Short Story!

After being challenged to do so by my fiance, I began writing a short story about a kleptomaniac, here is the first part, hope you enjoy it:


Since he saw no actual logic to his compulsion to steal, he decided never to take anything useful, sensible, or desirable.

The hardest thing about it was avoiding those small, colorful cigarette lighters that always seem to offer themselves to the casual act of thievery. Instead, he had an assortment of old magazines “liberate” from various waiting rooms, one small empty vinegar dispenser, several dozen dessert forks, and a few light bulbs that did not fit any lamp in his house.

His friends, sister, former boss, and therapist called it kleptomania; he preferred thinking of himself as a modern day swashbuckler and scallywag. His booty could have been considered an impressive collection in the hands of an eccentric eighteenth century gentleman, but it seemed out of place in the possession of a twenty first century insurance salesman, and unemployed one as he was fired for stealing two boxes of light bulbs from the maintenance closet.

He saw nothing particularly wrong with taking those things he took. Those waiting rooms spread throughout the city could very much use an update in their selection of magazines; restaurants got those oil and vinegar dispenser at a dime a dozen at the cheapest wholesaler, and his former employer made ridiculous amounts of money for writing down people’s names in this list or that list, they could spare a ten Dollar box of 40 Watt light bulbs, even two.

So Robin made his weekly visits to the unemployment office, stealing toilet paper and paper clips more as souvenirs than even an appeasement of his almost officially diagnosed kleptomania. The weekly visits to his mother were much harder than the unemployment office. His mother was far stricter in pointing out the pitfalls of unemployment and his misadventures and failures or mistakes. He spent a lot more mental energy in defending his life choices and current status from his mother than from the might and indifference of the US government, or the Chicago municipal authorities, or Mrs. Lamb, his advisor at the unemployment office.

He did not take anything from his mother, though. No tokens or mementos were needed or wanted. He did take a shoe horn from his sister’s house the last time he was there, and a burst baseball from his friend John’s house. But there was something inherently frightening and unthinkable in stealing from his old, widowed mother. She was not the frail sort of old, nor the truly hard and frightening sort of woman, she was simply Mother. Mother, the disciplinarian, Mother, the giver of rewards, Mother, protector, Mother, avenger, Mother, the withholder of affection, Mother, the attentive ear, Mother, the spanking hand.

Weeks went on and mutated into months, which in turn aggregated themselves into a semblance of a year. Robin gave signs that he wanted to go into business on his own, but Mrs. Lamb advised against it, and so did his mother, sister, John, Steve, Allan, Beth, and his therapist. John, Steve, Allan, and Beth, his friends from Grimmley Insurance Inc., made attempts to cheer him up by telling his of the goings on in his former office, of the subtle, pointless intrigues, frustrations about Mr. Lye, the new floor manager, and the rapid loss of clients due to some bad publicity. They told him how much of a hero he still is in the office for his act of quiet, though useless, defiance in taking those light bulbs.

Robin listened half-heartedly, and manage to keep Beth from remembering to take her scarf on the way out, which he thought of as a successful scarf-robbery. He tucked the scarf away in a drawer, along with a pair of batman socks he took from his nephew’s room, and sat back down on his couch.

After a year or so of having only taken, but earning nothing, he felt less of an adventurous modern day scallywag and more of a free-loader. He started to feel guilty even for those magazines he took from his doctor’s office the week before. And as he sat and mulled over his acts of thievery and beginning to wonder if they were the acts of an eccentric gentleman of fortune or a degenerate loser with mental health issues, his doorbell rang.

Through the peephole, Robin saw Beth standing outside, looking through her purse and looking very confused, even through the distorting lens of the peephole. The lens made her brown hair look as if it cover most of her face, even though he knew she cut it to stay well above her eyes, which, through the peephole, looked like tiny beads and not their usual blue, almonds he secretly liked to stare at. The peephole also made Beth’s lips look strangely mannish, as they were transformed by the rules of optics into a thin line painted with a rather dashing shade between pink and red.

Robin saw her lift her arms and thought she is about to check the time on her watch, which he wanted to steal for over a month, but did not dare. Instead, she knocked on his door.

“Rob? I think I left my scarf in you apartment, can I come in and look for it? I’m late for work, so I’ll make it quick.”

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