Back in middle school, I had a time period where I hung around some less-than-good-influence friends. I remember one day in particular, where me and “Teri” where on a crime spree. It wasn’t like Thelma and Louise, but for my world, it was dramatic enough at 15.
We started our binge early. We took off to the mall and ran around being annoying. We were loud and obnoxious teenagers. I think that was the extent of the plan originally, but it must have bored “Teri.” For after a little bit, she suggested we steal some things. I was hesitant at first. I didn’t want to get in trouble. I was scared. But she told me she did it all the time. She could tell me how to not get caught. I had never really stolen anything that I could remember, so there was an air of excitement and danger. And of course, I didn’t want to look like a chicken. So, I agreed to shoplift with her.
I recall it started small with some jewelry and then quickly escalated into some clothes. Some how we wound up with one of those big paper shopping bags with the handles. This became our crime basket. At one point, we were in some shoe store that has the boxed shoes on the racks. We put shoes right into our shopping bags and just walked out. I remember those shoes too. There were candy apple red heels with tacky laces. They were way out of my comfort zone of style too. But, they were racy and sexy, or so I thought. I was 15. I wanted to be sexy and racy too. So, I stole them.
We started to feel like we were being watched. I assume we probably were at that point as we had a big shopping bag full of stuff. We left the mall and walked over to the Kmart that was across the parking lot. While there, we circled the store laughing and joking around – dragging our stolen goods with us along the way. We were about to steal some bandanas when “Teri” alerted me it was time to go. I got nervous as her entire demeanor changed. But she acted all nonchalant. I knew she was worried though. It wasn’t normal for her act the way she was. As we were about to leave the store, some “security” men stopped us. They wanted to look through our bags. I panicked and immediately thought, “This is it. I am going to jail and getting kicked off the cheerleading team. My life is ruined.”
The men looked though our bags. I held back tears only for fear of looking like a guilty chicken. So I tried to hide terror with attitude. “Teri” acted annoyed but was accommodating to the men as she knew there were no stolen Kmart items in our bags. Of course, there were no receipts in the bag either.
They let us go as they could not tie us to any theft at their store, but you could tell they knew. They knew we were punk shoplifting kids. I felt like a punk. I was ashamed of myself. That pretty much ruined the buzz of the day and I headed home, but my shame didn’t stop there. I still had this bag of stolen plunder when I got home. I tried to hid it in the attic. I didn’t want it to be seen. But my mom saw it anyway. She questioned me. She lectured me. But I never squealed. I never confessed. Whatever lame story I told her left her with doubt in her eyes, and that made me feel even worse. It made me feel like I had just earned those tacky red heels. After that, I avoided all and any activity with shoplifting and the only time I wore those tacky red shoes was for Halloween…where I dressed up as a punk.