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A Perfect Crime

I was taught from a very young age that it was wrong to steal. Yet, on two occasions that I can recall, I have taken something that did not belong to me.

Back when I was in grade school, my then best friend and I were big fans of Ultraman, a TV series about a superhero who came to our planet to protect us from other evil space aliens.

Ultraman was very cool and all but what we loved more than the superhero in silver leotard were the villains. Each episode of Ultraman (and its subsequent sequels featuring the original Ultra guy's brothers) introduced a new alien/monster. Each had a very eye-catching appearance as well as its own special powers and whatnot.

So, when they started selling trading cards featuring all the aliens/monsters, we started collecting them along with millions of kids our age...

I think a pack of 8 cards cost 50 yen. There were 324 cards in all and you were supposed to buy a blank "album" first and paste the cards to their designated space in the album. Of course, just like baseball cards, you never knew which 8 cards you would get and you naturally end up with a lot of doubles and triples. There was a list of all the cards on the back of the album so you could check off the ones you had and keep track of your progress in collecting them all.

We could only buy a pack of cards a week because we had to set some cash aside to buy our other necessities like soda pops and snacks and it was frustrating to say the least when you get the same cards over and over again. What we were shooting for was a monster called MIKURASU. The card for this space creature was unique in that its designated spot was not inside the album but on the cover. No one in our circle of friends had it and I wanted to be the first one to get it.

One day, we went to the local book store as usual to buy a pack of cards. We picked our packs and paid for them. The cards were displayed on top of the check out counter by the entrance. My friend exited the door first. The middle-aged woman, who was the wife of the owner of the shop, left the counter to go back to the living room which was adjacent to the shop.

I took a pack of cards from the box on the counter..

I didn't even tell my friend.

We opened the packs we had bought but no MIKURASU. We were disappointed but I knew I had one more chance to get lucky and finally get my hands on the ever elusive MIKURASU card.

I opened the packet back at home in the bathroom. No MIKURASU. All the cards in it, I already had in my album.

I threw out the packet into a ditch the next day to destroy the evidence. I suppose I thought that throwing it out and not having it in my possession made me less guilty...lol

I was really scared to go back to the shop a few days later. When we went back, I was relieved to see it was the mother of the owner who was behind the counter and not the wife.

If this was an episode of an After School special on TV , I would have suffered many sleepless nights over what I had done and ultimately confess my sin to my Mom and she would have made me go back to the shop to apologise and pay for the cards.

However, this being the real life, that didn't happen. I did feel guilty for a while but I got over it pretty quickly and continued on living as a polite, smart child who helped out his parents doing chores and being a good friend to my classmates.

That was the beginning of my life in crime.

I never completed my collection, though. We somehow got bored with the trading cards and moved onto MICROMAN, a timy figures with movable joints. Unlike pieces of paper, they presented much wider play possibilities. I saw them on the internet the other day. They are still available.

I drove by the bookshop the other day and while it was still in business, it didn't look much more than just a smokeshop with a few magazines.

OK, I got sidetracked again. I was going to write about this book I stole from the school library. I will write about it in my next entry.




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