Saturday, April 01, 2006

FUN WITH PLASTICINE MONEY: Pt II - The Fat Guy Behind the Counter

Where was I? Oh, yeah. So there’s this guy who works at the local gas station…

A friend who used to work there tells me this particular guy (let’s call him… Kenny) invites his friends over for the time slot when the security camera’s VCR hits the end of the tape. During the time between that tape coming out and the next tape going in, his pals (who reportedly are grunt workers at the area’s largest chop-shop) and he raid the liquor sections and proceed to enjoy happy hour.

This really is just on the level of hearsay, but it’s easy to believe because half the times I’ve been in there Kenny has tried to blatantly overcharge me. Not to mention that his odor always reminds me of the sign in the window proclaiming it a misdemeanor to consume alcohol on the premises.

So, new credit card in hand, I think it’s time to test just how criminally indulgent Kenny can be.

First, the right getup. I borrow a friend’s Kojak glasses (hey, you think I can spend $300 bucks on lenses?) to get myself in on the vice-squad atmosphere. But I have to look seedier than that. All black clothing, and a hoodie to obscure my face, like I’m scared to be recognizable on the security tapes. I remind myself on the way over to conspicuously hunch my head low.

I mosey into the gas station at just the right hour to find the place deserted, having checked with my friend to find out what hours of what days Kenny works there. He’s behind the counter, wiping his hands on a towel for some unknown reason.

Kenny nods at me, eyeing my garb as the glass door swings to behind me. I head to the back of the store, hands in my pockets, shoulders bunched up and head slung forward. I suddenly realize I have to pick something to buy, and a candy bar doesn’t seem like a credit-racket commodity.
Beer would fit better with the image, but I don’t like beer and have no interest in wasting my money on it. I decide to buy a bag of ice, the name’s allusion to stolen goods striking a chord with me. But ice isn’t expensive enough to justify some dude in black buying it with (what is hopefully assumed to be) somebody else’s card.
So I grab a king-size Resse’s to go with it.

I lift my loot onto the counter and duck my head farther, staring squarely at the floor for a moment. This has to look illicit. I slide my Visa card across to him and leave it there.

Kenny is staring at me, but I’m pretty sure it’s just the way I’m acting and not that he recognizes me for the guy who always argues when he tries to cheat me. Hopefully I just look like some random crook. Who likes to steal ice and candy.

When he gives me the slip of paper I’m supposed to sign (so that my in-person signature can be checked against the one on my card) I pull out the big guns. Or rather, the office supplies.
I empty my pockets of a business letter, over-sized sewing scissors, and a heavy glass jar of Elmer’s rubber cement.

The letter is a phony I printed out from my computer and signed with my name. I proceed to use the scissors to clip it down to the signature, all the while with Kenny’s eye staring curiously. Then, with my name fully clipped out, I open the rubber cement and use it to affix this little piece of paper over the receipt I’m supposed to sign.

Kenny realizes what’s going on now. How could he not? Well, O.K, he doesn’t realize I’m having him on; but he thinks he knows I’m a petty crook. How will he react?
By congratulating me for my brilliance. Laughing, he says “I’ve got to try that sometime.” Great, I’ve just taught a thief how to steal.

Maybe he’ll get caught trying it.

Back in the comfort of my home I write a letter to Kenny’s supervisor, explaining just what time he should review on the security tapes. And of course, I sign my name.


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