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Kurt Roswell used to go by the name Kirk Kilpatrick until he got tired of all the jokes and was advised by his agent to have his name legally changed for the purposes of his burgeoning career. Little Kirkie Kilpatrick enjoyed the same fruits everyone else in his neighborhood was subjected to: poverty, dirty streets, dirtier homes, dealers in the alley, furniture on the lawns, scattered car parts as far as the eye could see, which wasn't very far what with all that smog and those abandoned factories. Kurt would be the last one to pin his childhood surroundings as the scapegoat for all his adulthood foibles. After all, he made it out of there didn't he? And he brought his best-friend-for-life with him.

But, sometimes you just gotta have some candy by any and all means.

Kirk and Aaron always made quite the team. Brain accompanied by brawn as an unstoppable force of nature. Well, actually, Kirk would find himself getting picked on because of his brain, and Aaron would have to beat the daylights out of the aggressor. They grew up as next door neighbors, but didn't become friends until the first grade. It was at that time Aaron - having been held back for a second consecutive year - first noticed Kirk's meager existence. Their friendship started off less than auspicious.

"Listen kid," Aaron said, leaning towards Kirk in the desk to his right, speaking low enough to go undetected by the flunking authority figure at the blackboard, "You better give me all the answers this year or I'm gonna kill you." Oddly enough, that tactic - previously employed the last two years, on a number of targets - only resulted in tattling, followed by punishment, followed by ass-kicking, followed by no answers, followed by failing. Kirk, however, was far too timid and tiny to dare tell the teacher. He simply nodded and resumed facing forward.

And they lived happily ever after.

Kirk would breeze through the homework, give it to Aaron to sloppily copy, and when they were done, Aaron was free to teach Kirk a thing or two. Namely: swiping shit from corner bodegas. It involved a lot more running and hiding out than Kirk would've thought.

Under Aaron's tutelage, Kirk learned the importance of wearing baggy clothing in spite of the 90 degree heat. He learned that it's OK, and even fun, to make fun of a foreigner's accent while you've got his wares in your trousers. He also learned from Aaron to make a big mess while running out of the shop to distract the keep. It was even OK to begin consumption of your ill-gotten booty in plain sight of he who you just robbed so long as you had a big enough head start.

Still, all that exercise and antagonism really wasn't Kirk's bag. Eventually, he figured it would be a lot easier to quietly enter the store, slyly slip the goods under your shirt, and stealthly sneak out of the store as cooly and calmly as possible. This required one key component: not including Aaron.

Since they'd already hit all the outlying convenience shops in bordering neighborhoods, Kirk really had no choice but to take from a local guy. For his first solo flight, Kirk chose Chan's Chicken & Tacos, one of the many hybrid eateries that also sold tampons and sliced bread and canned beets and 6-packs of Budweiser. But Chan also stocked candy, and his aisles were taller than the average adult Asian male. Kirk couldn't see how his plan would fail.

With his home-stitched inside pockets properly lined with all he could comfortably carry without looking conspicuously like a tumor-case, Kirk cautiously stepped to the front counter with a lone candy bar in one hand and 35 cents in the other. What sort of thief would go out of his way to BUY something? Kirk smirked at the irrefutable logic.

Chan stood stoic, raising a skeptical eyebrow. "Will that be allllll?" Kirk swallowed, gently placed the bar on the counter, continuing to hold the 35 cents. "Yes sir," he said, trying his hardest to project confidence.

Chan's face furrowed, first in a frown and then in a jubilant smile. "'Yes sir', 'yes sir', such a good boy you are! What manners! What formality! 'Yes sir', who are the parents of such a fine young man? What are their names? I would surely like to commend them on what a fine job they've done raising a son like you!"

Kirk's eyes widened as his mouth opened with nothing to say. He started to stutter before spitting out, "Mary and Charles Kilpatrick, sir." The hand holding the 35 cents started to twitch as he implored with his mind for the man to take the money. "'Yes sir, yes sir' you should bring them here sometime, let me say what a fine boy they have here!" Kirk's hand shook more violently as his entire body blushed. He could feel his scalp wetting with sweat. "Th-thank you sir. Y-yes sir, I wi-will sir."

"Sir and thank you, my my yes. Mary and Charles Kilpatrick should be so proud." Chan continued to smile down upon Kirk, still standing there with his arms behind his back. Time passed like new ketchup from a Heinz bottle. Kirk looked like he was having a spastic fit, with his swallowing and blinking and sweating and fidgeting. A moment before Kirk was about to break down, tear his jacket to shreds, and beg a crying forgiveness, Chan took the 35 cents from his hand and said, "Will that be all today?"

Letting out a tremendous sigh, Kirk said, "Y-yes." Chan's eyebrow skeptically raised once again before Kirk could blurt out, "Yes SIR." "Very good!" Chan said cheerfully. "Give your parents my regards!" he said as Kirk burst through the front door.