Sunday, 15 May 2011

My First Crime by Eric Beetner

I took five bucks. That was it. I worked at this shitty little convenience store, but that was about all there was around unless I wanted to do the fast food thing which I didn’t because, being seventeen and still thin, I didn’t want to screw up my figure with access to free french fries all day. Plus, the other girls who worked at those places always ended up with really bad skin from all the grease that hangs in the air. Gross.

So I worked at this place and it sucked, but everyone I knew with a job said theirs sucked too. At least it was slow most of the time.

I hated having to card people buying booze since I couldn’t even buy any myself, but usually Mr. Anasazi, the manager, came out from the back and handled it for me.

He had a crush on me. Most older guys did. I could tell. They just saw the tits and my ass – firm and round from years of dance. It worked for me, though, when guys got a hard-on for me. Momma said to use it if you got it. I can’t really believe she ever had it because now she looks like hell, but maybe she did. Somebody fucked her at least once – I’m here.

I had a crush on Curtis. He was older and he worked in the stockroom. He dropped out in Junior year and now was nineteen and living above the garage of some guy he called Worm, when he wasn’t calling him Douche Bag. He looked like Brad Pitt in Thelma & Louise, only without the southern drawl, even though I thought it would have sounded good on him.

We flirted and I toyed with the idea of inviting him to prom with me. I think he would have said yes. Jailbait ass is still ass, am I right?

I took the five bucks because I was starting to feel the pinch of buying a prom dress, going out to dinner, renting a limo . . . all that prom shit you have to do. If I asked David Chimelewski then his parents would’ve foot the bill, but I had to go and fall for Curtis, the hottie with no money. So fine, I’d start saving some here and there and make it work.

When I took the money my heart rate sped up. I felt a little hot flash and it was exciting, like when Curtis stacked something really high up on a shelf and I could see his abs when his shirt lifted up. Damn. I mean God Damn.

I looked around me with my head pivoting like a lawn sprinkler for, like, five minutes before I took it. Even though I knew for sure no one could see me it was still a thrill. If losing my virginity to Curtis was anything like this I was going to like it, yes indeed. I mean, if taking five dollars felt this good then sex must be like knocking over a bank.

I’m not totally innocent. I’d taken some swigs of liquor that Curtis took from the stockroom, but that wasn’t really my crime so I don’t count that. He stole it, I just drank it. I’d drank stuff from my friends parent’s liquor cabinet too. That’s not really stealing. The five dollar bill I took all on my own.

Mr. Anasazi was still safely locked in the back room doing whatever it is the manager of a crappy mini-mart does all day and no customers had been in for about a half hour. We don’t get much at ten a.m. on a Sunday. Church, y’know?

Curtis came out from the back with a case of Cheetos to restock and I called him over to cover the register for me because I had to go change my tampon (I didn’t tell him that).

He smiled at me in that Brad Pitt way and I smiled back in the best way I could to let him know I would let him fuck me if he wanted to.

The whole time I sat on the toilet I stared at that five dollar bill. I started to do the math and figured if I could pocket five bucks every shift from then until prom I could have about three hundred dollars and that wasn’t too shabby. I bet I could get Mom to pay for a dress. A limo? No way. But every Momma wants to see her daughter dressed up nice for the prom. Even if her date has to pick her up at our shit hole of a house.

Shit hole is being kind. My Momma has no money and less style. We have a bathtub in the front yard that was there when we moved in (right after Daddy left). Mom filled it with dirt and a plastic Virgin Mary and left it there. I can’t even look at it when I come or go. Makes me sicker than the rusty Dodge and the pile of tires that spilled over from the neighbor’s yard about a year ago that neither family has taken the time to pick up.

That five dollars was mine all mine, like a golden ticket out of my crappy life.

When I showed up to work on Monday afternoon Mr. Anasazi was in a snit. He knew about the five bucks. I almost peed my panties. I glanced around to see if I hadn’t noticed a security camera.

“Kiara, I knew that boy was a bad idea,” Mr. Anasazi said.

“Who?” I said, relieved that he wasn’t talking about me, but not sure if I was off the hook yet.

“Curtis. I found five dollars missing from the till on yesterday’s count. Were you ever away from the register at any point yesterday?”

