Shayla is waiting for Ellen and Anita at the mall; they will meet up with their boyfriends at Ellen’s place in a few hours. Shayla’s mom agreed a few days ago that she could stay over at Ellen’s tonight. Shayla knows that something is going on with her mom and her dad, some sort of tiff, but she doesn’t want to think about that now. A few nights back she had noticed her mom come home from a sudden overnight stay at a friend’s home and she had looked weird, her face swollen and her eyes looked very sad. But Shayla got troubles of her own.
Shayla is anxious and wonders what to wear tonight. She has no money, as she spent her pocket money on cigarettes and shoes. She needs an outfit and cannot ask her mom to give her an advance on pocket money or for an advance on babysitting fees under the circumstances. She looks at her watch. Jeez, she is always too early; she doesn’t know why she does that. Her friends are always late, but no, not Shayla! Why does she have to be such a chicken, never standing up to anybody and always trying to please everybody? She should toughen up. Shayla decides that she might as well use her time and see whether she can find something to wear.
Shayla strolls into the store closest to the food court and starts pushing the hangers from right to left while critically inspecting each garment that passes her eyes, until she hits a multicoloured dress with a short, wide skirt that gathers under the breast line and with transparent shoulders and sleeves. It’s a dream, elegant and very sexy. She grabs another dress similar to it, but in a different style; she enters the dressing room with both dresses. The sales clerks are chatting by the till and are not watching her.
Shayla puts the dress on and looks in the mirror over her shoulder to see her back. It hides all of her flaws—her big butt and wide hips–and shows off her long legs. Perfect! She then looks at the front again. Her breasts look quite substantial in this style of dress: the front gathered just over her breasts accentuates that area. She will have to wear a special bra, as the top of her breasts will be visible through the gauzy, delicate silk.
She must have the dress. Granted, it’s bit too dressy, but she could always wear it to the other parties coming up soon. Then she looks at the price tag—wow that is steep! Without even a second of reflection she decides she will get it without paying, as that dress is worth more than she could afford, or what she could even borrow from her friends. After ripping off the safety tag and throwing it under the bench in the dressing room, she puts her own clothes over top.
The tag came off easily: she only had to use a nail file to open the little electronic tag and slip it off the shoulder where it was attached. She puts on her coat and grabs her purse off the clothes hook, gets the other dress she did not want and walks out the change area, holding the dress in front of her. She hangs it on the designated garment rack, just outside the dressing rooms. She then sees the girls that are supposed to serve customers glance at her for a few seconds–still chatting by the till, not making any attempts to move. They return to their conversation: obviously, this customer is not buying.
Shayla leisurely strolls towards the food court. She still does not see her friends. Her whole shopping spree had not taken longer than ten minutes at the most; she is still too early. She then wonders whether they had said to meet at the other end of the mall, by the bookstore. Feeling somewhat overdressed and warm, sweat prickling in the back of her neck, she decides to walk to the end of the mall through the outside route. That was a big mistake.
When she opens the glass doors and steps outside, she feels a hand grab her right shoulder, holding it with a force that forces her to turns sideways where she sees a large, red-faced, sweaty man in a sloppy suit, who barks at her. She has trouble hearing him. Her heart beats two hundred times a minute and she hears whistling in her ears and the light is suddenly very bright outside; she might faint.
“Excuse me?” she asks politely, while trying to wriggle her shoulder free from underneath his grip.
“You heard me, you’re just stalling. Give me an answer, now.” He said with a gruff voice.
The above excerpt is from a chapter of my new novel, somewhere in the middle of the book. The work is finished in a first draft; I am working on the second draft. This part of the story is about shoplifting. I wonder what you think about the writing. What do you think about shoplifting, and have you ever been caught yourself? Have your child ever been caught, that you know of?
I would love to hear your thoughts….