So I went to the pharmacy to pick up some Super Spike styling gel. I was milling around the back of the store pondering over the vast assortment of hair styling products. All of a sudden a blonde cashier from the front raced past me and alerted another staffer that a woman was trying to make off with some stolen goods. One of the pharmacist’s, another blonde, slightly older, left her station and followed the action toward the front of the store. My curiosity, like always, was rampant and the Super Spike could wait. I assumed a stealth mode and followed behind them.

The thief, a medium sized woman, knew the jig was up. She was shuffling down the aisle in quick small steps. An obvious attempt to dodge her pursuers. The posse now included a balding store manager and two apprehensive blonde clerks. Watching from behind the Max Factor display, I noticed the alleged thief wore no brassiere or shoes. She was dressed in a skimpy light brown top and black stretch pants. She did have on socks, and her breasts were swaying uncontrollably. I immediately felt sorry for her. I was trying desperately to telepathically inform her to drop the stuff, they can’t get you if it’s still in the store. It was like, an automobile accident unfolding in front of you and instinctively you slam on your brakes as if to save them. And like I was in a combat zone trying not to get shot, I found myself creeping from the Max Factor display to between the Revlon and the sunglass case.

With cat like instincts I watched. I was now in the perfect position to observe. A heavy vapor of body odor hit me like an invisible fog. It was so intense that it actually overpowered the Obsession sitting on the shelf beside me. The thief had moments before scrambled down this aisle and I had mistakingly stumbled into her wake. She could have been anywhere from thirty to fifty. Cinching the noose, they stopped her at the door just short of the Duracell batteries. The store manager, accompanied by his two clerks, good-naturedly attempted to gain her confidence. I could make out only parts of the conversation. She looked straight ahead, avoiding eye contact with everyone. She had an unnatural high-pitched tone. The kind that makes you want to clear your throat. I felt sorry for her even more. Embarrassed for her.

The store manager evidently felt her to be harmless enough, he was talking to her in sympathetic, almost caring tones. Although his physical appearance left a little to be desired, I admired his tact and sensitivity. For a moment I thought he was reaching her. I could hear her voice shifting from the high-pitched tone to something resembling adult speech. The two of them disappeared around the corner of another aisle. Damn. I had to find different cover. As I was making my move, the manager made a strategic blunder. He moved around her in an attempt to lead her down the aisle she had came from. This left a huge opening in the snare. She seized her opportunity for freedom. Just as an oblivious customer was coming in, and the automatic door opened, she bolted out, startling everyone. She was clutching some small object in her hand.

She bounded across the parking lot crossing the busy street. The balding store manager and his blonde assistants made a feeble attempt to chase her, but decided that whatever it was she had done wasn’t worth the effort. The madwoman was running though one of the widest and busiest streets in the area, and we all watched in horror as she charged blindly across it. I expected to see a flattened carcass at any moment. Flashes of Eyewitness news crews and Life Flight raced through my mind. I could see myself explaining the whole torrid story bravely to a beautiful brunette roving reporter, sadly grimacing while nodding my head from side to side. But, she survived. Turns out she could run remarkably well for an overweight madwoman. She sprinted through the Block Buster parking lot, maneuvered a corner like Mario Andretti and vanished from sight. Carl Lewis couldn’t have caught her. I returned to the Super Spike, slightly shaking, and resumed my original quest. As I paid for the gel, I chatted with the young blonde who had now returned to her station shakily. I asked what the woman had stolen. Turns out, she had taken nothing. The small object she was clutching in her hand was a pack of gum the store manager had given her in return for surrendering the stolen goods. And what was it that she had attempted to steal in the first place? Deodorant, the girl told me. It now all made perfect sense.