I Am A Thief

light blinding

Rhonda shielded her eyes from the blinding light as she stepped from the dark subway tunnel.  The sun was high.  The first person she saw was a stranger, standing in the middle of the sidewalk.  “I AM A THIEF,” read the sign he wore over his chest.

Rhonda, overcome with curiosity, approached him.  “What did you steal?”

“Some DVDs.”  He spat into the gutter and Rhonda tried not to recoil.

“From where?”



He shrugged.  “Done it before, thought I could get away with it again.  Make some quick cash.  Judge said 30 days in jail or wear the sign all day.  Picked the sign.”


A car zipping by honked the horn and he waved, like a politician angling for votes.

“Well, it’s pretty hot out here.  Want a drink?”

He shrugged.

Rhonda ducked into a corner store and grabbed a water.  As she meandered through the aisles towards the counter to pay, she stopped, dropping the bottle in her purse and heading to the front door, a subtle smile on her face.

“Ma’am!”  A stern voice called out.

As the cops led her away, the man looked at her briefly, then recoiled, as though he were disgusted.

For Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner


23 thoughts on “I Am A Thief

      1. I know *I* would learn my lesson much more by having to wear a sign than sitting in a jail cell or under house arrest. I’m not sure that works for all people, though. I appreciate that judges are trying to be more creative in their punishments, though.

  1. If it was me, I’d picked jail, at least I don’t have to embarrass myself all day long. I thought the ending was super ironic and let me guess, she will now has to make the same decision and she will pick jail. Great story!

  2. Interesting twist, having her try to steal the water. What a horrible item to be arrested or even detained over, for only a bit more then a dollar.

  3. I don’t agree with humiliation punishments…getting caught is humiliation enough…just give them a reasonable punishment , and that goes for children and adults. Great story….it really makes you think of what you would prefer or what you think should happen.

  4. Snorting with laughter …. that was a wonderful twist …. the idea of the temptation … to see, can you get away with it …. and the choice of “stolen goods” – a bottle of water, excellent – it reinforces the idea considering it’s “just water”, right? LOL …. and the sign “I am a thief” …. lovely idea (although I’m really not sure about the legalities of this) but it really works as such a huge draw in this piece. Well written and very enjoyable 🙂

    1. I love your reaction. I actually got the idea for the story from an actual news item where a guy had to wear a similar sign. So outrageous.

      1. wow! that is indeed crazy …. I mean that’s the type of thing you would hear of, not too often, wayyyy back when, but you would think that today, what with being found guilty etc. that it would or could be considered as slanderous etc.? *shrugging* … wonders never cease 😉

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