A pair of stretchy black gloves with fake leopard skin fluff at the wrist lay on a seat on my way to the door as the train bucked a bit, screeched a bit, pulling into the last station on the line. I was the only person in the car. I picked up the lightweight, attractive, practical gloves, studied them, looked around for the conductor, who was elsewhere, and put the gloves in my pocket. It was stealing. I know that. But how would the woman ever get them back? The lost and found at Penn Station has never had anything I’ve lost. They were pretty. I stole them.
I put them on the kitchen counter when I got home, and the next morning picked them up to put them on. They stank of a perfume I don’t enjoy.
I rinsed them well and left them overnight to dry. The next morning they still stank. I washed them with dishwashing liquid, rinsed them well and left them to dry. They still stank.
Now I have a pair of gloves which will offend me if I wear them, assaulting my senses with a heavy, musky perfume. They are still on the kitchen counter pointing their allegorical fingers at me. I must either assault the accusing perfume with my own scent by wearing the gloves, or I must throw them away.
“Thou shalt not steal” is post hoc, useless in this situation. I know what I won’t do next time, though.