Of Virtues and Sins

“Again, how long are we supposed to wait?” Caitlin asked Penelope, as all ten friends sat at the reception of the office of the Carmel Criminal Investigation Department that evening.

Penelope gave her a humoured smile and shrugged. “Till Detective Osborne arrives – is what we were told, anyway.”

“Well, when will he arrive?!”

Penelope giggled at her friend’s impatience. Caitlin never seemed to be calm and collected; rather, she always wanted to finish her tasks as quickly as possible.

“This’ll teach you to wait,” Penelope told her with a grin. “After all, patience is an important virtue to possess!”

Caitlin had begun pacing around, when she stopped in her tracks to give her friend a frown. “Is that so?” she enquired with some sarcasm.

“Yep!” replied Penelope, gleefully.

Caitlin rolled her eyes and shook her head. “You and your silliness!”

“Don’t you think it’s one of a kind, though?” said Kevin, just as cheery as Penelope. “It is actually a good virtue also to be smiling and happy at times like this!”

“Crisis!” corrected Caitlin, resuming her pacing. “During crises and this is not one!”

Looks like she can’t talk sense when she’s tensed, thought Penelope with some  sympathy.

A throat cleared behind Caitlin and all eyes turned to where Ethan and Simon were seated.

“I’m sorry, sister,” Ethan spoke up, “but I have to disagree with you there.”

“Well?” said Caitlin, in a challenging tone of voice.

“Summarising our friends in simple words, it’s a sin to be as impatient as you are right now!” He gave her a beaming smile.

Caitlin did not say anything; she merely grunted and returned to her seat beside Penelope.

Penelope was unable to keep up her playfulness anymore, as she saw her friend depressed. She poked Caitlin on the upper arm. “You hungry? Is that why you’re so short-tempered?”

Touched by these words, the young journalist’s heart instantly melted. She turned to her friend and vigorously nodded her head.

“All right! Come along – we’ll get you something to eat!” Penelope turned around to the others. “Anybody else interested?”

Kevin lifted his arm as he jumped up. “I’ll go with you!”

At once, Caitlin’s little cheeriness deflated just like a balloon. She frowned when Penelope nodded her head in assent.

“Are you kidding me?” she asked the other girl. “You want to bring that clown along?”

“Oh sure!” said Penelope with a laugh. “He’ll be a source of entertainment throughout our journey!”

Judith jumped up from her place and volunteered, “I’ll go with you to mind him, if you want, Cat!”

“Yes, I think that’ll be the best thing,” agreed Caitlin, her joy making a comeback.

“I don’t need a babysitter!” protested Kevin. He turned to his only source of solace. “Please, Penny, don’t let them do this!”

“Well,” replied Penelope, “now that I think about it, even if you are an entertainment for us all, you do need some reigning in!” Saying thus, she walked over to the secretary to let her know that the four would be back soon. The secretary nodded her head and Penelope stepped out of the office, followed by three of her friends.

Kevin was still wailing: “Reigning in, my foot! I’m not a horse! I’m a human being and I need my human rights! Besides, don’t you think that humour is a virtue, too!?”

“Not really,” answered Penelope. “I mean, humour can be entertaining – a medicine in fact – up to a certain level, but not beyond that. Sometimes, even sins can be virtues and virtues sins.”

“This is outrageous! A clear violation of my human dignity! Civil rights activists, where are you when I need you!? Come, help me! This crazy girl here has just violated my right to human dignity! Help! Help!”

Some pedestrians stopped at this apparently outrageous proclamation and turned to stare anxiously at the little group. The three girls, noticing this [much to their chagrin, no doubt!], instantly pounced on the boy, all together, to close his mouth, before he could attract any more attention to them all!


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