Yra

Malaysia

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The Underpants Thief

November 19, 2019

I was running.

Faster than Usain Bolt, they say.

Faster than the speed of light itself, they say.

And no, I was definitely not exaggerating.

Who was I, you may ask? Well, only the most awesome, breathtaking, extraordinary superhero-who-loves-fighting-crime-and-is-definitely-against-underpants-stealing of all time—

"Get back here with my underpants, punk!" the cranky old rich man yelled as he chased me around his humongous lawn

I tipped my head towards the beautiful morning sky, laughing in exhilaration. "Never!"

Alright, I guess I lied a little about my identity. I was only plain old Lisa Gardner, with the plain old blue sweater, dark pants and shoes—all second-hand clothing with little rips and torn seams here and there, given from oh-so-generous donors who didn't know where else to dump all their unwanted clothing apart from the poor little orphans in the poor little orphanage.

I didn't mean to sound ungrateful or anything, but some new clothes once in awhile would be nice.

Before you get any ideas—no, I was not stealing some random guy's underpants for myself. Ew.

I just didn't have anything better to do other than spiting these rich snobs who hoard all the riches of the world to themselves. Now that I think of it, I might have a little bit of a head and heart problem. Oh, well.

As my feet pounded against the lush emerald grass, soles occasionally slipping on the dew, I glanced sidelong at the wrought-iron fence separating this person's land and the neighbor's. I edged closer to the fence and threw the pair of heart-covered underpants over the fence.

The rich man chasing me cried in outrage when it landed in the neighbor's bushes. Slowing my pace, I turned my head around to see his reaction. It was priceless—his chubby face was redder than a hot chili pepper, his long grey hair and maroon robes a victim to the wind, his short legs trying to pump his body faster to close the large distance between us, his mouth spouting up gibberish and swear words.

Lisa—1. Rich man—0

When I turned my head back, my eyes widened in surprise. I quickly stopped myself before I could run into the fence. In one lithe movement, I was already scaling up the fence and over it in a second.

But as soon as I hopped off the fence, two sets of arms were suddenly gripping my arms on either side of me.

The dreaded cops. In normal clothing.

I'd always hated those.

"So you're the one responsible for the multiple underpants thefts, huh?" the woman with a red braid snaking down the back of her head said. She had a curious gleam in her eye.

I turned to my left to see a stone-faced man who gave me a hard stare, before I turned back to the woman. I knew better than to struggle.

"It's not theft if I didn't steal 'em," I winked at her. "Just left them on their neighbor's doorstep."

The woman gave me an amused look. The man, however, scowled.

"Why do you do it?" he said as they led me to the front of the gates where the rich man was impatiently tapping his foot, expensive robe already covering his undershirt and pajama pants. For all I knew, those robes probably cost more than my life. The thought made my tongue feel sour.

I hummed, as if pondering. "It's fun." I shrugged finally. "Seeing these rich snobs get out of their fancy castles and have a taste of exertion for once. Very fun indeed. You two should definitely try it someti—Ow! No need to push me."

The male cop was the one who had shoved me. I glared venomously at him.

"We need a parent's number, kid," the woman intercepted our silent death threats.

"They're dead," I spat sourly, meeting her gaze with my own hard one.

A flash of sympathy, but then it was gone too quickly for me to know if it was real. "Guardian's then."

After sitting in the rich man's parlor room for half an hour, Marla, my caretaker, finally arrived. I avoided her gaze when she sat on the fancy seat across from me.

"Well?" Marla said simply.

"My intentions weren't bad, okay!" I burst, ignoring the two cops flanking Marla. "It's just that—seeing these snobs sitting around their castles wearing money on their bodies make me feel . . . angry! Why can't I have the same things? Why do they hoard everything? Why don't they share some? Why?"

My outburst was met with a sympathetic silence as my words slowly sank in. I myself sank deeper into the plush, comfortable cushions of the sofa, burning red from embarrassment. I'd been holding it in for awhile.

"And stealing their undergarments solve it all?" Marla asked quietly.

I raised my arms in exasperation. "I didn't steal them!"

"Sweetie, I know what we have isn't much, but you've still got a stable roof over your head. You've got me and the other kids. Some children out there don't have anything at all, Lisa," Marla said softly.

I scowled. "I know that. But that wouldn't even happen if snobs all around the world just shared their wealth a bit, right?" Sitting upright, I stared at the rich man standing to the side pointedly. "I've seen you waste money on stupid drinks, food, and clothes. Seen you walk past our orphanage without so much as a glance. Seen you have money-ball fights with your other friends," I snapped.

He visibly flinched, face ashen.

"Lisa—" Marla said.

"I repainted the orphanage's sign so you and the others would notice," I cut her off. "But did you? No. So how else could I grab your attentions and gain revenge at the same time? Hm. What about taking their underpants?" I tapped my chin. "I won't apologize. It hurts everyday seeing you people throw money away like that."

It was silent for a moment.

Until—

"I'm sorry."

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