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He put the phone back on the stand and moved over to the

next. I could smell the sweat of fear on him. Evidently he

needed to get the next payment to the dealer ASAP. The

store detectives didn’t know I was hunting the same prey

they were. I tried to figure out how to warn them to stay


I snuck over to the other side of the phone display, and this

time the junkie noticed me.

He lurched and bumped against the phone shelf, and a cell

phone hurtled from his pocket and slid across the floor. I

managed to grab it before he could, even though my fat suit

made it hard for me to bend over.

“I’m thinking you haven’t been a good boy,” I murmured as

he tried in vain to yank the phone from my hand. He was

my height, about five-nine, but seemed shorter, sunken

down, as if his bones had been softened by the drugs. He

didn’t have enough meat on him to feed a hungry dog.

“Give me my phone!” he rasped. I noted that the guard had

taken off. Evidently he had more important tasks.

“Don’t even try. You swiped it, anyway.”

“I did not! Just look at the screen! It’s mine! That’s Paula’s

gravestone . . .”