Home
Editor's Page
YM Valentine's Day Writing Contest
YM Artists' Page
"Skeeter", the Official YM Mascot
YM Guidelines
Contact Us & Links to Other Sites
Factoids
An Accidental Suicide-Fiction by Pamela Ebel
Dead Revival-Fiction by Vinnie Hansen
Deep-Fiction by Jon Park
Four Slugs-Fiction by C. A. Rowland
Note to Self-Fiction by Peter W. J. Hayes
Fool's Paradise-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
One-Armed and Dangerous-Fiction by Zakariah Johnson
Ray's Mistake-Fiction by Elena E.Smith
Shoplifting Lessons-Fiction by M. A. De Neve
Little Jimmy's Special Days-Fiction by Tom Barker
Lorraine's Recipe-Fiction by Alison Kaiser
The Italian Job-Fiction by Joe Surkiewicz
The Gas Man-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Deep Cuts at the Inner Groove-Fiction by Jeff Esterholm
No Reason-Flash Fiction by K. A. Williams
The Tourist-Flash Fiction by Max Thrax
The Rebound-Flash Fiction by Kathleen Bryson
Caveman-Flash Fiction by Ben Newell
This is Nothing. This is Nowhere. September, 2008-Poem by John Doyle
What I Expected-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
Thank You-Poem by Meg Baird
She Sings the Rum Song to Me-Poem by Otto Burnwell
Whiskey at the Horseman-Poem by Otto Burnwell
Conversing With Dark Passions-Poem by KJ Hannah Greenberg
Floof-Poem by KJ Hannah Greenberg
Beyond Our Cities-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
Rose-Colored Clouds-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
Questioning-Poem by Scott Cumming
Running Until We Run Out-Poem by Scott Cumming
Lost Without Knowing It-Poem by Richard LeDue
Unwell-Poem by Richard LeDue
What Are You Waiting For?-Poem by Richard LeDue
All I Ask-Poem by John Grey
Gigolette-Poem by John Grey
The Grave-Robbers in the Distance-Poem by John Grey
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Angel of Manslaughter
Strange Gardens
Gutter Balls
Calpurnia's Window
No Place Like Home
ALAT
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

87_ym_shopliftinglessons_mddavis.jpg
Art by Michael D. Davis 2021

SHOPLIFTING LESSONS

 

by M.A. De Neve

 

 

          At least three CD’s disappeared from the shelf at Denny’s Stop and Go.  Denny hadn’t sold any mini bottles of wine, but  the bin was definitely lighter. A bottle of Maker’s Mark had found its way off the shelf. Even cat food and razors disappeared.

          Denny pushed his John Lennon glasses up closer to his forehead and started a list of the missing items and totaled the losses.

          “I got me a shop lifter,” he told Tony who came in for coffee each day and always stopped for a while to chat with Denny.

          Tony was short and fat; he wore loose clothing thinking it hid the rolls of fat.  As he talked to Denny, he grabbed a candy bar and munched on it. “It’s those dames with the big purses. That and kids with backpacks. I saw a special on TV about it. It’s old ladies and teens who are the shoplifters.”

          Tony was still leaning against the counter munching a second or third candy bar when the old woman came in. “She’s definitely someone to watch,” he whispered.

          “What’s an old broad like her doing with a backpack,” Denny whispered back.  “I thought just school kids used them for books.”

          “Backpacks? They got other uses. And notice the big purse.  She can stick wine bottles

in there.”

          The two men watched the woman as she walked up and down the aisles.  “Can I help you find something?”  Denny asked.

          “Just looking. Thank you, very much.”

          “Bag Lady,” Denny whispered. Tony nodded.

          She bought a bottle of mineral water and left.

          “She knew we were watching her,” Tony said. “That’s why she didn’t take anything.”

          But then Denny noticed two bottles of Dogfish Head, the craft beer, missing.

