Wednesday, 2 April 2014
Clara stole iPhones, Clara stole iPads, Clara stole bags and wallets, it was what she did, who she was, what she was good at. It was the way she made her living, some people teach, some nurse, some sell shares, Clara stole.
Clara thought people were idiots especially with phones, they hold them out in front of them, not watching where they’re going, concerned only with the text message they’re writing or tweet they’re reading or Facebook status they’re laughing at. They deserved what they got really.
Clara rode around on her bike, leisurely watching, waiting, like a tiger, for the right moment to pounce. When she did pounce it was fast and furious, like a seagull stealing a chip. She was ready now, the officer worker had a sandwich in one hand and a phone in the other but his attention was on the girl in the flowery, summer dress across the park; he was easy meat. She circled the park once - just a girl out for a ride, then again - now more predatory; the third time would be the one.
But as she approached the man ready to snatch the phone, he looked up, looked directly at her and smiled, a smile from nowhere, a smile to say - hey look at us, both enjoying the sun on our faces in this little patch of green in this big, bad city, a smile that said - just for a moment we strangers can be friends, united by the spring sunshine, the blue sky and the fresh air.
Clara rode on by, leaving the phone in smiler's hands. She'd never seen the victims’ faces before; to her they were just the faceless masses, the well-to-do, the middle classes. She never stole from her own, only from the suited and booted who would soon get over it. She was like Robin Hood, stealing from the rich to feed herself. But the smile in the man's eyes had made her think, made her realise her victims were people, had feelings, how could she steal from such a spontaneous and natural smile?
The office worker had had a reprieve, but she had a habit to feed, she started looking around for her next victim.