Nine Inch Nails Week: Criminal Acts

I am no criminal mastermind. I am not Lex Luthor, Ernst Stavro Blofeld or Keyser Soze. But I have broken the law once or twice, and not just by driving 40mph in a 35mph zone. I’ve never killed anybody or anything like that, but I have engaged in a little criminal mischief hear and there. I’ve shoplifted a few times in my life. I’ve taken advantage of situations for personal gain. I even planned a breaking and entering heist into my high school. That didn’t end well, but I’ll get to that story later. This story isn’t about such a grand scheme as it was about having a little too much fun with an odd opportunity.

When Jeremy and I were roommates in college, we were not the best influences on each other. We were enablers for some of our worse qualities. It’s hard to get the motivation to go to class if your roommate has already given up and will be sitting in the room playing video games while you’re struggling to hold onto your college career. We frequently encouraged daring behavior in each other. It’s easier to do something brash and stupid with an audience, I guess.

Due to the fact that we had both pretty much given up on our careers at Ashland, we spent a lot of late nights staying up, doing really nothing at all. Sometimes this involved hanging out with friends. Sometimes this involved long marathons of King’s Field II in the room. Sometimes it involved sitting on the comfortable couches in the common room downstairs, watching VH1 or some bad movie on USA and reading comics. Sometimes it was writing emails and chatting on the old public computers down there that just ran DOS. We were hardly ever bothered by anybody. Most people were interested in sleeping at 3am on a Tuesday. Most people cared about the education they were paying for. The few people who walked by were just there heading back to their rooms or grabbing something out of the vending machine.

I can’t remember how it all began, all I remember is that these two guys who were down in the lounge when Heather, Jeremy and I went down there were jerks. There is a small possibility that I’ve painted them as jerks in my memories to justify the rest of the story, but I’m pretty sure they were actually jerks. Regardless, we found them annoying. They were loud and brash, and the majority of their conversation revolved around teams they were rooting for and “bitches” they wanted to sleep with. They were also pretty drunk, which was admirable for a Thursday night/Friday morning on a “dry” campus. After dealing with the conversation and TV habits of these two meatheads for a couple of hours, they finally retreated to their rooms upstairs to pass out. They had shut off the email server and we really didn’t feel like watching Pop-Up Video on VH1 or Critters 2 on USA, so we were about to do the same.

We were walking past some chairs on our way to the stairs when Jeremy stopped and looked down. Under one of the wing-back chairs was a corduroy jacket that we remembered seeing on one of the guys we had so recently been bothered by. He bent down and picked it up, then looked back at Heather and I. He had a look on his face that I had only seen once before. It was the look he had when he discovered a full, freshly delivered pizza sitting on the drinking fountain outside of the bathroom on our floor. On that occasion, he had picked up the box with the intention of throwing it out (people left their empty pizza boxes out like this all of the time, and Jeremy considered it his mission to be the better person and pick up after them). But, finding it full, he looked back at me, a look of mischief, and then bolted, pizza in hand. Not knowing what to do, I ran after him. We made it halfway across campus before deciding it was safe, and then we enjoyed the pizza together in the student center.

This time, jacket in hand, I didn’t know what he planned on doing. Again, he turned and ran, still holding the jacket. Instead of running outside, though, he headed up the stairs. When Heather and I met up with him, he was cackling maniacally in our room. Jeremy and I had a weird sense of “justice,” and messing with this drunk asshole a little seemed like a fun plan.

The first thing we did was empty out the jacket. Apparently, this guy kept everything in his jacket. Here’s what we found:

  1. His wallet, with:
    1. some cash
    2. some credit cards
    3. his membership cards to a couple of different movie rental places
    4. his license and student ID
  2. His car keys
  3. A bag of marijuana
  4. Tickets to the Cleveland Indians’ home opener the next night

Here’s what we did with all of it.

We took the cash. We bought cigarettes.

We thought about using the credit cards, but realized it would be too easy to trace back to us if we were to buy anything anywhere. Instead, we cut them into fun shapes and put them back in his wallet.

We took his membership card to Moovies (they had a cow theme, thus the name) and went to Moovies. We rented three PlayStation games, including Assault Rigs, King’s Field II and Rebel Assault 2. While I was at the counter checking them out, Jeremy was stealing the actual jewel cases from the aisles. When I went to “rent” the games, I was told I could not until I paid my late fee for Braveheart. I used some of the leftover cash to do so, and the last of it to pay for the rental. We threw out the rental boxes about a block away, and never brought the games back. We left the membership card on top of a trash can near the student center.

We cut his student ID into fun shapes. Jeremy kept the ID, thinking to use it as a “fake ID” at some point, even though no one would mistake Jeremy for the guy in the picture. I don’t know what he ever did with it after that.

We took his car keys and we were able to find his car. We went through the CD collection he had in there, grabbing a few of the better albums, including an album by Queensryche and the soundtrack to the movie The Crow. We took any albums we considered “bad” and either took a lighter to them, took the car keys to them, or simply snapped them in two, and put them back in the car. Jeremy took his umbrella. Heather moved his car to a different parking spot in a different parking lot.

We gave the bag of weed to an acquaintance named Brian. Brian was not a discerning stoner, and would smoke a tree branch if it got him high. Knowing that this weed was probably garbage, we didn’t want to give it to anybody who actually enjoyed marijuana and instead just wanted to pawn it off on whoever would use it.

Jeremy actually wore the jacket while we were doing most of this (not for the part at the video store, which happened the next day). After we had destroyed and looted as much as we wanted to, we put the jacket back where we found it, minus the baggie and the tickets.

The next day, when we were coming back from the video store, there were signs up all over the dorm about the tickets. We found out what time the game was, figured out how long of a drive it was to Cleveland (just over an hour), then slipped the tickets wrapped in one of the notes under the door to the RA’s office 45 minutes before the game.

Did we go to far? Maybe. Did we have a good time with it? Yes, yes we did. Did anyone get seriously hurt? Well, the dude would have had to pay to get his license and credit cards back, and he had some serious late fees waiting for him at Moovies. He also needed to replace a bunch of CDs, and definitely got wet the next time it rained. But we didn’t wreck his credit or go joyriding and crash his car. Our friend Brian said the weed was pretty bad, too. And the guy still got to go to the game, just a little late. Do I regret it? No, not even a little. Do I still have the copy of The Crow soundtrack I stole? Absolutely.

Sincerely,

Mr. Tooduloo

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