Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Lauren got me thinking....

sunnyvale 1973. meryl and i would practice the art of stealing. i'd go over to her house on Ticonderoga. her dad was usually outside leaning against the car having a smoke while Meryl's mother , Bobby Bernstein, was somewhere in the house screeching "Meryl have you picked up the dogshit in the yard yet?" Seemed like everytime i visited Meryl, she was out back picking up dogshit as her mother, tethered by the phone cord, wandered up and down the halls with a drink in her hand watching Meryl as she picked up the dogshit. They had this big black dog with long fluffy hair that produced an awful lot of the stuff, it seemed.

Meryl liked to point out the really disgusting turds with the worms. "Meryl stop playing with the dogshit and pick it up for Christ's sake!" her mother would screech from the kitchen.

after picking up dogshit we'd go in her bedroom and lay out things on her bed and practice stealing. she'd play the shopkeeper and pretend to be ringing up items at the cash register by her tv at the end of the bed. i'd wander around the edge of the bed and when Meryl pretended to be helping a customer, i'd grab a pen, or her hairbrush and try to shove it in my pocket or up under my sweater before meryl looked back.

if she caught me she'd holler "thief! call the cops! she's stealing!" so loud her mother would hang up the phone and come pound on Meryl's locked bedroom door,

"Meryl Bernstein open this door at once!" her mother shouted while i ran around her room putting things back in place. and man everything had a place. "not there, stupid!" Meryl would mouth and i'd scramble to place her hairbrush next to the mirror on her nighttable.

"Come on in Bobby," Meryl would say finally when we were both seated on the edge of the bed.
"You want me to call your father?" her mother would ask, hands on her hips. her hair big, so big. ice tinkling in her tumbler.
"No bobby, i don't want you to call my father," Meryl would say and then turn to me and ask. "Do you want Bobby to call my father?"

on my way out the front door, her dad would still be there smoking, leaning against his car. "see ya," i'd say. he'd just nodd, not saying anything, blowing smoky air from his lungs like an exhaust pipe.

i got fed up with meryl and her mom. i didn't see how our practice sessions were helping. in the real world people didn't pretend to be looking away then suddenly screech their heads off for the cops if they suspected you were stealing.

no, in the real world, like at the pharmacy on the corner of Mary and Washington if they thought you were stealing they'd come over to you and say, "Can i help you find something, miss?" or "Are you ready to pay for that keychain i miss." a whole lot kinder than meryl and her mother. and a lot less noisy.

my brother, fraser, really perfected the art though. he was in advanced placement classes and i wasn't, even though we were only eleven months apart in age.

"Look right over there," he told me one day, as we were standing in Safeway by the checkers. "Tell me what do you see?"
i wished i was in advanced placement right then. I could feel my face burning with not knowing the right answer.
"Look!" he said and yanked my head to the right toward the produce section. I looked.
"I dunno, cabbages?"
"No dummy. Can you see the candy rack from here? Can you see the kid in front of the candy rack?"
"No, just cabbage."
"Exactly!" he said. "It's all free for the taking,"
"But I don't want any cabbage, " I said.
I really didn't. But that's exactly why i wasn't in advanced placement and he was.

Out of view of the checkers we loaded up: Abba Zabas, Big Hunks, Charleston Chews, Red Hots, Pixy Stix, Lemonheads, Snickers, Chunkys. we stole and ate it all.

ah, advanced placement.

10 comments:

lauren said...

i love it.

big hunks and charleston chews!

ah, for christ sakes.

Ippoc Amic said...

you really scare me cus' you still do it...I dread the call from the Berkeley PD..."hello, do you know a Ms. Erika Donald?

lauren said...

milkyways? those are my favs nowadays.

next time you steal, steal one of those. those are so yummy.

marscat said...

Mikly Ways...are they Mars bars now.

i used to love Abba Zabas...

chatterbox said...

scharffen berger - all those chocolates that tasted good when I was 10 just don't do it anymore. But, I still love the Willy Wonka hard stuff.

marscat - I love your narrative. Your friend and her parents remind me of my friend Kerri in San Jose circa 1980. Freakin' chimneys and fish drinkers they were. btw, there's a Starbucks at Mary and Washinton now (what else?) - wanna practice stealing some Madelines while ordering a venti latte?

marscat said...

chatterbox, i was in SJ circa 1980...went to Gunderson

chatterbox said...

Gunderson. Cool. I'm a bit behind you (was in elemetary in 1980) I went to Hoover and was slated to head to Lincoln, but we moved to Stockton before I finished Jr. High. Sigh. Central Valley slums.

Eclectchick said...

Ya delinquents.

(snicker)

PAB(a.k.a.CID) said...

You stole from SAFEWAY!!??

I'm tellin Pasco.

Unless you snag me a three musketeers, that is..... ;)

marscat said...

chicky: yes, and still am.

pabcid: easy pickins!