Up from the Carrot Ranch this week, we are stealing. October 7, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a thief or a theft. Consider motives and repercussions. Is the act a matter of perception? Is it a daring maneuver or a desperate bid for survival? Think about different instances of stealing.
I have already confessed to both my career as a thief’s assistant and accessory to a shop-o-choc-o-lift-aholic here.
I’m really not genetically or temperamentally or culturally or any other -ally way attuned to crime. It’s not that I’m good or moral or anything. No rather I fear punishment and approbation more than I could ever enjoy or exult in the thrill of crime. I’m also irredeemably middle class and lucky to have lived my life in a comfortable if not always affluent situation so not needed to resort to desperate measures.
In a way, living a sanitised life is crap for a writer. You need to understand the edge to be able to peer over it and wonder what if….? It’s a drawback, for sure and the greater my involvement in this writing life, the more often I find myself thinking ‘what would it be like if I…?’ Mostly the answer is the same. Embarrassing.
Which would be mildly amusing if the truth weren’t that as a fifty something white male I’m allowed the benefit of the doubt. Fr’instance, imagine the scene. A man goes into a shop, looking for a tooth brush. He finds one and as he turns knocks the shelves. He reaches out and stops it falling but to put it back he needs to lose the toothbrush. All he can do is put it in his pocket. He does so and restores the shelf as an assistant appears, offers help and shows concern. The man is mildly shaken and leaves the shop. He is stopped. If it was me the shop assistant might say, ‘Sir, the tooth brush?’ I’d apologize and go to pay etc. If it was a teenage boy, especially if from a minority group, wearing a hoodie, would the reaction be the same?
We all make assumptions… like in this little flash instalment involving, as usual, Mary North.
The benefit of the doubt
‘Hey, what are you doing?’
Mary turned at her daughter’s voice. Immediately her maternal instincts rose alongside her hackles. ‘Let her go!’
A shop assistant pulled Penny away from the fruit section.
‘Are you her mother?’
‘I most certainly am. What…?’
‘She was stealing the grapes.’
‘I was just trying one, Mum. It…’
‘Penny! How could you? I’m terribly sorry.’
‘This time, madam….’
‘Yes of course.’
In the car, ‘Penny you know that was wrong…’
‘Grandpa always tasted the grapes to make sure they were sweet. No one stopped him. It’s not fair.’
‘No, Penny, it isn’t.’
If you need to catch up with Mary, here is the link to the previous episodes