Modern Day Criminals: The Same Hat

The day had dragged unbearably. It had been an oddly quiet December night at the supermarket; the Christmas shoppers presumably had found ample delight in the extended shopping hours in the city centre. They were bothering someone else. There was part joy and part disdain in this realisation as I tidied the pyjama aisle for the seventh time over. Happy pissing Christmas.

An old woman walked into the aisle and started pondering about the dressing gowns. A portly Asian woman wearing a Christmas hat rolled in from the other end and stood, panting, next to the pyjama bottoms. They were pink and fluffy: like giant marshmallows gone horribly wrong. I was trapped for the time being and so turned my attention to the pants that someone had taken the time to dump behind my nicely sized pyjama sets. I would have grumbled, but was so numb from the never-ending boredom that sticking an electric whisk in my own eye would have been a preferable distraction. I was glad to have something to do. I turned to put the pants on my rail.

Suddenly the old woman appeared at my elbow, ‘Do you see her?!’

‘See who?’

‘The woman!’ She quickly peeked over my shoulder, ‘That woman over there!’

‘I, uh…’

‘I’ve seen her somewhere before… in the paper! She was in the paper! She’s been stealing pregnancy tests from the chemists and selling ‘em off down Donnington Market! There was a “Have You Seen This Woman?” thing in the paper!’


‘Yes, really! I swear it’s her! She’s the same build… she’s even wearing the same hat. The same hat! What are you waiting for? Go and get a Telegraph, girl, quick!’

I flung the pants on my rail and ran to the kiosk at the front of the store, as though this was something important enough to be running for. Screw it… I’ve got fuck all else to do! I started running faster. I quickly grabbed a paper with a ‘I have no time to explain’ kind of glance to everyone that was watching (no-one), and ran back to the old woman.

The Asian woman had gone, but the old lady had set up office on the floor. She had turned her basket upside down to make a little table, and the glasses on her face were a keen indicator that she meant business. Oh-ho, did she mean business.

‘I tried to look through it but I was running, and I…’

‘Give it here, dearie, let’s take a look at it!’

She took the paper from me and leafed through it like a professional. This was probably how she spent most of her days: sat on the floor in a supermarket, looking through the papers for criminals. I sat down with her.

‘This is actually the most interesting thing that’s happened to me all day’

‘She was wearing the same hat!’

‘Yeah, what a bitch like! Have you found it?’

She reached the end of the paper and shook her head. ‘It’s in here somewhere… I’ll go through it again!’

Ten minutes we sat together on the floor, like retired superheroes. She, retired I fancied from a broken hip and myself, retired from the realisation that I would never be as good as the paper-wielding old woman using a basket as desk. We would wear pyjamas as capes when the time came for us to once again go kick some ass.

‘I don’t think it’s in here! Maybe it was last night’s edition? Oh dearie, I am so sorry. It’s the old Alzheimer’s you see’. I became lost in my thoughts. She seemed to deflated: the fat hatted woman was probably long gone by now. It was over. We had lost. We had been left to gather dust in the crevices of the supermarket.

I heard a small cough.

‘I’m 83 dear, you’re going to have to help me up’

‘Oh right, yeah!’ I helped her up, ‘I’m sorry we didn’t find the article… at least it was a bit of fun’

‘If only there was some way to see it’

‘Wait… there is! Most of the articles in the paper get put up online as well. What if I was to have a look online, and then just let you know when you’re next in?’

‘That’s a wonderful idea!’ she exclaimed, and peered at my nametag, ‘The next time I am in, I shall have to look you up!’

And with that she was gone… lost in a swirl of ladies lingerie and assorted slippers. I beamed from the encounter: finally a customer who didn’t want to gut me because we’d ran out of socks! I wandered back over to my rail, but it had been cleared. One of the seasonal colleagues had likely done it. The day had suddenly become agreeable. I wouldn’t be needing the electric whisk in my eye socket after all.

When I got home, I kept my promise to the old lady. I searched online for the article and then finally found it: ‘Picture clue to shoplifter who targeted chemists three times’. And there, set neatly amongst the text, and magnificently printed in colour was the picture… of my old lady. With a Christmas hat. And several pregnancy tests in her bag.

My mouth gawped open slightly as I backed away from the computer, before suddenly realising… my pants! The old woman had nicked them off the rail and shoved them in her bag! She’d stolen my pants and my precious time. My buttocks had become dusty because of her. What a devious old bag. And then I started clapping… 83 years old and she spends her time stealing pregnancy tests and underwear whilst fucking over the young and unsuspecting. This woman was basically the woman I wanted to be when I was a pensioner.

