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My Biggest Score: a Thief’s Reminiscence

 

When people find out someone’s a thief, there are two general reactions. The honest people call the police. The less-than-honest people ask questions, the most common being “What’s your biggest score?” There are two general reactions to these questions. The “shady” thieves disappear or harm the questioner. The “show-off” thieves boast about their successes, making sure to exaggerate every detail.

 

I’ve never been asked these questions, but I would never answer them anyway. I guess you could put me in the “shady” category. There have been a few times, though, when I wanted someone to ask me these questions, when I wanted the recognition, but the fact that no one knows about me is the reason I’m so good. See, I’ve robbed plenty of small-time banks, but I’ve also done a couple high-level jobs and nobody’s found any evidence. I guess if someone called me the World’s Greatest Thief, they wouldn’t be too far off. I want people to at least know of my biggest score, though, so I wrote it down. This document is a copy of said story, and I can assure you, nothing is exaggerated.

 

My biggest score was in Colorado. I had a confrontation with this guy I’d apparently stolen money from and stress-ate my entire stock of candy. I needed more and “Kris’ Konfectionery” looked so undefended I couldn’t resist. It wasn’t a particularly large candy store, a bit bigger than your average gas station. Peering through the doors, I could see two cashiers and all manner of candy. There was even a section with small tables and chairs. This place was practically begging to be robbed.

 

Everyone knows you can’t rob anywhere without some plan or another. Thieves typically use the General Planning Process, or GPP. Nobody tells us the GPP, we just know it. It’s like some kind of code. It almost never fails too, unless you get careless. Then it gets you caught. Not everybody uses it, but us high-level thieves do. It just makes life easier. The GPP is as follows: take note of all security measures, then slip into the target at night and improvise. I’ve always been great at the second step, but the first step is so boring I almost fall asleep every time I do it. The GPP has never failed me before, however, so I endure the torture.

 

I waited until rush hour, then slipped in with all the other people. The store was packed, so there was no way anybody would notice the one guy who’s not buying anything. I headed straight for the chocolate section and started looking around. I couldn’t check the back room, but that’s where the improvisation comes in.

 

“You know,” said a voice behind me, “you’d look much less suspicious if you bought something.”

 

I whirled around. Standing behind me was the most beautiful man I’d ever seen. I mean, I’m a guy and I thought he was beautiful. He was wearing the Kris’s Konfectionery uniform with its white T shirt, dark denim waistcoat, and dark jeans. Usually that uniform makes the person wearing it look dumb, but somehow he made it look good. His hair was the color of caramel. It was pulled back into a ponytail that fell down to his waist. He was about my height, maybe a little taller. His eyes were green as mint ice cream and shaped like a doe’s. They had a sparkle of amusement in them.

 

“Who the heck-”

 

“Am I?” he smiled. “Just an employee.”

 

“Ah,” I said. “Well then you could tell me-”

 

“Where the security cameras are?” He laughed. It sounded like silver bells.

 

“What makes you so sure I’m a thief?” I asked.

 

“You haven’t denied it,” he observed.

 

“I was just taken off-guard,” I protested. “Of course I’m not a thief.”

 

“Oh,” he said. “That’s too bad. I was hoping for some excitement.”

 

“What?” I asked. “Hey, wait! Where are you going?”

 

“I have work to do,” he said over his shoulder. “I am on duty you know.”

 

One thing was obvious: something was going on that shouldn’t be. I decided to do some poking around. “Hoping for some excitement?” That was the beginning of a whole bunch of broken laws if I ever heard it. He might even be after the candy. MY candy. That was one thing I could not allow. I left Kris’ Konfectionery. The candy heist would have to wait. Right now, it was candy protection that topped the priority list.

 

The next morning, I walked into the store armed with one heck of a plan. I walked through the doors and headed to the chocolate section.

 

“You came back,” said a voice from behind.

 

“Heck yeah I came back,” I said to the man from yesterday because of course, it was him. “I want to know why you called me a thief and what you meant by ‘excitement.’”

 

“Spoilers,” he winked.

 

“What do you mean ‘spoilers’?”

 

“Do you really want to know?” He raised an eyebrow.

 

“Why the hell do you think I’m here?” I said.

 

“From the look on your face it’s not to buy candy,” he sighed. “All right. The reason I’m here is to break the monotony of my usual life.”

 

“By selling candy?”

 

“No, by stopping wannabe robbers.”

 

“Wannabe?!” I exclaimed. “Who’re you calling wannabe? I’m the best...damn.”

 

“So you are a thief,” he grinned. “Gotcha.”

 

This guy was clever.

 

“Don’t worry,” he said, “I won’t tell anyone. Well, I might have to tell someone if you end up robbing this place, but that probably won’t happen right?”

 

“Screw you,” I said. My amazing plan flew out the window. There was no doubt in my mind. This guy wasn’t just stealing my candy. He was stealing my candy from ME. I am a thief. I don’t get robbed. Especially when it comes to candy.

 

“Mm. That’s not very nice.”

 

“Screw you,” I said again and left. All I seemed to be doing was walking into the candy shop, talking to that guy, leaving, then coming back again. It was time to end this once and for all. You want me to be a thief, buddy? Fine then, I’ll be a thief.

