Nobody could look at Mark and say that he had nothing going for him. Mark had everything going for him. He was the president of the school council, captain of the school athletics team and the category "tall, dark and handsome" fit him like a glove. It didn't hurt that he was top of the class in all his subjects and also the dream boyfriend of every girl in school . . . in theory.
Mark was also a massive jerk to his girlfriends, dropping them like a tainted piece of garbage if they ever let themselves go even a little bit. Some girls referred to his girlfriends as "trackies", since they would eventually resort to basically living in a gym to please him. He'd dump them anyway the moment he saw someone better. So most of the time Mark stayed single, which he convinced himself was good for his image.
Mark also had another vice that he kept hidden from everyone. Something that he knew could permanently taint his squeaky-clean image if word of it ever got out. Mark would only do it in situations when he knew he wouldn't or couldn't be caught.
Mark was a professional shoplifter, and he'd been doing it for ages. He'd been doing it since he was ten, when he was dared to steal a packet of sweets by his big brother. That was when he first experienced the thrill of getting out of a shop with pockets full of sweets and a big grin on his face as he waved to the security guard. None of those idiots had a clue.
Pieces of candy was quickly deemed to be below him, and he moved on to bigger, more expensive targets. The cheap jewellery store that sold wire earrings and necklaces would suddenly find themselves short. He'd give them to his latest girlfriend as a gift, and as she smothered him in kisses and showed off her gift, he'd give a sigh of relief. He didn't have the goods anymore. He was safe.
But soon his high-end tastes and his natural tendency to never want to pay for it led him to the electronic part of the store. But getting away with it wouldn't be so easy. The security measures were too much for him, and his greed whispered a cruel idea in his ear: going for the second hand stock. And by second-hand, he meant stuff that still belonged to other people.
It wasn't long until an increase in stolen phones, watches and tablets were noticed around the school. Students and teachers were panicking about the crisis. Some kids resorted to keeping their valuables with them at all times, which was against school rules. Some teachers didn't even care if students had their prized possessions with them, while others were more strict.
Mark used this to his advantage. People wanted to know that their stuff was safe. Well, if he wanted to keep his spot as president of the school council, that's what he'd have to push for. The topic of strengthened locker doors came up frequently in debates. He was a classroom name. He knew that the school would never cough up the money for so many new lockers, so after a hiatus from stealing in an effort to convince the student body that the thief had stopped, he went back to his favourite hobby.
He knew exactly how to penetrate the flimsy locker doors, sliding a plastic ruler inside a crack in the door and twisting it until it gave way. He'd been casing this joint for all of two weeks, and he knew that this student was a loner. A loner with some very nice gear and a false sense of security, to be precise. He swiped the pricey headphones and tablet and stuffed them into his backpack. Mark would be a rich man by the end of the week, if he played his cards right.
The next day, Mark continued to drum up support for himself at the next debate by talking about things everyone hates about the school: the lack of vegetarian options in the cafeteria, the rats in the school garden, and the security of the school lockers. His supporters cheered, and his enemies looked in grudging admiration. One of his assistants handed over a memory stick as he talked. Mark paid her no attention. Or was that a he? Mark couldn't tell with that hoodie on. However, he did recall telling someone to put some music on during his latest display of self-promotion. That must be what they were doing!
Then, everyone stopped cheering and chanting, standing still and peering over each other's heads in order to see better. Whispers soon became gasps of shock and soon, howls of outrage. Hissed and boos filled the air, and Mark finally swivelled around to see a damning video of himself stealing from people's lockers. But that wasn't all. Someone had snapped him stealing from a jewellery store that he got his girlfriend's gifts from, the till of a sweets shop, the lunch of a new student when the poor boy wasn't looking. Balled-up posters were thrown at him and many more were ripped up in front of his eyes. His "loyal" assistants were leaving his side, and all Mark could think of was how his school life had been ruined by that kid with a black hoodie. The ruined boy looked around for them, but he was too late. Whoever that was had gone.
Meanwhile, Rupert sat outside the library, cradling the tablet and headphones that Mark had stolen. That tracking chip worked like a charm in catching the school thief. But deep down, Rupert knew that he couldn't continue calling out hypocrites - not at this school, at least. He'd have to get his act on the road now it was his last year here. But there was a Hypocrisy Hunter inside everyone here. The legacy he'd started would never die.