I Don’t Deserve the Crap I Get

By Marian Addison

“I can’t today; I have so much reading to do it’s not even funny. Next time though, for sure.” That was me lying. I have a more pressing agenda than feigning a friendship with an ex-coworker I hate. No, instead, today I am going shopping. I am a shoplifter, never prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Anyone can shoplift. The reason people get caught is that no one knows the rules. Don’t get greedy. If nothing else, it’s just not cute. I hung up my phone and put it in my bag, familiarizing my arms with the swift movement much of my success can be attributed to. Personally, I see no point in even carrying a bag if you can’t put mountains of stuff in there with extra room. The second rule is thieves can’t be picky. Yes, pick what you want to take, but you don’t always get everything in its best condition. I go by this idea: if you want it enough to destroy it, you’ll never be disappointed.

Since shoplifting is a crime, one needs to be very careful. Everyone in the store turns into a zombie-monster if they find out what you are doing. I am visiting a store that I come to very often. Most of the employees who work there know my face because I am a frequent customer. So the third rule is pay attention. Who’s around you, where are cameras and blind spots, who patrols, who recognizes you, when did you last visit, items bought? These are some of the preliminary questions one asks oneself when walking in the store. The most important question when you are familiar is: is anyone following you?

And the last rule: act like a customer. That’s all you are to the employees. When you see someone in public acting nervous or sketchy, what do you think? No different in a store. I turn down the aisle of my first pick-up location; I smile to a small blond lady. She’s helped me find so many things, what a nice lady. I pick up a few things; one has a cardboard wrapper and therefore if discovered in bag will be suspect; two have none. I sleeve the two sans wrappers, discreetly using my hands to slide them up my sleeve while carrying them around, weaving up and down the small area grabbing another cardboard contained thing. I’m done in the make-up section so I go to my first blind spot, around the other side of the nail wall amongst cards and cleaning supplies. Do a quick check for sensors.

I rip the one I found off and throw it between the wall and the display, and then everything goes in the bag including the things in my sleeves. I peruse the jewelry section finding a couple of pieces I like, sleeving them as well. On the way to my second blindspot I see the manager, this old guy getting grayer, balder, and more and more bitter with age. I give a polite nod and a smile of encouragement to let him know that one day I will leave this town and my plague of shoplifting terror will haunt him no more. I reach right behind the men’s jackets, my second blindspot, and relieve my sleeves into my bag. Upon shouldering it I feel the weight gained and it’s time to leave.

A quick loop around the store to the soup aisle for appearances, I pick up a can of soup for the day and proceed to check out. I make friendly chatter with the cute checkout guy, and walk the last hallway walk. Grocery bag with soup and purse full of good things, I start my exit. Once past my point of no return (the seasonal display) my walk turns to a strut and my heart races. “What if I forgot to check something? What if…?”

As I pass through the sensor gateway into the free world, I don’t breathe, imagining for a second the loud clanging of the thief alarm calling all dogs, the previously friendly employees drooling out of their brain-hungry zombie mouths chasing after me, running as fast as I can but just not fast enough. They catch me and drag me down into the depths of department store Hell eleven stories beneath the ground, where I am doomed to rot for all eternity waiting to be eaten when the zombies get hungry, only to regrow my brain overnight in a gruesome Prometheus fashion.

The absence of alarms when I walk through the doors is deafening. I smile as I think about the manager and all the people I’m pissing off. I slow my pace and breathe fresh air. A dramatic ending is necessary for some, but the best end to my everyday dose of excitement is calm silence when absolutely nothing happens.


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Everyone Loves a Happy Ending

By Ai Shahar

Turning off the road and into the driveway, Andy slowed the car to a stop, set the parking brake. Pulling the key back, he pulled it from the ignition, listened as the engine purred slowly and faded away into silence.

Opening the car door, Andy walked across the lawn and up the steps of the front porch, to the front door. Flipping through his keys, he stuck it in the lock. Opening the door, he stepped inside.

Setting the keys in the little basket next to the door, Andy took off his coat, hung it up on the coat rack. Walking down the hallway, he went up the stairs and headed straight for the bedroom. He was tired, and the thought of his bed seemed like something right out of a dream.

