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Mr X recently shoplifted a lollypop from a local newsagent. He didn't steal because he wanted to eat the sweet. He easily had enough money to buy one if he wanted. And if he had bought the sweet? He would certainly have chosen lemon, not blackcurrent. He tells me he took it because a friend placed the idea in his head. They'd joked about nicking something because they were so bored waiting to be served.

The remark wasn't serious. These friends had never shoplifted before - well, at least not together. But at the very moment the idea of shoplifting entered his consciousness Mr X found himself next to a display of Chupa-Chups lollies. The shopkeeper was busy, his back turned. Mr X's other friends had momentarily moved away. Maybe he could steal something… why not? He imagined taking the nearest lolly and putting it into his pocket. He became excited and light headed at the thought. He quickly checked to see if anyone might witness his crime. No. He fixed his gaze on the back of the shopkeeper's head as he reached to take the lolly in a giddy moment of surreality.

He snatched the lolly with his right hand, moving it about 30cm from the display. His hand, with lolly, rested briefly on the counter-top. If spotted, Mr X would pretend to be toying with a purchase selection. But his first action had gone unnoticed, and he quickly carried through, whipping the lolly out of sight and into his trouser pocket. The lollypop was an odd shape, and momentarily snagged on the pocket opening just as the keeper turned to serve him. His heart pounded, he couldn't believe what he'd just done. Did the shopkeeper see? Was he too polite to say anything about such a mindless petty act? He was so stupid. Imagine what would have happened if he'd been caught - the humiliation. But he he hadn't been caught, and within minutes was flashing the trophy to his friends outside the shop.

Mr X says he thinks about eating that lollypop. He imagines it would taste much nicer because of how it came into his possession. But he prefers to just look at it from time to time; with lollypop, and shoplifting experience safely preserved in a box under his bed.



what do you find thrilling?