Monday, November 30, 2009

Fucking people with sick kids

As I type, I am surrounded by snotrags, a half empty bottle of NyQuill, and cough drops, mostly mine but a growing number belonging to the husband who took a little longer to come down with it. I can thank my newly added decor and screaming sinus headache to the parents of some sickass kids who just HAD to be brought to Thankgsiving dinner. Of course, they assured us it was ok because "They're on antibiotics!". Because you know, if the kids are on antibiotics, the rest of us will be immune to their plague. Morons. Both kids had a terrible time. They screamed and cried a solid 4 hours, all the while covered in boogers. I'm sure mom and dad had a good time though, and that's what counts, right? Can't have mom and dad left at home while fun things are happening elsewhere!

If you have kids, and they are sick, leave them the fuck home. No one wants to share in whatever nasty, snot inducing viral infection they're carrying. Taking them along to public functions only tells the rest of the world what a selfish fuck you really are. Trust me, your kids are not so entertaining that they're worth suffering a 102 degree fever for 2 days over. Stay home. We'll send a sacrificial lamb over with some food.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Cardinal Sins of Crime

When setting upon the path that ain't so straight and narrow, there are a million things one must keep in mind in order to avoid capture. However, when it comes to deadly sins, there are but a few rules that should be carved in stone.

Stay Alert
By stay alert, I mean, stay off the shit. Don't commit crimes while drunk or high. It's not only stupid, it adds to the bust should you get caught. Taking a shot of Jack to settle your nerves is fine. Drinking half a keg before vandalizing someone's car is just fucking ignorant. You'll be sloppy and loud for starters, and should you puke all over the tires in the process, you've just left a bucketfull of DNA behind should the cops care to take it that far. (probably not, but you never know) As for toking up first, do you really need to add to your paranoia? Crack, coke, meth, etc will ramp you up too much to be of any use. You need to be alert and fairly calm, not climbing the fucking walls while picking at your zits. I know plenty of shit is done by tweakers, but those guys don't give a shit if they get caught. They're only looking to score. You, OTOH, would prefer to run amok without having disco lights flashing in your rear view. Right?

Tell No One
The only way two people can keep a secret is if one of them is dead. No matter how much your friend swears they'll take it to the grave, what they really mean is they'll take it to bed. Whoever they're sleeping with will be the next person to find out. Then that person will tell their best friend, who will tell whoever he's banging, and before you know it, it's all over town.

This is just human nature. Assumming you've already screwed up and let those around you become wise to your little pasttime, you'll have two sorts of friends at this point; those who think you're bad shit and admire you for it, and those who think you're bad shit and are afraid of you. The latter may keep their mouth shut for fear of retribution, but they may also roll to the cops in hopes you'll wind up in jail far away from them. The former, however, is the worst. Proud of your accomplishments, and even more proud they're hanging with you, they'll awe their own flunkies with tales of all the things "we" did. Never mind they weren't with you, they'll claim they were... until the cops come knocking. Do not doubt they will come knocking, because that sort of friend just can't shut up. Sooner or later, the story hits the wrong ears, and the cops will start taking a keen interest in you. Then they'll roll over on you faster than you can say narc.

Revenge Is Best Served Cold
Every time that Carrie Underwood song "Last Time He Cheats" plays, I have to laugh at that stupid bitch. Why the fuck would you carve your OWN name into his seat? Why not just leave a business card while you're at it? Better to carve the name of some other girl, at least it'd throw the po po off your scent for a bit.

Any crime you commit that is personal in nature, such as vandalism, arson, or assault, will immediately come back on you if the cops can find a strong motive for you to commit it. If you and your boyfriend have a massive blow out after you caught him getting a blow job from your best friend, and his house suddenly burns to the ground, guess who the cops will be visiting first? I don't care if half your friends swear you were at the movies that night with them, the cops will be convinced it was you... and some cops will make the case with or without the evidence.