I couldn’t bring myself to call the police. She’d stolen my heart when she stole my pants.

Bravo, old lady, bravo.

31 thoughts on “Modern Day Criminals: The Same Hat

  1. This is a perfect little adventure. Climbing into giant marshmallows gone horribly wrong before bed had me set on edge from the go. Your excitement as you raced for the telegraph was contagious. The twist you added was believable. In the end, what I felt wasn’t a desire for more of the story, it was for more of the author.

    It’s going to be with some sadness that I click the Like button at the end of this comment, because this was my last unread insanity in the aquarium. But I will click the Like button. This has been so much fun and I Like you very much! I just have to wait for your next post now like everyone else.

    So, I’ve read most of the comments along the way and mostly not a lot’s been left for me to say. Turning life into fiction is a great way to write it. How many times have you read, “you can’t make this shit up”? And what I get from you makes the crazy seem so real which is what I want… crave when I dive into a story. I am so sick of reading about wizards and trolls and dwarves and sparkly vampires. The day you write a story about a pigeon (which by the way, one of my drafts is called Pigeon Whispers), I’m sure I will be more terrified than I ever was by any dragon.

    I do think Bird Seed and The Hair Ball Monster deserve to be Notable Insanities for different reasons. But perhaps my favorite was The Fourth Blog. I’m a fan, Anna! I’m stuffed full of kittens and I can’t wait for your next post!


  2. Hey Anna, as you probably already know, you’ve been Nominated not Once, but Twice for The Dark Globe Outstanding Artist Awards Writer of the Year Award… This is a Preliminary Nomination, as in the end, there will only be 5 Nominees allowed per each of the 3 Categories… The Final 5 Nominees for each Category will be determined on December 20th, and the Voting Award Voting will be from December 21st though December 31st… With the Award Winners being Announced on January 2012… As you’ve received 2 Nominations, chances are you will make the Final 5 Cut… It would have been 3 Nominations with me, but as I’m running the Awards, I didn’t think I should Nominate or Vote in the Awards Process… Good Luck, and SHALL YOU BE VICTORIOUS!!. Your actual Nominations can be seen Here

    Gratz, and once again, Good Luck



    1. I didn’t know, but that’s wonderful! Thanks for letting me know and thanks to the people who voted! I hardly think I’m deserving of a ‘of the Year’ award, considering I’ve only been here for less than half of it, but I’m so thrilled that other people think I’m good enough. Squeee!


  3. hahahaha! this is my favorite part. priceless:
    83 years old and she spends her time stealing pregnancy tests and underwear whilst fucking over the young and unsuspecting. This woman was basically the woman I wanted to be when I was a pensioner.

    Happy pissing Christmas. :)


  4. I absolutely love your writing. I cannot lose interest when I’m reading a story. I cannot. And with this story, all my expectations of good writing were fulfilled. I’m going to subscribe.


    1. Thank you Ryan! Your comment has made me smile like a demented ferret :D *Puts on a shiny hat*


  5. I agree with darkjade. You have talent. My advice is to take your time, keep writing, start putting things together. maybe send some of your stories out to papers or magazines. I really liked this story. It had suble humor, human interaction, a good, flow, and a nice twist. You just brightened my Holiday. I could almost picture you running through the store. Thanks.


    1. Thank you Bothered! I shall indeed keep on writing. Only when I think I’ve reached the point where my stories actually seem to be satisfactory shall I consider sending them off to someone. Until then, I shall continue to publish anonymously here on WP to all of you lovely people :)


  6. Well, I think you’re ready to Write a book… It doesn’t have to be a full out Novel, no… But this piece is simply captivating… And as usual, you keep the reader viscerally involved. You have the Dark Magic and Bafflement of Alice, the Wonder of the Wizard of Oz, and Sense of Urgency of being in the moment. I truly, 100%, felt like I was reading the First Chapter of a book where our Heroine is desperately filled with a longing to engage in something full of wonderment… Something Darker, and more interesting than her current life… And yet you bare the teeth and curtness often derived from the monotony that the every day life can be… Or rather, the every day job.

    I think it’s time to start Writing a Book of Short Stories. I think you’re ready.

    Well done.