Once inside, however, Andy saw the bed was occupied. Nancy – his wife – had set her suitcase right at the spot he always slept. Peeking her head out from the closet, she smiled.

“Well, you’re home early.”

Andy nodded. “So are you…”

“Actually, I’m on my lunch break. I won’t be long. I’ve got a meeting soon, then yet another overnight stay at the office.”

“Sure…”

Walking across the room and to the bed, Andy found an unoccupied space, sat down.

“Before you get too comfortable, could I ask you a favor?”

Andy turned, observed his wife’s packing ritual. “What kind of favor?”

“Nothing much. I just need you to go to the grocery store and pick up a toothbrush. Actually, pick up some toothpaste and lady’s deodorant while you’re at it. You can never be too prepared.”

Andy laughed. “Ladies deodorant, huh? That should prove pleasantly awkward when I reach the check-out aisle.”

“Or, maybe they’ll just think you’re just a nice guy who did a favor for his wife, picking up her hygienics. It’s true, after all.”

“Well, I suppose there’s that too…”

Getting up from the bed, Andy stretched his arm, started for the door.

“I don’t want to spoil your time off. It’s just, I’m swamped for time. I’ve got to get back into town soon, and I’ve only just started.”

Andy shrugged. “Don’t sweat it. It’s no problem.”

“Thanks.”

“Sure…”

Stepping out the bedroom door, Andy walked back down the stairs and through the hall. Just as he was in sight of the front door, however, the phone rang. Walking up to the mantle, he picked up the receiver, held it to his ear.

“Nancy?”

The voice cut through so quick, Andy could even hope to greet it. “Nancy, listen. You have to hurry. I think I just saw your husband’s car pull down the road. I know you have to pack, but the plane’s gonna leave soon. We don’t have time to deal with him. Just make up an excuse and get him out of there.”

“Sorry. I assume you’re looking for my wife?”

“I…”

The voice on the other end fumbled over his words, a slight squeal as he let out a long groan. “I, uh… Yes. Yes, I am.”

“Just a second…” Covering the receiver with his hand, Andy turned, looked down the hallway. “Nancy?”

Andy could hear the old hinges squeal as Nancy opened the bedroom door, ever so slowly. Walking to the head of the stairs, she sat down at the top, looked down the hallway at Andy. She lowered her head slightly, the blue of her eyes caressing her upper-eyelids.

“The phone’s for you.”

Nancy bit her lower lip, nodded. “I know.”

“Alright…” Turning back around, Andy brought the receiver back up against his ear. “She’ll be right with you…”

Setting the receiver on the mantle next to the phone, Andy took his coat off the coat rack. He slipped it on one arm at a time – first the left, then the right – just like his brother.

“Andy, I’m so sorry. I really am. I didn’t want you to find out this way. I would’ve rather left and that be it. I thought if I just disappeared …” Nancy sniffed loudly, rubbed at her nose with the butt of her hand. “I’m sorry, Andy…”

Grabbing the keys from the little basket, Andy opened the door, looked outside. It was still warm. The warmest day of the year.

“Don’t be…” Andy took a deep breath, filled his lungs. “You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do…”

Stepping outside, Andy shut the door behind him. He walked across the porch and down the steps, across the lawn to his car. Opening the door, he stepped inside.

Putting on his seatbelt, Andy started the car. Shifting into reverse, he looked over his shoulder, pulled out of the driveway. Starting down the road, he drove on in the opposite direction of the grocery store, aimless.

Andy was never one to spoil a happy ending.


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In the Name of a Dream

By Sandra Cloud

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a cop. My father was a cop, my father’s father was a cop, and one day I would make them proud by becoming a cop myself.

On the day of Oct. 14, 1996, I feared that moment might never come. When the news of my father’s arrest reached me that cruel fall day, I knew my life would never be the same. As the detectives stood awkwardly in the doorway notifying my mother of the charges brought upon her husband, everything around me fell silent except the deafening sound of the words they spoke. I dropped to my knees, my body crashing to the floor and all of my hopes and dreams along with it.

A thousand thoughts were racing through my brain. Could these allegations be true? What will happen to him? What will become of my mother and me?