If someone fucks you over so badly that you are determined to reap vengeance, wait at least a year. I can hear you now. WTF a fucking year?? Yep, a year. Reason being, most people will have long moved on after that much time has passed, and more than likely your victim will have made new enemies since you. I have delivered some pretty painful smackdowns several years after having no contact, and not once did I hear any mention of my name as a possibility for the hand that dealt. Just another unsolved crime. A bonus is that after that much time has passed, you probably won't even care any more. Rather than crying and cursing while you scheme, you'll find the whole thing hilarious and it will make you that much more twisted in your revenge. Plus, you'll be clear eyed about it enough to pay attention to detail and not make stupid mistakes.

Nothing To See, Move Along
If you watch any crime shows at all, you should be familiar with the tendancy of criminals to revisit the scenes of their crimes. Make no mistake, this is not just some hoohaw used by writers and directors to help bust the bad guys. People who do bad things tend to want to relive the moment. Maybe it's to reconnect with the rush they got at the time, or maybe it's just to convince themselves they really did it. Maybe you'll want to see just how pissed off the victim is. Whatever the reason, don't. Your new motto is "Nothing to see folks, move along", and for crip's sake don't be one of those stupid fucks who goes to the cops trying to offer assistance in hopes of feeling important and finding out what the cops know. You might as well wear a shirt that says "I'm Stupid and I Did It" while you're at it. Cops know damn well that the most gung ho individual in the search party is usually the one who whacked the kid.

See how easy it is?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Make Your Home Ugly (to burglars)

Have you ever watched that most awesome show TLC used to have, called "It Takes A Thief"? Two ex burglars case a neighborhood, then break in and rob the house. Of course, it's all legit now so they first get the homeowner's permission, wire the house with cameras, and then give the shit back afterwards. Aside from that, it's something every homeowner should watch. Jon's ability to seemingly climb up vertical surfaces is astounding, but hardly unique to him. Your average crackhead looking to score a TV he can flip for some rock may be too stupid to do anything more creative than break a window or try to kick in a door, but a serious burglar will be alert, agile, and above all, intelligent.

As an aside, I'm always amused by the homeowners who get all mad at him. Hello? You fucking agreed to have him do it, remember? Idiots.

The first thing you have to know is, if someone wants in your house, I mean REALLY wants in your house, he's getting in. No security system, no dog, no hedge, will keep him out. However, these sorts of burglaries are not the norm, generally a product of a personal grudge. With that in mind, it would be to your advantage to avoid pissing off crazy fucks and people who associate with crazy fucks.

A good burglar will carefully case the neighborhood before selecting the house he wants to hit. Much like the two campers who, upon seeing a bear, begin to run and the one camper says, "I don't have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you!", your goal is to make your house look less appealing than those around you. This means using a number of defenses, rather than just sticking an ADT sign in your front yard and calling it good.

Take A Look Around

Take a good long look at your house. What do you see? Are the windows low to the ground, allowing for easy entry? Is the wood around your doors and windows solid, or rotted with peeling paint? Are the shrubs and trees obscuring windows or doors? Now walk up to the front door and stand there. Can you see the window locks from there? Are they unlocked? Head around to the back, where your meters are. How's the access from there look? Is there a nice high privacy fence to keep neighbors from seeing what's going on in the back yard? You may realize your house looks a lot more vulnerable than you realized, and remember that you don't even know what you're looking for. An experienced burglar will spy access points you didn't even think of.

Landscaping For Protection

One of the most cost effective things you can do to deter burglars from your home is to use landscaping effectively. A good landscape job will not only make them frown, but will increase the value of your home. There are a myriad of plants and shrubs that are beautiful to look at, and very painful to touch. For shrubs, check into Barberry, an attractive shrub with a bazillion evil thorns that will shred your legs should you choose to walk through them. Of the hollies, Chinese holly is a killer. All roses have thorns, but some have an ungodly amount of them. Russian Olive is a beautiful grey green, thorned shrub that can be tree formed. Leatherleaf Mahonia is an unusual shrub that has leaves similar to the Chinese holly. Use these nasty plants around all low windows to discourage easy breaking and entering via the window. Also consider making a nice patch of them along the inside of your back fence, to give fencing jumping thieves something "soft" to land in.

