August 09, 2007

Sin and Redemption: A Finders-Keepers Story

This image belongs to Howard Finster.

I was returning my shopping cart to the piled-up wreck at the "Convenient Cart Return" when I suddenly spied a 12-pack of Coke on the bottom half of someone's abandoned cart. I instantly snatched it up and put it in the back of my car along with my other groceries. Score! my mind shouted, then curled furtively into a corner to bask in its contempt. Thief, it whispered. But I didn't listen, I had free soda!

As I drove away I spied a man returning to the cart area. He scanned the carts, then threw his hands skyward in exasperation.

I left and went to the drugstore, batting at the little buzzing voice inside my head.

Five minutes later, I returned to the grocery store with the 12-pack, and brought it to customer service. I said, "Somebody left this in the bottom of their cart in the parking lot." The clerk thanked me and gave me the Ahhh, you are a Good Samaritan. A lesser being would have kept it smile of benevolence. I accepted her thanks with the shame of the undeserving.

I don't know if the man would ever have checked back with the store, and discovered that the would-be thief had actually returned his soda. Discovered that he was wrong about me.

Right about me.

I know that I would have kept it, had I not seen the damage I caused firsthand. His tired, of course it was stolen face. His hands, yelling silently at Heaven.

I would have consumed each and every ounce of that Blood Soda. And with each can I drank, I would have tasted the bitterness of my own sin. Am I truly redeemed if I only returned it out of guilt, the crime already committed? I think not. I am still a lesser being, and I don't even have the bubbly sweetness of an icy cold Coca Cola as salve for the wound of this knowing.

21 comments:

jiggs said...

Blood cola tastes much better than baby blood juice.

Pope Terry said...

Oh guilt, it never goes away, in ten years time you'll be driving somewhere and bam for some reason soda man will pop into your head. We all have those little things, after all were just human.

david mcmahon said...

G'day Spinning Girl,

Thanks for visiting my blog and taking the trouble to leave a comment. It's always good to hear from new bloggers.

Sorry it's taken me 24 hours to get to your blog, but it's been a busy week - and I'm wrapping up a novel as well for Penguin, my publishers.

Just want you to know that my fellow Aussie, Pope Terry, has nominated this post for Post of the Day (as you would have seen on my blog).

I'm going to add you to my blogroll so I don;t take so long to return a visit the next time. If you have any objections, let me know ....

One day, when you least expect it, you will derive the benefit of returning the sodas.

Do visit and do keep in touch

Cheers

David

Tits McGee said...

This makes me ache with loving you.

tuuna taco said...

this made me kind of...sad!

word verification: cbuhvd
someone named cb has vd.

jamwall said...

During the Cola Wars I met a kid named Mike Pibb. He was barely out of high school when he joined Dew Company and started patrolling the war-torn streets of Cola City.

Anyway, he showed me a pic of his girl at home. Said he and she were gonna get married after the Cola Wars finally end. Minutes later, he was killed while conducting a taste test. I'm still sick about it to this day.

War is hell. It doesn't matter if you have ice with your cola or not!

Victorya said...

good post,and who hasn't enacted the 'finders keepers, losers weepers' rule we first learn in kindegarten? I've gone through those moments, and would probably feel the same as you - not bad until I saw the man give up that other little hope in humanity.

Think Frustrated said...

I discovered that, at Target, they never check the bottom of your cart. I have to admit that I (ahem) intentionally forgot to take things out of the bottom and didn't pay for them. But, then again, I'm poor, and I justified it by saing that it was less than a few bucks.

I don't think you'd go to hell becuase of stealing some guy's pop. That would be a little heavy-handed. Hitler is down there, and you would be sharing a stolen coke with him? Not in my opinion.

miss kendra said...

i adore you.

Freewheel said...

Excellent post. You definitely mitigated the crime by returning the cola, and therefore you can do community service instead of hard time. I'm guessing that being a teacher involves some of both.

Chewy said...

The soda probably went back on the shelf and the store made another profit. Shoulda kept it since you already had it.

Now, what if it was a new iPod in it's shiny package? Then you would've been seen by us all on Dateline.

Jurgen Nation said...

I think that as long as you do right in the end, that's all that matters. Good for you for going back! Don't you feel good?

Of course, when I do it I feel good for awhile and then "life" happens and I revert back to evil and kick someone in the face. But for that short, sweet moment, bliss.

;)

B.E. Earl said...

You could have taken one of the Diet Cokes, shook it up, and then sprayed it all over the dude at the cart area while yelling "SUCKER!!!!!" as you sped away.

But you didn't. Well done.

Dan said...

You are certainly destined for eternal hellfire and damnation. Or something.

That was ME who left that 12 pack. And here I am, 300 miles away. I can't go back to that store. Please ship me 13 bottles (the extra one is for interest).

Much obliged.

brookelina said...

You are so giving! What next? Returning the case of uzis that fell off the back of the van with the missing license plates? Does your kindness no know bounds?

Freiya said...

you did do the good thing really, cause you brought it back. Admitidly the store most likely, as has been mentioned before, put it back on the shelf and made suckers of us all but that's their bad, not yours.
Therefore you are ace, and good and the best!

Edge said...

Well turned phrases.

I feel bad for the old dude and glad you made the right choice even if it was after a bad one.

~Jef

Anonymous said...

Lee Ling Li~
It was a test...it was all a test...i set you up...i totally figured that, given the chance, you would steal soda, so i bought some and gave it a shot. YOU DID...THIEF!! THAT WAS MY SODAAA!!!!!!
Great story though!

Marisa said...

i still love you, spinning girl!

Twirling Girl said...

Sinner...you should be named Sinning Girl instead! No really, just burp and move on! :) You did the right thing.

i am the diva said...

great post.