Tag Archives: theft

I was a scumbag college senior

One time during my last year of college I got really drunk and stole something off the walls at one of the off-campus bars. This particular venue, Mug-Z’s, while I was there anyway, it was the unofficial senior bar. Trust me, that was about its only noteworthy feature. All of the off-campus bars, there were about three or four of them, they had pretty much an identical layout: an open space and then a long bar. Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, the place would get jam packed with students. Looking back, I really don’t get the appeal of standing in a crowded space drinking overpriced cheap beer.


But whatever, everybody went, everybody got drunk, I got really drunk, especially on this night. And I don’t know if it was the impending pressure of knowing that the remainder of my senior year was evaporating before my eyes, but I started going out harder than usual, pregaming earlier, staying out much, much later. With the lack of sleep and excessive alcohol that accompanied these benders, naturally my decision making process started to suffer accordingly.

So at Mug-Zs, every year right before graduation, there was a sort of open class photo in front of the bar. Anybody who wanted to could head over, they’d snap the photo, and not too long after, this shot would be blown up and framed, hanging on the far wall across from the bar. This tradition must have been going back at least a dozen years, because they were starting to run out of room, all of these poster-sized prints, different groups of identical looking twenty-two year olds.

And this one night, I was partying pretty hard, I had just enough alcohol in my system to where I was definitely beginning to lapse in judgment, but I hadn’t yet reached the point where it started to slow me down. In other words, I was acting like a crazy person, pounding beers, singing along obnoxiously to the jukebox. Out of nowhere, I don’t know, maybe there was a lull in the non-action, I looked over at the nearest class photo, I thought, should I? And I did. I grabbed it off the wall, kicked open the side door, and started sprinting toward my apartment.

I honestly have no idea why I did such a thing. The whole time I was running, I kept looking over my shoulder, really expecting somebody to be following me, providing me with some sort of a drunken chase. But there was nobody. Who knows, maybe I was a really fast runner, or maybe nobody saw me. I got inside my off-campus apartment, I was the first one of my roommates back for the night. I must have had enough wits still about me that I was able to put a nail through the drywall to hang this thing up, and then I passed out.

Over the course of the next few days, everybody kind of laughed at my accomplishment. Apparently nobody had seen me bolt out of the bar, and when everybody finally got home later that night, I guess it had the intended effect, a, “What the fuck?” moment as everybody tried to figure out how this thing had wound up on our wall.

But that was it. I was kind of worried that the next time I’d step inside Mug-Z’s, the bouncer might recognize me right away, a, “You!” followed by a severe pummeling. But again, nothing happened. And the photo stayed on the wall for the rest of the year, largely invisible, the way that framed photos and artwork have a way of blending into the background after you get used to seeing them every day.

Graduation came and went, and all of the roommates spent our last twelve hours or so packing up and getting ready to move out. But then it was this question of the photo. What do I do with it now? I thought, I guess I’ll just throw it out, but for some reason now I started to feel bad. Like what kind of person just rips things right off the wall? I thought back to every time I’d been to the bar since, noticing that gaping hole in the wall of photos. Why was I all of the sudden feeling remorse for being such a scumbag?

I hung out around the neighborhood until a little later in the day, and when I was sure the bar would be open, I headed over with the photo in hand. Everybody else had already moved back, so the normally crowded bar had a really dumpy, hollow vibe with only two or three people inside drinking beers. I walked over the bartender, “Hey man, uh, I found this in the dumpster when I was moving my stuff out. I figured someone stole it from you.”

I cringed at my inability to even fully fess up for my misdeed. The guy’s face lit up, “Oh my God! I can’t believe you found that! I’ve been looking everywhere. I’m friends with a lot of the guys in that photo!” and he immediately hung it back on the wall, shaking my hand, thanking me profusely. “Come on,” he gestured to the bar, “Drinks are on me.”

And normally I would have loved some free drinks, but I couldn’t. I had to get out, fast. “No thanks man, I’ve got to be heading home.” This guy was giving me a hero’s welcome, and I was accepting it, while in reality I was the thief, I was the dirtbag who ripped this thing off of the wall in the first place. Whenever I think back upon the incident, I always still feel pretty stupid, like why did I do that in the first place? What made me think that it was OK? What the hell was I thinking?

Someone broke into our house and stole everything

Someone just broke into our house and robbed us blind. I’m only writing about it because whoever burglarized us stole my computer, including all of my blog posts that I had written out for the next month or so. So now I don’t have anything. I’ve been doing this every day for over a year, always with a hefty surplus of essays in my pocket in case I have a day where I can’t think of anything to write about or I don’t have any time to sit down at my computer. I usually back up my work every once in a while, but I guess I grew a little complacent.

