Third store I’ve been to and no sling bag. Now I gotta walk out this place empty handed, wondering if the clerk thinks I’m just here to steal.
“Can I help you find something,” the clerk said.
“What?” I said.
“Is there something you need?”
I headed down the aisle that led directly to the counter, clasping the piece of stolen gum. The exit was to the left of it, and I would have to pass Chadi as he stocked a carton of Pall Mall. But he turned before I could leave the aisle, making eye contact.
“What do you have?!” Chadi demanded.
I stood still, body pointing towards the exit, “Nothing.”
“Open your hand!”
“I don’t have nothing.”
“You steal from me?!”
“Show me what’s in your hand.”
I opened my hand.
“Why you steal from me?!”
“I was going to give it to you later.”
“If you would have asked me, I would have given one to you. Why didn’t you ask?”
“I don’t know.”
I couldn’t run for the exit. I lived right around the corner. He could tell my parents. For the next minute, or maybe more, or maybe less, I let him scold me. He made me put back the candy and told me to leave.
“Next time I tell your parents. Okay?”
Age 35 continued
“No,” I said to the clerk.
I grabbed a travel-size shampoo and showed it to her.
I paid for it at the counter.
Outside the store, I stared at it.
Color protecting shampoo. What heck am I gonna do with this?