Monday, August 31, 2015


They taped the three little glass slats in the louvered window with duct tape. They carefully broke them with a rubber mallet. Cousin Mike carefully shattered the thin, solid glass panel behind the louvers. He draped a blanket over the bottom of the opening so they could squeeze through the twenty by sixteen inch space... but when it came time to go in, he said - You first..... Ca-Ca blinked. She whispered - What? You said you could do this?.. I can - he said, but they got my DNA. It's on file..... From when? - she said..... From when we stole Jimmy Magliani's dad's car.... You were thirteen and a half years old. Does it count?.... Yeah, it counts. What do you think?... How'd they get it?... Ryan's sister, the one who laughs like a goof all the time, smashed my thumb in the door when we came back from goofy golf. Look, they got it! they got it!... Shhh - she said... And they laid there on the cold, drizzly pavement in their black 'mission impossible' get ups for like thirteen heartbeats in the almost icy, two AM air. In a tiny voice,Ca-Ca said - But, Mike, (pause) I killed someone. (first time she said it).... So? - he said. They don't know and you want to run away, don't you? How much you think hiring some whore to be your fake mom costs? Plenty, let me tell ya, if you want a good one. Now go in.... What if there's bugs or mice?.... They'll run away. Don't worry. You got your little nine volt flashlight?... Yeah..... Then go in, or I'm getting up and walking home. There's money in there. Come on! ..... She sighed and slipped in. It was easy for her. She was ten years old. Ca-Ca slid down the blanket onto the old, linoleum floor. A quick click on her light gave her an instant image. Not much clutter. Shelves on one side held boxes of Christmas stuff. Halloween, Easter and Fourth of July stuff too. Then she crept up the cellar stairs. The door to the kitchen was broke. It was broke when 'Pony' used to babysit her. They leaned an old leaf from a long gone kitchen table against it. Ca-Ca knew that. Mike taught her how to ease the heavy board-like thing out of place with a yard stick (the only tool she had with her). She slowly pushed it through the space at the bottom of the door, til she felt it hit the bottom of the rectangular barrier. If she did it slow enough, the leaf would slide out and ease down toward the floor. Still be a bang when it came down, but not as loud as if she just pushed it. The noise was meant to alert Pony and her grandmom, but no one was home. The house was empty. Immigrants rented on both sides, Brazilian and some Belarus people. Who knew if they were even 'legal?' They wouldn't say nothin', even if they heard. Some people are experts at not getting involved. So she scampered through the kitchen (after a quick click of the light and unlocked the back door. It was cold. She was scared. Then she ran out into the tiny, fenced in space (like all the yards) and unlatched the wooden door leading out to the alley. No pit bulls out... too cold... That's why winter break-ins (provided no snow) are safer. Thirty pounding heartbeats later, Mike slipped through. They went inside. But he ran back out to close and latch the yard door, just incase some cops went down the alley. Sometimes they do. But just sometimes. And you can see 'em 'cause they got a big flashlight to flush people out the other end... Mostly bums and kids 'playin'' with each other. After that, they tip-toed up the old squeaky stairs. No use wakin' up them Brazilians and Belarus people if you don't have to. 'Pony's' room was a mess. Not like the ones they used to show on 'Oprah,' but like she was studying the technique and just didn't have it down pat yet. The old lady's room was neat. Smelled from 'old lady,' but neat. Mike opened the closet door.. That squeaked too. A toilet flushed on the Brazilian side. Mike whispered - Now we gotta wait ten minutes for them to fall back asleep.... Ca-Ca thought a few heartbeats and said - What if somebody goes by and sees the broken cellar window?.... Mike goes - What are they gonna see? I brushed it all inside. A little, pitch black 'square.' What are they gonna notice? 'Sides, the shadow from the steps hides it.... She nodded... Then they just sat. A small cuckoo clock made noise. She peed a little.

Then, when the ten minutes was up, they momentarily clicked a bit of light into the closet...

There, on the floor, behind some shoes, a pile of old Confidential magazines from fifty years ago and a colorful, shiny 'shopping bag' lazy people use to wrap presents in was the safe... a seventy nine dollar special from Sears...

And Mike knew all the tricks....

<to be continued>


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