This is crazy. I spent the whole morning at work. I came home around six-thirty and everything was fine. My wife was out all day and came back at around eight. It was a really nice night out, so we decided to take the dog for a walk to the park.

We were out a little over an hour. We stopped for ice cream and started making plans for what we’d do for dinner. We made it back to the house and I put my keys in the front door, but it only opened up like an inch before getting caught. On what? It was that chain lock, the kind you find on every hotel room door, a chain that I didn’t even know existed, it came with the house but we’ve never used it, but it’s something that could have only been hooked from the inside.

It didn’t make any sense. It was one of those actions that I do so many times throughout the course of the day, I put my keys in the doorknob and open up. And when it didn’t open my brain just couldn’t provide me with an immediate answer. I was just staring at it for a good ten or fifteen seconds, not really thinking about a break-in, not really thinking anything at all. It was just, “does not compute, does not compute,” in my brain, over and over again until …

And then it was obvious. Someone broke into our house. I said it aloud to my wife, “Someone broke in the house,” and I reached my hand inside that crack, I couldn’t make it to the chain, but I could flip on the lights which, once turned on, they illuminated our living room, totally ransacked.

I immediately thought about my laptop, all of my writing. “It’s not there,” my wife saw our kitchen table, empty. I started thinking about what else might be gone, the XBOX, my guitars. Again, my mind started freezing up, I was paralyzed, and when I finally realized that I wasn’t doing anything, I made it a point to act, to do something, even though I didn’t know what I should have be doing.

Let’s get inside first, I thought. I had never done anything like this before, but I decided that I had to kick the front door open. It shouldn’t be too hard to break the chain, I thought to myself, I’ll just take a step back like they do in the movies and try to put all of my body’s weight into the middle of my right foot as I – KICK. Thud. Nothing. It didn’t work. That was frustrating.

Let’s try this again, I wound up, harder this time and, bingo, the chain came off. I immediately ran upstairs to check if anybody was still inside. I came back down and headed out through the back yard, right past the garage, out into the alleyway that leads to the next street. Nothing. There was nobody around. I started running. I was running down our block, then down the next one.

I’m a good runner so my body automatically shifted into distance mode. I covered all three adjoining streets in every direction, but still nothing. What was I looking for, a bunch of guys running away holding our stuff, right? That’s what I was thinking, I think. We were only gone for like an hour, how far away could they have ran?

But nothing, nobody, nothing. I made it back to the house and got on my bike. But the further I extended my search outward, the more futile I realize my actions were. Maybe these guys were in a car. Maybe there ere a bunch of them and, what was I planning on doing exactly if I did somehow run into anybody?

I made it home, I took a more measured look around the house. They must have jumped the backyard fence, climbed up the gutter, and busted through the bathroom window. The cops came, they filled out a bunch of paperwork. The detectives came, they told us that we can’t clean anything up until someone shows up before Tuesday to dust for prints. All I can do is sit here. That’s it.

Whatever, a couple of laptops, an XBOX, all of my wife’s jewelry, yeah, that sucks, but it’s all just stuff, we’ll replace it eventually. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway as I sit here writing this all out on my old desktop computer that was probably too big and out of the way for the thieves to make off with. It stings though, having had stuff and now not having it. I like to think of myself as this enlightened progressive guy, but stuff like this shows me that I’m just as materialistic as anybody else. But what really hurts is my work, my writing. I was like thirteen thousand words deep into a novel I was trying to write. Like I already said, my blog posts for the next month are gone, and I’m going to have to sit here and wing it every day until I can slowly build back up enough reserve posts. What a setback.

This sucks. I want to find out who did this. I want to kick down their door and steal all of their stuff. Fucking assholes. But what am I going to do? That’s the worst part about all of this, the sitting and stewing, the impotent rage as I wait here totally helpless, I’m not Batman, I’m nobody, and some other nobody just broke into our house and stole all of our shit. Fucking assholes.

You leave a pie on the windowsill, someone’s going to take it

A couple of weeks ago I was walking down this street by my house when I caught a really great smell. I looked around and pinpointed where the aroma was coming from. About two houses down, this lady was setting a pie out on her windowsill. I couldn’t believe it. This was like something out of a movie. People actually do this in real life? They actually leave pies out to cool?

