| Crime Really Does Not Pay
Craig, now out of work for a year and living at his brother's house, was getting desperate for money. Though promised a job in six months at a new factory opening in town, he couldn't wait that long as he was down to his last twelve dollars. His glasses had to be replaced, he owed his brother fifty dollars and all his clothes were worn out. Though entering college, studying history, he never made it past the second year and girls he met did not seem to be interested in topics of history.
Even worse, his brother's wife despised him and she was a real witch; it was all he could do to keep living there. She even called him a leech once, which made it difficult to live there, let alone sit down and eat with them. He tried mowing lawns but the summer was so hot that all the lawns had dried up. No one had work for him. He had to do something.
One night, sitting with his friend at a tavern, talking about the bad economy, he heard a man sitting next to him, talking about money. Leaning closer, he heard the man tell someone, "If you want to save money just throw an extra bill in a coffee can every day. You'd be surprised how much you can save."
Curious, Craig asked his friend, "Who is this guy next to me?"
His friend whispered, "He's the guy who just bought that new car. He's loaded."
Now more curious, he whispered, "Do you know where he lives?"
"Yeah, he's the one with the big house near the church. Why?"
"No reason, just curious." he said.
Though he didn't like to eavesdrop, Craig carefully leaned over to hear the man brag about saving so much money. Hearing that, Craig had a germ of an idea.
Careful to do some research, he found that the man lived on a dead-end street and he didn't like dogs, so he had a cat. Cats do not bark. Also, he always left his bedroom window open so the cat could get out. That means he wouldn't have to break in. The house had a patch of blackberry bushes in back so he could use that as a cover. Sitting down, making a plan, Craig thought.
First, he would dress as a street cleaner so as not to look suspicious.
Second, he would make sure his pants had deep pockets so he wouldn't have to carry a bag.
Third, to be cautious he would remove all forms of I.D. from his wallet and just leave his last twelve dollars inside.
The next day, making sure the man left for work, he casually walked up the street to his house, posing as a street cleaner. The street was quiet with few neighbors and the back of the house faced some woods, giving him good cover. Approaching the back, around the blackberry patch, his pants caught on some sharp thorns. Carefully extricating himself,he felt a sharp pain. A thorn was painfully stuck into his hand. Trying to Ignore it, he went into the backyard and saw the bedroom window partially open, held up by a large nail. Evidently, it was for the cat to get out. Too high to climb into, he placed a cinder block under the window and standing on it, the soft soil caused it to tip, slamming his jaw on the window sill, chipping his front tooth. Styfling the intense pain, he thought: things were not starting out well.
Again standing on the block to reach the sill, he quietly pulled himself in, entering the bedroom. With cat fur all over his hands he began to sneeze uncontrollably. He then remembered he was allergic to cat fur. Blowing his nose many times, the first thing he noticed was the cat was standing there in front of him, staring at him. At first it startled him but the cat just rubbed against his leg, purring up a storm. He was thankful it wasn't a dog.
Most people hide their money in their bedroom he thought. First, he quietly went to the closet and looked behind the clothes rack. On the upper shelf In the back he reached and felt something heavy. It fell with a deafening noise, almost smashing his toe. It was just an old brass knocker of some kind. The shelf was full of many strange things like figurines of all kinds, a collection of bottle caps and some calling cards with pictures of scantily clad women. Just what kind of guy was this? Then feeling something smooth, like metal, he saw the coffee can. Bingo!
His heart pounded as he reached inside and felt a large wad of bills. Quickly stuffing them into his pockets, he could see there were many ten and twenty dollar bills. He didn't have time to count it, but he was sure he had hit the jackpot. Dark in the room, the cat meowing at his feet, Craig stumbled, falling on the cat, his glasses flying off. Almost blind without them he fumbled around and found them but one lens was broken. In the process of finding his way out, half blind, he stepped on the cat again. This time, the cat angry at being stepped on two times, it raked it's claws across his hand as he was picking up money, still falling from his pockets.
This was not going as planned, he thought.
Almost in a panic, he stumbled to the window, but as he began to jump out, he pants caught on something. It was the big rusty nail holding the window up. Trying to extricate himself, he heard a ripping sound and felt a sharp pain on his butt. Finally, falling down to the ground he realized his pants were badly torn and the nail had gouged his rear end, blood running down his leg.
What else could go wrong, he thought.
The walk home made him nervous with his pockets bulging with money and the blood on his hand and his behind.. At least he got the money. Craig felt guilty but the wad of bills eased his consciousness. Luckily, the streets were empty. Now close to home a policeman came towards him, staring at him. Trying to look nonchalant he walked by but the officer said, "Hey buddy, what's with the bloody hand?"
"Oh" he said, "a cat scratched me."
About to leave, the officer, looking down, said, "Do you realize your butt is showing buddy?"
Though he knew he had ripped his pants at the window, he hadn't noticed the hole, exposing a substantial amount of his posterior.
As he wrote up a ticket, the officer said, "I'm afraid I'll have to give you a ticket for indecent exposure. By the way, you should go to a doctor and take care of that bloody hand, but, before you do that I suggest you get a pair of new pants."
Relieved that the policeman didn't see the money bulging in his pockets, Craig went to a store to get some new pants. They had his size so he didn't have to take the time to try them on. Besides, he was nervous worrying someone would see all his money. About to pay the clerk, reaching for his wallet, it was gone. Then he remembered how he fell at the window. It no doubt fell out but his last twelve dollars were inside. Luckily he kept his visa card in another pocket and to avoid pulling out wads of money, he paid with the credit card.
With difficulty seeing out one lens, he went to the optometrist and got a new one. Again, he paid with his visa card.
The clinic, next on his list of things to do, was nearby and.the doctor, noticing blood on his pants asked him about the wound on his behind. Craig told him, "It was a big rusty nail."
" I'll clean it first then you can go to the nurse and get a shot. Rusty nails can be dangerous. By the way, are those cat scratches on your hand?
Too tired to explain, Craig said, "It's been a hard day."
"Here's a prescription. Go to the pharmacy and get some medicine for those cat scratches and see me tomorrow."
Now, almost finished with his errands at the drugstore, he cringed at the thought of a big bill on his visa card, but at least he had the wads of money.
Finally at his brother's home, he locked the door and sat down to count his money from the coffee can. It was more than he thought and he was so happy, until he figured out all his expenses for the robbery. Jotting them down, they were:
$12 cash lost in wallet
$39.95 pair of new pants
$25 doctor's fee
$15 tetanus shot
$8.30 drugstore ointment
$100 fine for indecent exposure
$35 lens for glasses
$240.64 total expenses
The money from the coffee can came to $247, leaving a net profit of $6.36.
With all the pain and the guilt of stealing the money it was hardly worth it. The crumpled money in his hand, he sobbed, knowing he had a big visa bill to pay.
Though he knew the phrase well, Craig truly discovered, crime doesn't pay.