    1. That’s hugely complimentary of you DarkJade, but to be honest it was because of writing this story that I’ve realised I am nowhere near good enough to be published yet! It’s too close to real events to warrant any real imagination. If I were to ever be published, everything would have to be entirely of my own creation and I kind of feel that this story has taken that progress back a few steps. Not that it isn’t any good… it’s just too unlike some of my previous stories to give any kind of publication a theme or message. Give me another 100 or so stories under my belt, and I’ll tell you if I’m ready :)


    2. It wasn’t the Content that got me… It was the depiction. 1) The Asian woman had gone, but the old lady had set up office on the floor. She had turned her basket upside down to make a little table, and the glasses on her face were a keen indicator that she meant business. Oh-ho, did she mean business. (Excellent Visual, you have now set the stage for what is to come… Built anticipation into the Reader… Like The Wizard in his Wagon, telling Dorothy that her Aunti Em was looking for her, or whatever it was he had told her, to inspire her to run/get home right away (prior to the tornado)). 2) Ten minutes we sat together on the floor, like retired superheroes. (My favorite line, you’ve now made the two of you, something more than human). Keep in mind, one of the most important things to set up Journeys of the Imagination, is first creating an absolutely believable “reality”. This Piece above places the Reader into the young girl’s “real” world, and delivers how much excitement can come from a regular life occurrence, once it’s been filtered through the mind of a young girl of passion, and deep imagination. This is exactly the kind of scene that the young girl, desperate for something more in her life, makes more of something than there really is, and thus is let down when she finds out half of what she thought was real, was merely her imagination soaring… This is the kind of scene that would/could occur prior to the young girl going home, falling asleep, and waking up in the back of a sleigh ride pulled by “magical blue llama’s, heading towards the glimmering yellow and orange castle atop a snowy hill…”. The distance/contrast between the “spirit crashing reality” of her finding out she had been duped, and now “being in the back of a magical sleigh”, represents the leap from reality, to something/somewhere, more. It’s imperative that you realize, that not everyone has the innate talent/ability to so successfully “bring their readers” into another world, weather it’s the young girls reality, or later the magical world that she has now entered. Another thing, it absolutely has no baring how much of what you Write is based on real things or not, it’s all about the depiction… And in the end, you are the only one that truly knows what happened and what didn’t. And as a reader, guessing what elements were real, and which one’s were not, is half the fun.

      The Scene above, can lead to a Scene like – She imagines that the trains take her somewhere else, somewhere over lakes of serene beauty- still, and purple. Through silent fields of such a pervading calm, darkly green and baleful, but beautiful and endless. The trains whistle past the tall evergreens which dance beneath the night sky… laced with stars that seem so close that they might hold hands, though never have they met. They stand still and lonely; the trees dance with silent fervour.

      She imagines that the trains will take her to places she has seen, and places she has not. Towards cities to be made vulnerable and again strong, and to the countryside where she would dissolve beneath the snowflakes and into the cold, cold night. To live forever in the streams and rivers, giving her life unto life. She would ride the trains to wherever they would take her, to somewhere else, beyond the walls of her mind. (Easily changed and tweaked a bit to represent the “Magical” Train Ride that comes later in her dreams… Or… This could be the Opening of the Story, a young girls soaring imagination… Until she is abruptly awoken by her ever intrusive “alarm clock” (something you know a bit about), and then she goes about her normal day, which ends up leading to the Scene above. And later, the Llama dream… Do you know what I mean? No good Fantasy, does not fire include, a “Believable Reality”. It’s the journey from reality, to fantasy, and back to reality again, that is the Ride for the readers… And in some cases, some of that Fantasy comes back home with traveler, like in the last scene of “The Never Ending Story”, where the Luck Dragon has returned with him. This is a long reply, lol

      You’re closer than you think, but I do respect your desire for “Excellence”. But do not under estimate your current work, reality is the nuts and bots, the dirt and rock of the foundation which sets the stage, for something… Magical.



  7. What a fucking cow, I’d be tracking that whore down and beating that old hag within an inch of what’s left of her life! Then get her in a guillotine choke hold and make her tap out while screaming “HERE HAVE THE PREGNANCY TESTS” then boot her out of the supermarket so hard it pops out one of her hips and while she’s outside, run after her with the empty rack and start beating her with it over and over and over until an arm fell off, then I’d pick up that arm and shove it up her dusty old crevice. Then spit on her in a final bid of disrespect, pick up her bag, take out all of the clothes and her purse then walk back into the store.

    Then I’d finished my shift early and repeatidly run my car over her and drag her into the boot of the car, then drive to Dover and throw her off the white cliffs, hearing her thud off the rocks before the splash at the end. And watch her until she floats away to France.



  8. Thank you Anna, I needed this. It almost sounds like a true story though (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Marvelous as usual. I especially like the dusty buttocks tag. Bravo, young lady, bravo.


    1. Why, thank you! Most of it did actually happen like that… it was just when I got home this fat Asian lady wearing a Christmas hat in the paper actually turned out to be a skinny white woman wearing a cap. But I thought it was too good a story to pass up on… I just had to twist it round a little!


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