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May 7, 2007

Arlington Texas – Spring 2003

Its obvious he's running a scam. No one I've heard of sells brand new laptops for one hundred and sixty dollars. The fat black man sweating in the sun is laughable. But how far will he go with this? How stupid does he think I am?

“Where did you get it?” I ask.

"Best Buy" he says. "I work there." His racket is signing laptops as ‘lost items’ after each delivery, then selling to college students. But I'm not a college student. I live in a van. I have no money. He doesn't know that. And he also doesn't know I don't have a hundred and sixty dollars. Or that I've got nothing better to do but waste his time – all day.
April 14, 2007

Phase two of our scheme happens in the moments I've got my foot on the gas keeping this piss colored van sputtering through the first rays of morning while Mandy sits in the back – stretching latex over a nozzle – preparing the stolen balloons. We’ve got the good colors. Pink, black, green... well... actually... it's my fault for making a mistake in the isles of Wal-Mart – mistaking GREEN for BLUE before slipping the package into my pocket. We were avoiding blue, but... it's too late. Screw it. We've got everything – balloons, helium tank, reel of nylon twine, and one crazy fucking idea. No turning back.
March 23, 2007

The Suburbs, Winter 2003-2004

Nothing more frightening than waking to a fat man flickering the lights and asking “What the hell are you doing in MY house?” Knowing a wrong answer would make me the hotdog between his ass cheeks. Would four hundred pounds of pressure or asphyxiation kill me first? My first thought is holding my hands up in desperation to say “Please don’t sit.” Instead I need something else. Like a story. The first ten seconds awake and I’m rubbing my eyes forced to think of a good lie – and fast. The fat man isn’t getting any happier.

“Uh… I'm sorry. I'm having problems with parents, and Mandy said it’d be alright if I stayed here.” Then I look at him, and he looks at me. One second taking too long. But he finally nods.

“Get up, I’ll give you a ride home.”
March 6, 2007

To be used for touring the ‘behind the scenes’ aspect of your town, or staying overnight in campus libraries without getting caught – which is where I sit typing this – using internet computers and knowing I have shelves of books all to myself. The phrase “circulation desk closes in five minutes” had no effect other than giving me a cue to hide. Fifteens minutes later, I emerge with complete control of EVERYTHING – a feeling equated with being a kid left alone in their parents’ house.

Forget rules. Time to go nuts.

Shoes go off, and I run between shelves in the dark, calming down only to peruse the ‘lost and found’ drawer behind the reference desk and read email accounts of people who forgot to log-off last minute. From basement to attic – tonight it’s all mine.
February 23, 2007

It’s easier (and funnier) when making the employees shoplift for me. Reason why I’m in Border’s caf? strategically sitting two steps from the side exit and one arm length from the trash can. Replacing the conventional ‘smuggling out the door’ for the better ‘merch through the trash’ method – ensuring the goods to be out back by midnight.
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