For the three years of his employment at Banda Leone, Hester’s chief – and sometimes sole – joy had been to steal from the communal fridge. Now, he wasn’t a monster. It gave him no great pleasure to take from others, or else he would be ransacking cubicles and supply closets, too. Nor was he desperately in need of food. As a reliable employee firmly entrenched in the software development team, he was paid well and had excellent job security.
No, Hester did it for the thrill of the hunt, so to speak. The fact that he could keep getting away with snatching a yogurt here and a frozen mini pizza there made each subsequent success even more electrifying. He joyously pocketed a bologna sandwich on Monday, then suppressed giggles as he siphoned leftover tortilla soup into his own thermos on Thursday.
It began with the best intentions. Hester had failed to bring milk for his cereal one morning, and he noticed someone else had placed a whole carton in the fridge. He assumed a modest splash into his small bowl wouldn’t be noticed, let alone harm the owner. And if Hester brought a carton someday, he could pay his coworker back.
But he never did. And he found it increasingly easy to steal food items as time went on, partially due to techniques he developed to make the theft easier – his boldest being a campaign started nine months ago. Hester sent a company-wide e-mail that called for a stop to fridge thievery, claiming to have been personally victimized by some unknown offender. After several impassioned pleas went out, Hester became the face of a movement to bring the pilfering to an end, and coworkers would unburden themselves to him about their own food, which had been stolen by none other than Hester himself.
But all of that might be coming to an end. Hester tried to look occupied with filling his coffee mug as he eyed the new kitchen security cameras – one pointed at the door and another at the fridge itself. They seemed to have no obvious blind spot, but Hester would surely find one. He’d be damned if he gave this up now.