Fine Lines

FA woman was being handcuffed. Shame. I approached the local grocery store wide and away from the police car, it with its passenger rear door open, hungry for another criminal heart.

The store shift manager stood cross-armed, triumphant while speaking to the senior police officer.

It was the only grocery for the poorest of Salem. Without transportation, one had to bus out and back. There was a limit to how much one could carry and how far one’s hands would grip.

Backpacks Must Be Left at Register

The shoplifting rate was unsustainable. The managers agreed to equal consequences for any theft, no matter how insignificant the cost or the age of the thief.

Diapers. This woman had attempted to filch diapers. Tears and a bowed head softened a hard exterior. Methamphetamine had robbed her body of fat, muscle and bone. Now devoid of pride, she wanted to be shoved in the waiting car just to be off display, out of judgement.

Meth users are difficult to gauge for age. I couldn’t guess if the diapers were for her children or someone else’s. It didn’t matter; the child in need would have to revert to the method of old cloth, rinse-wash-rinse repeat.

Other store employees might have glanced away. Another area might have given her opportunity to beg the money. A person in view of the crime in action—with a whisper and knowing nod—might have offered to gift the diapers outside, torn package and all.

Diapers, even they are stolen goods and criminal gain.

Filching, not robbery. It is a hazy area of heart.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson


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