Everybody hates a kleptomaniac until they befriend one. Just like any person addicted to petty crime, Marcelle was a little off. I mean, not all the time. He had moments of clarity where he offered up some of the best advice I’d ever received, but then he’d spot something he lacked and he’d get that distant look in his eyes again.
I would say I couldn’t blame him, but I absolutely could – he almost got me fired once, but that’s another story. He got my jokes, we bonded over cute customers, and he always brought food – definitely my type of coworker. Despite all that, I knew that behind his friendly demeanor, Marcelle had a lot of things going on in his personal life that lent him to sketchy behavior. From time to time, a few of Marcelle’s friends would show up to the job looking for him, and once spotted, they’d all retreat to the corner to whisper. I was never one to pry, so I refrained from asking him about it, until things started going missing during inventory.
It started out small, a few unpopular supplements here, a couple of stale snacks there, but the losses grew, and so did Marcelle’s shoe collection.
While he often complained of our drab uniforms, Marcelle more than made up for it with his growing shoe arsenal. The newest and flashiest tennis shoes slowly phased out his more mundane collection. So much so, that I broke my silence and asked him about it. Of course, he had an explanation – a second job. How he found the time, I didn’t know or care. It was explanation enough for me to know I shouldn’t look forward to a truthful answer any time soon, and somehow, that was sufficient.
Despite my “no work friends” rule, we grew into real-world friends – at least until the raid. On Marcelle’s unexpected final day, Calvin, our regional manager, came barging in the front door on an unannounced mission. “Where’s Marcelle?” he asked almost as if he expected me to put up a fight.
“He went to the bank, he should be getting back soo—” before I could finish my statement, Marcelle came strolling in with the empty bank envelope and a look of subdued horror at the sight of Calvin.
“Marcelle, we’ve reviewed the footage from your shift, I’m gonna need you to hand me your apron. Effective immediately, you’re terminated for theft. Do you have any questions at this point?”
I was disgusted at Calvin’s approach. Yes, I’d noticed the cash register had been short a few days out of the week, and sure, loss prevention had gotten worse, but to make a scene of his firing just seemed cruel.
“No…I’m sorry, I can get some stuff back,” Marcelle struggled to get through his half-hearted confession.
For weeks I felt the hit of losing Marcelle. If nothing else, he was the type of coworker who makes your shift go faster, and as far as the stolen items... I don’t know, maybe he needed it.
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