The Dare Club - A Free Story
“The Dare Club”
By Kevin Hopson
“You want me to do what?” Samir asked, standing outside Randy’s Mini-Mart.
Mitchell’s lips stretched into a grin. “You heard me.”
Samir glanced at Curtis. Despite being much shorter than Mitchell, Curtis was definitely the more intimidating of the two, so Samir knew he wouldn’t get any sympathy from him.
Samir swallowed, setting his sights on Mitchell again. “I can steal anything?”
Mitchell shrugged. “Let me think on that one.”
Samir had some thinking to do as well. Like what in the world was he getting himself into?
The Dare Club was a secret club at his high school. The best part was that anyone could join. You weren’t required to be athletic, attractive, or smart. You just needed to possess the courage to do something stupid.
Students admired the club, especially the popular kids. You could be at the very bottom of the status totem pole, much like Samir, yet still earn immediate respect by being accepted into the club. Samir could wipe away years of social embarrassment in the blink of an eye.
“I’ve got it,” Mitchell finally said.
“Okay,” Samir replied.
Mitchell’s brow furrowed as if reconsidering.
“Let me guess,” Samir said. “You want me to steal some beer?”
Mitchell shook his head “That’s been done to death. Besides, it may be hard to believe, but we do have our limits.”
“Shoplifting is illegal regardless of what I take.”
“True, but there’s no point in making things worse. In the event you do get caught.”
“Fine,” Samir said. “What then?”
“A bag of potato chips,” Mitchell answered with a smile.
Samir let out a breath, relieved at Mitchell’s response.
“A big one,” Mitchell clarified. “One of those family-sized bags.”
Samir’s shoulders slumped. “Really?”
Mitchell nodded. “And give me your wallet.”
“In case you get any ideas. We don’t want you paying for the chips and pretending that you stole them.”
Mitchell made sense, but Samir was still wary of relinquishing his wallet. He huffed, ultimately handing it over.
It was a September evening, the late summer air still heavy and oppressive. Samir was dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, neither of which would hide the bulk of a large bag.
He scanned the parking lot, the light poles overhead illuminating the space. Not a single car resided in the lot, which meant all eyes would be on him in the store. Unless another customer had walked in when Samir wasn’t looking.
“What are you waiting for?” Mitchell asked.
“For someone else to come along,” Samir replied.
“To distract the owner while I’m in there.”
“Sorry, but that’s not how it works. You have to go now.”
Samir wanted to curse, but he held his tongue. “What about security cameras?”
“He has them,” Mitchell said, referring to the owner. “But they’re fake.”
“Are you saying that just to dupe me?”
“And how would you know?”
“Because Mitchell’s been in charge of this club for two years,” Curtis chimed in. “No pun intended, but he’s done his homework.”
Curtis glared at Samir with those unwavering eyes of his.
“Fair enough,” Samir stuttered. “How long do I have?”
“As long as you need,” Mitchell said. “Once you’re inside, that is.”
Samir nodded and walked toward the convenience store, taking a deep breath as he approached. Much to his disappointment, Samir didn’t notice any other customers inside. Still, if he was really going to go through with this, he needed a plan.
Samir peered through the large window, spotting the snack aisle on the far side of the store.
“Of course,” he murmured.
He pondered, unable to come up with a sound strategy. Samir would have to play it by ear, but at least he knew where to go now.
Samir put a hand to the door and pulled, a dinging noise soon following. He’d forgotten about the dreaded chiming of the door and cringed at the sound of it. Surprisingly, Samir didn’t notice anyone as he stepped inside.
Randy, the owner, wasn’t even behind the counter. Maybe he was in back using the restroom or getting something from the stock room. If that was the case, why would he leave the store unattended? Surely, he’d lock the front door until he got back, right?
Why did it even matter? This was the opportunity he’d been waiting for, so Samir quickly made his way to the snack aisle and snatched the first big bag of potato chips he saw. He held the very tip of the bag between his fingers, dangling it low next to his leg.
Samir retraced his steps. He took a left at the counter, switching the bag to his left side as he headed toward the door. If Randy were to pop up from behind the counter, the bag would at least be hidden to some extent.
Then Samir stopped in his tracks. What was he doing? He’d nearly reached the door and could practically smell freedom. But something tugged at his thoughts.
All of it was too easy. Were Mitchell and Curtis setting him up? They could have easily run off with Samir’s wallet. Or maybe there was a cop hiding outside, just waiting to take Samir down once he hit the parking lot.
Don’t be silly, he thought to himself. He eyed one of the security cameras, hoping that Mitchell and Curtis were being truthful. But something else bothered him.
Samir lowered the bag, resting it against the candy display. Then he turned and made his way around the counter, his eyes bulging at the sight.
Randy was slouched in a chair, his head against the wall. He was a tiny and frail-looking man, so it was no surprise that Samir hadn’t spotted him until now. Samir lowered his gaze, noticing a small puddle of liquid on the floor next to Randy.
Samir’s heart thumped up into his throat, and he slowly backed away. Once he rounded the corner, he walked briskly toward the exit, grasping the bag of potato chips in midstride and pushing his way through the door.
The door chimed on his way out, and Samir ran into the night. But he didn’t see Mitchell or Curtis. He stopped at the edge of the parking lot and panted, a hand on his shoulder causing him to turn. It was Mitchell. With Curtis right beside him.
“You did it,” Mitchell said.
“Much to my surprise,” Curtis commented. “I didn’t think you had it in you.”
Samir took a moment to compose himself.
“Any problems?” Mitchell asked.
Samir hesitated, eventually shaking his head.
“So, Randy didn’t see you?”
“No,” Samir said.
“How’d you manage that?”
He shrugged. “I guess I had a little luck on my side.”
Mitchell smiled, and even Curtis managed a grin.
When Samir first saw Randy, he had assumed the worst. But the owner was only sleeping. And drooling all over the place in the process.
Samir had never been a good liar, but Mitchell and Curtis didn’t need to know the truth. He just wanted them to believe one thing. Samir was never one to back down from a challenge.
© 2023 Kevin Hopson