 

I skipped the first part of the GPP. It was boring and I’d already gotten a somewhat clear map of the security systems. That night, I slipped into Kris’s Konfectionery with a bag over my shoulder. I avoided the cameras that I knew of and looked around carefully before coming around any corners.

 

“I must commend you,” a voice said. “You’re completely avoiding all security devices even though they’re supposed to cover the entire store.”

 

I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see the man that for the life of me I couldn’t shake.

 

“You didn’t count on human security did you?” he laughed softly. “Or at least, no human security as quiet as I am.”

 

“Why are you here?” I hissed.

 

“Because it’s my job,” he sounded surprised. “I thought you’d figured it out. I’m a detective.”

 

“You’re a what?”

 

“Detective,” he replied. “You’re really very good you know. Anyone else would never have caught you. It just so happens I have a natural talent for this sort of thing.”

 

“Go away,” I said. “I don’t want to hurt you, but if you’re going to turn me in, I’m gonna have to stop you.”

 

He cocked his head. “You would hurt me?”

 

“There are two things in this world that I value,” I said. “Candy and freedom.  Turning me in would go against both.”

 

“And you don’t want that to happen,” he concluded. “What’s your name?”

 

“Huh?”

 

“Candy is important to you, yes? You want to rob this place and you can’t do that if someone beats you to it. You want to protect your future score. So do I, in a manner of speaking.”

 

“In a manner of speaking?” I asked.

 

“I’m trying to keep this place from getting robbed,” he said. “Didn’t I tell you?”

 

“No you didn’t,” I said. I was confused. Wasn’t he the one stealing the candy? Wasn’t he the one looking for some “excitement”?

 

“Ah. Well, now I did. So what’s your name?”

 

“Juri.”

 

“Mm,” he arched an eyebrow. “ Mine is Shusuke.”

 

“Ok. Why-”

 

“Because I need the help of the world’s greatest thief.”

 

“Woah, woah, woah,” I said. “I don’t ‘help’ people.”

 

“Oh?” Shusuke asked. “Why?”

 

“‘Cause there’s nothing in it for me,” I said. “In my line of work, risking your neck isn’t worth the effort unless you get something out of it.”

 

“I’ll give you two giant bags of candy.”

 

“And I’m in,” I decided.

 

“That didn’t take much,” Shusuke observed.

 

“I get something out of it and ‘it’ applies to my first value,” I said. “There’s no downside.”`

 

“Mm,” he muttered to himself. “No downside. I haven’t told you the details of the job and you say there’s no downside. You’ve done this sort of thing for a while. One would think you’d have more caution, yet your caution seems to lessen as time goes on.”

 

“‘As time goes on,’” I quoted. “Just how long have you been watching me?”

 

“Oh I’ve been watching you for a while,” he said. “Back when I was a policeman I saw you go into that small bank in Charlottesville and I was going to arrest you, but then when you came out you were holding two bags. That bank only held enough money for one bag. There wasn’t anything else to steal, so what was in the other bag? Have you ever heard the phrase ‘curiosity killed the cat’?”

 

“Yeah,” I said. I was amazed. I’d robbed that bank almost two years ago.

 

“Well, my curiosity killed me that day,” Shusuke laughed softly. “When you dropped that bag and candy spilled out I almost laughed out loud. You fascinated me, so instead of turning you in, I followed you. Your style, your quirks, heh, I fell in love with them. Incidentally, how is it you came out with candy? There wasn’t any candy in that bank.”

 

“I made a last-minute deposit,” I replied. “Complete with a smoke bomb.”

 

“Ah, so your candy was a weapon,” he said. “But wasn’t using your candy bag kind of risky?”

 

“No, it was perfect,” I said. It was strange how easy it was to talk to him.“I mean, yes, if the police had been given the chance to look into that bag, I’d probably be behind bars right now, but it was one hell of a joke. ”

 

“Mm,” he muttered again. “Your caution really has quite a low level.”

 

“Did you see any of my other jobs?” I asked. I had to admit, I was enjoying this conversation.

 

“A few,” he said. “After I got promoted I quit following you.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Because then I’d really have to arrest you.” He looked at me seriously. “When I saw you walk into this store I was overjoyed at first, but then I realized that unless something unexpected happened, I was going to have to arrest you.”

 

“Why haven’t you already?” I asked. “And why were you happy?”

 

“Well, for your first question, I’m waiting for the unexpected to happen. As to your second question, I already answered that didn’t I? I’ve loved you for a long time.”

 

“Wait,” I could feel my face reddening. “When you say ‘love’ do you mean-”

 

I was cut off by the sound of metal hitting the ground. We weren’t the only ones in Kris’ Konfectionery. I went into full-on thief mode then. What Shusuke had meant by “love” could wait until after I’d saved my candy. The noise had come from the “Employee’s Only” room. The room I hadn’t scouted.

 

“There aren’t any cameras in there,” Shusuke said.

 

I looked at him in surprise. He smiled at me and nodded.

 

“There aren’t any sound or motion sensors either,” he said. “Not in the whole store.”

