At my table I sold the latest issue of Babalon Babes, Psycho Bunny, assorted prints and issues of IF-X that I had done cover art for. In a back-handed way, its an odd compliment if a comic fan tries to steal one of your books. Especially if you’re an unknown artist. Okay, I’ll explain.So here I am at the show, when another pair of two young girls approach my table. As the girls were looking through my prints, a young male, probably about 13-14 years of age comes over to where Babalon Babes No. 4 was displayed. The girls were asking about the magnets, in which I replied the magnets were free with a purchase. So the guy standing next to the girl on the left, takes a magnet, and then Babalon Babes No. 4. Tries to walk away without paying. “Three dollars please” was my response. As the guy pretended he didn’t hear me, the girl standing on the left snatches the issue away from the boy’s grubby paws, slightly sucked her teeth in annoyance and puts the book back on the table.
The girls leave, but the delinquent pre-teen stays behind. He looks at the issue of Babalon Babes No. 4 again. He picks up the issue and attempts to walk away again. Apparently this kid wasn’t so slick because he blatantly tried the thievery right in front of me. “Three dollars” was my second response. Again the kid turns around and puts Babalon Babes back in its rightful place on my table.
An adult couple walk up to my table, and they like what they see. Sold the very last Babalon Babes 2010 desk calendar to the dreadlocked gentlemen as his female companion purchases a Psycho Bunny sampler. Well wouldn’t you know it, during this transaction, the kid attempts yet again. He probably figured the third time might be a charm. Obviously the charm didn’t work, particularly when I observed him staring longingly at Babalon Babes for a good 5-10 minutes. And no, taking off his gray stripped sweater to disguise himself didn’t help. Nice try, but if he wanted an issue it was going to be three bucks. At this point I was starting to sound like that newspaper boy from that 80’s film ‘Better Off Dead.’ All I needed was John Cusack to show up any second. Two dollars!I thought I had gotten rid of this sticky fingered pest after the third failed heist. After he left empty handed, I couldn’t help but snicker. It was kinda funny in an twisted way. Hey, you can laugh, I won’t get mad. Had to admit this whole exchange was kinda amusing. Now had he succeeded, that would’ve been a different story. Nice to know that my time in retail has served me well.
It suddenly dawned on me; the kid in question wasn’t your typical klepto. If he had wanted to just steal, he would’ve taken anything from anybody. However, his focus was on Babalon Babes No. 4. So in a way you know your stuff is good if people try to steal your product. Go figure.
If this kid wanted the item so bad, I would’ve given him the book in the end. I’m not such a hard ass, you know. However, had to extra careful because this preteen was exactly that-underage! All I needed was for him to have the book in his hands, and I would get in trouble for ‘corrupting minors.’ No thank you.
Then I started remembering back to when I was a preteen. Good old puberty. Those formative years where we discover what turns us on as human beings. Started to recall the stories that various exes and friends would tell me about what got them off during those precious years. Once again I realized that not only was this kid focused on stealing this one particular sketchbook, but he probably had something else in mind. Dunno, maybe I’m reading too much into this. Yet it wouldn’t surprise me that years later he’ll probably tell his girlfriend, or (most likely) his prison cellmate about this little self-published comic from way back when.
However, what I can suggest to Shifty Le Pew is to check out Abbie Hoffman’s classic, ‘Steal This Book.’ You don’t even have to physically steal the book, just read it online right here. ‘Cause if you’re gonna steal something in life, make sure you do it right. Just don’t go around stealing my shit.