Security System

Even if you can't afford one, get a sign for one and stick it somewhere it can be seen from the road. While most burglars can be in and out before the cops arrive, when given the choice between a house with a system and one without, they'll take the later every time.

Dog Doors

Most people think that a dog will protect their house while they're not home. Nothing could be further from the truth. The vast majority of dogs will allow the burglar to do whatever he pleases, so long as you're not home. Their protective instincts kick in only around you, their food, bed, and toys. I never once worried about a dog. The 2 who did cause me a degree of concern were easily handled with a cheap piece of steak I brought along. I tossed it into another room, let them run in after it, and shut the door. Dog problem solved. You can humph and say "well you didn't meet my PIT/DOBIE/ROTTIE/MASTIFF/whatever. All I can say is, no matter how bad your dog is, a bullet in his head will end the threat. Don't count on your dog stopping a burglar. Your best hope is that he deters them from entering in the first place.

Barking won't do a damn thing, because your neighbors learned to tune out that annoying racket a long time ago. I've also found that the dogs you have to watch out for aren't the ones talking all the shit, but the ones who never take their eyes off of you. Back to the dog door though, lot of burglars of a certain ethnicity harbour a deep fear of dogs, so you're better off making them think you have a big one. I don't care if you have a Chihuahua, put in a dog door big enough for a Rottie. Even if they don't see it, they'll assume he's huge, mean, and waiting for them inside. If you're worried about someone coming in through that dog door (a valid concern), just make a dummy door. Board over the backside, and use screws so it can't be easily kicked in. Don't laugh. I knew a very talented burglar who refused to go anywhere near a house with a dog door big enough for a Labrador to go through.

Use Your Locks

Too many people are guilty of leaving doors and windows unlocked, particularly famblies with kids. This is why some burglars target houses with obvious signs of kids living there (cheerleading/football signs, cheap plastic toys in the yard). Everyone knows kids are bad for leaving everything wide open, plus a house full of kids often means a house loaded to the gills with electronics and gaming systems. Those locks aren't there for decoration. Use them, and teach your kids to use them too. Tell them a child rapist got out of prison and is in the area if you have to, but make the little bastards learn to lock the doors. And on that note....

Clean Up Your Fuckin Yard

Keep the bikes and all that plastic kiddie crap in the damn back yard, out of sight. It's cheap, ugly, and your neighbors don't want to see it strewn all over the place every time they drive past. Also, no one gives a shit that your daughter is a Bulldog Cheerleader, or your son is #44 on the JV team. All that shit is nothing more than a calling card for burglars. Busy parents + irresponsible kids = unlocked house, and kids nearly always equal computers, laptops, dozens of expensive and easy to flip games, plus TVs, blue ray dvd players, blackberries, and Wii. Teenage girl? Good chance to score some designer stuff ... and most burglars tend to be male. Male thieves have girlfriends who would love to have your daughter's new Fendi bag and DG shades. For that matter, female burglars might enjoy those items themselves...

Shut The Garage

You'd be amazed at how many snatch and grabs occur in broad daylight, through open garage doors. Kids wander by and grab a bike out of the garage, while more aggressive thieves will slip inside to see if you leave the keys in your ignition. Some may even take a second to peek inside, in case you keep the car and house keys all on a hook beside the door to the garage. And others still may decide to come on inside and see if there's anything, or anyone, inside of interest. It takes one second to hit that button, so shut the garage door already.

Don't Be A Dick

Make friends with your neighbors. It isn't hard to do, and it may save your ass someday. I grew up in a wealthy suburb, in a nice neighborhood, and we were not friends with any of our neighbors. I played with the kids on the block, but our parents did not socialize. If a car appeared in front of someone's house, we just assumed it belonged there. Why was that? I guess we just didn't care... and no one else seemed to either. Minor crimes were common, mostly vandalism, theft out of garages, items stolen from unlocked vehicles. A few break ins. I suspect all were committed by someone living in the area, something that might have been prevented if we'd all been on good terms with each other. I now live in a small community where we all know one another, and we make an effort to stay in contact. Crime is nonexistant... and even if I were not retired, I would never take a chance on a B&E around here. Someone would notice.

