Event of events - A Shoplifting Experience
It’s Wednesday afternoon. T asks him if he wants to join.
T is a fire-protection installer, and his job called him out to the local shopping mall.
‘Sweet,’ he says, ‘I need to try and rack a heart rate monitor. I’ll have a look and see if they’ve got one in K-Mart.’
At the shopping mall, T says they better part ways if he’s racking shit, just in case CCTV sees them together as they enter the store. ‘Fair enough,’ he says, ‘Give me a shout when you’re done.’
And so the mission began – Buddha bag for the rack-ups.
First stop – K-Mart.
No heart rate monitor. Balls. But, they did have a skipping rope and a training vest to tempt him. And tempt they did. No cameras insight.
With pockets filled, he exits the store. Easy.
He smiles at the lady on the way out – ‘tout sweet’ he reckons.
‘What else can I rack, whilst I’m here?’ Unknown to him at the time, this thought process would be his downfall.
He cruised through another few stores, and then, ‘the golden calf’ appeared.
A blue checkered shirt, size – small. Perfect.
He picks up the winner, and a second shirt to not look too mac. Off into the changing room to ‘try them on’ – all good. The shirt fits better than ever, ‘I’m swiping this,’ he thought. And swipe he did. He bites the cardboard tags off of the shirt. He puts the now spare hanger inside the second shirt, ready to put back on the rail. He looks over his shoulder whilst still in the changing room, and sees that there is a camera, looking partly into the shop, partly into the changing room.
‘Shit. There is a camera,’ he realizes, one he didn’t spot upon entering the store.
Thinking nothing of it and not panicking, the shirt went in the bag, the other shirt back on the rail, and away he went, calm and collected.
Signs for the food court appeared – genuinely catching his attention. Not because he was hungry, but because he actually wanted to see for himself what kind of shit food they were trying to sell in this fabricated, neon-lit hell hole.
We all know the saying ‘Curiosity killed the cat.’
He leaves the mall looking for a food court entrance. No luck. So he walks back inside the mall.
As he does, a feller in a white shirt and tie approaches him – ‘Excuse me mate. We’d like you to come with us.’
At this point, he knew. He knew why he was being asked that, that it was all over. Really, this was just the beginning of it all.
Thinking fast, he made the fake-phonecall reception.
‘Sure, no worries,’ he said. ‘Let me just answer this call, hang on.’
He knows that security guards in New Zealand can’t touch him – a useful piece of advice T gave him earlier in the day. He also figured that he’d have to get off the premises as fast as possible – especially with all the racked gear in his Buddha bag. If he went back to the security office, he’d be fucked.
Still ‘on the phone’, he walks through the car park – partly making an attempt to make a fake conversation and the while, trying to figure out just what the fuck he’s going to do!
He gets to the edge of the car park. He sees a grass mound. Then a freeway. And then beyond that, what looks to be…..freedom? He looks down at his feet – he’s wearing bloody flip-flops. Freedom + flip-flops = not possible.
Flip-flops come straight off, then the sprint comes straight on – Up that fucking mound, across the 3 lane freeway, as fast as barefoot on loose gravel will allow.
The chase was on.
After dodging the cars on the freeway, there came a train track. Blocking the track from view of the car-park and shopping mall was a super long line of pine trees – nature’s fence.
He starts bolting it down the train tracks, his heart pounding so hard he can practically taste it in his mouth. ‘Ditch the gear. Ditch the fucking gear!’ is all his mind is telling him. As he runs, he casts the array of rackings into the bushes, slinging them as hard as he can.
The goods were out of his possession – first stage complete. Until his wallet flips up and out of his bag, money sliding out everywhere. ‘Bollocks!’. Hastily collecting his $50 notes, and with no time to count, he bundles the wallet back into his bag, just hoping he picked up every piece of paper worth something.