 

For some reason, I trusted him. The problem was, the door was on the other side of the room and there was no way to get across without being spotted by cameras. There was, however, a way out of the store.

 

“Follow me,” I whispered.

 

We crept out of the candy store. As we were doing so, something caught my eye. Shusuke was moving exactly like I was. I narrowed my eyes.

 

“What are you doing?” I asked him once we were out.

 

“Following you,” he sounded confused.

 

“I know that,” I said. “I meant your style. Where did you get it?”

 

“Mm. I stole it,” he laughed at the look on my face. “Your style works well. As a side note, thank you for helping me pass my exam.”

 

“What?”

 

“I graduated top in my class because I got a perfect score on my stealth exam. Do you know how hard that is?”

 

“Of course not,” I said, annoyed. “Well, whatever. Just stop it.”

 

“Mm,” he said. “Touchy.”

 

We circled the building. At the back door, we found a crowbar and a cigarette butt.

 

“Amateur,” I said. “You never bring cigarettes to a heist. The smell takes forever to fade and really? A crowbar? How cliche can you get?”

 

“If it works, though,” Shusuke said. He handed me a gun. “Here.”

 

“No, thanks,” I said. “I don’t like guns.”

 

“Take it anyway,” he said. “You might need it.”

 

“No,” I said. Shusuke sighed.

 

“He came in this way,” he mused. “You say he’s an amateur? In that case, he’ll probably be easily startled. Juri, do you have any-”

 

“Way ahead of you,” I said, pulling several smoke bombs out of my jacket. “Let’s go scare this guy.”

 

“Full points for enthusiasm,” Shusuke whispered as he opened the door.

 

I had other reasons for bringing the smoke bombs. It was obvious the cameras were gonna see something out of the ordinary tonight, and to make sure it wasn’t me, I’d have to disable them without being seen. The shortest ways to do that were clutched in my hands.

 

The hallway we entered had no cameras, so I dashed through it, keeping on my toes to reduce the sound. At the end of the hallway I tossed several bombs around the corner. I heard a yell and smiled. It seemed Mr. Amateur had come out of the Employee Room. I rounded the corner where the smoke bombs had taken their effect. Following the sound of Mr. Amateur’s heavy breathing, I moved through the smoke. I didn’t actually see Mr. Amateur until I was right on top of him. Literally. He was crouched down by the gumball machine and I tripped and fell over him. I heard the click of a gun and bounced up on my toes, ready for anything. Or so I thought.

 

The smoke worked against me now. I couldn’t see anything. I heard a gunshot then felt a sharp pain as the bullet entered my left ear. I cried out and brought my hand to it. When I moved my hand away, my fingertips were colored a glistening dark red. I cried out again, only this time it was in anger. Mr. Amateur was so dead.

 

I lunged forward. By some stroke of luck, my hands met Mr. Amateur’s throat, and we both flew back over some tables. I watched as his face turned red, then purple. Two arms wrapped around my body and pulled me off of him. I could vaguely hear someone talking to me, but anger and pain had caused me to lose my senses. Suddenly, I felt pressure on my lips. I was shocked into reality as I realized Shusuke was kissing me.

 

“He’s unconscious, Juri,” Shusuke said as he pulled away. “I’ve called the police. It’s over.”

 

“The police,” I said thickly. My head was still trying to wrap around what had just happened.

 

“Don’t worry,” he replied. “I won’t let them take you anywhere. Let’s get you to a hospital.”

 

A few hours later I was sitting in a hospital bed with a bandage around my head. I had just told the police everything and was now waiting for their verdict. Shusuke was sitting across from me.

 

“Turns out he was connected to several open cases,” he said. “Given the fact that you helped with his arrest my captain should let you go, but you’ll have to give up your life as a thief.”

 

I said nothing.

 

“Mr. Juri I presume?” said a large, muscular man as he walked into the room.

 

“Yeah.”

 

“My name is Mo,” he said. “I’m captain of the police division handling this case.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“It is within my power to grant you clemency for your previous criminal acts, but you’ll have to give up your life as a thief.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Can you accept that?” Captain Mo asked. “The alternative is that I arrest you.”

 

I stayed silent.

 

“Captain,” Shusuke said gently, “may I speak with Juri privately?”

 

“Make it quick,” he said as he left.

 

“Penny for your thoughts,” Shusuke said to me.

 

“You kissed me.”

 

“Ah,” he looked embarrassed. “Yes, well, I couldn’t think of any other way to get you to calm down.”

 

“It didn’t feel weird,” I said.

 

“Mm,” he said. “How should I take that?”

 

“I’m gonna accept his offer,” I said. “I’m not sure where I’m gonna go though.”

 

“My door’s always open,” Shusuke said.

 

I said nothing.


We sat in silence until the captain came back. I promised to stop thieving and left the hospital. I ended up moving in with Shusuke and we’ve lived together ever since. I guess if someone were to call him my boyfriend, they wouldn’t be too far off. I became a best-selling author and made enough money to carry me through ten lifetimes. What was my best-selling book you ask? Well, it was It Just Happened, a book about a thief trying to steal candy and ending up with a boyfriend. A book about my biggest score.

State
MI