Take some time this weekend to make a batch of brownies, or cookies... or buy them if you can't cook... and go visit your neighbors. Ask them how they're doing, compliment them on their home or whatever, but make friends. Your friends will watch out for you long after your unknown neighbors draw the curtains and walk away.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Basics of Shoplifting

Having been both the shoplifter and the retail employee, I've become something of an expert on the differences between a successful shoplifter, and an idiot facing 2 years probation and $1500 in fines over a couple of CDs. If you are contemplating leaving your debit card at home the next time you go shopping, then it would be to your benefit to pay attention. Some of this will seem like the most obvious thing in the world, but you'd be amazed at how many would be thieves get tripped up on them. The following advice is for those of you just getting your fingers wet, but much of it is good advice regardless of how long you've been "discount shopping".

Be Clean & Presentable
Do not go into a store wearing pajama bottoms and your hair a hot mess. The employees will take note of your trashy ass, if for no other reason than to make fun of you. You cannot steal shit if the employees are watching you, at least not while you're still getting your chops. Likewise, do not show up in ultra low rise jeans that remove all speculation about your shaving habits, or with a purple mohawk. Anything that draws attention to you is a big no no. Save the sexy clothes or the 20 piercings for people whose opinion you actually give a shit about. For shoplifting, you want to be clean and modestly dressed. Boring and unremarkable, in other words, the sort the employees will notice and immediately dismiss as not hot enough to flirt with nor ugly enough to laugh at.

Ignore Store Employees
Retail employees all know that shoppers only make direct eye contact when they want to be helped. Otherwise, shoppers tend to ignore staff, or even outright avoid them. Unless you want that employee to start staring back, avoid the urge to constantly sneak peeks at him. If you must keep an eye on the employees, learn to use the store mirrors if they have them, or your peripheral vision if they don't. Better yet, mark their position in the store, and then ignore them. After their initial interest in you wanes, they'll return the favor.

Be White, or Shop With White Friends
Oh shut the fuck up. You know I'm right. Employees will watch black and hispanic shoppers WAY more than they will white. It doesn't matter if you're well dressed and carrying a dozen platinum cards, they'll still watch you. I've had black co-workers drop everything to eyeball young black males coming into the stores, and they've been quick to tell me to keep my eye on the brothas as well. However, if you have some like minded white friends who can play the game, (and I don't mean a pack of head bobbing wiggers either) they'll go a long way towards assuring the retail staff that you're an oreo and therefore ok. Better still, be Asian and in the midwest! Everyone has this image of hard working, family honor upholding Asians in the midwest. Go ask the employee something in horribly broken English if you really want to make sure they avoid you. For the rest of you who are white... don't shoplift with your black or hispanic friends. While your presence will help deflect some of the attention they'd normally receive, it increases that directed at you substantially!

No Hams Between Your Thighs!
We've all heard the stories about hugely fat women who stuck hams, turkeys, and even TVs between their gargantuan thighs and walked out unaccosted. However, I strongly advise against doing anything that will affect the way you walk. This also goes for the fake preggo belly that people stash shit in. This is something for the pros, mainly because it's not easy to slip shit up under your dress or shirt and into that fake belly without a lot of practice, and it's nigh impossible to walk normally with anything clenched between your thighs. If you go waddling towards the door looking like you're about to shit yourself, it's going to attract attention, and if you have to make a run for it you will certainly lose your prize. Sliding a pack of ribeye steaks into your waistband and under your shirt is fairly simple and will go unnoticed as long as your shirt isn't form fitting. It also has the added benefit of being unlikely to fall to the ground at the worst possible moment.

