Lenny assured me the case was not armed and it would be a breeze because there were no guards at the front entrance. I, again, told him the alarm would go off. My mind ran the scenario countless times. The one scenario that seemed to be the most plausible in my mind, at that time, was that the door alarm would read a specific barcode on the case with small, invisible lasers, and, since the CD was not purchased, it would trigger the alarm mechanism. I looked into my jacket and examined the bulge that the case made. I can’t do this, I thought. I took a few steps towards the door, like a dead man walking.
The door alarm would determine my fate and I was not ready to face it. Lenny pushed me a few more steps forward. I was terrified. The experience was ten times scarier than the first time stealing in Costco because the risks of getting caught were higher. I became agoraphobic once again; the voices around me came back. I began to think that the public was aware of my actions. I stepped beside the two pillars and waited to hear the alarm go off.
No alarm sounded. Everything was absolutely fine. I walked outside to the parking lot and caught my breath. I was so relieved, so much that my devilish side erupted. The sky was dark and the parking lot lights had dimmed a crimson red glow. The anxiety and fear was suddenly alleviated like taking a piss in winter snow. I put the game under Lenny’s parents’ car in plain sight so that I could find it when we all left.
I went back to the store and met back up with Lenny in the stereo section of the store.
“Where did you put the game?” he asked me, slightly raising his voice.
“I put it under the car,” I told him.
“You did what?! You have to show me specifically where!” he said exasperated.
We both ran outside and I showed him specifically where I placed it, except the game was gone. There was no one walking around. I swore to myself I had placed the game under the car.
“Holy shit! Where’s the game?” He whispered angrily at me as he situated his hands around my neck to choke me.
“I don’t know,” I gasped. He let go of my neck and looked around, only to see his father, Dwaine, appear out of thin air.
“Lenny!” Dwaine bellowed. He had the game in his hand and held it up. “Did you steal this game?”
My mind ran through countless explanations for how Dwaine had found out. We hadn’t noticed that his father had left the store. Since I was in a hurry, I did not leave the game completely sightless from the pedestrian view; it wasn’t impossible for Dwaine to find the game.
Lenny froze up. “N-n-n-no,” He chirped. “I mean sorta.”
“What do you mean?” Dwaine demanded.
“Well, Jeremy stole the game, but I-I-I-I…” He trailed off. Dwaine looked at me, staring at me with a pair of satanic eyes.
“Did Lenny ask you to do this?” He asked in a moderate tone.
“Yes, he told me to-”
Dwaine interrupted, “That’s all I needed to know.”
I was caught. I had failed in stealing, failed in achieving the perfect crime. I was fearful of the future because I was scared of the consequences. I was embarrassed at myself for allowing this brief interlude of stealing.
It wasn’t the same type of embarrassment as the kind I felt when I actually took a crap during my cousin’s kindergarten class, or when my mother bragged about how much longer I was breast fed milk than the other mothers, or even when my pants were pulled down during lunch in my middle school lunch room, exposing the groin area for a few seconds. It was the type of embarrassment that made my body unresponsive and sluggish. My eyes looked down on the floor and I was frightened to look up at Dwaine.
The car ride home was slow – it was as if the executioner pointed a gun right at my head, and he (or she) didn’t pull the trigger only to add suspense. The eternal feeling of being caught swept over me like inundated houses overflowing with water from a tsunami. My chest was heavy and I took short breaths. I sat with my head down and I didn’t move an inch until we arrived at the complex; the place I thought would be the end of my freedom and a beginning of a life in juvie.
Dwaine told both of us to go to Lenny’s room. We both acquiesced and crept towards the room looking down at the rug. Judgment was approaching and I had no trial by jury. I had no one to defend my case. Lenny told me not to worry and to go to sleep, but it wasn’t that simple. I laid silently as Dwaine came over to Lenny’s room.