About to take the stand in her own trial, seventh grade Rebekah mulled over the events that brought her to court. Seriously, it had all seemed like the perfect plan, beginning with her sighting of the “Help Wanted” sign soliciting a bookkeeper for the Pampered Pets venture. She was just plain sick and tired of working as a server for the restaurant in her Ohio MicroSociety. The job had seemed glamorous at first. But she was on her feet all the time, and customers just didn’t show their appreciation. No fair tips. Just, “I need more of this…” or “There isn’t enough of that…” There was so much that Bekah craved in the Marketplace. One of those jean pocket purses would look so good swinging by her side. And a membership at the Wellness Center would be nice. And a hand massage by the Buckeye Spa would be, well, relaxing. If she was a bookkeeper, she could have all of those things. And more.
“I’d like to speak with the hiring manager, please,” Bekah announced as she slid up to the sales table, polished resume in hand.
“That’s me,” replied Jenna, a 4th grader with big round glasses. “You here for the bookkeeper position?”
“Yep…I mean, yes,” answered Bekah. She needed to nail this interview. Proper language was key. “And I assure you that I am fully qualified. I can do my times tables quicker than anyone in my class. I am as accurate as a calculator. I am organized and neat with my work.”
“Can you start right away?” asked the bespectacled manager.
“Yesterday would have worked,” laughed Bekah. Then realizing that her humor wasn’t appreciated, retracted it with a quick, “I could be here tomorrow.”
Like that, she owned the title of bookkeeper. By the second week, she was fully trained in payroll. She went through each employee’s check, carefully penning his/her name and stipend for the hours worked. Minimum wage was $2 Micros. As bookkeeper, Bekah’s compensation was $4 Micros per day. A nice amount. But not quite enough. At least not right now. Nudging her pen up to the line reading “Amount,” she carefully wrote in her four but followed it by a perfectly round zero. $40 Micros. She smiled smugly. It wouldn’t hurt anyone. And it would help her. Just this once.
Or so she thought. Until Chief Detective Aaron delivered a court subpoena to her. “You have a date with the judge,” he said, stark serious, looking her in the eye, as if she were a criminal. Was she? Before she gave it another thought, she hired herself the best defense lawyer in the whole society-Claire, a 6th grader who fired like a pistol and had a way with words. Hopefully that would work with the judge and jury.
“Pampered Pets‘ account is now overdrawn by $120 Micros,” Cory, a 3rd grade teller revealed on the stand. “Employees won’t get paid this month.” Looking at her five co workers lined up in the courtroom, Bekah saw the impact of her crime. She gulped hard at that thought. Her crime.
So she hatched another plan. A guilty plea. “I didn’t think I would hurt anyone, but I clearly did. And for that I am sorry” she admitted, with a promise to pay back double the amount she owed in damages, while working pro-bono for Pampered Pets. If they would accept her back. Regaining the trust of her peers was worth far more than the pocket purse and massage. Something that no amount of money could buy.