Get Those Tags OFF!
If you are shoplifting in a store with security tags, be sure to peel off anything that can possibly be scanned, including price tags with bar codes. Don't be fooled into thinking there is only one per item. I got busted at Hastings for stealing a damn cassette (Derek & The Dominos, original Layla version) because while I did peel off the plastic wrap with the security thing on it, I didn't think to open the cassette and look for more... and apparently there was something in that damn thing because it set off the detectors. I still would have pulled it off, had it not been for my idiot boyfriend, and it was his idea to swipe the damn thing in the first place! I had $800 cash on me at the time. Rather than make a mad dash for the residential neighborhood just across the parking lot where we could have quickly vanished, that dumb fuck refused to break from a slow walk. This brings me to the next point.

Shop Alone
In my original draft, I gave advice on how to successfully steal in packs. A few hours after publishing it though, I realized that regardless of how tempting it may be to bring your friends on board, you're better off keeping your new found hobby under your jacket, so to speak. There are a number of reasons why, one of which is that it's difficult to coordinate actions/reactions with a group, thereby increasing the risk of a bust. My idiot boyfriend got me caught because he refused to accept we were busted when the detectors went off. His lack of reaction meant the store employees, who were fucking off in the very back of the store, had plenty of time to chase us down and get a hand on my purse. Had he run... or had I been smart enough to take off and leave his stupid ass... they probably would have lost all interest by the time they hit the doors. Then again, how many of us are willing to run off and leave our friends behind to take the heat?

Another, possibly more important reason, and certainly one that has led to many regrets for me, is the erosion of friendships. Shoplifting is contagious, perhaps because it's often viewed as a victimless crime. Many of your friends will join in, regardless of their personal feelings about the ethics of such things. Sooner or later though, they will stop viewing it as fun and exciting, and start looking at you in a different light. They'll begin to distance themselves from you, partly to protect themselves from developing the reputation of a thief, but also because they're starting to see the real you and wondering just how deep the rabbit hole really goes. It may not matter to you now, but years from now you'll look back and wonder, why did we stop hanging out? The moral of this is that if you intend to shoplift, or steal things in general, resist the urge to share your activities with those around you. Getting them to join in the fun does not validate what you're doing, and it will only cause problems later on.

Stick (it) to Corporate America
Keep your thieving to corporate businesses. Leave the mom & pops alone. Small, independently owned businesses are what built this country. Walmart, however, can go fuck itself, just like it does it's employees. I extend that sentiment to ALL big box stores and chains. The added bonus is that most employees of corporate owned businesses are FORBIDDEN to interfere with your nefarious activities, because corporate is terrified you'll sue them for racism or assault or some other nonsensical reason. If that's not enough, half of them don't give a shit anyway... because they're busy stealing out of the stock room.

Keep it under 20 for starters
For those just now entering the world of shoplifting, keep in mind that theft under $20 is a Class C misdemeanor, generally resulting in the cop writing you a ticket similar to a traffic ticket, rather than actually arresting you. If you're just boosting for kicks, or not yet comfortable with your shenanigans, keep your thievery to items under $20 total. The fine will FAR outweigh what that CD was worth (up to $1500 in some states), but it beats being arrested, finger printed, photographed, and subsequently bailed out. Plus, you can occasionally talk your way out of the store calling the cops at all for such a petty crime, especially if you're a good looking girl caught by guys, and you cry about how you've never done it before and you're sorry and you just wanted it so badly. Your first bust will pretty much determine if you like shoplifting enough to continue, despite the consequences. No sense in it coming with a $10,000 fine and 10 years probation.

Follow Your Instincts
This is the most important rule of all. If you listen to nothing else I say, listen to your gut. If you are walking along in a store, your purse stuffed to the gills with odds and ends, your pockets full of stolen treats, and all of the sudden that little voice in your head pipes up and says "Um, dude, something is wrong", listen to it. Humans are born with a strong survival instinct, but most ignore it because it's easier to pretend everything will be ok. This is why little kids get into vans with strangers, and girls go home with creepy guys. Learn to listen to your gut. Even though you don't realize it, on a subconscious level you may have noticed a guy following you around the store, or caught the whispers and glances passed between two employees as they looked your way. Your first few attempts at shoplifting will result in your instincts screaming "DON'T DO IT! WE'LL BE CAUGHT" no matter what, but as you get more comfortable with your techniques and surroundings, that will go away. After that point, listen to it should it reappear. Before I ever hit those detectors at Hastings, that voice was in high gear. "NO GOOD NO GOOD" it kept saying, and I actually stopped and calmly told my boyfriend, hey we need to go look at such and such real quick, thinking I could ditch the cassettes in one of the aisles. He ignored me and headed on out, and so I ignored my instincts and fell in line... right through the squalling detectors.

