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Why Church Poor Boxes Are Now Locked

We stood looking at the ancient heavy wooden box. "Cool," said the Evil Mary Fran. "It ain't even locked."

"But I don't think we should steal from the church." I wasn't sure who I was more afraid of, my religious aunt, who would have tears in her eyes but would still whip me with the belt, or a terrible curse from the sky roaring down on us like thunder.

"Look, it says Poor Box, right? And we're poor, ain't we?"

"I guess so."

"So the money's ours." She opened the box, and we each greedily grabbed a fistful of wrinkled dollar bills. We stuffed them in our pockets, scooped up the change.

"Someone's coming," I whispered, terrified that a priest or, worse yet, a nun, would grab hold of us and whip our skinny bodies with sticks and belts. Mary Fran didn't look the least bit concerned.

She put a finger to her lips. "We'll sneak out the side door and go down the alley."

We ran to her rickety wooden front porch, then counted the loot. I scored $7.43. Mary Fran did better, $9.75.

"I know where I'm going," she said, greed glinting in her eyes. "Dairy Queen."

"Look." I found a tiny piece of folded paper among the bills. "It says, Dear God, I am sorry I have no money to feed the poor. I will give some when I get paid from working in the laundry."

The Evil Mary Fran laughed. "Man, the bastards around here are so cheap."

I looked at the note again. It looked just like my aunty's neat Catholic school girl handwriting.

Story by:

Sara Jacobelli

9 October 2012

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