Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Shoplifting: Case #09 - The Silent Companion

   Looked out the plate glass and saw ZZ Roadie wheel into the parking lot. He was, I hated to admit, a Regular. Usually bounded in, plopped his ass on a Listening Bar stool, then wasted an hour singing along to mindless Techno.
   He and his companion.
   Temps outside were 105 degrees. ZZ Roadie wore a corduroy sport coat. Sported a full beard as well. Companion wore a vest; also a full beard. Both could have been ZZ Top crew members. Transportation was Ole Reliable.
   Blue bicycle. Girls blue bicycle.
   Anyway, Mandy or Molly tended him while he jammed to D.J. Irene, or Club Boy Roy, or that Doyen of Dance, Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine. While Trainin' Wheels twitched and bobbed like he'd suffered an accident at the saw mill, his silent, brown eyed companion sat passively and ignored the beats orgy.
   After an hour, a full hour, mind you, Bobble Head pushed away from the counter. "Thank you kindly," he said, "I'll have to consider this purchase carefully for several days." He was invariably polite. Never bought a damn thing, yet he was always courteous and a gentleman. Good manners from Bum School.
   As for Silent Ted ... well ...
   Front door theft alarms triggered - JD and Worley pounced immediately. Merchandise had been concealed. Under the vest. Silent Ted, who would've thunk it. Bobble Noggin read him the riot act while JD and Worley looked on in baffled amazement.
   "I told you to quit taking these things! Didn't I warn you? Do you know what prison's like? Don't you argue with me! I've been in jail. Is that what you want? Is it?"
   Beady eyed companion said nothing. No surprise there, Silent Ted was a foot high, battered brown Teddy Bear with glass eyes.
   We kicked ZZ Roadie and Mister Bear from the store and banned them. Didn't care that the bear was the one caught, we figured both of them worked as a team. Didn't summon the cops, either. They'd never arrest a stuffed bear. Look too bad on Action News At Six. Viewers would sympathize with the bear. Blame the cops, blame us, blame the bear's mother.
   Still see 'em both a couple times a week in the parking lot. Playing chicken with parked cars. Bear sits perched on the handlebars. Stays put even when there's a slight accident now and then.
   Again, they were Regulars.

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