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TRUE CONFESSION: How I Swindled My Local Bookstore Out of $1000 This Year (standard:humor, 1266 words)
Author: SherylAdded: Feb 28 2001Views/Reads: 2320/1315Story 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 

It was almost too easy... 

"I started planning my book binges. Late into the night I could surf
over to 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 

"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 

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