As a side note, you may be thinking that boyfriend wanted me to get caught. Perhaps, but I can't imagine why. He took to thieving with gusto, even pushing me to new limits, taking me out of the misdemeanor range and well into the felony one. He was also a cop... and one of many corrupt cops I've known over my lifetime. On two occasions that was what kept us both out of jail, as the first cop on the scene quickly let us go rather than bust one of their own. Perhaps one of my "basics" should include finding a dirty cop and making him your new best friend.

There's a lot more to being a successful shoplifter than what I've outlined, but this is enough to get you a good start. Dress conservative, ignore employees, shop alone, remove ALL security tags, stick to stores full of employees that don't give a shit, and listen to your instincts. Should you do all this, and still find yourself being followed through the aisles, ditch the merchandise. After all, it isn't theft if you haven't left the store with it.

Disclaimer. The preceding is intended for "entertainment purposes" only. It is not intended to set you on your road to a life of crime. If you get busted for stealing, don't even think you can use this article to get the judge off your ass. He'll just laugh at you, and I'll laugh at you for being such a fucking ignorant pussy.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Choosing Your House

You're bored, you're broke, and you really want to break into a house. If you're heading out into the night with no real destination, you've already fucked up. Picking a house takes time, unless you enjoy being caught. And how do you pick the right house, you ask? Why, I'm about to tell you!

1. Avoid black or hispanic neighborhoods. As a rule, these two cultures are brought up to fight, not roll over and play dead. Whites, particularly middle to upper class whites, are taught to hand the criminal whatever he wants, be it money, jewelery, or ass, without a fight. I know, it's how I was brought up. This brings me to the next rule.

2. Avoid shitty neighborhoods (if you follow #1 you should be good). Lower class people are typically more inclined to fight back than middle to upper class ones. A poor black momma will put you in the hospital, while a rich white man may just hand you the keys to his jag and beg you to not hurt his poodle. I'm exaggerating a bit, but the basic truth remains. People with little to lose will put a hurt on you if you attempt to fuck with what little they have to lose.

3. Always look for the easiest house. This may sound obvious, but too many would be burglars forget it when confronted with a house that looks like a treasure chest. For every house with a security system, bars on the windows, prickly foundation plantings, and double keyed deadbolts, there are 5 more with none of those things. Unless you're a seasoned pro who enjoys a challenge, find easier pickings. A house with lots of big windows, overgrown hedges and trees, and a nice big privacy fence around the back yard is what you want.

4. Look for homes with kids. A burglar's dream house is one with signs in the front yard advertising cheerleader and football player kids. Why? Because he knows that on game night, that house will be deserted for hours. In addition, kids mean things like computers, video gaming systems, and very likely an unlocked door or window somewhere. Also, homes with children nearly always have a big dumb dog, as opposed to a dog who might actually be a threat. If they do have small children and a pair of Pit Bulls, most likely they're white trash anyway and you shouldn't be there in the first place.

5. Look for an EMPTY HOUSE! I tell you to look for houses owned by a particular demopgraphic because the risk of bodily harm to you is lessened, but I only offer that advice because there is always a chance you'll fuck up and enter a house that someone is still in. A wise burglar will case his mark long enough to become aware of the traffic patterns, to ensure it's empty when he makes his move, but even then it can happen. However, there are plenty of boneheaded theives who don't even bother with that minor bit of planning, and in they go, right into a bunch of people. Unless you can run like a flaming assed cheetah, or you plan on escalating your criminal activities from home invasion to assault, kidnapping, and or murder, make sure the mark is deserted!

