When Curt's mum called the second time, I really had no idea what the hell was going on. After all, Curt and I stole and we were busted on it. We hid the other stuff but as it ended up we were busted on that as well. But there was nothing else I was hiding from that day, and so why the second call? Furthermore, why was the issue so important that it warranted his family coming to my home to speak with my parents?
Curt lived a few blocks south of me, but the wait for him, his mother, and his mother's boyfriend to arrive felt like forever. I remember thinking "what else did I do?" and while the term "FML" had not yet been invented, I was certainly feeling it that evening. When Curt and company arrived at my home, his parents sat at the table with my parents while Curt and I sat at the kitchen bar. And then the reason for their appearance was made clear.
After Curt's temper tantrum at his home (which, if my reader recalls, caused his jacket to smash against the wall and thus reveal that he had stolen goods in all the pockets), something happened in Curt's mind. To this day I do not know why he chose this path, but it's neither here nor there for the sake of the story.
Curt called his father and explained what he did. Curt then proceeded to go downstairs with a garbage bag and filled it with all the crap that he ever stole. He took the bag upstairs to his mother and her boyfriend and confessed to stealing all the junk in the huge black garbage bag. WTF?
Even worse, the dude then told his mother that I had also been a part of the crime sprees and I had loads of stolen merchandise in my home as well! WHAT THE FUCK?
Basically Curt felt it was both his right and his duty to drag me under the surface with him. I won't lie...I wasn't going to steal again. The game was over. I played well but ended up losing. And the consequences weren't worth the rush. I'm sure Curt felt the same way. So WHY did he confess to stealing anything else? We could have easily unloaded it at the Salvation Army so that it would all go to the less fortunate (after all, we didn't care about any of it). All this "cleansing" did was as follows:
All the parents were quickly in agreement. Curt and I would have to return every stolen item that we had taken and pay for them as well. THEN the items would be donated. I was livid. I know, I know...it was the right thing to do to make us own up to our mistakes and the businesses deserved to be compensated for their losses. But we learned our lesson before Curt turned to the light side of the Force. So from the point of view of a kid, Curt succeeded only in costing him a fortune!
Once the parents finished their lecture, I was ordered to go downstairs and get everything packed up so that my parents could take me to all the stores to return everything the following evening. While I was in the crawlspace in the basement, I picked out several items that were really expensive and stashed them elsewhere. I was going to save as much money as I could! Curt came downstairs while I was getting everything out. I figured he came down to apologize for being such a twat, but I assumed wrong. The first thing he said to me was "what about the controller?" To elaborate, he saw the pile of stuff that I had taken out from the crawlspace and realized that a Sega Genesis controller that I stole from Game Dudes was not in the pile. The controller was used. For those of you unfamiliar with Game Dudes, it was a video game rental store. There was also a back room filled with televisions and video game systems. You would pay a small fee and get to play a video game of your choice in the game room for a half hour (or more, depending on how much you paid). I took the controller from the game room as there was a spare one at the time...impulse and opportunity were a bad mix. I was a big customer at Game Dudes at the time and had a strong rapport with the owner. The last thing I wanted was to have to face her and tell her that I stole from her...while every other store was faceless, I knew her quite well. It was an awful prospect. I asked him to forget about the controller...just the controller, but he outright refused. He was punishing me unnecessarily. I could have easily smuggled the controller back into Game Dudes and no one would have been any the wiser. But Curt wouldn't allow it and he had me by the balls. I either handed it in or he would tell on me and I'd have to hand it in anyway. I added the controller to the loot and turned it into my parents. A short while later, Curt and co. left my home. It was late, so I went to bed.
In the morning, I was feeling embarrassed and pissed off. But I had to get to school, so I went through the morning routine. About ten minutes before I had to leave to walk to school, the phone rang. Oh no...no no no no...not something ELSE from Curt's mother. But it was actually Curt himself. Usually Curt came by on the way to school and we would walk the rest of the way, so I thought he was calling to say he wasn't going to stop by (good idea since I would tear his nuts off and feed them to the ugly smelly girl down the street). Sadly, I assumed wrong again. "What about the Halloween mask, Dave? What about the Star Wars miniatures too?" Thinking someone else may have been listening on the phone, I said I never stole anything like what he was asking. Those items (as with all the other expensive items I hid the evening before were now stashed above the hanging ceiling in my bedroom, so no one would find them should they have searched. Curt didn't argue. He just said okay and that he'd see me at school.
It was a long day at school...mainly because I was dreading the embarrassment of walking up to managers and other employees at a variety of stores and confessing that I shoplifted. I was also not looking forward to seeing the bill at the end. As I figured, it was very hard for me to return the controller to Game Dudes. I nearly cried because I felt so shitty about it. I never stole from anyone else I knew during my klepto-blitz.
In the end, the bill was quite large. Over $500 if I recall correctly...and that was in 1992 or 93. And that didn't include all the pricey stuff I omitted from the goodies I handed over. So in the end, my impulse control disorder ended up giving me a criminal record as well as costing me over $500. It also cost me a friend. Curt and I still hung out from time to time, but it was never the same. We were no longer the friends we were. Betrayal does that to a friendship.
I do recall one morning a few weeks after the bust. Curt had started to stop by in the mornings to walk with me to school again. On the morning in question, when Curt arrived he looked me right in the eyes and said "Can I get my Playboy calendar?" Yes, as I stated in the first part of this trilogy, I once stole Playboy calendars from a gas station from right under the nose of the cashier. One for me and one for Curt. But a lot happened since then. I still had the calendars safely hidden. I first flipped out and told him that I wouldn't give him a fucking calendar after he dimed me out the way he did. He dismissed his actions with a "whatever, what's done is done." I wanted to bite him in the spine I was so angry. But I also learned a lot about Curt and how he couldn't be trusted because of his betrayal. Therefore, I then told him the calendars were destroyed and thrown in the garbage the day after we were busted. With Curt thinking the evidence was destroyed, he wouldn't try and blackmail me into giving him one under threat of him reporting the theft to his parents. We left for school, all the while I struggled to restrain myself from punching him in the eye.
There you have it. A tale of adventure, a tale of suspense, a tale of betrayal, and a tale of mental disorder. Oh, and a tale of becoming bitch-ass poor. Curt and I drifted apart and barely even talked after a few months had passed since being caught. But I don't hold a grudge against him now. That was a long time ago and while I still don't understand his actions, hating him for them now seems silly and meaningless. However, while I forgive, I will never forget.
At the end of this story, some of you are probably wondering.
"Did he ever steal again?"
The answer is yes. But that's a story for another day!