Francis pushed down on the crowbar, putting all his weight into it. The window swiftly rose accompanied by the sound of splitting timber. His heart skipped. He remained motionless, head ducted between his shoulders, listening for any sign of movement. Nothing came from inside the house. Francis tucked the crowbar in his backpack, and gently pulled himself up. Closing the window behind him, he felt there was no room inside his chest for air. The space was filled by his heart, that pumped furiously. He feared the banging would wake up anyone living there. Slowly his eyes adjusted to the darkness. Now Francis could discern individual objects. He realized he was in a study; a large wooden desk, a tall slender bookcase packed with books, and an expensive looking glass showcase. His brain immediately sparked witnessing its contents. Just as he reached forward to open it, the light came on. 

"Don't fucking move." 

Francis palmed his face, the bright light stung his eyes so hard it almost brought him crashing down to the floor. 

"Oh, hey relax. I'm not trying to hurt nobody." 

"Is that so? But you’re a thief, aren't you?" 

The man spoke with confidence in his voice. Francis was able to glance at his host now. He saw the gun pointed at him, and immediately threw his hands up. 

"Don't shoot, please!" 

"Why not? It's my house. I have a right to defend myself. For all I know you're a crazy murdering bastard-" 

"I'm not! My name is Francis Zane, I live in Boston on Oakland Avenue 34 apartment 9. I'm not a murderer." 

"But you’re stupid enough to break into my house, and steal shit from me?" 

The man's voice had a cheerful yet condescending tone.

"Well Francis before I call the police, and have them throw your ass in jail, tell me something. Why did you come so far to steal? You broke into every house in your town?" 

Francis kept his hands up, eyeing the black gun. Sweat stung his eyes, but he was reluctant to wipe it. Stuttering he answered 

"I'm a huge fan of Red Archer."

"Really? In what issue did Red Archer face Destructor?”

Without hesitation the thief said

“In issue number 57, sold in the winter of '96.”

Hearing what Francis had to say, the man lowered his gun and walked over to the giant desk. He sat down in his leather chair, opened the drawer, and pulled out a pack of smokes. He took one cigarette out, and tossed the pack to Francis saying

"Here, take one. Relax, you're safe" 

The thief awkwardly caught it, staring stupidly towards the seated man. He did as he was told, then placed the pack on the desk. 

The man squeezed the trigger, and a bright orange flame emerged. He brought it towards his mouth, and lit the tip of his cigarette. 

Francis stood there wide eyed for a couple of moments then checked his pocket for a lighter.

"Grab a seat Francis. Make yourself comfortable."

Francis lit up and grabbed a nearby chair. The man slowly pushed a beautifully decorated crystal ashtray near his guest. 

"Careful with the wood, it's an original-" 

"An original piece of furniture owned by Mark Gamill, the creator of Red Arrow."

The man wasn't surprised Francis knew what it was. 

"You like it?" 

"It's freaking awesome!" Francis giggled like a schoolboy. "Can't believe I'm touching the workplace of Legendary Mark Gamill!" 

"Whana see something cool?" The man smiled, opened a drawer, and pulled a pair of old reading glasses. 

"Wow, no way," Francis's jaw dropped, "Mark Gamill's glasses. May I, please?" 

"Sure, just be careful. Let me see your hands first." 

Francis extend his palms. 

"Grab one of those wet wipes. You have dirt on your fingertips."

"Oh, I dropped my crowbar when I tried to force the window. Sorry about that, by the way, I'll pay for it…"

"Damn straight you will," the man answered back and gently handed him the glasses, adding again for good measure 

"Be careful with them." 

"Amazing! So this is how he viewed the world." 

"Wait, you can see through them?" 

"No, not really. It's all blurry."

The man took back his property and gently cleaned them with a cloth. Not lifting his head he asked

"So what did you want to steal exactly?"

Francis swallowed hard, than said

"The HP 200 LX."

"Ah yes, the compact computer. Quite a valuable item in last year's auction. How did you know I have it?" 

"It took a lot of time and bribes." 

"Aha. You know, I have a portable printer for it too, Mark Gamill's portable printer." 

"Shut up, OMG! That's awesome!" 

"Yeah, it's pretty sweet. To bad it's password locked." 

Francis fixed his gaze on the man's face, and reached into his pocket. He placed the watch in front of him. 

"Let me guess, Mark Gamill's watch?" 

"Right, I got it a few years ago at an auction. Actually, I bought his coat, and inside the pocket lining was this watch. The fabric broke, and must of slipped down there." 

The brawny looking man picked it up, and closely studied every side of it. He wanted to touch the buttons but Francis stopped him. 

"Don't touch those! There is precious information in that watch." 

"What information?" 

"It's a data bank. It holds entries like phone numbers and contacts." 

"Now that's cool! Let me see his contact list." 

"It's not for contacts. Look at this entry: fear 16523471"

"Hm, Fearless was the bow Red Arrow found in the goblin king's lair-" 

"After he turned his villagers into pin cushions," Francis exploded with excitement. 

"So it's filled with codes. But there's just one login password, right? " 

"Yes, but entries on the 200 LX can be individually locked, each with a code of their own; we simply look for the reference, fear for example, and then type in the code."

"How many entries are in the watch?" 

"Twenty five." 

The man chuckled and forcefully slapped Francis's shoulder 

"Fancy a drink, thief?" 

"I can't, I drove here."

"LOL, you know we’ll be up all night with that thing, don't you?" 

"Yeah, what the hell. Got anything to eat?" 

"There's a pizza number over there. Call them up, you know the address…" 

December 02, 2019 05:36

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Eva Bedggood
19:59 Apr 07, 2020

I really like this! I'm left hanging wanting to know more, but also satisfied with how it turned out in the end with the two fans working together... really cool! I had a hard time not laughing though as a main character of mine has a brother called Francis who would probably be just as friendly and sensible as a theif ^O^


Miles Gatling
10:19 Apr 08, 2020

Thanks Eva! I like this one too.


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Terry R Barca
02:11 Dec 20, 2019

Very cool idea. Well done. Terry


Miles Gatling
10:24 Apr 08, 2020

Thank you Terry! I'm happy you read it.


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Jubilee Forbess
20:47 Jul 05, 2020

Your dialogue is so easy to read, and that's in the best way possible. I don't mean it's too simple, I just mean it's natural sounding in my head and that's nice. :D


Miles Gatling
23:14 Jul 05, 2020

Thank you! In my head, they sound like Elmer Fudd and Daffy Duck.


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Juliet Tullett
19:25 Jul 01, 2021

This is so much fun. Great characterisation.


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