What are the most effective tools for a successful crime? First and foremost, it depends on what kind of criminal activity someone’s planning in engaging into. Murderers’ common weapons are knives, guns and either wires or ropes. Burglars’ most effective utensils are hook key detachers, magnet detachers and tag drivers. When I engage in the latter I make sure to avoid all kinds of illegal tools that scream criminal. Mine surprisingly consist of nice, sharp-looking pieces of clothing. Creating an attractive and fashionable image followed by a decent knowledge of designer brands and overall trendy fashion allowed me to enter high-end department stores without creating even the slightest bit of suspicion. I’d carry various empty shopping bags from random stores to look like I come from money; I’d walk around, spotting the surveillance cameras overhead without tilting my head up, only by rolling my eyes. I’ve come to notice that in every store, at least one or two areas lack decent surveillance, and so I make sure to pull off my acts of theft around them. I’d pretend I’m a stylist, casually grabbing clothing items that somehow missed having an alarm tag and pretending to match them for a client’s look, sometimes fake a phone call or take photos with my phone; I’d ask employees very detailed questions regarding collections and recent arrivals, and wait for them to assist someone else or go back to the stock room to strike. I use racks with thick and heavy clothes as my cover to discreetly shove merchandise in my shopping bags.
After my encounter with Bastien Zieler, I steered away from the escort business for a while and tried to focus more on college, but that didn’t work out so well since I was distracted by a raging, eating feeling of intense hatred and revenge characterized by severe, disturbing impulses that led me to commit the crimes I’ve committed in the past few months. On the other hand, the money I made in the past year naturally started to go low I had to immediately find another effective way to sustain my livelihood. Shoplifting seemed like an easy one, and for the most part, it filled the financial gap. I’ve practiced a few times before, maybe once every few months, but I’ve grown supremely obsessed recently that I’ve been doing it almost every single day. The rush I feel before I strike gets my heart going so fast I can’t help but want to do it more frequently. Ever since I got back here, my time was spent between the gym, killing time at bookstores and stealing. After each successful attempt at shoplifting, a decline occurred, pushing me to do it over and over again, causing my addiction to become unmanageable. It’s a dangerous habit, but one that offered me the mental relief I needed even if it was just temporary. Before I even knew it, I was planning my next strike; my ability to plan and execute those schemes while successfully escaping legal consequences increased each time. The clothes I managed to get my hands on were sold to thrift stores which, for the most part, had a smaller and untrendy inventory for men and a bigger one, more popular one for women. They should be thanking me for adding value to their stocks. Other items I’d either put up for consignment or keep for myself if I thought I’d need them.
I was never threatened by the presence of cops, but walking out of the department store yesterday after stealing a few items, I bumped into two, looked up at them and accidentally made eye contact. I didn’t react in any way and kept on going; I pulled out my phone and pretended I was answering a call. I kept a steady pace and crossed the street to the other side. When I turned, I saw them both standing, one of them throwing glances at me every few seconds. I kept on pretending I was talking on the phone while carefully watching them from the corner of my eye; they started moving. As they walked in my direction, I waited before turning away and entering a random store. Inside, I walked to one of the counters and pretended I was checking out merchandise while keeping an eye out. The view from the inside was clear, but not from the outside looking in; the windows strongly reflected the exterior. I watched the cops stop, they didn’t seem like they were alarmed, and when they resumed walking it didn’t look like they were headed anywhere specific which put me at ease; it was just me putting a lot of thought into it. I stayed inside regardless, and only left when I felt safe. When I did, I was too paranoid and imagined that every cop monitoring the area was looking for me. I walked inside a hotel when the stress became too high; there was a huge convention going on and I had to fight my way through the crowd to get to the second floor where the restrooms were located. I rushed to the last stall and locked it behind me; it was a handicap stall that had its own mirror and sink. I took my clothes off, ripped the tags off the stolen ones and changed into them. In my bag, I always kept a fake pair of glasses that mildly altered my look; I wore them. I walked out of the hotel and stopped at one of my most frequented coffeeshops. The older man, a barista I often conversed with smiled upon my arrival and put in my usual order of a large iced tea before I even requested it. As I moved away from the line, he quickly said to me:
“You weren’t wearing your glasses the last time you were here. You can’t hide.”
Although it couldn’t be more obvious that he was clueless as to what kind of person I actually was, not to mention the fact he was clearly making a funny joke, hearing that felt somewhat menacing. What are the odds someone would say that to me after what I had just done?
The next day, I flew to Chicago for a semi-nude photoshoot organized through a friend of William’s for a charity calendar.
When I arrived, an assistant guided me through the area as I went through different preparation phases. First came spray tanning, then hair and make up. The first two phases went by fast. The last one however, didn’t. The make up artist kept clamoring to me; he was acting so camp and effeminate and his voice was complete torture I couldn’t wait to get out of his chair and get the shoot over with. His continuous talking was hurting my brain cells that my mind zoned out as I deeply stared at myself in the mirror. Something about being pretty and desirable induced melancholy in me; the fact that I’ll never be this perfect again. As I carefully looked at myself, I became disturbingly aware how brief this kind of perfection would be for me, and that when it’s gone, I’d be worthless. Beauty is the only thing getting me through this life. Once my prime years come to an end and my body starts working against me, I’m screwed. I turned around and contemplated each guy’s shirtless, muscled body, and I couldn’t help but picture them a couple of decades down the road, when they all looked old and repugnant, and a couple more, dead and gone. All of this was for nothing.
On the way out, one of the models, a flamboyant asian guy, came up to me and asked me if I liked to join him and a few others for drinks, and I respectfully declined his invitation. Those models were easily the most boring people anyone could ever meet. Their time was split between excessive workout sessions, snorting cocaine and fucking; there was no way I was going to be part of that. I resented the idea of being surrounded by them, and I wasn’t going to allow myself to be seen in public with any of them. I’m always ordinarily paranoid when I’m in the company of people with such off-putting personalities. I strongly believe a big part of someone’s reputation comes from the company they keep, so I make sure to stay away from such repellent crowds.
I made sure to touch base with William before I left about future escort job opportunities only to get bad news. He announced to me he’ll be wrapping up his escort agency business in the upcoming months, putting a complete end to it and moving away with his partner to get married and settle somewhere up in the Chicago suburbs. I don’t understand what he was waiting for to announce this drastic change. I was hoping to get back in business after the events that took place recently. Clearly, that’s not happening, and I’m scared of reaching a down-low I can’t get out of.
What do you do when your whole life feels like it’s coming apart?