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Why He Stole

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I need it for the food, Dante thought as he swiped the cash box. No alarms went off, no night guard brust from nowhere to tackle him to the ground, no steel door began descending over the office's wooden one. A clean, successful theft. For food, Dante reminded himself. For the things I need for me and my family to survive. That's the only reason. Otherwise I wouldn't steal.

But that wasn't true, was it?

He and his family were hungry, but that wasn't the reason he stole.

Okay, he thought as he slowed to a walk once he was just outside the movie theatre, okay. My kid is dyslexic - no, autistic. He's majorly autistic, such that there's no way he can ever function outside the home unless he attends this one, groundbreaking, innovative school. He's got a scholarship; they have it to him, but it's not enough. We can't afford what's left; we've got two other mouths to feed! I'm stealing so that my boy, my only boy, my pride and joy despite (or maybe because of) this disability, can have this one shot at functionality, at happiness. That's the reason.

But that wasn't true either, was it?

Dante's kid was dyslexic - no, autistic, but that wasn't the reason he stole.

For . . . for gas money, Dante thought as he slinked though the small wooded area that separated the movie theatre from his apartment. There's no way I could get to work on my salary . . . but if I can't get to work then I can't get that salary. What else can I do but steal?

And then he remembered the humid, suffocating air for the office, the pounding of his heart against his throat, the sudden rush of adrenaline as his fingers wrapped around the cold metal of the box which held so much.

And he tried to think of some other excuse, some other reason for his theft. A dripping ceiling, he thought. A . . . a bottle of medicine, for my other kid's stomach flu. A . . . what else is there that I would need money for?

Food.
School.
Gas.

All those things, really. But if Dante had really tried, he could have gotten the money legitimately. He was both strong and smart, able to hande both physical labor and a computer. He could have found a better job somewhere, could have made money somehow, could have left the many cash boxes now under his bed in the offices where they were supposed to be.

But he couldn't seem to help it. He lived for that rush, for that risk, for the reward of pulling off something tricky. That was why he stole.

So maybe it was just bad karma that the box contained nothing but ticket stubs.



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