Sometimes I shoplift. Nothing major, just lipgloss or small items or a snack, kombucha, maybe some candy. I’m ethical and reasonable. i don’t shoplift from mom and pop stores, people i know (although I used to steal from frat parties; frozen pizzas, alcohol, a stapler I needed once, coasters). Only those deserving like major corporations or assholes or frat parties, sure.If I can tuck it in my purse, eat it on the way out, accidentally take the sample or forget to check it at the self-check line, I do that. It’s not that I like ripping people off.
“I like saving money,” I said to my partner pulling the bike lights out of my bookbag. “Look. I took these from Target. For us.”
I had bought us both bikes to get around. We had just moved to Colorado and we needed transportation. I bought the bikes but I couldn’t afford the helmets and lights. I bought the helmets.
“Will you teach me?” he said.
I showed him how to take kombucha from Whole Foods one night. I nudged him and as we put things through the self check line, I forgot to pass him the kombucha and a pack of gum from the pile and placed it in my bag without swiping as he swiped the rest across the barcode scanner. I always brought my own bags so I simply placed everything next to the bagging area and then when I was done, after the receipt spit out, I packed everything in. This way, you don’t worry about weight and you shove a couple extra things in your bag either while you are shopping or when you are in line.
On stealing days, I hold the door for everyone and smile. I linger even, very casually. Sometimes I walk into places to fill my coffee up in my travel mug and walk out, smiling and complimenting people on the way out. I once got really stoned and accidentally tried to buy the sample eyeshadow. I almost got it for free except one of the managers ran over and stopped me. I think samples are gross but I learned a new trick.
I always act nonchalant about everything. Apathy is not a performance. I am always ready to say I simply forgot. I rehearse. One time I swallowed a tube of castor oil to make myself throw up so I could call in sick to a new job at a retail store. I couldn’t lie. I had to make myself sick first and then believe it. It’s the same with shoplifting. I tuck it in my bag and then actively forget about it so as I walk out the door, it’s as if I never took anything or told a lie or committed any sin.
The room was looking at her waiting for more but she stayed stoic.
“Wait do we make guesses?”
Marisol took a sip of her beer.
“We did last year.”
“You said you can’t tell a lie? Fuck I can’t remember.”
“No and you can’t ask her anything.”
“I think she’s telling the truth.”
“LIE,” Marisol yelled and began to pick up the bowl from the side of the mattress. “She’s got a better truth, I can tell.”
David coughed, “Truth.”
Everyone turned to face the meek Salome in the corner.
“Truth,” she muttered.
“Well then,” the narrator smiled at Marisol. “Shall we continue to the next story?”
Marisol gritted her teeth and so did the woman. If looks could kill, they’d both be dead.
“The woman who told the stories, confession #1”