Stealing Friends

handcuffsNo, this isn’t about some catty girl gang’s inter-personal dynamics; it’s about kids who steal from their friends. More specifically, it’s about two incidents when boys who were welcomed into our home, given food and drink, played in Morgan’s room, show their appreciation by pocketing one or two of his video games and walking out the door. Smiling faces sometime…

The first theft occurred several years ago, when Roberto (remember sister Valerie?) made off with two PS2 disks. It had struck me odd that R had come over that afternoon with his games in a small zippered carrying case. He’d never brought more than one disk in its original plastic box. Within hours after he left, Morgan wanted to play GTA San Andreas and couldn’t find it.

And it snowballed from there. You know how it goes with a kid. He can’t find something. You tell him to look a little harder and maybe blow it off when the object of his desire still doesn’t turn up. But eventually the kid asks for help. And maybe you’re a little smug, figuring you’ll just walk in there and pull the rabbit outta the hat the way Moms are prone to do. But you can’t find it either and now it’s a quest.

We tore that little room apart. And as shamelessly messy as Morgan keeps it, he knows his game inventory. And two were gone. Period. We went over and over the events of the day. Roberto had the means, motive and opportunity. A circumstantial case, yes. But come on: They play the games. Roberto leaves. The games are gone. Go figure.

This is when Morgan’s Dad took over. He’s used to conflict. I get so mad, I’m afraid I’ll cry or kill somebody. Bill tries talking with Roberto (who is several years older than M) but it’s deny, deny, deny. He calls R’s mother, explains the situation, minimizes and says we understand how shit like this can happen. (Not really.) But no yelling, no threats. But, again, denial. His mom makes excuses for her son. Although she’s never adamant about his innocence, she doesn’t offer to cough up the 80-replacement-bucks either. We just dropped it and the friendship faded.

Earlier this week, same thing. Substitute Mitch (who claims to be a homeschooler), a winter coat, one Xbox 360 game, Jackass, Mitch’s father, 50-bucks. Except this time there was a reluctant witness to the theft. Even with Austin’s confirmation, nada. The Dad wouldn’t even wake up his son when Billy went knocking on their apt. door. Man.

The saddest thing? Once I was satisfied that the games really were MIA, there was never a moment when I didn’t think it was within the character of either of those Lost Boys to steal from Morgan. Yet I was willing to let Morgan befriend them and bring them into our home?

Who’s really at fault here?

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