Disclaimer. The preceding is intended for "entertainment purposes" only. It is not intended to set you on your road to a life of crime. If you get busted for breaking into a house, don't even think you can use this article to get the judge off your ass. You know damn well it's illegal and wrong, so don't play the game if you're not willing to take the penalty.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Great Jewel Heist

My holy roller parents raised me up to be an honest, God Fearin Christian Woman, but to their great dismay I went 180 degrees in the opposite direction. If it was dirty, I wanted to put my hands in it. Loud? Turn it up. Smelly, icky, or otherwise something only boys should be interested in? Count me in. In hindsight, they would have been better off using that money they spent on my classical piano lessons to put a good criminal attorney on retainer.

My first big crime was committed at the ripe old age of 4, and I still see it play out as if it happened yesterday, though many of the surrounding circumstances have long since faded into blur. I remember holding mom's hand as we wandered around a store, some 70s version of a Walgreens or perhaps it was a five and dime store, and staring at all the things I and my brothers were forbidden to have. Candy. Chocolate. Gum, the kind that had sugar in it and popped. We were only allowed to have Trident and sugary treats were absolutely off limits in our household, as was salt, butter, and everything else that made food worth eating.

At the counter, while mom paid for her purchases, my eyes landed upon a wonderous treat, one so enticing that I saw nothing else around me. A great red diamond shaped cherry sucker, mounted atop a yellow plastic ring, dangled right in front of me. To my mind, it was the goodie of all goodies available in that store, a tantalizingly sweet jewel the size of my fist, and I had to have it. Of course, asking mom was out of the question. The only answer that lay there was a stern, resounding "NO", or worse, an offer of roasted soybeans to snack on as an alternative. As if. However, mom wasn't paying any attention, nor was anyone else. Almost without thinking, I quickly palmed the candy ring into my pocket. For a moment, fear enveloped me as what I was doing sunk in. I was STEALING, and God himself had said Thou Shalt Not. However, it wasn't God's wrath I feared, but that of my father should I get caught.

Then the fear evaporated, and was replaced by an even more powerful feeling that to this day I am unable to fully describe. Euphoria, excitement, and a not insignificant amount of smugness washed over me as we left the store and I realized that I had not been caught, not been snatched by my shirt collar by an irate shopkeeper, had indeed made off with the prize of the day. Not only had I stolen something and gotten away with it, but I had gotten something NO one in my family was allowed to possess.

However, being only 4 years old I was neither skilled at deception nor particularly clever, and upon arriving at home I mistakenly believed I was in the clear. While in my room working a puzzle, I unwrapped my cherry ring and greedily popped it into my mouth. The sweet cherry taste was pure bliss to a child who had only been allowed honey for a sweet, and then only as a remedy to soothe a sore throat. It was right about then that my mother barged into my room and caught me. It wasn't that she knew I had it and was lying in wait. She just didn't allow any of us to keep our doors closed, lest we be doing something she didn't approve of. Go figure, I wasn't. She snatched the candy ring from me and demanded to know where I had gotten it. I lied and claimed someone at the store gave it to me. Of course, she saw through that and knew I'd stolen it.

Fifteen minutes later I was at the store, tears streaming down my face, handing over my stolen treat and apologizing for the theft. Of course, the only thing I was sorry about was that I got caught, and privately I chided myself for being so stupid as to pull it out where mom could catch me. I told myself, next time I would not be so easy to catch. Even the terrible beating I got from my father after he got home and was informed of his young daughter's criminal exploits did nothing to disuade me from planning out my next candy jewel heist.

Later that evening, I was afflicted with a headache of enormous proportions. My mother triumphantly exclaimed it was a punishment from God, for my wicked deeds. I didn't know about that, but I did know I felt as if my head were about to explode. Years later I recognize that headache for what it was... and any drug user or caffine addict would to. I was crashing from the adrenline rush that I'd gotten from stealing that .50 candy ring. The high I'd gotten from that simple act of disobedience was so intense that it far outweighed the fear of being caught, of being beaten, or even of incurring the wrath of God, and even while lying in bed on my side unable to sleep on my back from the painful bruises my antics had earned me, I dreamed of the next time I'd be able to steal a piece of candy.