I had to have it. I thought, I’ve seen this go down in old-time movies, the lady leaves the pie out, they cut to a guy walking down the street, me, I start licking my lips, my mouth watering, salivating with animal desire, and then I’m carefully sneaking up to the window, making sure nobody’s looking, I snatch the pie and make a run for it. Then they’ll cut back to the empty window, that lady will kind of look around and scratch her head in confusion, now where could I have left that pie?

Why not? You know what’s more American than homemade apple pie? Taking a freshly baked apple pie from some lady’s window. I walked right up and grabbed it, which, I found out immediately, it was a huge mistake. No wonder she had put it out to cool. This thing was red hot. Every once in a while I’ll be working at the restaurant, and I’ll watch the cooks, maybe from like years of handling hot dishes, they’re able to pick up anything with their bare leather hands.

And I’ll be like, well, if they can do it, I can do it too. And so I’ll grab a plate and it’s really hot and I’ll drop it immediately. You think you can will your body to ignore the pain, to just muscle through it, but there’s always a point where your hand just lets go immediately. So I had this pie and it was really hot and I though, OK, I better put this down right away.

I didn’t have much time, so I kind of just dropped it down at my feet. I didn’t know what to do, so I took off my shirt and used it as a potholder and picked it up. But this was like not part of my plan at all. I wanted a quick getaway. Instead, here I was still standing at this lady’s window, shirtless. “Hey!” I heard her scream at me, “What are you doing? Give me that pie!”

And so I freaked out and ran. I ran like three blocks, still no shirt on, holding this pie in my hands. I had no idea where to go. This never happened in the old movies. There was a really small park like three blocks away, and so I found some bench sort of out of the way and sat down to figure out my next move. I finally got a good look at the pie. It was definitely blueberry or cherry, some sort of small, jammy fruit. The filling was bubbling out of the sides still, and maybe because I aggravated it by too suddenly dropping it to the ground, it was kind of oozing out of one side, getting all over my shirt.

How would I even go about trying to eat this thing? I didn’t have any utensils, nothing. And like I’ve said already, it was really, really hot. And then I started to feel bad, like really bad, overwhelmingly guilty. What had I just done, really? In my insane impulse to replicate a snippet of Americana that I’m not even sure if I was remembering correctly, I’d gone ahead and probably ruined this lady’s day.

I’m no novice. I know what it takes to make a fresh pie, from scratch. Just getting the crust right is a pretty significant challenge, chilling the butter, working with it fast enough so that you can form a decent crust without the whole thing melting apart. It’s doable, you know, like anything you get better with practice, but I looked at this pie, it definitely had that rustic appeal. Maybe this lady was like seriously depressed, and so she picked up pie baking as a new hobby, something to keep her mind of the debilitating numbness crippling her everyday life. And maybe all of her pies had thus far been unsuccessful, maybe this was her first real triumph.

And as she set that first really good pie on the windowsill she thought, maybe life isn’t so bad after all, maybe things will get better. And then just as she turned around I came up and took it. I fumbled it. I ran. I started to feel even worse. I looked at the pie tray. It wasn’t one of those disposable foil trays. This was nice. It looked like it had a history. Maybe it was her mother’s. Maybe she found it while she was mourning her loss and thought, hey, pie baking, I’ll pick that up in honor of mom’s life. This’ll help me get through it. And so not only did I rob this lady of her pie, of her time spent baking the pie, but now her pie tray is gone too, how would I get it back to her?

I was feeling bad for a while, sitting there in the park, the breeze against my bare chest, sad. But then I thought, wait a second, why was she leaving this pie unattended? Why didn’t she have any screens for her window? Who leaves food right in an open entryway to their house? That’s an invitation for bugs, for rodents, cat and raccoons even. No, I did her an indirect favor. She wouldn’t make that mistake again. And there’d be much less likely of a chance at any infestation now that …

“Hey! You!” someone yelled at me, interrupted my thought.

“That’s him officer! And that’s my pie!”

I turned around. It was the lady. Somehow she found a cop, and somehow they found me here. I didn’t know what to do. I panicked. I went to pick up the pie to hand it back to her, to say that I’m sorry, that that was a crazy thing that I did, that I was just about to bring it back. But I forgot how hot the pie was, so when I picked it up I got that slow burn, until finally I couldn’t hold it in. I screamed, “Yow!” and I threw the pie to the ground, and this time it was totally destroyed. I looked back up at the cop and the lady, I couldn’t think of anything to say, and I just ran. And I’m a really good runner, very fast, a lot of endurance, and just took off, zigzagging through random streets, careful not to lead them back to my house, and I did it, I lost them.