Thank You, Anonymous

May 10, 2010
By Anonymous

“Can I have a name for this order?”

“Michelle Mumford.”

Michelle Mumford sits in the back corner of the coffee shop, just one of the many in New York City. 28 years old and a lawyer from New Jersey, she has brown hair and baby blue eyes. I, however, am not Michelle. My real name is Julia James.


I casually wave at the waitress and watch as she walks over and sets my plain black coffee in front of me. I sip from the wide-rimmed mug and scan my surroundings. As I glance around the room, I try to look for the most alone and distracted female. I see an old man on the latest Mac gadget probably writing a “brilliant” novel or work of poetry. I see a stereotypical, wannabe hipster on his way-too-big laptop from the ‘90s blogging about how the world has failed him.
My eyes finally rest on the woman sitting at the table across from me.
She is frantically looking through her bag, while papers are sprawling everywhere. I assume she is a businesswoman, on her lunch break, frustrated that “lunch hour” was reduced to 45 minutes because of the wretched man known as her boss. Her life story is practically tattooed on her face.
As she fumbles through papers, I see the black shiny wallet that seems to be calling my name.

The black shiny wallet.

The packed wallet.

Packed with credit cards and Ben Franklins.

She is my next target.

I do not enjoy the days that I had to steal. In fact, I dread them above all other days. But I just received a new tuition bill and my rent is due in less than a week. How does the saying go? Desperate times call for…well, for Julia to pickpocket again.
Nevertheless, here I am and here she is. I see her stand up and walk past me to go to the bathroom. My plan is solidified.

Step 1: Adjust my bag on the edge of the table, the perfect spot for her to “accidentally” run into it.
Step 2: Execute step one so that she knocks into my bag and the contenets fall everywere.
Step 3: Help her gather my fallen belongings because I can tell by the looks of her that she is polite and will do so.
Step 4: The Crucial Step—Snatch the wallet while she is distracted.

Just as I formed my plan, she walks out of the bathroom towards me. At the pristine time, I shove my bag to the edge of the table. Right on cue, she runs into my bag and the contents spill everywhere. Perfect. She sighs heavily and bends down to correct her mistake. I saunter over to her seemingly to help her pick up my belongings. As I help her gather my items, I reach into her purse and snatch the little black gold. She looks frazzled and desperately apologizes to me for her clutziness. I comply and give her a smile.
She then makes her way for the exit and leaves without so much as a glance back.
I sit back down to my table and stare at the now vacant seat. I open the wallet. The mystery woman was Sarah Silver, a small town girl, desperately trying to make a name for herself in the big city. She works at a local advertisement company called—where in the world was her I.D.—called Smith and Co. She was my height and had brown hair and brown eyes. At that moment, I became Sarah Silver. I was no longer Julia, a broke college student struggling to make ends meet. I was Sarah, a confident woman with a job and a steady income. I was selfless Sarah, a woman who helps out needy college students with bills and loans to pay. I was generous.

I get up and gather my belongings. As I pack my purse, I leave a very large tip for the waitress coming to clean up my plate. As I get up to leave, I turn around and look at the empty chair.

“Thanks, Sarah.” But of course, no one could hear me.

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