The Great Jewel Heist of my toddler years is decades behind me now, but it was the start of a long, and often very profitable, career in criminal behavior that I did not grow out of until my mid 30s. During that time, many tried to put a stop to my exploits, but neither God, my parents, or the police had any success. What stopped me was waking up one day and realizing it just wasn't cute any more. It wasn't funny, and it wasn't really that much fun either. Having my name appear in the local paper under the Police Reports was embarassing, and the quality of your friends greatly declines when word gets out that you're a theif. Do I miss the rush? You bet your ass. I see things on a daily basis that I could boost, and often things I could really use since apparently honest work doesn't pay shit unless you're an AIG exec. However, these days I have a lot to lose, including a great husband, some fantastic friends and neighbors, and a life I'd like to live out without the meddling of a probation officer with half my IQ. The addiction to crime is still there, and I try to satisfy it with obsessively reading true crime stories, watching CSI and Law & Order, and planning a myriad of crimes in my head. It helps, a little. The guys from TLC's To Catch A Thief are my idols. They have my dream job, the ability to b&e without fear of prosecution.

Then again, without the fear of getting caught, I suspect the thrill would be gone.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


It would be easy to excuse my misspent youth (and not so youth) to the influence of those around me. "Peer Pressure" was something my mother was convinced was the root of all evil. "Don't give in to peer pressure!" she shrilled at me on a near daily basis, though she of all people should have known that if I did something, it was because it was my idea to start with. If anything, I was the unintentional leader. From that cherry jewel ring at the impossibly young age of 4 up until the last thing I ever stole in my mid 30s, I did it all not because some goofy friend was egging me on (though I did have my fair share of those), but because I WANTED to.

When I planned out my first B&E at the age of 14, I did it all by myself. There were no friends to encourage or goad me forward. My idea, start to finish.

The first car I jacked, a 57 Chevy truck with a bad paint job and, as I found out the second I tied the wires, no mufflers, was my idea. Oh I was coached by a boyfriend with a long history of car theft, but in the end, I and I alone crept up to that truck in the wee hours of the morning, wire cutters in hand, heart in my throat. Not once did I consider turning and running back to our truck.

My best friend in college, who elevated stealing shoes and electronics to an art form and helped me hone my shoplifting skills to a degree I never thought possible, can't carry any of the blame either. She may have helped me improve my technique, but I'd have kept boosting crap without her guidance and encouragement. She also smoked and drank like a $2 whore, but I didn't pick up either of those tricks from her simply because they held no interest for me.

It was never about the stuff I obtained, though I won't pretend the money I made from selling it wasn't sweet. Being able to wear high end designer clothing that I could never have afforded was a nice perk as well, but all that was just the icing on the cake. The real goal was the incredible rush I got during the planning and execution. Compare it to Christmas, if you will. All excitement and fun up until the moment you're sitting on the floor, surrounded by wrapping paper and now empty boxes, and you realize it's all over. The real fun wasn't in the gift, but in the anticipation of it.

Adrenaline junkies are nothing new. Extreme sports are full of them, people who travel the world in search of their next high in the form of base jumping, snow boarding out of helicopters, racing motorcycles, etc. Had I been more athletic I might have turned to sports instead of crime, but back then my only experience with sports was being forced to play basketball by my mother. Being very short and very white, I was an abject failure on the court and the subject of much derision by my teammates. Depriving my teammates of their valuables whilst no one was watching went a long way towards easing the pain, but I still hate team sports like basketball, softball, and above all, volleyball. I know, fuckin wah, but unless it's a sport where I'm allowed to beat the shit out of the other players (god I love boxing and hockey), I'm just not interested in playing. There's no rush in it for me.

Actually I begged my mom to let me take martial arts as a kid, but she refused on the basis that it would teach me to fight, and therefore make me an aggressive kid. She enrolled me in more ladylike pursuits, such as piano lessons, "safe sports" like softball and basketball, and art lessons. Perhaps if I'd gone to wu shu classes instead of 15 years worth of mind numbingly boring piano, I might have gone a different path.

Or maybe not.