This short story contains adult themes such as rape and other kinds of violence. This short story is not erotica. More
Martina visited a bad section of the city, where she noticed a lot of family-owned stores, many of them owned by whites and by Asian-Americans. She also noticed a lot of hostility and tension between the workers in the stores and their customers, many of whom were black. In some stores, the Asian-Americans would even follow any blacks who entered the store. That way, the Asian-Americans could make sure that the blacks did not shoplift anything.
She entered a store to make a small purchase. In this store, the elderly storekeeper was shorthanded and so stayed by the cash register and did not follow around the three black teenagers who entered the store behind Martina. However, Martina noticed that his eyes followed the three black teenagers when they were within his line of sight, as they often were. The storekeeper also kept his eyes on the mirrors that extended his line of sight.
Martina quickly learned that the three black teenagers knew where the mirrors were located. They stole stuff when they knew that the elderly storekeeper could not see them. When they had stolen enough, they went to the cash register area and one teenager paid for some inexpensive items. Martina estimated that the three black teenagers had stolen items that were worth four or five times the amount that the one black teenager had actually paid.
Martina picked up a few small items, went to the cash register area, and opened her large purse to get some money—and to allow the elderly storekeeper a chance to glance inside her purse and see that she was not stealing anything.