Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Shopping (03/01/07)
- TITLE: It Could Only Happen To Me
By David F. Palmieri Sr.
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“Would you please call security for me,” I apprehensively asked the store associate. Waiting, restless, my mind racing, retracing every step, I repeatedly checked each pocket, jeans, vest, and jacket. I know for a fact that it was there when I was back in the electronics department. Suddenly I remember being bumped from behind while looking at the bargain DVDs. Why hadn’t I put it in my front pocket like I always do when I’m in a store? Feeling like a fool I repeated my story to the security guy.
“It had to happen sometime,” I said. “It was over by the electronics desk. I remember being bumped by a shopping cart. The area was crowded. That must be when it happened.”
“Great,” said the guard, “that’s where I have the most security cameras. Show me where you were standing.” We walked over to the DVD rack.
“I was right here, facing this way.” I resumed the position I’d been standing in when it happened. “I distinctly remember being bumped and since I usually stand with my hands in my jeans pockets the back of my jacket was probably up like this,” I said showing him how my back pocket was exposed.
“Well, that camera is pointed right at this area,” he replied, pointing to the camera only fifteen feet from where we stood. “Give me your information and I’ll go check the tapes. This should be a piece of cake. If you’ll be in the store for a while I’ll page you as soon as I find out something.”
“OK,” I said as he headed to his office. “I’ll be right here.” Something drew me back to the register where earlier I’d had an associate check a price for me on an already forgotten item. The salesguy was gone but there next to the register lay the package of batteries that he’d checked for me. As I picked them up it hit me like a ton of bricks. That feeling you get when you realize what you’ve done. In my hand beneath the batteries I felt the familiar texture of my well-worn wallet.
It had been there when I’d given him the batteries. After he’d checked the price for me I laid them on the counter and reached into my back pocket for my wallet. Realizing it was gone I left the batteries on the counter. Quickly walking out to my van I checked each pocket enough times to wear them out. That’s when I headed back in to announce the theft.
Returning to reality, I realize suddenly that at any moment the innocent shopper who had bumped me might be in the process of being arrested, I did what I knew had to be done. Swallowing hard, I headed back to the front desk.
“Would please call security for me “I apprehensively asked the store associate.
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