| The carpet is an old, handmade, Portuguese Arraiolos with a splendid wildflower design in a cream background, lovingly taken care of and preserved as the focal point of the library, where it has been since my thrice great-aunt Belinda purchased it. Our love of and pride in the carpet is such that it nearly destroyed Mother when she found a garish shade of lipstick smeared- no, ground- into a corner.
The library has never heard such screaming, nor such curses called down upon the head of whoever was careless enough to create such a blemish.
"It wasn't ME!" I yelled at Mother, "I don't wear lipstick!"
"Then who was it?" she demanded.
"No clue, but I'm sure we'll figure it out."
"Well, who's been to the house over the last few days? That mark isn't too old, otherwise Martha would have said something after she cleaned the library Saturday."
Just then, I spotted a silver chain peeping out from under the carpet. Pulling it out, I found an ornate, square, silver locket swinging from the chain.
"What?" Mother pounced on my words.
"I know who this belongs to."
"And I don't think she knows it's missing!"
I called my space-cadet cousin, Nora, who has a three year old girl, and asked, "Are you missing your locket?"
"YES! Where is it?"
"I have it. Did you bring your kid over lately?"
"Did she get to play with your purse?"
"You know I always let her do that- it keeps her out of my hair!"
"Yeah, well, she smeared your bloody lipstick into the carpet and it's gonna need cleaning- either that, or new stitches!"
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