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'The Stolen Bag' by 'amber'

To them it was paydirt! Another handbag left in another car by another woman in a hurry. To them it was the jackpot, the fat wallet in among the usual eclectic mixture that's is a woman's bag. To them all but the wallet was dross, something to be dumped over the ditch when they had what they came for.

To the farmer it was danger to his animals. A pile of discarded rubbish in the corner of his field. To him it was another indication of the disposable age we live in, bags, papers, bottles all dumped. On closer inspection he saw it for what it was. The discarded bags and their contents and his decent heart knew this was no ordinary trash, this was stolen lives.

To the policeman it was a nuisance. A pile of ‘women's things' all jumbled and dirty. Make-up diaries, keys, papers, babies' toys. To him it was paperwork he hadn't time to do and phone calls he hadn't time to make. ‘Why do you keep so much stuff in your bags?' he sighed to the white-faced woman in front of him , sifting her way thro the pile of remnants of her and several other women's lives. She didn't bother to answer.

But to her it was loss. Loss on several levels. Loss of the irreplaceable. Loss of the replaceable. Loss of dignity and privacy. Loss of things never to be regained, Loss of her peace of mind.

They took the coins that were in her father's pocket when he died. They were her talismans that she felt his precious DNA was on. They took her diary with all her family and friends birthdays carefully catalogued. They took her phone with every number of every contact. They took her vital pain tablets. Her glasses. The CD mix that the man she loved had made especially for her. Her key. All her private papers thereby taking her identity.

She stood in the police station reluctant to touch the jumbled pile of personal effects in front of her feeling she and the others had been violated enough without her pawing thro them but finding slight solace in the fact that she hadn't been alone that day. Obviously, judging by the assortment of bags several women had been victims of the mindless thieves that day.

She gathered together the scant wreckage of her belongings and walked to the door. The policeman called after her ‘How much money exactly did you lose'. She realised she hadn't even looked for the wallet.

To them, it was what they were after.

To her, it was nothing.