Despite the opinion of her therapist, Monica Jean doesn’t consider herself a kleptomaniac. At least she wasn’t two years ago when she moved in with her roommate, Mary Jane.[i] Mary Jane was a weed-smoking, easy-going woman who had a successful career at Spotify. Monica Jean was an apathetic, inexperienced twenty-one-year old employed as barista at her local café.
However, one matter that Monica Jean excelled at over her roommate was her ability to create a homey environment. Due to Mary Jane’s entrepreneurial[ii] spirit, outgoing ease with people (which presented her with daily social outings), and her utter indifference to the state of their apartment, all the upkeep of their two-bedroom, fourth-floor, well-lit space was delegated to Monica Jean, and without any recognition from Mary Jane except for the occasional offering of an eighth of weed.
Monica Jean didn’t smoke, though. She was sober due to her then newfound religious ideology.[iii] But she accepted the form of payment, and simply threw it out in the dumpster behind the café she worked at since she was afraid of contention amongst the Jean and Janes of the world.
But one day, when Monica Jean was having a particularly difficult day filled with general life discontentment and a hatred for complaining customers, she decided to place a personal boundary on her living situation. Monica Jean made a pact with herself that she would never again purchase dish soap or toilet paper for their two-bedroom, fourth-floor, well-lit unit.
By the end of the week, the apartment was left without toilet paper. And the week thereafter. When the napkins ran out, Monica Jean resorted to rinsing off in the shower every time she went to the bathroom. After two days of that, she figured she would bring a zip-lock baggie and take toilet paper from the gym she frequented.
That momentarily solved the issue of how Monica Jean would clean up her bodily fluids. But the kitchen soap ran out shortly after. She used bath soap from the shower until only a sliver of the bar was left. So she brought an old yogurt container with her to the gym and filled it with soap from the soap dispenser to the far right. As the bathroom was full, she had to be discrete in her actions. But the anxiety of being caught gave her an unexpected rush.
That was when her innocent taking of toilet paper from an organization whose services she paid for began to morph into an addictive need for the dopamine surge she got when stealing. But it wasn’t until two days later when her hobby was born. While running errands downtown, she confidently walked into a crowded café, headed to the back where restrooms are often located, entered a particularly clean bathroom, and noticed- while squatting above the toilet seat- unopened rolls of toilet paper in a metal holder. Smiling, she slipped two of the four rolls into her tote bag while relieving herself, and exited the café with a contented smirk on her face.
Monica Jean was officially a thief.
Her stealing progressed from there. She became so addicted to the excitement she got from entering a location and stealing the bathroom necessities that she no longer entered places when she needed to use the restroom, or when her and Mary Jane’s apartment needed soap and toilet paper. In fact, even just slipping into bathrooms wasn’t enough for her. She would now rush into a café or restaurant, pretend that she had stomach issues, cry out for help, enter the bathroom, silently chuckle as she filled her recycled containers with pilfered soap, and- as a last hurrah- grabbed any toilet paper easily available.
It got to the point that her closet became overfilled with mismatched soap containers and toilet paper rolls.[iv] And the café near her work began to lock up their stocked toilet paper. Moreover, the day after she realized that the café began to guard their toilet paper, the manager at her gym invited her into the office and admitted that they caught her stealing and that they would have to act by revoking her membership if they caught her again. They did, of course. Addiction isn’t so easy to beat. So she was left without her normal physical release until she got arrested for vandalizing private property, aka breaking the cabinet at the café near her work to get to the rolls of toilet paper. And subsequently was fired from the café she worked at. And was essentially forced to go into therapy from her unenthused parents, who wouldn’t shut up about the fact that what she was stealing was perfectly affordable toilet paper and soap.[v]
Four months later, she might still be out of work and heavily dipping into her parent’s savings, and her therapist might still unsuccessfully impart to her that this obsession with such an unnecessary, rule-breaking action may stem from her stringent personality and religion,[vi] but at least she and Mary Jane have enough soap and toilet paper to last them for a year or more. And now that Monica Jean has a quirky, unconventional aspect about her, Mary Jane and her friends include her in their high hangouts, despite the fact that she remains sober.[vii]
[i] Who will- for identity and alliterative reasons- be referred to as Mary Jane.
[ii] Mary Jane owned her own weed business and even hired an employee (a friend) to help with deliveries.
[iii] Monica Jean would like to clarify that she no longer identifies as religious.
[iv] Monica Jean began to buy items in plastic containers just to store the contraband soap. Although these items were more expensive than the items she pilfered, she wasn’t doing this for logical or financial reasons.
[v] Which she still finds to be excessively expensive for what it is.
[vi] She would again like to clarify that- as of two months ago- she is no longer part of a religious sect. (Although, no, she will not disclose the particular religion she was a part of at that time.)
[vii] A more enlightening, ending paragraph was included in the draft for her therapist.
Thank you for reading my short story!
Your views, comments, and likes encourage me to continue creating content for your enjoyment and education in emotional intelligence.
For more of my short stories, click here
For more of my essays, click here