Friday, September 05, 2008

One of the staff meets the pint-size fences I ejected last week:

"Three little eight-year old kids came striding through the front door, all with backpacks and all holding skateboards under their arms. One in the lead, flanked by two of his buddies.

Now, I already knew who these little kids were. The week before, I heard they were peddling obviously stolen graphic novels to the bookstore and the comic store a few doors down. How obvious? They tried to sell the comic store three copies of the same graphic novel. When they got called on it, Lead Kid loudly reminded his buddy about that time his mother bought him the same copy of a comic he already had for Christmas, by accident. The comic in question was published in February.

Lead kid looked me up and down, and since I visibly wasn't my boss who had kicked them out last week, decided to play Grand Theft Auto: Toddler.

LEAD KID: You work here?


LEAD KID: Can I show you some books for cash or credit?

JNADIGER: Sure, what do you have?

LEAD KID: I have some graphic novels.

And on cue, all three kids empty their backpacks to reveal these shiny new hardcover graphic novels, all from the last two or three months. They were all from Marvel or DC, pretty mainstream stuff like Wolverine or Justice League of America. All the while, Lead Kid is totally sweet-talking me, trying to stop my questions before I ask them.

LEAD KID: These three are mine, and those five belong to my friend there.

I was alone in the store, my boss was around that day, but he had stepped out for lunch, so I couldn't abandon paying customers to fuck around with tiny thieves. I was going to make him identify the Martian Manhunter or something, or quiz them as to what happened in one of the books. But I was busy. So instead, I just said:

JNADIGER: No deal.

LEAD KID: What do you mean, 'no deal?'

JNADIGER: I'm not taking your books.

LEAD KID: Why not?

JNADIGER: Why do you think?

LEAD KID: You tell me.

Most kids that are annoying or pushy will usually back off when confronted with a flat out 'No.' They don't give you attitude normally reserved for strip club bouncers. I didn't really feel like getting into it with him, mostly because this kid had ice in his veins. I didn't want to get beaten to death by skateboards.

JNADIGER: Take a hike.

LEAD KID: What? I don't want a hint.

JNADIGER: No, take a hike, kid. Fuck off.

Most kids that are, you know, eight years old will either laugh because you made a swear or get nervous and rat you out to their closest parental unit. Lead kid just put his hot comics back into his back, shrugged his shoulders, and said:

LEAD KID: Let's go, boys.

And calmly made their way to the comic store next door. It was some Charles Dickens shit happening there, let me tell you."

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