I never could’ve imagined such an addiction to excel beyond my control. I walked in the direction of the exit, without any spike of concern. Nevertheless I was on the phone with my mother, which coincidently distracted my thinking when I should’ve been most alert. Asking what was for dinner, I nonchalantly proceeded through the first automatic door. Unconsciously I predicted that within a few strides through the second door, my feet would be grounded by the outside parking lot. Unfortunately before I could make my way out the door, the ground vanished descending me into free fall when a hand plunged into my chest and its owners authoritative voice assert, “Come with me sir.”
Four months earlier, on a hot summer day when work wasn’t as important, what I did in my spare time was still monitored by parental authorities, and when I was most susceptible to peer pressure from others, my friends and I strolled into the parking lot of Wal-Mart. Us four goons sprung out of the car, slamming the doors simultaneously and all pulling up our jeans for them only to sag back beneath our gluts. Eric, Chase, Brad, and I wobbled toward the store entrance like an army of king penguins. Eric had requested that we stop at Wal-Mart before we dropped him off at his house. Uncertain of why all of us had ventured in together, I am told to stay with Brad and walk around until we are notified that they are ready to leave. At the time, whatever these kids did, how they spoke, I emulated and translated into my own vocabulary. I was a complete and utter follower. Doing as instructed, Brad and I made our way around Wal-Mart.
Still confused to why we split up, all of us found our seats, inside of Brads weathered 1998 Cadillac. The black leather interior, murdered with knife stabbings, burn marks on the head rests and every kind of fast food wrapper and bag cluttered under both the driver and passenger seats. Eric and Chase began to empty their pockets, pulling out gum, lighters, eye drops, condoms, and candy all missing something in common. The packaging. I couldn’t believe it. They had stolen all of this and walked out undetected. I grilled them for next hour on how they did it, how they avoided the cameras, and how they managed to take everything out of its packaging. Every answer I received fueled me to think of how easy it would be and how much money I could save if I understood the art of retail fraud.
Shoplifting became a habit acquired through the high panic level, risk, and invincibility it made me feel. Every time I stepped outside a store, serotonin and dopamine rushed to my head like any drug addicts addiction would. But like most drugs, if consumed at enormous rates, it won’t take long to hit rock bottom. Unfortunately the day came where I had to figure this out the hard way.
There I sat in the corner of a white room with tears brewing in both eyes. My wallet, phone, keys, and stolen items lay in front of me on the desk where a Wal-Mart security personnel punched his fingers into the keyboard. Moral codes began buzzing inside my head, wondering how I ended up in this situation. My phone continued to ring from my mother wondering why I suddenly hung up on her. Overloading questions bombarded my thinking for how I could get out of this without my parents knowing. It was too late when the security officer picked up my phone to talk to my mother. That was it, I wanted to be dead, right there and then, fall straight down and shut the lights off. What a disappointment to my family this would be.
Her scolding glare radiated tension from across the room. The kind of glare that shy’s anyone away from ever wanting children in case they ever find their own child in a situation like mine. I was trapped in a nightmare that I couldn’t seem to wake up from. My mother did not say a word to me. Suddenly a police officer walked into