A thief makes a New Year's resolution.
The six foot man walked through the store wearing a black trench coat with a hood that hung over his forehead that made him look like the Grim Reaper. He had pale bags under his eyes that made him look like he had not slept for days. It was New Year’s eve as he strolled through the aisles looked over the items on the shelves. Inside he was struggling; fighting off the urge to snatch something when no one was there.
“Calm down Rick, get control over yourself, you don’t have to do this, “he said to himself as he fidgeted with his clammy hands.
Then he saw a beautiful golden cross necklace that seemed to be gleaming with luster just for him.
“I won’t steal it,” he said. “I’ll just walk over there to get a better look.”
This action doomed him. He jerked his head in both directions with a facial appearance that expressed pleaser and regret. He closed his eyes tightly “I can’t do this. It’s wrong.”
He opened his eyes with his brows lifted up in sadness. They then turned to a cold, austere darkness. When no one was looking, he made his move and quickly took the necklace and put it in his coat pocket. He hastily made his way to the exit of the store with adrenaline surging through his body. The risk of getting caught only helped to increase the enjoyment. Within fifteen minutes, he was home free. He smiled with a low chuckle and got into his white 2013 Camry and drove off with squealing tires.
He felt coy and clever for pulling off his latest hit. Finally, he made it home. Then came the next phase; the overwhelming guilt. He took out the necklace and stared at it in nervous contemplation before throwing it across the room in anger.
“What’s up with me? Why can’t I stop?”
Then something came over him; a feeling of empowerment and faith. It was like a newfound strength of will to do away with his habit. Where it came from, he did not know. Perhaps it was from God or may be somewhere deep inside him.
With all that was within him he made a vow. “Starting tomorrow, I will never steal again, I promise.”
Rick’s first test came the very next day. After eating breakfast he left his house for work. As he walked to his car he passed a newspaper stand. He once again felt the stealing monster start to rise up in his stomach. At first his usual want to steal came, then that wonderful strength came out of nowhere and he smiled mocking the desire to be a thief as though it was alive.
Next, he saw a woman accidently drop a hundred dollar bill out of her purse. “It’s not stealing; not like I am actually taking from her,” Rick said to himself. He picked up the dollar bill and put it his pocket. Suddenly there was war inside him; like God and the Devil were in battle for domination of his actions. At first his old way had the upper hand. Rick cringed. Then goodness retaliated and he thought twice and stopped to ponder his actions. “I’m taking something that is not mine regardless.” Rick’s usual smile came upon him as he celebrated victory.
He ran after the woman and stopped her. “Excuse me miss, but you dropped this.”
“Oh, my! Thank you so much sir. You’re so honest. God bless you.”
“My pleasure,” he said as he walked away towards his car. When he arrived at work, he was still smiling.
“Hello Lewis,” Rick said.
“You sure look happy. How come?” Lewis was stoic as he spoke. His attitude matched the typical black slacks and white shirt that office worker’s wear. Intelligence showed in his face and in his deep green eyes. His hair was blond and slicked back with gel.
“You’ve been my best friend since high school and I know I can trust you. There is something that I’ve never told you. Ever since I was twenty I’ve been a kleptomaniac. But now in the first time in my life I’ve conquered it!”
“What made you change?”
“I don’t know really. It was like a revelation.”
Lewis responded blandly. “If you really think you have changed, test yourself on the biggest scale. Go to the antique convention for one hour. If you last that long you have conquered it forever.”
On Rick’s day off he did just that. He walked inside the shop and saw all the valuable antiques. He took a deep breath and looked at his watch. “8am,” he said.
The moment he looked, the thieving monster rose up to afflict him. He immediately shot his eyes down at the floor. “If I just look at the ground I’ll be fine.” But as easy as it sounded it was harder than he thought. He grabbed his hair ready to pull it out. Rick looked up and the first thing he saw was a Chinese sculpture. He thought of how it would look decorated in his house. His usual habit came as he peered both ways. “No, not this time!” Rick cleared his head of the urge to take it. Rick continued to struggle as he strolled down the shop. The next thing he saw, he wanted even more; a priceless antique gold watch. It was beautiful.
Rick stared at it wide eyed and was perspiring. He pictured himself taking it and strutting right out of the shop. “How easy would it be?” Then the benevolent force came to his rescue. He simply snuffed at the temptation. At last the final test came. He noticed an open register that had thousands of dollars inside.
“A person could go to town on all that money. He neared the register then suddenly stopped; the honest feeling came and he resisted and obtained the ultimate victory. Rick checked his watch: 9am.