Suddenly I felt my lunch trying to find a way out of my stomach. I picked myself up, feeling unsteady, and made my way down the hallway to the bathroom. I closed the

door behind me, desperately trying to escape the reality on the other side. Maybe if I

didn’t look at it, it would just go away.

I don’t know how much time had gone by before I began to contemplate emerging from the bathroom. My face was streaked with tears and there was a distinct odor of vile in the air. I had been sitting in the same position on the cold tile floor for so long that my left leg had gone numb. I began to wonder about mother. I wondered what she was doing and why she hadn’t come looking for me. We never spoke of that day, nor did we ever speak of my father.

The next morning, I woke early and hurried to get the paper from the porch before mother. I knew the news of my father would be there. And I was right. Right there on the front page in bold print read: Local Detective Suspect in Serial Killings. The article claimed that my father, the lead detective on the two-year case of a string of murders in our area was, in fact, the prime suspect. My head was spinning and I tried desperately to make sense of it, to put pieces together in my mind to form a puzzle that would explain what was happening. Those pieces did come together and my father, Detective Campbell, was convicted of nine counts of murder. We never saw each other again.

I moved as far away from there as I could: San Francisco. My mother quickly divorced my father and returned to using her maiden name. I decided this was a good idea, so I did the same. I was now Tracy Adams. A brand new start, although I couldn’t help but worry that someone would find me out. Surely, if word got out that my father was the Cape Cod Killer, people might think that whatever was wrong with him might be wrong with me as well. Or maybe they would assume I knew something about the killings yet never reported it. They might accuse me of protecting my murderous father. Whatever people felt or thought, it wouldn’t be good.

September 1, 1998, I began my course at the San Francisco Police Academy. Every day I did everything I could to avoid people, especially eye contact, for fear they would see through me. There were times I accidentally wrote Campbell on my papers instead of Adams and my heart would beat so hard in my chest I thought everyone around me could hear it. Of course, logically, I should not have been so concerned, as Campbell is a common name. But I lived in constant fear, like an illegal immigrant or as if I were driving a stolen car.

As time went on, I started to become more comfortable with my new self and new surroundings. I even began making new friends. After all, I might have drawn attention to myself if I developed a reputation of being a complete loner. Some might wonder what I

was hiding from. Every decision I made was for the greater purpose of keeping my true identity a secret.

I graduated from the police academy in 2000. In 2008 I made detective, working murder cases of all things. Establishing my career with the police department felt like a magnificent accomplishment, yet at the same time I felt like a fraud. I was deceiving everyone around me, but I would not do anything differently. It was all for the pursuit of a dream.


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Letter from the Editor

By Matt Benoit

The fragrant aroma of chili wafted prominently down the hallway from Syre 108 last Wednesday, Feb. 4. It enticed many, including myself, to get heartburn (or, perhaps, worse) for a good cause. To those of you who may be eating as you read this, I apologize for that last bit.

This event, of course, was Whatcom’s second Annual Combined Fund Drive Chili Cook-Off Challenge, with donations from the event going to several charities for Haiti earthquake relief. All told, there were 18 chilis to be tasted, and, being such a chili fanatic, I tasted all of them. Then I threw up.

No, actually, I’m only joking, although I did briefly kind of feel like I was going to die. I drank cup after cup of ice water. I sweated profusely through my shirt. I went to the bathroom, and stayed there for several hours. To those of you who may be eating as you read this, I once again apologize for that last part.

Seriously, though, there were chilis of many kinds. There was seafood chili, wimpy chili, wild chili (there was no domesticated chili, from what I saw), springtime chili, and five-pepper chili.

There was a no-name chili and chilis with great names, including: “Black Beans and Consequences,” the “Best Damn Chili You’ll Ever Taste…and Then Some,”  “Some Kind of Chili,” Linda Lambert’s library-inspired “Dewey Decimator Chili 641,”and, conjuring up images of Al Gore, Jim Hollingsworth’s “Global Warming, It is Here,” chili.

There was, as comedian Ron White once eloquently put it, “chili everywhere.” Even hours after the event, the smell of chili lingered in the air of the classroom as if it had been permanently absorbed into the paint on the walls.

