Ronnie’s undeniable success with his great road sign stealing caper, not only elevated his stature with Mark and the rest of the guys… it gave us all the idea that this was kinda, the thing to do. You know… stealing stuff.
Shoplifting things like cigarettes, lighters, beer… pretty much anything that could minimize our overall living expenses (so we could spend on stuff we couldn’t steal, like rent and weed) became an assumed activity at East Center Street. Eventually it was almost assumed as a requirement. Everyone was expected to do their part.
Of course Mark had to set the standard… as usual. Both in quantity and style. While it was still cold, his big trench coat was almost always overflowing with goodies upon his return from an afternoon’s outing of thievery. Often he would make quite a show of how undetectable were the stolen goods hidden in the folds and pockets of his coat. Playacting like Harpo Marx as he pulled out his booty, one item at a time. His face, animated with delight as his audience played along, oohing and aahhing at each piece revealed.
Melvin… heh, Melvin
“Geek Boy” was discovering a coolness he never got over. As long as I knew him after that (which wasn’t long) he assumed a smug air of superiority we all had a huge laugh about. But Melvin was undaunted. Something he had been doing all this time, was now seen as the coolest thing and he was “better at it than anyone”.
He stole so much stuff from work. Thousands of dollars worth. Sometimes what he got seemed to be completely useless, but most of the time he stole things to make him (or his room) look good. Clothes, sunglasses, towels, throw rugs… he even stole expensive floor tile for his room. He eventually would get caught and go to jail, but I gotta hand it to Melvin, he did better than Mark overall, in my book.
I did the best I could, but I was an appalling thief. I had no knack for it. Especially in a store. Mark occasionally took me out on training sessions but, although I never got caught (whew!) I never got more than a few items. Usually small. And I was so freaked out every time, I kinda got a pass from being obligated in this area. Besides… I had a good job and paid rent on time, every time.
Well… that all changed soon enough. By summer, everything changed. I lost my job at 6-D East, and my new job (at a brand new restaurant just opening up) ended up leading to the biggest change of all.
As I said in yesterday’s post, working at Tinklers accompanied changes in me that would eventually lead me down an adventure road and change the trajectory of my life forever.
Keep staying tuned…