I apologize in advance if this bores you to tears.
At my elementary school, there was a girl named Donna. She was a very nice and polite girl, and very smart. Always reading a book, and had an excellent vocabulary. But she was not very popular. She was on the heavy side and had long, stringy blonde hair. The clothes she wore were obviously second hand, and the popular girls often made fun of her. The popular girls were always well dressed and had cool hair, and always brought the latest cool thing to school, like slap bracelets.(One of the popular girls brought a brand new video camera in once. It was absurd.) They could be really nasty at times, and I sometimes think about them and hope they grew up to be decent humans instead of the jerks that they were. (I almost called them twats right there, but stopped myself from doing so because calling a child a twat seems awfully mean and petty. A full grown adult though? Twats ahoy. Twat on, you crazy diamond.)
Anyway, despite her unpopularity, I liked Donna. She was a sweet person and I didn't really have any problems with her. We never hung out outside school though.
One day, in the 4th or 5th grade, we were all playing outside in the field for recess. I was walking around with the popular girls. We used to play a lot of chasing and tag games in younger grades, but when we got older, we were way too cool for that and opted to walk laps around the yard instead, following the fence line. The school was in a kind of rural part of Florida, and the fields were big and grassy with very few trees. So, like I said, I was walking the fence with the popular girls. I don't know why. Sometimes they were nice to me. Often, they were just mean. But I guess on that day they were being nice and I was walking with them. We saw Donna sitting at a picnic bench by herself. She was wearing a fancier dress than she normally wore, and white high heels. And she held a small purse by her side.
When we got close to her, we stopped and talked to her for a minute. I don't remember what we talked about. I do remember that the popular girls were making comments to her like, "Nice dress." But it wasn't in a sincere way. It was in that shitty snobby way that they spoke to people. Like she was so far beneath them. Since Donna and I were friends, I grabbed her purse in slow motion and said, "I'm going to steal your fancy purse!" And then immediately handed it back. We all kind of laughed and joked for a minute, and then I kept walking the fence line with those mean girls.
As recess was ending, I heard Donna explaining in a panicked voice to the teacher that her money was lost. That she just had it a few minutes ago, and now it was gone. And then the usual questions from the teacher: Where were you when you lost it? Who was around? What was going on? Every answer pointed directly to me and the popular girls. We were around Donna during recess. We were talking to her, and I was the one who grabbed her purse and joked that I was going to steal it. Donna was visibly upset and got misty eyed.
After recess, we were all called into the Principal's office. Donna's mom was there, waiting in the lobby, while Donna spoke privately to the Principal in her office. The four of us (the popular girls and me) sat down in the seats in the lobby. Donna's mom looked angry. She asked us, "Are you all friends?" We answered yes. Then she glared at us and said, "You're not going to get away with this. They're going to find that seven dollars and you're going to be in trouble." I replied to her, "I didn't take it! I like Donna."
I was scared shitless.
We didn't take Donna's money! She was my friend, and besides, I wouldn't steal money from someone anyway! That was just a crappy thing to do. But holy crap, man. We were terrified. We thought for sure it was going to be pinned on us and we'd get blamed for stealing money that we didn't take. It was maybe the most panicked I ever felt during elementary school.
In the end, nothing happened. I don't think Donna found her lost seven dollars, and none of us got in trouble for it because we didn't have it. But I think sometimes about her mom and the look she gave us. Like she just knew we were guilty, and she hated us for it. And I sometimes wonder what happened to Donna. I've never looked her up, even though there is no mystery for anything anymore, with the magic of Facebook. But I kind of want to keep the mystery, so I haven't looked her up.
Were you ever accused of stealing something that you didn't when you were young? Tell me all of your deepest and darkest false accusations.