Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thou Shalt Not Steal

One snowy Saturday when I was about 8, I was at the Ben Franklin five-and-dime on Main Street in Blue Springs, Missouri.  I was “being me” but the store owner found no humor in my actions.

I grabbed a target point arrow (those places sold pretty much everything in 1970 - Sam Walton must have taken notice) and thrust it savagely, business end first, to my belly in an attempt to make my sisters think I had just impaled myself.  I bore on my face my best tortured, “I’m dying” look.

My Shakespearean endeavor had no effect on anyone but the store owner.  I was not aware he had been watching me when he, for various reasons, quickly came to sternly reprimand me.  My mom was a few aisles over and knew nothing of the encounter.

Initially humiliated, I became emboldened.  Embarrassed in front of the very sisters I was trying to entertain, I found solace in the fact that my mom was impervious to the situation.  With my little feelings hurt, I focused on retaliation.

I thought to myself, “Oh yea, tough guy?  You got the drop on me when I wasn’t aware of your surveillance, but let’s just see what happens when I go all reconnaissance on you.”

I started watching the guy and when he was fixed upon other customers I grabbed a pretty little one-ounce vial of red, artsy-craftsy-like paint and stuck it in my pocket.

When we all arrived home I stayed outside to pour the crimson liquid in the snow – it looked quite pretty.  All the while I felt like I had just won a war – or at least struck a blow at Ben Franklin.  Nevertheless I did, before going inside, kick surrounding snow on top of the crime scene to hide the evidence.

This all happened before Close Circuit TV was a mainstay and such crime shows as CSI – but I think I could still pull it off today.  

I’ve never stolen anything since – fortunately, I’ve been told that that crime doesn’t pay.

M. G. Sparks