Here we are, chapter two ! I'll try to post chapter three sometime next week. So read up and enjoy...
Los Angeles, California
“I still can’t believe you did that. I mean, come on Tie, the deadbolt?” said Rem, shaking his head. He sighed, “Nicky was damn lucky to have brought that screwdriver, or your foolish oversight would have cost us the job.” From the inside pocket of his long trench coat, Rem produced a thin, plastic room key. In the blink of an eye he whipped it in and out of the tiny slot on the door. The light flashed green and Rem pushed down on the handle. He ushered me inside, then let the door slam shut behind us.
Harping on me was so easy for this guy. He was the boss, so I guess he was entitled to it. Making a mistake as “foolish” as mine had apparently never happened to him before. That was Rem for you though– everything came to him with painful ease. I suppose perfection comes with time and experience, but still. Clearly it paid to be one of the most accomplished thieves in all of Europe.
“Me! In case you hadn’t noticed, Clark nearly tripped ten floor sensors because his shoe laces were untied,” I exclaimed.
I walked into the hotel room’s living area, enveloping myself from my black leather jacket and tossing it on the man sitting in the nearest armchair: Clark. He was a tall, lanky man with broad shoulders and sparkling blue eyes. I know, kind of Barbie Ken cliché, but he wasn’t giving me much to work with. Thank god his hair was chocolate brown and not golden blond. I was convinced the rest of his family had to be blond though, because for a brunette, Clark had more than your average amount of blond moments. Despite his denser periods, Clark was still a hell of a pickpocket.
“Nice job checking the basics Clarks. I thought we all had shoe laces down since elementary school, or did we need to buy you sneakers with Velcro instead?” I asked cocking an eyebrow, before plopping into a dining table chair.
Clark lifted his arm to throw my jacket to the ground, but catching my look, decided to gently set it across the arm of the loveseat. That didn’t stop him however from flashing me the middle finger.
“Twenty bucks says his fly was down the whole time too,” called Nicky, who lay sprawled over the other embroidered armchair. Now Nicky did have blond hair, but he was nothing like Barbie Ken. His hair had a kind of short side swept quality to it that made the rest of his facial features seem very sharp and angular. He had a long, toned body; all legs and arms.
“Anyway, quit scolding Tie. Her mistake didn’t do that much damage. At least she remembers to turn on the dishwasher before we leave to do a job. Luca forgot again,” said Nicky glaring over at Luca who sat curled up on the loveseat. “Man, you didn’t even load the wet towels from the washing machine to the dryer,” he called jokingly, grinning ear to ear. “Exactly how many times did I tell you?”
I’ve known Luca for over three years, but I’ve never really known him. He doesn’t elaborate, he doesn’t embellish, and he doesn’t even exaggerate. He just cuts himself short. This used to lead me to believe he was hiding something and was sworn to secrecy. His silence obviously did nothing but stoke my curiosity. Unfortunately, over the years, I’ve barley made a dent in his armour. Luca was a mystery alright, but I’ve learned to leave him be and to just take the essential information he gives. Besides, in this business, you have the right to remain silent.
Rem strolled into the kitchen and rested his forearms on the granite counter top. His salt and pepper hair seemed to be increasing in salt and the faint wrinkles around his eyes and forehead had no doubt been etched deeper over the past few weeks. Peering across the living area, Rem scrutinized his team; myself, Clarks, Luca and Nicky. Worry darted across his face. It came and went in no more than a second, but we had all noticed.
“Come on Remy, relax. We’re all professionals here, I’m sure we pulled it off,” said Nicky, always being the first to comfort, defend or accuse someone. He was our social butterfly.
“To be honest, these guys were pretty thick. Who opens up a high-priced jewellery store just blocks from the busiest port in the United States? They were practically asking to be cased. Besides, we implemented the best Three Men and a Baby I’ve ever seen,” concluded Nicky crossing his arms.
“Regardless, I’ll be happiest tomorrow morning when we’re on that one-way plane out of Los Angeles. I always am.”
“We all are, Rem,” I said, stretching my arms to the ceiling and rolling my head over my shoulders. Man, was I going to have knots tomorrow, especially after this last job. I pulled off my thick grey boots, and then tugged the elastic from my auburn hair, letting it fall in wisps along my back.
“What happened to taking risks, living on the edge, playing the game?” asked Nicky, his voice rising a little in a sudden desperation to excite the team. “You mean to tell me that you didn’t have the least bit of fun tonight. We were careful, precise, and tactful. The owners won’t even realise anything is missing until tomorrow morning, by which time we’ll all be on our way out of here.”
“Nicky, I’ve spent my entire life a thief. My father was one, my father’s father was one, and even his father was one – it was the family business. And throughout the past sixty years I’ve pulled some of the greatest heists in history. I’m a legend in Europe, so I moved to North America and still managed to make a name for myself. So shut up - I can be worried if I want,” said Rem listlessly.
He turned his back on Nicky and I, wheeling around to open the fridge. Containers slid down the door’s shelves and glass jars clinked against each other. Nicky mouthed “arrogant”, then pivoted back to the living room and sat down next to Luca.
“Hey Luca, I got a joke for you. This guy down at the post office told me about it and I thought it was, you know, pretty clever. Okay, so there’s this pickpocket and he’s finally been caught after committing a number of crimes. When the judge says, Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t lock you up, the pickpocket goes, It wasn’t me – my right arm stole the wallet and it’s not fair that I should be held responsible for something my right arm did. The judge decides to play along and says I sentence your right arm to ten years hard labour then. And do you know what the pickpocket does? He rips off his artificial arm, throws it on the judge’s bench, and walks free!”
Nicky could barely stifle his giggles, a ridiculous crooked grin plastered across his face. Luca gazed at Nicky for a moment. He glanced at the ground then lifted his eyes to meet mine, eyebrows lifted.