Darlene hated the brown cotton stockings: thigh high, ugly, held up by the suspenders on the little garter belt mama made for her. In the wintertime, she really did not mind because she hated the cold anyway. But in the Spring, well, you get the idea.
Darlene, though, as we have seen, is clever, and independent, too. She is now in the fourth grade but she discovered as far back as first grade that teasing from the more fashionably dressed girls was to be her lot in her school life. But clever Darlene did not need much time to figure out that the stockings could be slipped off soon after she turned the corner at the end of the block on her way to school. She would step behind a spirea bush, divest herself of the hosiery and store said hose in her brown lunch sack along with the apple and the sandwiches therein.
Darren, the loyal twin, never ratted out his sister, and might be said to be an accomplice, for he would wait on the sidewalk to continue his walk with the little look-alike. If you are thinking that he did this more for his own protection than for the love of his sister, you would be both right and wrong. There was that, of course, but Darren truly cared for Darlene, and he felt sorry for her, attired as she was in such unfashionable garb.
This Spring a heat wave struck in late March. Tuesday morning, Darlene stepped behind the spirea, first time since October. This went through Darren's mind: This has been going on for three years and what am I getting out of it? Forgetting the protection his rowdy sister provided, he said, to himself, it is time for me to have some fun.
After lunch, Darren took his paper bag and Darlene's, too, and carried them to the shelf in the cloak closet. But not before he transferred a brown stocking to each of the back pockets in his overalls. Behind the bush, Darlene made a terribly disturbing discovery. She was bare-legged and possessed of no stockings. "Darren!" she screamed, "Give me your lunch bag." Darren complied. Darlene still had no stockings.
Two blocks back to the dime store and Darlene ran all the way. But as she entered the door it struck her that she did not have the nineteen cents she would need to buy stockings. No time for such niceties: she strolled, either chalantly or nonchalantly to the hosiery counter, waited until the clerk was ringing up a sale, slipped a pair of brown stockings off the counter and stuffed them up her sleeve. She stole the merchandise. The twinge of conscience did hurt, but not enough to deter her from her mission. She ambled out the store and returned to the bushes which were her changing room. Darren, of course, was not waiting for her. But he was home when she arrived fully clad with stockings and all.
Darren, naturally, ferreted out the truth. He was appalled. Ornery, yes. Mischievous, yes. But criminal? He was willing, nay eager, to practice disobedience on occasion, but outright theft? "Darlene, you have to make this right."
"Now just how do you think I am going to do that? If I confess, Daddy will tan my hide and I might even go to jail."
"Look," he said. Get your pig-bank. I'll take care of it. That's what brothers do."
"Yeah," she said. "Get me out of the trouble you got me into in the first place."
"That's what brothers do!"
©2017 David W. Lacy