Every one knows a kleptomaniac. Chocolates in a fancy store, a slightly damaged toy, that lipstick that looks so great on your sister. There is small child in all of us that wants what it can’t afford, what it cannot have.
Just the other day I stole a small silver spoon at the Ritz where I’d just had afternoon tea. It was so small and shiny, and it fit perfectly in the palm of my hand. It looked wonderful swirling around in a cloud of milk, making those perfect little clinky sounds against the edges of the teacup. So I opened my bag and slipped it in. Nobody saw it, nobody needed to know.
I must get this from another kleptomaniac of my acquaintance. To protect her identity, let’s call her “Maman”. Maman steals sugar cubes from cafés. She’s been known to steal silver teapots from hotel rooms, bread from bread baskets, handfuls of fruit at the supermarket. There’s always a napkin or an assortment of miniature jams at the bottom of her bag.
Lately though, Maman has taken kleptomania to the next level. She bigged up petty theft, Cambodia stylee. She improved her illegal acquisition goal realisation. She stole a cat. Well, she didn’t really steal it, technically, she was more the architect of the reprehensible deed, the evil mastermind, the Brain to the Pinkie. She’d spotted the black kitten at the silk farm, all skin and bones and cuteness impersonated. “You bring the pink basket”, she told her accomplice. The pink basket was duly brought, the small hungry cat scooped up into it, and off they marched through the gift shop, smiling beatifically, the kitten meowing dramatically, the staff ignoring them politely.
Now the kitten lives in my mother’s house. It’s a bit angry, a bit aggressive, probably separated from its mother a tad too early. It’s well fed now, but it still fits uncomfortably in their daily routine, a small energetic ball of fur that hurtles between legs and attacks plants and insects. It is a moment of irrational thought. It is the stolen item at the bottom of the bag. It is the tiny tea spoon, all lovely in its shiny perfection, that no one really knows what to do with.