Who steals the money in Walking to the Bus-Rider Blues?
There are two cases of money being stolen in the story. The first is the mysterious pilfering from the rent money the Merryfields struggle to save each month. The second is the theft of a money-clip holding two thousand dollars which the Merryfields are accused of stealing from Dr. Williams's house.
It is Mama Merryfield who is stealing from the rent money the family is collecting. A man and a woman who used to be a social worker come in the night occasionally and rough Mama up, threatening to report her to the authorities and have Alfa and Zinnia taken away from her if she does not give them money for drinks and drugs. The woman understands how the System works, and knows that if she claims that Mama is too old and poor to care for the children, they will be taken away. In order to keep the children, Mama has been stealing from the rent money to keep the unscrupulous blackmailers at bay.
Dr. Williams's money was stolen by his wife. She had hoped to pin the blame on the Merryfields, who had been working at the house the day the money turned up missing. Despite their apparent affluence, the Williamses were having financial difficulties because of the Doctor's propensity for gambling. Mrs. Williams, who gets very little spending money from her husband, gave part of the money to her ne'er-do-well brother Paul, and used the rest to buy expensive plants for her beloved garden. She pawned the clip which held the two thousand dollars to get even more money.