“How much for these,” she asked pointing to the desired fruit.
“Four dollars a pound,” retorted the gruff voice of the vendor.
“Four dollars!” Judy exclaimed, thinking his prices too steep. She could still smell the tantalizing fragrance of the peaches. They were her favorite fruit. However, she was a very frugal person. . .
“Will you accept three dollars per pound?” She asked hopefully.
The man eyed her with dripping annoyance; “Three-Fifty,” came the booming voice.
“Thank you” she retorted jubilantly despite his sorry disposition. He motioned for her to select her peaches. She picked up a bag and began to fill it with her peaches. Then she handed it to the vendor for him to weigh, hoping she would not exceed three pounds.
She watched as the vendor sat her bag of peaches upon the scale with his right hand. He was leaning so close to it. Her eyes fixed on his left hand, almost imperceptible, but there it was, he was adding weight to the scale. The nerve of him, she thought as she glanced at the calculation rising to five pounds. She knew full well there was no five pounds of peaches in that bag. Maybe he just wasn’t paying attention.
“That will be $17.50,” his gruff manner pulling her out of her thoughts.
“No, I’m sorry, but there isn’t five pounds of peaches in that bag” Judy responded indignantly.
“You saw the weight madam”
“I also saw your left hand on the scale.”
“What of it?” He snapped.
“What of it?” she repeated, her astonishment rising. “What of it? I’ll tell you what of it. It is wrong, that’s what.”
“Who are you to tell me how to run my business?”
“You must be fair to your customers.”
“Why? I make more money my way.”
“But it’s wrong.”
“So you say.”
“Not just me, everyone knows that’s not right, it’s stealing.” She was unnerved at this point.
“Lots of people steal” he argued.
“That doesn’t make it right.”
“It’s right to me,” he countered.
“You don’t determine right and wrong.” Judy insisted.
“And you do?” he scoffed.
She looked at him askance. She was unprepared for this verbal assault on her philosophy of right and wrong. She just wanted peaches. How had this turned into a philosophical debate?
“The law,” she retorted, “the law says it’s wrong.”
“Who’s law?” He questioned.
“The law of this city . . . this country!” Judy exclaimed.
“I don’t care about the law.”
“You ought to.”
“Because you just ought to, everyone knows that.” Judy exasperatedly retorted.
“Look, young lady, if you can’t come up with a better reason why I “ought to” other than because “everyone knows that” I see no reason to waste my time further with you.”
Judy stared at him. The audacity of this man, she thought. Tears filled her eyes and she glanced around the busy market place trying to decide if she should just walk away or if there was some greater standard of morality to which she could appeal. Her eyes fell on a small ceramic of Moses and the Ten Commandments. She brightened and turned back to the vendor. Just then a loud siren came out of no where.
The market place began to slip away into a memory of sorts . . . the sound was getting louder and louder. Suddenly she opened her eyes and smacked off her alarm clock. She sat up thinking about her dream. The answer is “God” she mused to herself, “God is why you ought to. He’s the one that is the standard of goodness.”