary.

“What’s the door down the hall?”

“My office which I also use as a guest room.”

The men walked down the hall and opened the door. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 673)