Stealing Joy and Happiness

Posted: October 4, 2013 by writingsprint in Drama
Tags: , , , , , , ,

thiefJesse and Foster rappelled down the wall into the window on the top floor. Below them a guard walked down through the east garden. He walked slowly. His flashlight drifted left and right like someone thinking about his next break. Jesse’s nose twitched; he smelled a cigarette. No problem from this guy.

Jesse worked the lock while Foster watched for trouble. The lock itself was easy. The wire behind the lock that tripped the laser sensor worried him. The lock released with long, exhausting clicks, like an old man standing up hearing his arthritic knees. The outside lock was older than it looked.

“Can you work faster?” Foster hissed.

Jesse shut him up with a flick of his eyes. There were sound sensors, too. Foster swallowed his impatience. He looked for something to kill. Quietly, he hoped he had to.

Now Jesse was less worried about the alarms, more about Foster blowing it for them. Jesse wanted just one easy job, once. He slid two paper-thin wires inside a crack between the window panes and shorted across the laser sensor. Jesse finally breathed. He went inside.

Gifts piled from the floor to the ceiling and from corner to corner, wrapped in silver and gold foil. Most of them were decorated with little stars and hearts. Most of them were huge. By the shape, Jesse recognized a telescreen. A new bed. A speeder bike. Things that common folk would take years to save for.

“Happy birthday, Paris, “ Jesse whispered. The local magistrate’s daughter.

After a few aching minutes he found what he was looking for: the smallest box. He cut it open with his hunting knife. The paper and ribbons fell to the floor like lost dreams. Jesse thought about his customers.

The door to the hall opened.

The light blinded Jesse. His shooter had half cleared his holster. In silhouette he saw a sixteen-year-old girl, not even as tall as his shoulder. She gaped at him. Jesse heard Foster’s guns click.

Jesse let go of his gun. He held up his hand, still holding the box, and his empty gun hand, trying to block her from seeing Foster. In his earpiece, Jesse heard Foster whisper, “Shoot her. Jesse. Jesse!”

The girl stared at him. “Well?” she asked.

A smile cut half of Jesse’s face. “Does your father know you’re sneaking into your gift room?”

“I needed a laugh. You?”

“I have some friends on Rilos who are eating oatmeal every night. They could use something better.”

In Jesse’s ear, Foster whispered, “I can’t believe this.”

She said, “Take it. He’ll think the help took it, or one of his party guests.”

The smile made it all the way across Jesse’s face. “Thank you kindly, Miss Paris.”

“I’ll make a wish for your friends when I blow out the candles,” she said. She walked back to the hall and shut the door behind her.

Jesse went back outside and sealed the window. “Nice girl,” he said to Foster. He pat the pocket where he put her diamond necklace.

“She’ll look a lot nicer from eighty light years away.”

“And you wonder why you don’t get invited to parties.”


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