A different kind of picker

Silence dawned. Emotions running high, he was finding it difficult to continue.

"So. Cal, was it?" Mrs Juniper's face (although slightly distended by the index finger firmly planted in her left nostril) was wrinkled quizzically, "why exactly are you here?"

Cal steadied himself. "I... I... I just can't stop!" he sobbed. "It all started a few years ago I was in a bar in Maitland, and I saw this beautiful girl. Somewhere in her early twenties, with a diaphenous cloud of red hair and bright green eyes. Girls had never liked me, and I could not believe my luck in attracting such a perfect creature. We spent the evening conversing in sweet nothings, she seemed to really like me and she stole my heart immediately. Later she stole my wallet, cellphone and watch. She picked my pockets!

After that disastrous experience I became obsessed with pickpocketing. I read every book on the subject, read articles and collected newspaper clippings. I was completely obsessed. But soon just knowing everything was not enough. I had to do, not just know. I started hanging around in local tube stations, watching and waiting to see how the street children did it.

Of course this drew the attention of the local police, given that I was hanging around ogling young children. I was arrested, charged, convicted and sentenced to thirty days mandatory psychiatric counselling."

The entire group was staring at him, rapt. Here was something that they had not encountered before at their meetings. This man was really demented, not just a little bent like them.

"Ngo on" Mrs Juniper prompted. "Oh! soddy," she extracted her finger with a slight plopping sound. "Go on."

Cal was becoming visibly upset. "That hateful shrink! He twisted my interest around to become, as he put it, less 'damaging'. Daily drugs and hypnosis. Long sessions of German opera and several sound whippings were used as positive reinforcement. I don't even want to go into the aversion therapy he used." Cal shuddered.

"Then one day I woke up and I was like this! My desire for pickpocketing had somehow mutated. Instead of wanted to pick other people's pockets, I had this foul... hateful... disgusting obsession."

No one dared speak, for fear of derailing this most spellbinding tale. Until Mack Girard (the resident loudmouth) brayed "Well come on, what is it already?"

Cal started. "I don't want to say anymore." He got up and swept out of the room.

But he was back for the next session.

The End

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