Monday, June 29, 2009
The Tragic Tale Of One Ill-Gotten Bottle Of Beer
I work in the bakery of a local grocery store and on Saturday night at 7 PM, I'm headed to the lunch counter to bag and reduce the leftover bagels. I pass two teenage boys. Neither one is particularly striking, but they have a conspiratorial air about them. The tall one is blond, dressed in a long sleeve black T-shirt, black jeans, sneakers, and a winter toboggan cap despite the fact that is is pushing 87 degrees outside. The other is dark haired, with a red pock-marked face, shorts, gray T-shirt and sneakers. They speak to each other in hushed tones and the brunette is listening intently to the blond.
As I round the wine display, I see my buddy the plain-clothes security guard. I nod my hello and rush off to the bagels as I'm in a hurry so I can leave on time. I'm bagging bagels when I hear my buddy Jason from across the room yell, "There he goes!" and I see the brunette kid dash towards the door only to find it locked. He darts back into the store when Jason yells loudly again, "Hey!"
Suddenly, the steam runs out of the kid and he stops and hangs his head. He has no fight left in him. He turns to take a few steps to Jason who quickly puts his arm around his shoulders and leads him away.
I find out later from the girl who stocks the dairy case that they are 12 and 14, and they tried to steal three bottles of Corona Light. The brunette 12 year-old pushed the plain-clothes security guard (who is an off duty Sheriff's deputy) in an effort to get away and that counts as an Assault charge and he will have a felony on his record until he is nineteen when he has the opportunity to get it expunged. He will have to put this on every job application he fills out until then.
To make matters worse, the blond 14 year-old was just spending the night at his place for that evening. He called his mother from jail and she came and picked him up. The brunette called home and couldn't reach his mother. They sent a patrol car to his house and found a note from her. She had come home to find the two of them gone so she had decided to take a vacation in West Virginia and would be back later, if she feels like it.
Now our 12 year-old brunette has a felony on his record, no prospects, abandonment by his mother, has become a prisoner of the juvenile system and a ward of the overworked Children's Services, not to mention he has horrible acne to boot.
I can only pray that this kid gets his head screwed on straight early or this is simply going to be the beginning of a long line of incidents to lead from loserdom, to prisoner, to convict. No one could wish such a fate on a 12 year-old kid.