There was a kid watching me form over on the other side of the shop. It was making me feel uncomfortable. The kind of feeling that you get when there is a guy yelling up and down the street, and when he gets to be near you he stops and stares at you. Usually he goes back to screaming, but that electric moment where eye contact is made, and you're not quite sure if the guy is going to throw a punch at you, and time stops as you wait for him to make a decision. That was the kind of feeling this little kid was giving me.
I guess he worked there, and I guess maybe I made him feel off. I make a lot of people feel off. I'm an off kind of guy. I'm not that big, and I'm not that small. I'm the kind of guy that when you look at me, you don't quite know how well I'm going to hold up in a fight. I'd either do really well, or very poorly.
Most people, in an every day fashion, assume the former. This kid didn't.
I wear a lot of layers, and I carry a backpack. It's important that I carry the backpack at all times because a lot of people are thieves in this world. Which is why I didn't obey the sign to check in my backpack at the door. Too many times I've had to replace my backpack for one reason or another. And I just got this one not too long ago. I wasn't about to lose it.
“Sir, if you don't put your backpack behind the desk. I'm going to have to ask you to leave.” Ah, the kid, from behind me no less. Hoping to get a startle out of me. As if I didn't know where he was at every moment since I walked in the store.
“My money no good here?” I turned around and put my rough and scratched hands up for him to see.
“We don't allow people to walk around the shop with back packs. Too many people steal.” He took a step forward. Kid was tall, at least six three, he was trying to stand over me. Very intimidating.
“You're telling me. I was in a shop just last week, and I checked it in. And you wouldn't believe it. But somebody stole my backpack.” I took a step to meet him. “In fact, I think I was in a store almost exactly like this one. With some punk kid just like you in it when it happened. Except, I saw the kid steal it. And so I waited, and I followed him. I followed him to an alley a couple of blocks from here, I watched him meet up with a guy, and I saw this kid give him not just my backpack, but about ten others.”
The kid took a step back, sweat was beading down his brow.
“See I figured it out, the kid must steal one every two or three days, usually the ones that look full, and then he gives em to a guy once every two weeks. They both get paid. A little extra money on the side, nothing fancy. A good deal. Such a good deal I decided to follow the guy who had my backpack. I followed him to a little storage area, and that little storage area was filled with backpacks. Now, being a reasonable guy, and it being such a good scam, I asked him if I could get in on the action. He said no. But as you can see, I did get to leave with this brand new backpack.”
I took off my backpack and showed it to him. It was a little dirty, it had a big red stain on it.
“Well, new to me.”