Shoplifter Shop Lifted

John had reverted to shoplifting. He has after all a habit again to feed till the Subitex comes. He gave me £10 because I’d said once he was working I might give Quentin £10 a week.

I didn’t see why John shouldn’t take drugs if he wanted to or shoplift either since he’s good at it. How bad could that be for his soul? But I have an unconscious which directs things and has other ideas. I’m not saying it took a hand but what occurred has my man’s print all over it. I told John two things: one, nothing bad would happen to us and on his way out, two, he’d get caught which in shoplifting circles is not done. It’s the gypsy’s curse.

I had a quiet day, Leslie keeping me from cooking and Diana from eating. John returned. It’s been the worst day of his life. He’d been arrested.

He was browsing in Marks, trying on an overcoat which he put back. On leaving he was stopped. Where the jackets were was an empty hanger and he was accused of wearing the stolen jacket. He was escorted to a room for interrogation, the police were going to be called. It only needed him to be taken to the station and his handprint recognised for him to be returned to prison. John was in tears at the prospect. He does cry easily. He was told if he admitted the theft he would be let off. He didn’t fall for that one, maintaining his innocence. Did he look like a shoplifter? Had he come in without a jacket? Who knew? The CCTV camera at the door was pointing in the wrong direction for any confirmation. He was asked to take of his jacket by the woman interrogator who took one look and showed whatever she’d looked at to the security guard who nonetheless persisted with his charge. She, however, changed to profuse apologising. John looked to see what she’s seen and he hadn’t himself: a River Island label. It was not a Marks’ jacket. (It was one he’d changed into in a charity shop, leaving his own clothes there, like a snake sloughing.) John tried for the overcoat but at £99 that was a compensation too far.

Shoplifters don’t lift from Marks because it has the best security, banks of CCTV screens continuously monitored by two men. Both my prophetic words came true then: no harm would come and he’d get caught. He says he’ll never shoplift again. “How many lessons do you need?”

He did go on to the pub in Shepherd’s Bush where occasional heroin users congregate but was too perturbed to watch the football. When he told them of my gypsy curse, they were aghast. “Superstitious addicts!” I remarked. I had to laugh.

When he said he’d never shoplift again, it didn’t apply to cheese, beer or newspapers, small things no shop would act on because not worth the cost – except the beer, indicative of addiction and continual lifting. “It’s not worth the risk,” I point out, yet again, and he does agree but he’s so volatile and the trait engrained that, “I don’t think you’ll ever stop,” and feel something akin to despair.


About johnbrucecairns

I'm a retired history teacher who's written for most of his life with a book readied for publication.
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