where are the sympathetic characters? celeste-maria replied.
i am getting to them.
i would strongly suggest getting to them right now.
oh, all right.
the audience was not a large one, though not so small as samantha had been warned she might find.
samantha smiled bravely and took a sip of her bottle of water .
tonight, she announced to the gathering of bored and sullen young people in a back room of the y, our topic is crime. more specifically, that crime does not pay.
did it ever? asked a young man slouched in the second row.
ha ha, a good question, samantha replied. which leads right into the first thing i was going to say - which is that the crime i am referring to as not paying is not the dictionary definition of crime - any illegal activity - but crime as most people think of it - the crime you see in the movies . where one person sticks a gun in somebody else’s face and takes their money - or their painting or jewelry or whatever which they will sell for money. maybe a hundred years ago that kind of crime paid - for a few people - but it does not pay now and has not for a long time.
samantha paused, but nobody in the audience spoke or asked a question. the young man in the second row who had asked the previous question had a bit of a sneer on his face but kept silent and slouched a little lower in his seat.
does anybody have any ideas why this might be so? samantha continued.
a small girl seated in the front row - who seemed to be the youngest and smallest person in the audience - raised her hand.
yes? samantha pointed to her.
is it because of cash? asked the girl.
that is a good answer, samantha told her with a smile. not the whole answer but a good answer. what is your name, by the way?
my name is lucinda, said the small girl.
thank you for your input, lucinda. now, if i may digress for a moment, i have a chart i would like you all to look at.
samantha flipped a switch and a screen behind her lit up. it showed a simple chart with a column of words and two columns of numbers.