Creepy. Let's start with that.
"The man looked older than God or the Devil."
Okay so you're in a supermarket and this old man shambles over to your cart where your 9 month old baby is holding herself steady in the seat, but just barely. He gives the girl a dirty old quarter, gives her leg a shake, mumbles a few words. Creeped out? Or do you think the whole episode is harmless? Assume creeped out since your daughter doesn't look/act quite the same afterwards. What next? Are there steps to take to ward off bad old man juju?
I won't tell you what the mother, Denise, ultimately does. That would break the #1 rule of reviewing. But I can say the story is a very nice bit of character development hinging on Denise's reaction to that initial encounter in the supermarket.
This story is in the latest issue (July 2014) of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and if you like it, you might want to look up her latest novel: RUIN FALLS from Ballantine Books. Or visit the author at her website.