I’ve lived an absurdly crime-free life. Up until this week, the only time I had been robbed was when I was living in Stillwater about seven years ago, I had left a bike out in front of my apartment, fully intending to use it once again. A year and a half later, when I moved out of that apartment, the bike was gone. I never filled out a police report, mainly because a) I was going to feel pretty silly reporting something stolen anytime in the last eighteen months* and b) I was thrilled to not have to move a large object I had no intention of ever using again.
So, you can imagine my surprise… consternation…? rage…? when I go go to work on Wednesday morning to find the two front doors of my car ajar. Digging deeper, I saw that the glove compartment was also open.
Someone had broken into my car in the night. Now, no windows were broken and the car appeared to completely undamaged, so my next realization was that the only reason this had happened was because I had likely not completely closed my driver’s door before going into the house for the evening.
Then I remembered what I had left in the car. in the interest of meeting the often-sporadic sales needs of a small publishing company, I kept a wide selection of titles in the trunk of my car.
And now they were gone. Two cases worth of books, about two-hundred dollars in merchandise, about 75 percent of my stock. All gone.
And things got stranger from there.
For one thing, there was trash in my car. They didn’t clean that up. Rude, if you ask me.
Second, there was change near the ash tray. You know, objects of inarguable monetary value. Not a fortune, but certainly a few dollars worth. They didn’t touch a dime.
Third, in the back seat I had a copy of the first edition of Stephen King’s On Writing**. I think I am safe to say that the volume has some value if you were to try to sell it to a used bookseller. Again, maybe not a fortune, but certainly a few bucks, or at the very least a goodly sum of store credit. They completely left that book alone.
No, they only took several copies of Orson Welles of Mars, The Devil Lives in Beverly Hills, Right - A Novel of Politics, and A Loss For Normalcy.
Theory number one: a couple of goofball thieves wisely opted against obvious dumb things to steal. When they were confronted with two, nondescript heavy boxes, dreams of high-end merchandise danced through their heads. They got away with the booty, only to realize that the joke is on them.
Theory number two: I have some very passionate, somewhat larcenous fans out there, and this was the culmination of a profoundly daring heist.
Now, this objectively sucks. Or it did, for about ten minutes before it became undeniably weird and amusing.
Sure, it was a violation of my space to have someone go through it, perhaps while I slept, and the loss of those books is an irritant, but we’ve all—myself included—had a good laugh about it all. I’ll have to re-buy books, but it also allows two titles (namely Right and Normalcy) to go to an admittedly needed second edition. Not for nothing, the robbery also gave me a subject for this week’s blog post, when some weeks I’d pay the value of the books I lost just to get an idea to fill this corner of the website. What’s more, I get that sinking feeling that a novel in my near future will start with an up and coming writer losing his stock of books, and then going on a one-man war on crime. A new novel idea is a steal at twice—hell, three—times the price.
So, for all that, you crazy kids who stole my books, thanks! You’ve given me far more than you ever dreamed of taking***.
*And, no, officer, I can’t get any more specific than that.
**If you haven’t before, you should be reading that book right now, regardless of your feelings of King’s work as a whole. And, man, does opinion on King range in sort of a ridiculous sort of way. There are people that believe he is the only good novelist who ever lived, and there are plenty of people who think leaving him buried alive in the center of a dead planet wouldn’t begin to cover the crimes of Maximum Overdrive (1986).
***Between writing and publishing this post, I realized that the scoundrels also stole a sweater jacket. Now I’m really mad. That thing was cozy!