One Saturday morning Karen McCarey and Carla Sanchez were up early. They were at the kitchen table eating breakfast with Karen's adopted sons Norman and Jay who were thirteen and eight.

"What do you have planned today Carla?"

"Nothing now. What about you? Don't you have to work?"

"Not today. I'm off."

That's when Carla thought of something.

"Hey Karen since the two of us don't have any plans for today do you want to go to the mall?"

"Sure. Why not?"

"Want to leave soon?"

"All right Carla. That means I have to look for a baby – sitter on such short notice."

After the four finished eating Karen called around Detroit looking for a baby – sitter who could look after Norman and Jay. It turned out nobody was available. Karen sighed and put the phone back in the cradle after getting her last no.

"Any luck?"

"Nobody's open today Carla. Who else can we get?"

Carla thought of something.

"I know somebody."



"All right. I'll go call Marlene and see if she could be here," Karen said picking up the cordless phone for one last time.

Karen remembered Marlene lived at their friends', Bill and Tina Thompson's house so she dialed the number. It rang a couple of times.

"Marlene in?" Karen asked when Bill answered the phone.

It was a minute or two later when Karen heard Marlene's voice come on.

"I have a favor to ask."


"Carla and I have a free day today. We want to spend our day shopping at the mall. I called all over Detroit to find a baby – sitter on such short notice and nobody's open," Karen told Marlene.

"I get it. You're telling me you called every single baby – sitter here in Detroit and every one of them told you they're too busy?"

"That's right Marlene. So can you watch after Norman and Jay for the day? Please?"

"Well, all right. I'm on my way now," Marlene said as the two women hung up.

"Is Marlene going to do it?"

"She's on her way now."

"I knew Marlene would say yes."

Several minutes later Marlene Potsie was at the front door. Carla let her older cousin into the house.

"Thanks Coz," Marlene said as Carla shut the door.

"Marlene's here!"

Karen walked down the stairs, purse in hand.

"Thanks for being here on such short notice Marlene. We would be back before dinner or so."

"All right. I know the emergency numbers."


Carla offered to drive.

"Okay. I can drive on the way home."


"I'd like to get my hair changed while we're at the mall."

"Again? I know it's winter."

"I know. That's why I'm changing out of red right?"

"I guess."

Karen sighed. Several minutes later both girls were at the parking lot at the mall.

After locking the car the two women walked into the mall purses on their shoulders. Once Carla and Karen walked in the mall they found a directory and went through every store on the directory that looked interesting.

"Mind if I go to Regis first to change my hair?"

"Go ahead."

Karen walked with Carla to Regis and walked around the mall. While walking around Karen saw a man in his thirties with dark glasses in ROSS. She walked closer to the store to have a closer look. She watched the man in the dark sunglasses wearing gloves carrying a suitcase. Why would he be wearing gloves and carrying a suitcase in the mall? Karen wondered.

She watched as the man headed for the women's clothing area of the store. He never once took off his gloves or glasses Karen noticed. She thought she was happy she'd had a pair of handcuffs with her that day. She'd never know when she'd needed them. She watched as the man opened the suitcase and put a pair of women's bras, panties, pajamas, bathing suits and everything else women usually wore.

Karen cleared her throat. The man looked up at her.

"You are under arrest for shoplifting. I watched your every move. The police are on their way to take you in for custody. You are to remain silent."

The sheriff arrived in minutes.

"Thank you for calling Karen. This man is a suspect for shoplifting in eight other states."

"I was walking around the mall and caught him."

The sheriff patted her on the back and left with the man and the suitcase.

Karen walked back to Regis and found Carla paying for her hair. She was happy to see she made it back in time to pick up Carla.

"You ready?"

"You bet."

"I heard the sheriff was here. What happened?"

"A man is a suspect at ROSS for shoplifting. He's been wanted for shoplifting in eight other states."

"Wow. Good thing you caught him. Where do you want to go next?"

She was in the mood for clothes shopping today.

"I don't know. Do you have any ideas?"

"Are you in the mood to look at clothes?"

"Sure. Let's go."

The two friends headed for JCPenney. They headed straight for the clothes. Carla was the first to notice the prices.

"Karen look at these prices. Kinda like the gas prices."

"Higher than that."

Can't buy me love, love

Can't buy my love

I'll buy you a diamond ring my friend

If it makes you feel all right

I'll get you anything my friend

If it makes you feel all right

'Cause I don't care too much for money

For money can't buy me love

I'll give you all I've got to give

If you say you love me too

I may not have a lot to give

But what I've got I'll give to you

I don't care too much for money

For money can't buy me love

Can't buy me love

Everybody tells me so

Can't buy me love

No no no, no

Carla found a Ralph Lauren outfit she liked but it wasn't in her budget.

"Isn't this a nice outfit Karen?"

"It sure is."

Both girls saw the price on the outfit read $1,599.99. They both knew they couldn't afford it. The girls looked at other outfits that were also out of their budget but they did enjoy looking at the clothes.

"I guess from now on we'll have to make our own clothes because clothes today are getting such high prices."

"I'll agree to that. I'm done shopping. Are you?"

"Yes. We can now return to Marlene and the kids."

The two women headed for the parking lot and to their car.

This time Karen drove on the way home. They parked in the driveway minutes later. After taking the key out of the ignition Karen and Carla walked into the house as the clock began to strike one o'clock in the afternoon. Marlene walked out of the kitchen.

"You two are home early," Marlene said to her younger cousin and friend after saying hello.

"We're back all right."

"Did you spend your money?"

"We couldn't Marlene. All the clothes now aren't affordable. We have to make our own clothes from now on."


"How were the boys?"

"Like little angels."

"That's good."

"You dyed your hair again Coz."

"I did."

Marlene liked the blue Carla put in her hair for the wintry season. Karen was opening her purse to give Marlene a twenty-dollar bill.

"Here Marlene."

"No thanks."

"Please take it Marlene. You looked after the kids."

Marlene took the twenty-dollar bill from Karen.

"I really don't need it but thank you."

"Marlene guess what Karen did at the mall this morning?"

"What's that?"

"Karen arrested a man at ROSS for shoplifting."

"Is this true?"

"Yes, Marlene. This guy is a suspect for shoplifting in eight other states."


She couldn't think of anything else to say.

"I've got to go women. I've got a date tonight."

"Thanks again Marlene."

The two friends watched as Marlene got to her motorcycle and put her helmet on. Marlene jumped on her motorcycle and was gone.

Author's note: Lyrics to Can't Buy Me Love are not mine. They belong to the Fab 4.