|TRUE CONFESSION: How I Swindled My Local Bookstore Out of $1000 This Year (standard:humor, 1266 words)|
|Author: Sheryl||Added: Feb 28 2001||Views/Reads: 2320/1315||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|It all started so innocently....|
It all started so innocently.... I was glad the lights were dimmed and I'd wore a cowl-necked sweater and hat. A perfunctory prayer was offered. Afterwards, the heavy-jowled man with the horn-rimmed glasses offered to speak first. I could see the pained lines around his eyes as he gathered his thoughts. He glanced around the room. I smiled warmly, letting him know he was among friends. Yes... we UNDERSTOOD how it felt. None of us had planned to get hooked. Now we gathered together, desperately searching for answers. How could it happen to us? An insidious compulsion... From looking at the people in the room I could see that it crossed all socio-economic, racial, cultural and gender barriers. Those afflicted came from every walk of life. I wondered if it was genetic. When was the seed planted? My turn to talk... My voice squeaked through the tightness in my throat. "Hello..." I purposely avoided eye contact. "My name is Sheryl, and I'm a Book-Aholic." There-- I'd said it. No more denial. How it all started... "I'm addicted to crime novels." I hoped others could relate. Perhaps people could understand an addiction to Romance Novels and even Science Fiction-- but my compulsion placed me on the lowest rung of the slime-ladder. I was the sickest of the sick. "I used to wait until shift change at my local bookstore. That way no one knew I had developed a 3-book-a-week reading habit." It is amazing how secretive and devious the addict can be. "But then I discovered the internet." It was almost too easy... "I started planning my book binges. Late into the night I could surf over to Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. I knew exactly where they kept their crime novels. Then, a few days later-- wrapped in a plain brown wrapper-- a stack of new books was delivered to the out-of-the-way postal box I'd rented. I kept a pair of dark sunglasses and a wig in the glove compartment, which I used to disguise myself." Spiraling out of control... "Like any addict, I started scheming ways to get more books for less money. That's when I discovered E-Books. Instead of spending $8-20 dollars on a book and having to wait for them to be shipped-- they were discreetly downloaded into my hard-drive. It was almost magic. No shipping and handling charges, no postal box fees, and best of all-- NO EVIDENCE!" "Before I knew it, I was downloading a new book every night. I stayed up til all hours of the morning reading and my performance at work started slipping. Like being seduced by a mesmerizing lover, I was unable to stop scrolling. I said I'd stop at the next chapter-- but then didn't. Dishes piled up in my sink. Phone calls went unanswered. I stopped paying my bills; except for my Visa card, which I needed to buy more E-Books. Dirty cups, plates and wrappers littered every empty spot around my computer. Cigarettes overflowed the ashtray. I really don't know why I bothered lighting them, because as soon as I'd turn my attention to the computer screen, they were left to smolder." Things got worse... "As soon as I saw the ad for the Franklin E-Bookman reader I knew my life would never be the same. With the ability to download ALL the books I wanted, take them WHEREVER I wanted, and read them WHENEVER I wanted... I was done for. I would sneak into the bathroom at work and hide in a stall, just to read the next chapter. I was a danger on the highway as I tried to read and drive. Every stoplight was an opportunity. I slipped my e-book reader into a zip-lock bag and took it into the bathtub. I turned down dates with eligible bachelors just to Click here to read the rest of this story (82 more lines)
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