When we lived in the Euclid house, about half a block away in the now empty lot of Sara’s Dance Studio, there was a small store called The Cottage. That’s where my sister, Wendy, stuck her tongue to the street pole one winter. That’s where I got caught stealing. That’s where we got caught lying.
We used to collect empty pop bottles. At that time you had to pay a deposit for the bottles when you bought pop. We would take them in and get money for them. I can’t even remember how much it was per bottle. Maybe a nickel. Maybe not. I can’t remember. You would just add the ones you had to the pile out back and then tell Ken or Egghead how many you had.
Ken and Egghead ran the store. I don’t know if they owned it. How would a kid know this? Exactly. Ken and Egghead seemed old. I don’t think they were, but as a kid everyone over 25 seems old. Ken had dark hair and glasses and wore plaid shirts. Egghead was taller. He was bald and had an oval shaped face. He had glasses too. He wore solid colored shirts and one of those white store aprons. Egghead was not his real name. That’s what we called him. No disrespect at all. He just looked like his name should be Egghead. So it was, to us. Ken was nicer, although I’m sure they both hated it every time we came in. They watched us like hawks. I wonder why? Remember the Been Caught Stealing story?
One day we thought we would go to the store and get some money for pop bottles. We needed some money for candy. Our life was candy.
We, and when I say we, it was the sister who was my partner in crime. The sister named Sherry. Remember the cigarette story? Remember the burning bed story? Yeah, that sister.
We went to the store and went inside. The store was old, but cool. It was dark and shadow-y. It was musty smelling and the floor was made of hardwood and it creaked when you walked. I wonder if Egghead was a butcher? Those white aprons were the kind that butchers usually wore. Weird. Anyway, I don’t remember if they sold meat there. We were always focused on the candy and the comic books. I was never into comic books, but they had a great selection of comic books. They also had a great selection of candy. I paid attention to that. Twizzlers and sixlets were my jam.
We told Ken and Egghead that we wanted money for the pop bottles we had collected. We told them how many we had and that we wanted money for them to buy candy. Nothing different than any other time we turned in pop bottles. Except this time, one of them walked back to check. What??? They never did that before. Uh oh. They were on to us. This was not going to go well.
It just so happened that all the pop bottles had been picked up by the bottling company and there were none, zilch, zero pop bottles out back on the landing. We were doomed. We didn’t know what to do. What the heck were we supposed to say now? Ummmm, oh. Sorry?
They chewed us up one side and down the other. They both seemed super tall. I consulted with Sherry, because I couldn’t remember what exactly happened next. She thinks they made us call our mom and tell her what happened. That makes complete sense, because why would they just let us go? We both can’t remember what happened when we got home. I’m sure we walked that half block home as slowly as we possibly could. But, hey, we’re still here to tell the story!
We didn’t try that prank on Ken and Egghead again and I’m sure they watched us even closer after that incident. Crime doesn’t pay people!