Theo stared at the credit card numbers blurring in front of his eyes, wondering if this was the right thing to do. Stealing your girlfriend’s credit card was surely frowned upon, but was it illegal? And if it wasn’t illegal, why did he feel so dizzy cashing it in? Was he really the chicken-s*** his girlfriend always told him he was? Was the thought alone enough to send his mind spinning? He sighed, inspected the card between his fingers, and stepped away from the ATM.
Theo accidentally made eye contact with a police officer. He fidgeted under the cop’s iron stare and quickly looked away, the stolen credit card heavy in his pocket. The cop must have sensed Theo’s alarming heart rate. The officer, named Jackson, asked Theo how his day was going. Immediately, Theo burst into a frenzied run. Jackson, a little overweight, jogged sluggishly behind. Jackson’s chicken thighs were no match for Theo’s lanky, yet tall legs. And when Theo jumped a fence and crossed into a bad neighborhood on the southside of Chicago, Jackson stopped short and gulped. Flashbacks of his step father ran through his head as he eyed a small, rickety house.
Jackson decided to visit the town’s local ice cream shop for a pick-me-up. As he arrived, he opened the door and bumped into a lady as she was leaving. He mumbled an awkward apology and assured her the strawberry ice cream on his badge was now a nice addition to his uniform. The lady, named Marisol, was petrified. The sun suddenly seemed too bright, the cars suddenly seemed too loud, and the bustling crowds of people suddenly became too much. Her daughter sensed her mom’s chronic fear of the outside world kicking in, sighed, and guided her by the crook of her arm. She listened as her mom muttered “s***, s***, s***” under her breath. When they got to the crosswalk, Marisol promptly stopped on the edge of the curb. Her daughter, growing more and more frustrated, pulled on her mother’s arm and begged her to cross the street. But Marisol couldn’t do it.
Her daughter cried,
Theo noticed a girl, his age, standing in the middle of the street as a truck came hurtling from the other end. The girl, named Alma, was shouting and reaching for who Theo assumed was her mom. He was mere feet from her. The thought entered his brain and he acted in a split second. He used the long legs his girlfriend always made fun of and bounded across the road. He heard her piercing scream as he dove to push her out of the way. He heard the tires screeching as they tried to come to a halt. He heard multiple cars honking as his face hit the asphalt. And then, he heard nothing.
In his last moments, he couldn’t help but think how he never got to use his girlfriend’s credit card.