Sir Robert Takes It in the Shorts
By Mike Stevens
A Sir Robert Tale
Enough! Sir Robert Timkins said to himself. He’d sat around and bemoaned the fact that his hybrid band, Sledgehammer Nightmare, wasn’t going anywhere, for far too long. He’d been so sure of success when he’d dreamed up crossing two of the most popular types of music; opera, which he was trained in, and death metal which was all the rage with the young people. But, he had been proven wrong. They managed to record a demo, and the people they’d played it for had laughed, laughed! He was sick of trying to figure out where they’d gone wrong. He just didn’t get it. He needed to stop dwelling on their failure and get out of the house.He hadn’t been record shopping in a while; he’d hit the local record store, and just browse.
The booming and throbbing beat of some kind of metal greeted Sir Robert as he walked into Hell-Hammer records, and looked for the cassette section. It was nice to just be a customer looking through records, well, cassettes, really. He’d forgotten how much he’d enjoyed this. Lately, all he’d been focused on was Sledgehammer Nightmare. He’d put everything his life used to be about, such as just enjoying a day out at a record store, on hold because of his burning desire to have The Hammer be a success. His eyes lazily scanned the titles for sale. He wished he could afford something, but with the way Sledgehammer Nightmare was sucking the money out of his pocket, he couldn’t; he was flat broke. He was thinking it was about time to get going, when his eyes fell on the new Steamhammer Deluxe album, ‘ The Face-Torch Fire Brigade’. Wow; that he just had to have; he loved Steamhammer Deluxe! But, he was flat-a** broke. There was no way he could buy that. But damn it, he wanted it! He should have enough guts to just swipe it. No, he wasn’t that type. Or was he? He looked at the door; no one could see. The cash register was clear on the other side of the store. It was tempting.
He fought a war with his conscience, with guilt on one side, and greed on the other. Guilt said,
“Don’t do it, it would be dishonest!”
From the opposite end of his brain, greed smiled seductively, and whispered, “Oh, come on, do it. You know you want it; no one’s looking, just stuff it down your pants, and casually walk out!”
Greed won the argument. It was a hot day, and he’d worn shorts. He grabbed the cassette, and jammed it down the front. He nervously glanced at the sales clerk, way across the store; no one had seen. He casually walked, rather stiff legged, towards the door. This was easy! Guilt kept up a running commentary in his head, telling him this was so wrong, but greed shouted him down, saying why the hell not; after all, did he or did he not want the damn tape? If he did, this was the only way.
As he approached the door, he stole one more nervous glance at the sales clerk, and reached out to open the door. The sun was shimmering, and he was headed home with rock! As his hand found the bar that would open the door, a screeching wail rang through the store. An alarm; oh s**t! He saw the sales clerk running towards him, and panicked. He sprinted out the door.
“Stop, thief!” the sales clerk yelled behind him. As he ran, the stolen tape flew out of his shorts and clattered to the pavement. It slid along the pavement, but Sir Robert kept running; desperate to get away. He cut through the parking lot between two parked cars. Behind him, he heard the sales clerk shout from the doorway of the record shop,
“Somebody stop him! He’s a shoplifter!”
All he had to do is make it out of the parking lot, and then he could disappear among the many buildings. He was going to make it; what had he been thinking? He was no thie---suddenly, without warning, the door of one of the two cars he was cutting between swung open. He couldn’t stop, and ran head on into the door. All forward momentum was instantly halted, and Sir Robert remembered nothing after that.
The bright light hurt his eyes. He blinked in confusion; where was he? A medic was looking into his eyes with a penlight flashlight.
“Officer,” he said to a guy in a policeman’s uniform, who was standing behind him, “he’ll be okay, he just got his bell rung.”
“Okay, thanks; are you sure this is the man?” This last comment was directed to the store clerk, who replied,
“Yeah, that’s the shoplifter.”
Oh crap, now he remembered. The policeman was saying to the acne-faced sales clerk,
“Boy, it’s a good thing that older lady opened her car door to go to bingo when she did, or he may have got away.”