          Whenever the old woman came into the store Denny watched her closely. He didn’t notice her taking anything, but afterwards, he’d find several candy bars and a bottle of expensive wine missing. She was good at it. He’d give her that. Usually he didn’t notice the missing bottles of wine or whiskey until she’d been gone for awhile.

 

          Louise Martin had been widowed for just over a year.  A retired school teacher, she had adequate income and she had always lived simply. She and her husband had saved when they were both teaching. Now she had their savings and her Social Security. The schools offered good pension plans and health insurance. She lived comfortably.

          She didn’t have a car. Didn’t need one. She walked to the UPS office and got her mail including second-hand books from Amazon. She shopped mostly on line. A delivery service, delivered the groceries and the household items she couldn’t or didn’t want to carry home with her.   Her clothes weren’t new or expensive. She was retired. She didn’t need to impress anyone. Now that she was no longer teaching, she liked comfortable loose clothing. 

          After walking to UPS and putting her books in her backpack, she’d walk back home and stop at the convenience store in the gas station. The store had the most interesting things. Ear buds for listening to music, beer and wine, candy, crackers, cat food, dog treats and soda. They carried just about everything. Usually she just brought a water and maybe some lifesavers, but mostly she liked to just look around the store. She particularly liked all the interesting labels on the liquor bottles.  The store sold more liquor than anything.  They even had a whole room full of craft beers and she often stopped to admire them.

 

          “You caught her at it yet?” Tony asked when he stopped by.  He picked up a candy bar and started peeling away the wrapper.

          “Can’t understand it, I watch real close and yet every time she leaves, I'll find something missing.”

          Tony had even followed her around the store, being real careful not to be too conspicuous. That wasn’t easy, Tony being the fat man he was.

          Tony was a good customer. He’d always stop to talk for awhile. If Denny had to use the rest room, Tony would watch the counter.

 

          Louise liked the gas station/food and liquor mart. The manager was so nice. He watched her so closely when she was in the store. He must be thinking of her safety. She pushed a gray hair from her eyes and smiled back at him.  Such a nice man. And the heavy-set man who was always there seemed nice too. He watched her too, but didn’t seem to want her to notice.

          Maybe he’d be embarrassed if she thanked him for being so nice.        Older women were sometimes unsteady on their feet. But she wasn't one of them. She walked every day.

 

          “The old hag did it again,” Denny cursed the next time the old woman left the store. “She no sooner left and there’s a carton of cigarettes missing.”

          Tony nodded sympathetically.

          “She don’t look like no smoker.”       

          “Them street people all smoke.”

          “What makes you think she’s a street person?”

          “She ain’t got no car. She walks everywhere with a backpack and a big purse.”

          “She’s a kleptomaniac. You know what that is. One of those people who can’t help but steal. It’s like an illness.”

 

          Tony walked into the parking lot. He hadn’t paid for his coffee; he usually didn’t but if Denny said anything, he’d just say he forgot. He got into his car and started the motor. Before he left he pulled a carton of cigarettes and a bottle of Knob Creek from inside his jacket. He smiled thinking how closely Denny watched the old woman while he was free to help himself.  Tony drove out of the parking lot looking forward to the evening and the bourbon.

 

THE END

M.A. DeNeve is a retired college instructor, crazy cat lady, tree hugger and bag lady.  Her short stories appeared in Over My Dead Body, Yellow Mama, Everyday Fiction  and Mysterical -E. Her novels are available on Amazon.



If Charles Addams, Edgar Allan Poe, and Willy Wonka sired a bastard child it would be the fat asthmatic by the name of Michael D. Davis. He has been called warped by dear friends and a freak by passing strangers. Michael started drawing cartoons when he was ten, and his skill has improved with his humor, which isn’t saying much. He is for the most part self-taught, only ever crediting the help of one great high school art teacher. His art has been shown at his local library for multiple years only during October due to its macabre nature. If you want to see more of Michael’s strange, odd, weird, cartoons you can follow him on Instagram at mad_hatters_mania.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2021