“Don’t take it,” Daddy ordered, tapping the top of the cookie jar with his finger.
“Why?” Cynthia asked. At seven years old, she had to stand back and tilt her head up slightly in order to see above the counter. The glass cookie jar sat tantalizingly in the center. D...
<p>“Don’t take it,” Daddy ordered, tapping the top of the cookie jar with his finger.</p>
<p>“Why?” Cynthia asked. At seven years old, she had to stand back and tilt her head up slightly in order to see above the counter. The glass cookie jar sat tantalizingly in the center. Daddy had just put his last cookie inside after arriving home from the factory.</p>
<p>“Because I’m saving it for tomorrow, and to take it would be wrong,” Daddy said.</p>
<p>Cynthia nodded, already considering how she would take the cookie. “Okay, Daddy,” she answered.</p>
<p>“I’m serious,” Daddy warned, whistling like a songbird as he stepped out of the kitchen. Cynthia watched him walk down the short hallway and open the door to the basement.</p>
<p>Daddy seemed to be in a jovial mood. Maybe he was joking, playing a little game with her. Maybe he expected her to take the cookie and was simply testing her. Cynthia yanked a chair back and its long legs dragged across the tile floor with a loud <em>erk!</em></p>
<p>“Cynthia, I’m going downstairs.”</p>
<p>“Okay,” Cynthia chimed nervously.</p>
<p>“Don’t take it,” Daddy reminded her, and with that he shut the door behind him. Cynthia held her breath and listened as the locking mechanism slid into place.</p>
<p>Pulling herself up onto the seat of the chair, Cynthia put her arms on the counter and propped her chin atop her interlocked fingers. Her eyes narrowed on the cookie. Those chocolate chips were dark and thick. Her mouth watered. If Daddy didn’t want her to take the cookie, then why would he leave it out in front of her?</p>
<p>Arms slithering like a snake, Cynthia reached out toward the jar. Her hand opened, fingers spread apart like the legs of a spider. <del data-track-changes-ignore="ignore"><em>A quick move,</em></del> she coached herself. <em>Just take off the top and use your other hand to grab the cookie. Blame it on a squirrel or, since Daddy has a friend coming over soon, say his friend took it.</em></p>
<p>Cynthia froze, her arms stretched out in front of her, her greedy fingers spread. Daddy told her not to take the cookie, so she shouldn’t take it. And yet… the last time she took Daddy’s juice box out of the fridge he caught her, laughed, and told her she was already a part of the family business. She didn’t know what th...