As he ran further down the tracks, 2 security guards come round to face him at the bottom end! ‘Ah, leave me alone you fuckers!’ he curses out loud. A sharp U-turn shortly follows, only to see one more security guard that had been following him the whole time, somehow pursuing him across the freeway. He looks to his right – golf course. The only thing stopping him going in (and the balls from flying out) is a netted fence.
‘Looking for holes. Looking for holes,’ his brain ticks. He finds one, looks over his shoulder to see the first guard getting much closer. He scales through this miniature hole, just like a British fox during hunting season.
Now he’s in the golf course. He thought he just had to get to the other side of the driving range and he would have been sweet. How wrong he was.
In hindsight, he should have taken a right, and ran into the golf course. It was massive and full of trees. But he didn’t know that at the time, being a foreigner and all. The oldies playing golf were probably enough to put him off – all that sag on show. And it wasn’t like anyone was going to help him anyway – not many people help thieves.
Back over a barb-wire fence and he sees the first guard, again. ‘Relentless. Fucking relentless,’ he gabbers. He realizes it’s time to step this shit up. Not only that, but in that succinct moment of clarity, he calculates that it would be only a matter of mere minutes before the police showed up. Assisting the imminence of a pig road show were the security guards. They were literally the eyes on the scene before the pigs showed up – the whole time radioing through his current location.
He shoves his flip-flops into his bag, the pace picks up. ‘Time to lose these fat fuckers!’
He charges barefoot down a grass alleyway, that looks like it would lead to a park. He was right. A few hundred meters later, he looks over and can still see the triple-trouble security team coming into the park behind him.
He thinks on the move as to what exactly he should do – ‘Hide in someone’s garden,’ comes to mind. As he’s running along, looking at all the gardens backing on to the park, he’s calculating which fence to jump over and which garden to hide in.
But then he realizes – everyone is at home in their houses! All the windows are open, patio doors etc. Not a chance.
At this point, he could hear the sirens coming closer. 2 minutes, tops.
‘Trees,’ he thought. He began looking for one to climb. Whilst he’s searching, he spots a white car in the corner of his eye – it had been following him since the charge into the park. 3 ladies were following him the whole time, laughing at the nature of the situation. Free entertainment no doubt.
As a result, they end up witnessing which tree he decided to climb. They point at him, laugh some more, then appear to drive off. Or so he thought.
Immediately after, a screech is heard. Upon pulling up to the edge of the park, the meat-wagon spots the 3 ladies. He figures they’re asking the ladies where he is. They say he’s in the park, but not specifically where. Piggies pull up, and one rushes out of the passenger door. They are literally right below him, as he’s sitting in the canopy of the tree, gassing for breath. He was pretty annoyed at himself for being so puffed for running the distance that he did. All that was running through his mind at that stage was the scene from ‘The Bourne Supremacy’ where Bourne is training on the beach, running flat out. And how he should really incorporate that training, too.
One pig stays in the car, calling out possible locations from his window. ‘Check over the fences Murray,’ he says. Sitting in the canopy, he can see all of this, thinking ‘Shit, if you only looked up, you would probably see me.’
‘I’m going round the other side,’ says the pig in the car. As the wagon leaves, it comes past the 3 ladies again. Predictably, he asked them for a specific location, probably with the threat of arrest if they failed to comply. And of course, they told him which tree.
It was at that moment he knew the whole showdown of the last ten minutes, was about to come to a very abrupt ending. The pig in the car points up to him sat in the tree. Within a few seconds, the fatties were scaling the tree. They could smell blood. And there was anger in the air – they had been called out, off their arses, for a chase! That meant doing work and they were not happy about it.
Due to their obesity, they were snapping lots of the small branches they were trying to use to haul themselves up to his level. It was quite amusing really, although not registered as such at the time.
‘Fucking spray him!’ Cop 1 shouted. As they climb up to him, he just sat there, deliberately ignorant of their existence, oblivious to their escalation of effort to try to catch him.
