Craft By Zen

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Memoir: Part 1

I wrote a chapter of my life a while back and I wanted to start posting it on this tumblelog. So without further ado, here it is.


Thou shall not steal. It’s one of the Ten Commandments I have broken. I had tried in the past to atone for these sinful actions, but every time I sought redemption, I fell into an abyss of guilt; I was haunted by my actions in stealing when I was a pre-teenaged boy.

It was one summer day, when the sun imposed heat all over Palo Alto and the newscasters didn’t blame climate change as the primary cause for such an occurrence. A heat wave had struck most of the San Jose Area, which was the third consecutive time it had happened during my stay at Lenny’s place. Lenny and I were bored out of our minds and couldn’t think of anything to do. Of the two of us, I was always the creative one, but on this particular day, my mind lacked creativity; it was just too hot outside to play, too hot to stay inside, and too hot to wear clothes. Out of this boredom, Lenny thought it might have been a good idea to go with him and his parents to Costco because he wanted to show me something “awesome.” I agreed to his proposition and we both got in his parents’ new car.

Anyone who’s ever been to Costco knows the entire security system is built on membership card recognition upon entrance. What a bullshit system. There were no security cameras and no armed guards. Lenny found this security flaw and used it to his advantage. He brought me to the gaming section of the store, which was then just a pile of game cartridges in some worn down boxes. “It’s hella easy to steal these games. All you need is a mini-screw driver, and I brought one,” he told me. I looked at the screw driver with widened eyes.

“You did this before?” I asked, even though the question had an obvious answer. It was the first time I heard of his illicit actions in his past and I could not digest that fact.

“Hell yea. They’re not even locked up. The only thing to worry about is a security chip in the actual box, so just take out the cartridge. Can you watch for anybody coming while I take this game out of the box?” Lenny asked as he started ripping the box.

I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the developing situation that either he was really stealing or that I was an accomplice by default. My hands were shaking so much and so much had happened too fast. I tried to stop and think about what my parents told me about stealing to convince myself what I was doing was wrong, but my fear was too stupendous that I could not focus on my thoughts.

“Good thing I brought a large jacket,” he chuckled. It wasn’t the perfect time for me to listen to his humor and laugh alongside him. He hid the game in his right inner pocket. “I gotta ask my parents for the car keys. If they say anything to you, just say that you don’t wanna be inside anymore and that you also need to go in the car.”

“Wait a minute. I don’t get it,” I whispered. “What if we get caught? I don’t want to get in trouble.” I was worried that someone was going to stop us; a guard would just come up to us and say, “You have the right to remain silent, little boy.” I couldn’t think properly and every nerve in my body tried to hold me back from stealing as much as possible.

“Don’t worry. Remember, I’ve done this before. No one’s watching us,” he told me. He wanted to reassure that I was on his side because the worst thing for a stealing duo is betrayal.

We reached his parents and they obliged to Lenny’s proposal in a snap.

“You look pretty sweaty there, Jeremy. Are you alright?” Lenny’s mother asked. I was shaking with fear and terror.

“Y-y-yea. I’m alright,” I stammered. His mother looked at me very closely, scrutinizing my eyes, but she walked off seconds later because she found a great deal on toilet paper.

Lenny shoved me in the direction of the door. After passing a massive crowd of people, I stared at each and every one of them as if they knew what I was doing. My paranoia really irritated me. I started hearing voices in my head, voices that were foreign and that weren’t like the usual thoughts I had. Each person that passed me brought on a new thought in my head with a new voice I never heard before. “I’m going to catch you.” “Thief.” “Robber.” “I’m going to tell.” I was getting really freaked out. My friend didn’t try to comfort me. He just kept on walking passed every one else calmly as if he knew that everything was going to work out.