B&E - TOM LARSEN
The light snaps on as I hit the floor. Guy in a bathrobe with a rifle pointed at my chest.
“Come in,” he grins.
“You won’t need that.” I raise my hands. “I won’t give you any trouble.”
He wags the rifle. “In.”
So I go where’s he’s wagging, a den, no windows. How I hate a room with no windows.
“Sit.” He jabs the gun at a chair next to a roll-top desk. He takes the chair at the desk. Handsome old dude, snow white hair but dark bushy eyebrows, like my Uncle Jimmy.
“So, thought you’d rob me, did you?”
“Nothing personal, friend.”
“Tell me, was I just a random victim or was I targeted?”
“Targeted? No, nothing like that.”
“What then? It’s a modest home.”
I tell him the truth. “I drive by a lot. It looked...inviting.”
He sights me down the barrel.
“Please.” I close my eyes. “I can assure you I’m a non-violent offender.”
He points it away. “So this is your profession. Thief.”
“Burglary. It’s how you make your living?”
“Well, not just burglary. You could say it supplements my income.”
“And what do you know about me?”
“Not a thing.” I risk a smile. “I’m no stalker, if that’s what you mean. Call the police. Ask for Lt. Colson, tell him you have Thomas Drill. He’ll take it from there.”
“No.” He rocks back. “No, I think I can handle this myself.”
I glance at the phone. “I’ll do it for you.”
He grins again. I could learn to like him.
“No, we’re going to negotiate your fate...friend.”
Worst case, he’s going to kill me. I’ve finally stepped in shit and now I pay. I’m not really getting that from him but this could turn on a dime. Like the movies, bang, you’re dead.
“Would it help if I told you I have a baby daughter?”
“Help?” He looks me in the eye. “You mean because you’ve managed to reproduce, I should be merciful?”
He tosses the rifle. It lands on the desk in a crash of picture frames. I stay right where I am.
“I, too, have a daughter. She loathes me.”
“Kids.” I shrug. “What can you do?”
He gets up, paces for a moment then disappears down the hallway.
I cross to the back door and let myself out.
BIO: Tom Larsen has been a fiction writer for fifteen years, his work has appearing in Newsday, New Millennium Writing, Puerto del Sol and Antietam Review. His short story “Lids” was included in Best American Mystery Stories – 2004. His novel FLAWED was released in October. He’s been published here before.
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