“Yeah, I went to the bathroom . . .” I wished I hadn’t said it. I just fingered the guy I wanted to be fingering me.

“That’s all I need to know.” Mr. Ansazi put a hand on my shoulder and squeezed. He kept it there a little too long. “I knew it couldn’t have been you, Kiara.”

That was my fault. You see, one time, Mr. Anasazi said he had to fire me. Business was slow and he didn’t need any more part timers and, as much as he liked me (and I knew what he meant) he couldn’t let Louis or Doris go since they had seniority.

So I blew him. I knew it was a bad idea before I even started. I’d given blow jobs before, twice anyways, but from then on he was always angling for another one. I promised myself I would not let that happen. He knew enough not to push it or I’d blow the whistle on him for rape. In the end Doris was out on her ass and I was always watching mine. So was he.

So in his mind I was just the sweet young thing who graced him with a hummer once and might go down on him again if there was a God. I could never steal five bucks. Heaven forbid.

Curtis got fired. I felt bad. Curtis was pissed. I mean, super-pissed. He pulled down a rack of chips and salsa on his way out the door and about fifteen bottles of hot, medium and mild smashed on the floor. Mr. Anasazi didn’t make me clean it up either. He really didn’t make me do anything. He just wanted me to like him.

I knew I could still get Curtis’ number from his file in the office and I could still ask him to prom. He could get another job. My plan for taking another five bucks was finished though. If I did it again Mr. Anasazi would probably blame it on Louis, but there weren’t enough employees to go through until he got to me so it was a dead deal.

So that was the end of my life of crime. Just five bucks. Of course it led to . . . well . . .

Curtis came back that same night. We were open until midnight, but my shift ended at eight and Curtis came back at ten ‘til so Louis wasn’t there yet to start his night shift.

He walked in and he had more Brad Pitt in him than I’d ever seen. He had that sideways smile down pat and he looked half-crazed but happy about it.

“Hey darlin’” he said to me. My knees weakened. “Mr. A-hole in back?”

“Yeah.” There I went condemning another innocent man.

Curtis reached over the counter and nudged aside a display of chewing tobacco and grabbed the back of my neck and kissed me. It was amazing. He tasted like vodka and certs and pushed his tongue so far into my mouth I thought I might gag, but in a good way.

He left me there a little light headed and he walked back to the office. I heard three pops like firecrackers. Curtis came back out holding the gun and still smiling like Brad.

He had shot Mr. Anasazi twice in the heart and once in the head. At the moment I didn’t know those exact details, but I knew what had happened in broad strokes. I didn’t particularly feel like another kiss right then.

“What do you say, girl? Come with me.”

“Where?” I contorted my face in a look that is usually reserved for freshman nerds.

“Let’s just go. Open road. Where the wind may take us.”

I felt pretty sure that he had more than just vodka and certs in his system right then.

“I don’t think so.” This was seriously messing with my prom plans.

He turned his back to me and spread his arms open wide like he was trying to hug the world, the gun still in his right hand.

“Anywhere you wanna go, little darlin’. Just say the word!”

I hit him on the back of the head with a bottle of Olde English malt liquor. It didn’t smash so I clocked him again. That one did the trick and he went down.

Then I called the cops.

They said later that he had crystal meth and vicodin in him which isn’t really a smart mixture. My whomp on the back of the head was just accelerating a good long nap that was coming on soon anyway.

While I waited for the cops to get there I unzipped his pants and took a look at his dick. It’s so hard to tell when it isn’t erect, but it didn’t seem like anything I couldn’t live without.

I also emptied the cash register and the safe in back.

When the cops got there I turned on the tears and said he had a friend with him and that they cleaned us out and shot Mr. Anasazi. The cops saw a crying teenager (I unzipped my hoodie down to the right spot in my cleavage to make sure they saw what they needed to) and let me go after about two questions.

So I have enough money to get my dress and a limo and a nice dinner out. Now I just need to find another guy, which is no easy feat. At this late date it’s all nerds and homeschool kids. If I’m lucky I get a Mathlete, or one of the theater boys if you know what I mean – and what I mean is a guy who sucks dicks – which means I get no action.

I guess it’s true that crime doesn’t pay.