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After I moved out of the upper flat that we shared, Lee stayed for a few months, then moved back in with her parents. She was finishing up her psychology degree, and I was working as a tech support monkey. She had established some contact with family she had in Ohio and was making frequent trips one state down. She met a guy and fell in love with him, and some subtle things started to get weird with Lee. She started collecting Barbie dolls, and was struggling harder with her bulimia. She bought a few healthy diet books and cookbooks, and began to work out almost obsessively. She would not eat any processed sugar whatsoever. She told me at one point that she would have her boyfriend eat a large bowl of Frankenberry cereal and describe to her in detail what it tasted like, since she refused to eat it. One night she and I went out to a crappy meat market bar and we were sitting at the bar next to a little black purse. We came and went, dancing, flirting, always coming back to the bar. The purse was still there. I put it behind the bar and told the bartender that someone had left it on the seat, he acknowledged very briefly (he probably thought it was mine) and walked away. We stayed there for at least 3 hours, and when we left, we did something evil. We took the little black purse.

We inspected the contents: makeup, driver's license, mastercard, about six dollars in singles. We were completely energized and half drunk in the parking lot and discussed what we should do. Where could we go? What if we got caught? I told her my sister had done it before - if we wanted to do it, we should go to a big 24 hour Walmart type store and use it now, before she had time to cancel it. We justified our theft with the idea that she wouldn't have to pay for it - she'd just report it stolen and MasterCard would wipe her slate clean. She might even get the charge wiped off at the bar. Giddy, we drove to the local Walmart ripoff and bought stuff. Makeup, a blender, a Barbie doll, household general crap that we both wanted, but wouldn't have paid for if we had to do it honestly.

We took our loot up to the register and watched the woman as she checked us out. We hadn't thought about what we would do if the credit card had already been cancelled. The total rang up - about 300 dollars. I slid the card through the reader and held my breath. The clerk started making small talk. Lee looked like a deer caught in headlights. I chattered nervously. The seconds ticked by and the fluorescents winked down from above. The buzz I had from the bar was fading fast. We were never going to get away with this. Why was it taking so long? We were going to have to just leave all this stuff and book it out of the store. We would probably be on video cameras, and be stopped by security.

The reader beeped. The receipt started printing. I signed the girl's name and blood rushed into my face. Lee looked ashen. We walked out of the store without bending our knees, high heels clicking as we stalked into the parking lot. We were pumped with adrenaline and I had a low feeling in my gut, I wanted to leave all that stuff there and just go home and take a shit. We drove back to Lee's parents' house and took Lee's stuff inside. The shock had worn off and we realized that we had just Gotten-Away-With-It. Lee had expensive multipacks of her favorite condoms, it would have cost her 40 dollars. Free. Makeup. Free. Crock Pot. Free. Barbie. Free.

I didn't want to do anything but go to sleep. The whole experience seemed surreal, but Lee was focused - she was very carefully opening the Barbie's box and sliding her out of the little display. She smoothed its hair and dress, and then turned the doll, still attached to its cardboard backdrop, upside down and began peering up its dress. I asked her what she was doing.

"I have to check and see if they wear panties."

As if this was the most normal thing in the world. She went on to explain to me that she checked all of her Barbies for underpants. Sometimes they were molded on to the doll's body, and the particularly expensive ones would have their own little white cotton undies. I found it funny that a doll wearing a silk dress would wear cotton briefs underneath it. This last exchange of the night minimized our theft. Reduced our evil. The next day, I gathered up my loot and I went home. I cut up the credit card and license into bits, wrapped them up with her makeup in a couple of papertowels and stuffed it into a sandwich bag. Then I cleaned out my refrigerator and emptied the food garbage into its own garbage bag. I put this stuff in with the food garbage, thinking that my extra cautious disposal of this evidence would never be traced back to our shopping spree. It never was, but karma is good for making sure we both got back what we sowed in other ways.

Lee Stories

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