It was the summer of 1981, which was the last summer before my parents divorced. My bud Brian and I were riding our bicycles in the neighborhood, as we did most days the weather was agreeable. We had taken the “long ride,” which meant we’d ridden through people’s backyards to get over to Canterbury Square, because neither of us was allowed to use Coleman Road. (Sometimes we did anyway, but it wasn’t worth potentially getting caught if there were no time constraints.)
We rode counterclockwise around the southwest corner of Canterbury, just past my sister’s friend Missy’s house, and there it sat–a beautiful 1966 Corvette convertible in Tuxedo Black. It was parked on the street with the top down. I already had a healthy affection for America’s only true sports car, so we stopped for a look.
Well, there was a wallet on the passenger seat. I wouldn’t have given it a thought had I been by myself, and I doubt Brian would have either, but we had a minor evil streak going when we got together. So I picked it up (after taking what I’m sure was a suspicious-looking-as-hell look around), and it had $280 in $20s in it.
Now I suppose I’d already made a mental call to steal on some level, else why would I have even looked? But my conscience intervened a bit on that same level, because almost immediately I grabbed 4 of the bills, tossed the wallet back in the seat, said “ride!” and we did. I gave Brian two of the $20s when we were a couple of streets over. His face turned beet-red with bulging blood vessels when I told him I had left the guy $200.
$40 is a bunch of money for a 10-year-old to suddenly have control of, so we couldn’t risk buying anything of permanence with it (and that’s part of the case I made to Brian concerning $40 vs. $140). As I recall, we spent it all in just a couple of days buying candy at the Tom Thumb. It was like a mini-Halloween in the middle of summer, complete with upset tummies and uneaten dinners.
Dude, I’m sorry I stole that money from you. I do hope you appreciated that your thief had enough conscience to leave you 71% of your cash.
I reckon it’s the worst thing I ever did, unless “lust in the heart” is higher on the sin hierarchy, in which case there are probably already buildings named after me in hell.