Sunday, August 9, 2009

I Reserve the Right to Remain Unconvicted






Gabriella Herkert, Catnapped and Doggone

Do I have criminal habits? If I did, wouldn’t I be foolish to admit it? Such an admission could be used against me in a court of law. So let’s just say I have a friend who occasionally wanders into the land of mens rea or guilty mind. While it may be part of establishing a prima facie case against my friend, I personally consider it nothing more than a healthy, active imagination. You wouldn’t do brain surgery without a trial run or two (I hope). Crime is the same. It’s a profession. There’s a learning curve to it and you can only get good if you practice, practice, practice.

1. Dress the part. Few criminals want to be remembered so you can go with the basic jeans, t- shirt (without writing), old tennis shoes, ball cap look. Add sunglasses if the weather warrants it. If you want to check your costume, go see a friend for lunch. Check the other diners. Count the number who can be described as wearing jeans, t-shirt and sneakers. After you leave, call your lunch companion and ask them to describe what you were wearing. Even the observant will let a blah look go. Their guess will be pretty close – to you and how many others? On the other hand, you can choose to be remembered. This seems to work better for women. Wear a bright pink, too tight top or FM heels with a mini skirt. No man on the planet, regardless of your size or age or innate va-va-voom will be able to describe your face. Get rid of the clothes, go back to your slouchy sweats and your witness will swear it wasn’t you.

2. Carry the tools. Every criminal needs a kit. For that matter, the cops tote pretty much the same stuff. Just remember to stick with what’s legal. Latex gloves are an obvious choice. Go with the thinnest pair you can find in a shade closest to your skin tone. With long sleeves, most people won’t even notice you are wearing them. If asked, stick with the swine flu mysophobia defense. Not only will your inquisitor let it go, they will carefully move away from you. Carry a name tag (this is your chance to be Esme if you want) and a basic blue polo shirt. Wear them into any retail location. People will assume you work there and worker bees are all alike. It’s a fast blend costume that will make you invisible when following someone, casing a location or eluding a tail. Carry a camera with a zoom. Many phones already have them built in. It’s not just a recorder. It allows you an up close view of a target you can’t afford to get too close to as well as a range finder if you become familiar enough with the zoom function. I’ve added crime scene tape. This works two ways. One to create privacy should you require it and two to generate a distraction should that be your desire. People will stop to peer at crime scene tape but will generally respect the do not cross directive. The world is full of rule followers. Carry a tape recorder, too. If anyone gets too close to you, act like you’re a nosy reporter. Don’t say you are a reporter, just ask pushy questions into the machine then thrust it at your quarry. Most people want to be famous. They will overlook even your oddest behavior to be interviewed.

Remember it’s a game. It’s supposed to be fun but you’re not supposed to end up hurt or in jail. Do not follow shadowy figures into dark alleys. Do not practice picking neighbors locks (unless they’re in on the gag) and don’t bug your kid’s room. There’s mens rea and there’s gone too far. Stay on the right side of the line and develop a few useful criminal habits of your own. Or read your favorite author and figure out what criminal habits they used to “research” their perfect crime.

Gabi

8 comments:

CJ Lyons said...

Gabi, I loved this!!! You'd make an awesome criminal!

Boy, are we ever lucky that you choose to use your powers only for good...as in writing good books!

Gabi said...

Thanks. I take pride in knowing if this lawyer thing doesn't work out, I have skills to fall back on.

Shane Gericke said...

Mom always said I should have a fallback in case the writing doesn't work out. Your plan sounds a whole lot more fun than mine :-)

Jen said...

Hmmm, I think I do this every weekend when I go to the grocery store...although, I'm mostly doing it because I'm too lazy to do the hair and get gussied up...Just throw on the old stuff and a hat. Glad to hear no one would be able to identify me afterward, though! ;)

Gabi said...

Well, Shane, it's never too late (or to early) to write to Santa and get those elves working on your crime scene kit. Especially before that whole naughty/nice blog comes out.

Gabi said...

If we can coordinate our shopping schedules, Jen, we'll blend even better. Who says I shouldn't get the most use out of my flannel pajama bottoms?

Karla Hart said...

Crime Scene Tape. I always thought of that as official property, nothing a common (non)criminal could buy on Amazon for $5.95. Hmmm... And, I do have the skin color gloves, but only because Costco didn't sell the cool purple that TSA uses. Scary how easy it would be to slip over the line now that I have enough informaton to be dangerous. Thanks Gabi. Good thing I know a lawyer!

Gabi said...

I may be a lawyer but I've got a sneaking suspicion I will be unavailable as an unindicted accomplice should a need for you arise. It will make a great story.