I traveled to the spot where I usually pick-pocket. It was a strip mall, it was mainly made up of clothe stores but there were a few outdoor food courts.
There were always many faces there, so many that a stolen wallet couldn't be traced back to me. Besides, I wasn't the only one who did this.
I wished that I didn't have to do this. I didn't have much of a choice, though.
My parents had always seemed restless, I had known they would leave eventually. But I never thought they would leave the moment I turned 18. The minute I woke up that morning I noticed the lack of their presence. Since the house was under their name I had to get a new one.
That wasn't the only reason, it was too expensive to keep. My brother, Nikko, and I had to move to a much smaller apartment in a neighborhood that wasn't as safe.
Luckily my birthday was late in the year, I only had four months left at Nekoma high school. If it was any longer I probably would've dropped out. In the long run finishing high school would only be a benefit. After I graduated I'd get a full time job and stealing wallets would be a thing of the past.
Thieving would be my downfall though. I always knew it. My neighbor seemed to have it out for me. Always calling social services, claiming I was an irresponsible guardian. Her name was Mrs. Suzuki. She was an old woman, a stuck up one who always thought she knew better.
Mrs. Suzuki was always be knocking at our door, demanding to be let in. If I didn't she would use it against me, saying I was hiding something.
If I did, she would snoop around, trying to find anything incriminating. Mrs. Suzuki always made Nikko out to be some stupid kid who doesn't know anything. That wasn't the case, Nikko was an eleven-year-old genius. He aced all his advanced classes without a sweat, so if I accidentally left a knife out he would know better than to mess with it.
Social services seemed to be getting tired of her constant badgering. They thought of her as the issue, not me. The only real concern they had was where I was getting enough money to afford the apartment if all I had was a part time job.
I ended up lying, telling them my parents were sending us money. They never looked into the lie, believing me without much thought.
They never had a reason to think I was being dishonest. Mrs. Suzuki had done this with more people than just me. After the third or fourth person, the people over at social services began to notice a trend. They paid their monthly visits and sometimes more when Mrs. Suzuki wouldn't let up, but they stopped taking her seriously.
Part of me felt bad for the woman. It was common knowledge in the apartment complex that she was abused as a child. The other part of me just wanted her to stop taking out her past pain on innocent bystanders.
I never filed a complain to her, though. The only reason was because while she may shoot glares at me when we passed each other in the hallway, she would invite Nikko over for dinners and give him Christmas presents.
I had always liked that about her, and even though I knew Mrs. Suzuki would bad-mouth me whenever Nikko was over, whatever she fed him was better than what I did. Most of our dinners were Mac and Cheese with hotdogs and the occasional canned soup. With her she always had steak and vegetables with meal.
I broke out of my thoughts as I noticed how deep into them I had fallen. I began to scan the people in the crowd, looking for someone who would believe my flirting.
I had learned what to look for in people. Usually I tended to target a person who appeared innocent or equally as flirty. Both were easy to manipulate with a seemingly genuine smile.
My eyes landed on a tall guy with dark hair that was all over. His clothes were clearly meant for comfort over style and his posture seemed confident. A natural smile was worn on his face and immediately I knew he would be a good target.
I got up from my seat and began approaching him. A wave of guilt washed over me but as soon as I imagined Nikko's smiling face it faded away.
This is for Nikko, maybe this guy is rich and this'll be the last wallet I'll ever steal.
It was hardly likely. This guy didn't seem very rich. As I approached I saw his wallet peaking out from the side pocket of his sweatpants.
I sighed to myself, Nikko had been playing a lot of video games lately, even I've been beginning to pick up on the words it'll say.
They guy glanced at me and I waved, flashing a kind smile. "Hey," I said. "I know this is weird, but I thought you were kind of cute, so I was wondering if you were here alone with a friend or something."
He smiled back, laughing a little. "Yeah, I am. I was just getting something for lunch but I'd be alright if you wanted to join me."
"Thanks," I tucked a piece of my brown hair behind my ear. "Sochiru Yokotawaru." I never used my real name, I wasn't dumb enough for that.