After what must have felt like an eternity to the pigs, Cop Z623 pulled out his pepper spray. Obviously his patience had reached the limit, and he was ready for some brutality. Pepper-spray – in- the- face – at the- top- of -a- tree - brutality.
Not a good look.
So he put his hand up and signaled he was ready to come down from the tree, preferably facial features intact.
As soon as he placed his feet back on the grass, the pigs commanded him to be seated on the floor.
The questions followed in a bombardment – ‘What are you stealing? What you doing mate? What’s your name?’ etc etc.
He kept silent. That was the only strategy he knew that might keep him from prison. But, inevitably, that pissed them off a whole lot more.
The cuffs were put on super tight, causing as much of a scene as possible, of course.
• He was marched passed the dog unit that had just arrived, just for intimidation. His arms were tugged around and screwed with.
• His face was slapped around in the car – of course slapped, not punched. Z623 wasn’t an idiot.
• The forearm of Z623 was ground across his face whilst he was seated in the car, still cuffed, defenseless. ‘Very cleverly executed,’ he thought. ‘Prick.’
• He received a text from T whilst he’s in the car, and somehow, whilst cuffed, he managed to open his zip pocket, take out his phone and read the message, then put his phone on silent, all whilst the piggy was driving. Z623 knew he was fidgeting around, but not what with.
• Note – there was no search made upon arrest. He wasn’t even told he was under arrest until he was in the car being carted off to the station. It was a poor execution on the pigs part.
At the station, Z623 boasts to the other officers about how he squealed ‘You’re hurting me officer. You’re hurting me!’ when he marched him to the cop car. Z623 really loved the attention, trying oh so hard. He sat on the bench and smiled to himself as he witnessed all of this. And then he has a light-bulb moment – ‘All cops are the same. Everywhere.’ His realization doesn’t surprise him, so he lets out a smile.
What happened next is somewhat of a saga for ‘Him’. I will abbreviate it as best as possible.
• He is strip searched by Z623, with his back turned to the pig. He wasn’t sure if 623 was try to get a look at his balls from underneath or not. 623 probably got an eyeful; his balls were so sweaty they were like Newton’s cradle.
• Had his mug shot and fingerprints taken at force – regardless of his expression that he did not consent to such proceedings.
• Marched to the cells. He switched his mindset to ‘off’; for sanity’s sake. He wanted to conserve as much energy as possible.
• The cells stank of piss. Covered in swastikas, surprisingly. Not a nice place.
• He would count his breaths, for the next 22 hours. His sanity would remain somewhat intact that way.
In the cells he ran through all the info he had learnt from the AntiTerrorist and the like, as began to get disappointed at the situation it had gotten him into. Then he realized that he was in there for committing a ‘crime’. The info he had learnt was to get you out of a situation where you were truly innocent. He had been stupid, and he figured that out pretty fast.
The next few hours and evening to follow, were not pleasant.
The following day he was taken to court. He really was clueless as to how it all worked.
But, that didn’t matter in a sense. He got off not so bad. The charges were dropped, in exchange for $150 donation to Salvation Army. All he had to do was show the receipt the next day to the judge, and he would be free. Plus a court fee of $130.
$280 later and he was out of there. Free.
His time inside, although brief in literal time, was an eternity with regards to thinking about the fairytale.
‘Reality is an illusion. All be it a persistent one.’ – Einstein.
And it’s true. Our fairytale may be built on an unconscious premise and be fictional in nature.
But ask him how real it was once he was locked inside. He was treated like shit. He was a nothing. He realized that when you’re in there, you are a nobody. Nobody gives a fuck about you, what happens to you, where you end up.
And it was that realization that led him to decide that for now, he has to re-enter the fairytale, keep his head down, and earn cash; just like everyone else.
That decision annoyed him ridiculously, of course, but did he really have a choice? He doesn’t think so.
Oh, and no points for guessing who 'He' is in real life...