An Honourable Thief

The lad took his time disabling the alarm. The back door had been a walk in with his training as a locksmith, and what with his  Dad being an electrical genius and his own computer fetish from his earliest years, he figured there wasn’t a security device he couldn’t disarm. There. Now he had the run of the house. There was no hurry. The householders were abroad –  he had canvassed likely prospects while temping for the Royal Mail. He left the working class neighbourhoods alone. They worked hard for their money – not like the over-paid, rich parasites. Posh house, posh neighbourhood. Easy money. They would never miss it. He never took the whole cache. He just gave himself a good hourly rate, then left the rest so that the householders would just think they had lost it or spent it. No-one would even know he’d been in. A cross phone call about a glitch in the alarm was the only likely outcome of his visits.

He headed straight for the kitchen. The figure sitting at the table was so still for a moment the lad thought he was looking at a tailors dummy, and was just about to laugh out loud at his moment of fright when the figure turned, an easy smile on his face, and a gun pointing straight at his heart. A gun? This was bloody Britain. Nobody had guns. Had he inadvertently strayed onto a gangsters turf? “Hey, man” the lad ventured. “Didn’t know it was your turf. No disrespect. I took nothin’ – I’ll just go and not come back”. The man’s smile broadened, but the gun didn’t waver.

“Just sit down, son”. The gun gestured at the other seat at the table. What the hell, he just wanted out of there.

“I’m not the talkie type”, he blurted, then flushed feeling that was great. Now the man knows he’s dealing with a moron.

“I see this is making you nervous”. The man holstered his weapon and another man appeared in the doorway, silent as a cat.

The boy felt black ice settle around his gut and move up until it had taken an iron grip on his heart. He had never known terror before, but he had never met the like of these men. Something told him they weren’t gangsters. He figured gangsters would be hot-blooded, and would shout, and bully – and at least he would have some idea of their game. He needed to know.

“You police?” he queried.

“No need to insult us, boy”.

The man at the door chortled. He took the other chair at the table, and now two, zen-calm faces surveyed him, faces that said plainly that they didn’t give a damn about him either way. He would have tried to run for it if he could have trusted his legs to carry him. Like a rabbit caught in headlights, he thought.

He tried not to look at the men. They stared back.

Then one sighed, breaking the tension.

“I have to hand it to you, you’re good. No sign of a break-in, apart from disabled alarms. Householders always away. Only ever take money, but leave most of it so they don’t even realise they’ve been robbed. A very considerate burglar in fact”. He glanced at his comrade who smiled assent.

He leant forward. ” How would you like a regular job?”

A job? What job! Like working for the Royal Mail for the rest of his life? Drudging for a pittance and even that could be snatched away on a whim.

“I don’t work for anyone”.

“We aren’t anyone. In fact we are the best employer you are ever likely to have”.

The man made a sweeping gesture with his hand. “You can continue applying your expertise, but you will be working for us”.

The boy listened open-mouthed while the job advantages were explained, the 6-figure salary, never needing to worry about criminal consequences, the rest of the salesman spiel got lost while he tried to get his mind around this new situation. Work for the government.

“No way!” he blurted.

The man’s eyes narrowed ever so slightly. The boy wondered if his hand had twitched in the direction of his gun.

“Why not?” the other man asked in a calm and reasonable voice.

“Because you’re a bunch of twisted crooks”.

The men stared at him impassively. Suddenly the boy started laughing. He didn’t care now. He had spent all his short life avoiding being anybody else’s puppet and he wasn’t about to start now. He got to his feet. He didn’t care what they did.

“Do what you like” he said. “Shoot, arrest me, I don’t care. But I’m out of here”.

The men made no move as he walked towards the door. As he reached it a quiet voice behind him said,

“Your poor old Dad waiting for you at our office, will be so sad to hear of your decision”.


Copyright 2015 Prayerwarriorpsychicnot