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I am not secure with two things:
I am fat.
People don’t respect me.

235 pounds now. Which is good cuz I used to be at 340. I am working for 180. I’ve always been fat—er, overweight.
Crap. I’m Fat. That’s the truth.

Kind if an unreasonable goal, I know. But I can get there. I know it.

It’s not so hard with support. From no one.

Names—they call me names. Looks—they eye me with disgust, disdain, hatred, sick satisfaction. Gestures—none. I’m not that mean to provoke the middle finger, boy scout signals, etc.

No one understands. Not even my doctor.

He coaches me through the beginning of my diets. Yes. Diets. I change it every 3 months. He helps.

He’s a buttface. Hardly helps. Rewards at the wrong time.

Okay, so what am I secure with?

Stealing. Habit—bad, I know. It was an accident. I went into a jewelry store to look for a nice necklace or bracelet to wear to my nephew’s wedding. Or was it graduation?...No, no. Wedding. I remember. There was a cake. A big one with those frosting roses. Anyway, the store manager came out to help me—the knucklehead of a girl was just sitting there, letting me browse. She didn’t want anything to do with me. He did. He smelled business—jerk. But what I wanted he didn’t have. For two reasons:
I’m fat. Therefore what he had didn’t fit.
People don’t respect me. He thought I’d want some sort of cheap, tawdry piece that yelled mass consumption.

When I told him what I wanted, he bailed out on me. Another customer had walked in. He handed me over to the other chick. “Ma’am, nothing’ll fit over your fat wrists or your flabby neck.” “Will you try, please?” “Nope, cuz I already know.” “What about this one?” “Which?” I held up the necklace the store manager had tried to talk me out of after letting me to hold it and “see for myself.” “Nope, too fat.” “Excuse me?” “You’re excused. Now, lady, if you don’t mind getting your fat a—” “Listen, chick, I’m the customer—” “Outta here, now!” I decided against opening my mouth. We were causing a stir. The manager and his customer looked at us. He looked enraged. He shouted across the store, threateningly, “Do I need to get security?”

Nope. No thanks. I don’t need it. Your fluffy little butt might.

I stalked out of the store, hands balled in fists. 287 and I was still being insulted like I was 340. The two just stared after me dumbfounded. I felt a thousand needles in my palm. I opened my fist. There was my necklace. I waited for them to sick security on me. All I heard from them was: “Should I go get it?” “Naw, she won’t be coming back ever again.” “So, we’re letting her steal it?” “Yep.” “Who’ll pay for it?” “You.” “What?!” “From your paycheck.” “Why?!” “You’re an idiot.”

I smirked. I got a new necklace for free. Which started it all. Almost everywhere I go, I knick something. Habit—bad, I know. But can’t help it.

And my idiot doctor doesn’t help. He gave an $80 gift card to the Cheesecake Factory. Really? I lose weight, and he encourages me to eat? What an idiot.

I went. Three course meal. Of which I ate six bites total. Not hungry, plus huge bites.

It is a crowded evening. My waitress has a full section and frequently helped out her boyfriend—although she wouldn’t admit he was. They covered for each other—and would go to the grave for each other. Hard stuff to come by these days—pure, young love. Such a promising feature of one’s life. I had a beau once. When I was still 203 at age 14. My weight eventually broke us up. Figures.
I’m fat.
People don’t respect me.

I order a dessert and coffee, planning how much I would have left on the card. $26.32 to be exact. Plus tax. I don’t I ever mentioned that I’m also a freaking math genius. My dessert and coffee come. I tell my waitress I’ll be right back—have to pee. She gives me a smile and nods. Not once has she let my weight cloud her judgment. I like her. I excuse myself and return probably seven minutes later, tops. I polish off the carrot cake and bittersweet coffee in minutes. Dessert is what I live for. My waitress clears the plates. “Would you like your check now, ma’am?” “Yes, please.” I reply with a nod. “Right away, ma’am.” She hurries off. Her boyfriend returns. He brings the check with him.

$53.98

He’s trying to earn a little more, huh? Do the math. Should be $53.68. I eye the ticket.

Caesar salad
$7.98

That is the problem. He has upped the price. He is very inconspicuous. He makes his customers pay a little extra without them knowing and pockets the extra money. Plus tip. This is a rocking business for him.

I flag down my waitress. “Excuse me?” “Yes?” “You’re boyfriend made a miscalculation.” I show her the ticket. Her face falls. “I’m so sorry, ma’am.” Assuming she is in on it, too, “What’s the extra money for? You expecting?” She looks taken aback. “No, ma’am.” “Then what?” She looks uncomfortable. I smirk. Squirm, vermin.

“He’s a druggie.”

A what? A druggie? As in, he is addicted to drugs and will do anything to get more?

Oh.

“Sorry.” “What?” “I said I’m sorry.” She shakes her head. Clearly her faith in him has been shattered. She walks away, leaving the check behind.

I flag down the druggie. “Here you go!” “Thanks.” I study him closely. Slightly pink around the eyes. Yellow teeth. Stained left index and left middle fingers. Yep. A druggie.

I stand to leave. No confrontation. No theft. At least no on my part. “Keep the change.” He eyes me suspiciously. “Thanks.”

I leave. I manage to catch his name. Sam Muller. Muller. Muller as in my doctor’s son? A druggie.

Now that made for an interesting night.
I walk home. Yeah, walk. Didn’t I say I wanna hit 180 pounds? I lift my sore feet up the steps to my apartment. I miss the other footsteps. I miss their screeching halt. I turn in surprise.

I drop my key.

A masked man is approaching me. I almost miss the flash of a knife in his left hand.

“Hello, Sam Muller.” “What do you know?” “You’re a druggie who cheats fine-paying customers of their money.” “You know what you’ve done to me?” “I shattered your security. You never thought your father would get you this time. Especially now that you got a girl. Well, had. I shattered her faith in you.” “You shattered our relationship and my future. You know what I was really going to do with the money?” I don’t answer. “Marry her.” I don’t believe him. “I even know which ring to buy.” He’s telling the truth.

Oh, man.

“Someone’s gotta pay.”

In one smooth motion, he reaches up and around my neck. The cool metal reflects the beauty of my first stolen work. It runs bitingly across my—





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