In the end, $1,671 was raised, and Cindy Woods’ “Chiang Mai High” chili took home the coveted Trustee’s Award. Cindy Hoskins also won for the “Best Damn Chili You’ll Ever Eat,” and the People’s Choice Award (everyone had the chance to vote for their favorite chili) will be announced on Professional Development Day on Feb. 26.

I have just used the word “chili” 22 times in an editor’s column. Now it’s 23 times. That is a record that will, one imagines, never be eclipsed as long as the Horizon continues to be published. Did I mention that I love chili? I think I’m getting hungry.


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Campus Briefs

Drama members headed to Reno

Drama instructor Gerry Large and seven drama students will head for Reno, Nevada on Feb. 14 for the American College Theatre Festival. The festival, which features a week of workshops in addition to the Irene Ryan Scholarship Competition, will be held from Feb. 15 through 19.

Two of the seven students, Colleen Ames and Tim Greger, will take part in the scholarship competition after having been nominated by American College Theatre adjudicators for their roles in the fall quarter productions of “Intermission” and “Tragedy: A Tragedy,” respectively, two one-act plays by Will Eno.

First tenured, full-time faculty member dies

Floyd Sandell, Whatcom’s first tenured, full-time faculty member, died Jan. 29 at the age of 91. Sandell taught at the college for many years, and also designed and initiated the college’s farm management program in 1970. He was honored as one of the first inductees into Whatcom’s “Hall of Distinction” in 2006.

Last spring, Sandell’s family donated and planted a flowering Dogwood tree on the campus ground, with Sandell himself digging the planting hole. The tree is located at the path entrance to the Contemplation Garden at the front corner of the Laidlaw building.

Wolff visits Whatcom

Tobias Wolff, author of this year’s WhatcomReads! book, “Old School,” visited the Whatcom campus Feb. 8 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Wolff spoke to a packed house in the Syre Student Center auditorium.

Winter Quarter Student Success Workshops

A series of student success workshops will be held every Monday during the quarter, from 1 to 2 p.m. in Laidlaw 203. Topics addressed will include: test anxiety (Feb. 22), scholarships (Mar. 1), and stress management (Mar. 8). For questions or more info, contact Entry & Advising at (360) 383-3080.

Free tech help

The IT Professionals of Tomorrow will offer a free help desk every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the first floor of Laidlaw (outside the financial aid office) to assist any student, staff, or faculty member who needs help with their home computer or laptop.

Street level legality

The next winter quarter sessions of Street Law will be held, Wednesday, Feb. 17, in the WCC Career Center in LDC 116. The two sessions will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and from 5 to 7 p.m. Talk to a lawyer for free advice regarding issues including civil, consumer, and family law.

Sports…Briefly

The Whatcom men’s basketball team is currently 7-3 in league play and second in the NWAACC’s North Region standings after defeating Edmonds Community College, 67-61, on Feb. 6. They’ll go for their sixth win in-a-row against Everett Community College on Feb. 10. The game begins in the Pavilion at 7 p.m.

The Whatcom women’s basketball team, meanwhile, finds themselves fifth in the North Region with a 5-5 league record after losing to Edmonds Community College, on Feb. 6, by a final score of 67-54. They will look to get back above .500 on Feb. 10, when they’ll face Everett Community College at 5 p.m. in the Pavilion.

Dude, there’s plants for sale!

The Whatcom Conservation District is currently accepting pre-orders for its 17th Annual Native Plant Sale and Expo, to be held at Whatcom on March 20 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Roe Studio. The purpose of the sale is to “promote stewardship and conservation of our natural resources.”

Low cost native plants, seedlings, and shrubs will be available. The sale will include several local nursery vendors. Proceeds from the sale will support the WCD’s conservation education programs.

Pre-orders must be received at the WCD office by Friday, March 5, and require a $100 minimum purchase. A 50 percent deposit is due upon pre-order placement. Payments must be by cash or check.

For order forms or more information, go to www.whatcomcd.org. Those interested can also contact the WCD office at (360) 354-2035 ext. 3, or e-mail at ehirsch@whatcomcd.org.


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The official student newspaper of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington