Monday, May 25, 2020

Microstory 1371: Detained

Mall Security Guard: All right. You can go ahead and sit right there.
Shoplifter: Am I being arrested?
Mall Security Guard: I’m not the police, so I can’t arrest people. My co-worker has already called them, though. This isn’t exactly an emergency, so it may take them a little while to get here, but I’m sure it won’t be any longer than thirty minutes.
Shoplifter: Are you allowed to hold me here then?
Mall Security Guard: I am, yes. I caught you breaking the law, so I can keep you in here until the police arrive. Are you okay? Do you need some water?
Shoplifter: You seem a little too nice for someone who’s just been robbed.
Mall Security Guard: Well, I’m concerned. You were stealing medical supplies. None of it was particularly expensive, but based on my limited training, I can presume that someone you know is hurt.
Shoplifter: I don’t know what you’re talking about. I just stole that stuff so I can sell it.
Mall Security Guard: That’s not a very believable answer. Gauze and hydrogen peroxide doesn’t go for much on the black market. Well, I think that second one can be used to make drugs, but you weren’t stealing a case of it; you took one bottle. Tell me what happened.
Shoplifter: Nothing happened. I needed that stuff, so I took it. I’m just trying to keep my house stocked, but I don’t have enough money for it.
Mall Security Guard: That’s a different story than the one you told me just before.
Shoplifter: What can I say? You caught me in a lie, so now I’m telling the truth.
Mall Security Guard: No, I don’t think you are.
Shoplifter: Please, just let it go. I’ll wait for the cops to get here.
Mall Security Guard: I can help if you’re honest with me. You look scared, and not in the way I’ve seen people in your position look. They’re scared of going to jail, of their parents finding out what they did, or of this impacting their chances of finding a job. You’re scared of a person. Who were you stealing these for?
Shoplifter: No one. Myself.
Mall Security Guard: I don’t believe that either. Like I said, you look scared. But you don’t look worried. What happens when you don’t go back to wherever you came from with what you were supposed to take? Does someone come looking for you, or do they just come to replace you?
Shoplifter: Well, it’s like I said; I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Mall Security Guard: I may not be a cop, but I’m pretty good at judging people’s responses. I’m going to start making some guesses, and you’ll tell me if they’re true, or not. You won’t have to say anything out loud. It’ll be written all over your face.
Shoplifter: Do what ya gotta do. It’s a free country.
Mall Security Guard: Are the medical supplies for someone you care about? Is it for someone you don’t?—Someone you hate? Yeah, that’s it.—Is this person a threat to your wellbeing? Only a little. But maybe that’s because you’re here right now.—Are they holding someone you do care about against their will? Bingo.—Do you know the threat personally? Did you see something you weren’t supposed to? Were you just in the wrong place at the wrong time? Okay.—How many people are threatening your loved one? One, two, three...? Three.
Shoplifter: Stop doing that.
Mall Security Guard: I can’t stop until we get answers. I really do want to help.
Shoplifter: You’re just a mall cop.
Mall Security Guard: I can get you out of here before they show up.
Shoplifter: No, you can’t. You already called them.
Mall Security Guard: [into radio] Other Mall Security Guard, have you contacted the police yet?
Other Mall Security Guard: [through radio] They’re looking for someone who has the time to come down here.
Mall Security Guard: [into radio] Cancel the request. We worked something out.
Other Mall Security Guard: [through radio] Are you trading her freedom for sexual favors?
Mall Security Guard: [into radio] God no, Other. She’s just agreed to never do it again, and I believe her. This is her first offense, and I see no reason to involve law enforcement.
Other Mall Security Guard: [through radio] All right, Mall. Fine. I’ll cancel it. I’m sure they’ll be relieved they don’t have to come all the way down here.
Mall Security Guard: There, it’s done. Now tell me everything.
Shoplifter: Not here. He has eyes everywhere.

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