Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Shoplifter’s Tale

4am found me walking up my driveway to home. I had just been on my usual early morning hike and stopped by to see my favorite convenience store clerk. He was blowing the parking lot with a leaf blower as I stopped by to get a cup of coffee.

“I just put a fresh pot of coffee on for the morning crowd,” He told me after turning the blower off and following me inside after unlocking the door.

“Sorry to interrupt you,” I said as I stepped to the back counter to pour a cup.

“No, don’t worry about it,” he replied. “You gave me an excuse to quit. I hate blowing that damn parking lot.”

The clerk’s next task was to go out and wash off the gas pumps with a bucket of soapy water and a rag. I followed him outside to continue our conversation.

“Caught a shoplifter last night,” he told me as he wiped off the face of one of the pumps.

“Tell me about it,” I said taking another drink of coffee as I stood next to him.

The morning air was crisp and cool, but not uncomfortable. Not a car was on the nearby highway which would be bustling come morning as people headed to work.

“This guy walked in asking for a glass of water, handing me a Solo cup,” the clerk said, beginning his tale. “I turned to the sink to fill up his glass. As I turned my back to him, I looked at the security camera’s monitor to watch. He reached way over the counter, thinking I couldn’t see, and started grabbing and stuffing Newport cigarettes down his jacket.”

“Slick,” I replied of the shoplifter.

“We repeated the process as I got him another glass of water. I wanted to make sure he had quite a bit of cigarettes before calling the police. He walked out the door and didn’t get two blocks away until the town's finest nabbed him.”

“Well, I guess it made for an interesting night,” I said smiling.

“Oh yeah. That will make the time fly and get your adrenaline pumping,” he said. “I can’t stand shoplifters and love to catch ‘em.”

I left my ever vigilant clerk as he began to mop the floor and walked on home. I have come to enjoy these little trips into town to talk to him. We have become fast friends. I feel a certain camaraderie with him as I did his same job for over a year while in college. It is as if an old comforting routine in my life has returned.


Cow Lick said...

You're an excellent writer. Every word flows together so well.

Cheryl said...

Morning, Andrew..

That clerk must be so happy to have your company--he probably looks for you every night. It's too bad that it's your insomnia that makes you available. Still, it's good to see a friendly and familiar face in the lonely hours of the morning.

inlink5 said...

nice story

Huỳnh Công Bằng said...

You are really an excellent writer ! You know, your words are so good ! I can't stop reading your blog !

Finazio said...

congratulations for your blog

John from Grand Haven, MI said...

another reason not to smoke.

Forty_Two said...

I worked in a convenience store for a short two months. That was more than enough.