The early morning sun glared through leafless trees and into my shack, urging me to action. “Go out and slay dragons,” Swamp Rabbit said. He was hungry and out of bourbon, and not getting along with his girlfriend. At such times, he counted on me to make money by selling subscriptions for magic electricity, or to at least go out and shoplift.
“It’s Friday the 13th, I should stay home,” I told him. “But I feel like I’m stagnating here.”
He said, “Of course you stagnatin’, you live in a swamp. Only cure for what ails you is to do something.”
So I jumped into my rusty Honda and hit the road. A black cat crossed my path before I was even out of the swamp. Then I sideswiped a parked car on Chemical Road, snapping off its side mirror. But I figured my luck might change if I soldiered on. I set up my table at a chain drug store on the Main Line, where the buildings are much less tacky than in southwest Philly and the people more hip to the eco-benefits of magic electricity.
Or so I thought. The shoppers were grumpy old men and housewives seeking air freshener and hipsters staring at their phones as they walked, as if taking directions from unseen taskmasters. Everyone who entered the store had to run a gauntlet of heart-shaped holiday balloons and sappy greeting cards and was in no mood to listen to a sales pitch for magic electricity.
After a few hours I folded my table and drove west on City Avenue into the sinking sun, squinting as I looked for a SuperFridge and a liquor store. I hit the latter first and then found a Shop-Rate, which is easier to shoplift from than a SuperFridge. You can usually count on Shop-Rates to have in-store cameras so old they don’t work anymore.
Back at the shack I unloaded fruits and greens and canned beans from the inside and outside pockets of my overcoat. The rabbit was happy when I pulled out a bottle of Wild Turkey, but then he twitched his whiskers and made a face.
“Mary Jo will think I forgot her,” he said. “Please, Odd Man, can you go out one more time and lift some flowers or candy?”
I thought of my former valentines and shivered. “I don’t steal for Valentine’s Day, especially when it falls on Friday the 13th,” I said. “That would be pushing my luck too far.”