My parents want to redecorate their bedroom. I went with them to the hardware shop. Brigid wouldn’t let me have a turn on her playstation or even play two-player so there wasn’t much else to do. My mum put the radio on while she drove. All the songs were terrible. My seatbelt cut into my neck. I’m worried I won’t grown anymore. I hate being short. Brigid always hides my stuff on top of the wardrobe or above the bookshelf. She only does it when I annoy her. I usually don’t mean to.
The shop was busy. The kind of busy where there is always at least one person hurrying by you. Not the kind where clogs of people mean you can’t move anymore and you have to just wait and stare at the same tap fixtures for ages even though you didn’t like them in the first place.
We found the paint samples quickly enough. Mum tutted at Dad when he wandered off to look at tools. She shouted after him that he’d be no help anyway and she started asking me questions about colours. She laughed when I made a face at some horrible orange-brown she liked. I suggested turquoise. She told me I could wander off too if I liked. I don’t think I was much help either.
I found Dad looking at an electric saw he could never use. He liked to pretend he could and it’s just the price that stops him from buying one. I walked the length of the aisle a few times, dragging my feet along so they scrapped and then slapped the floor on my next step. I do that when I’m bored. I stopped doing it when a man with faded blue tattoos on his arms looked at me all angry. Dad wandered off again and then so did the angry man. By my feet was a tray of little screwdrivers with yellow handles. I thought something new. I thought, I could take one of those. I could hide it and steal it. No one would know. No one would see. I could move it from here to outside of the shop, all in secret and then it would be stolen. I knelt down and picked two up in one hand. I slid one down my sleeve and pretended to look at the other one. No one was around to see but I pretended anyway. I put down the not-secret-screwdriver and stood up with my hands in my pockets making sure to hold my sleeve closed. Then I looked around at the other things on the shelf for a while as though I cared about what they were. I walked to the end of the aisle while a boy who worked there showed a lady where the power drills are. Mum was waving at me from a till so I ran over and kept my hands in my pockets. I didn’t look at the cashier. We left.
Just before we went out the doors I almost cried. I realised how bad it would be if the alarm went off and Mum and Dad knew I was a thief and then maybe the police would come. I didn’t even want the screwdriver. Then the alarm didn’t go off and we were in the car park. I stopped to pretend to tie my shoe. I put the screwdriver in it. Once I started walking to the car I knew that was a bad idea. It hurt my foot but it was too late so I tried not to limp.
Now we’re at the last traffic light before home. The sky is orange, getting ready for sunset. That song I like, with bells at the start, is on the radio. Mum and Dad even sing along. There is a screwdriver in my shoe. My seatbelt still cuts into my neck but if I lean forward I can see a big grey cat walking across a rooftop as though it owned the world.