He waited for an hour. The line still had not moved so he put half the composition books into his messenger bag. That would teach them.
Another hour passed and the rest of the composition books went into his bag as well. He still couldn’t see the checkout counter.
He looked at the lady standing behind him in line. Mercifully two of her noisy brood had fallen asleep in the shopping cart. The third, her youngest was quiet now, but was still swinging from her hair, his face red from a prior bout of screaming.
Reaching back into his bag, he produced a cookie, “Is it OK for him to have this?” he asked and held it out when she nodded assent.
“Thanks,” she said as she sat the boy in the cart with his bikkie.
His bag then produced a bottle of water which he offered to her.
She took it, drank. She said, “You’re like Felix the Cat.”
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“You know, Felix and his bag of tricks. What else do you have in there?”
“A bunch of composition books I’m planning to steal.” he said. “They have ‘em on sale; ten for a dollar. I’ve got about four dollars worth. But, if this line doesn’t start moving soon I’m going to have some pens, pencils, paint brushes, scissors, rulers and slate boards as well. Along with some other miscellaneous stationery supplies that I plan to donate to the school. If I have to wait here much longer, I’m going to wet my pants.”
She nodded at her youngest. He was sitting in the cart with his cookie sticking out of his mouth. His eyes were at half mast and a large wet stain was getting larger on the front of his trousers. “Looks like Malcolm beat you to it.” she said.
Wordlessly he stuffed the rest of his intended purchases into his bag. He grabbed a box of envelopes and a pen off the shelf near to where they were standing. He carefully extracted a single envelope and dug in his hip pocket. He was dancing a little bit as he peeled a fifty dollar bill from his money clip and sealed it in the envelope. He wrote:
Manager, Staples, Soquel Ave. Live Oak
“Have a nice day.” he said to the mom who had been toughing it out with him in the line and he walked away, making a bee line towards the exit.
“See ya later, Felix. Thanks.” She said to his back as he walked away.
He stopped briefly by the frantic cashier. Handing her the envelope he asked, “Can you give this to the manager?”
“Yeah sure,” she stuck it under the counter to deal with later.
He left. As he passed through the door an alarm sounded and he took off running down Chanticleer. He must have really had to pee. He ducked onto the grounds of the assisted living center and headed towards the back. He must have jumped the fence into the creek bed beyond. No one saw him again that day. He might have gone north towards the mountains or south towards the beach.