There are generally two ways that competent thieves make an exit: smoothly or in body bags. Those who commonly leave with someone or something nipping at their heels generally won’t be long for the lifestyle.
Conventionally, consistently successful career thieves (as they would like to be called if they could safely court attention for it) have a habit of slipping into far-off shadows before there are any city-subsidized shoe prints on the ground made to track them down.
To be a professional thief is to be professionally unassuming. To be here and gone without the smallest semblance of lingering presence. To be the afterimage of a vague idea. Slick enough to make the owner of their bounty wonder if they ever really had something to steal at all.
A latch, a weak point, and an entry. Rinse, become absent, repeat. Engage in this cycle about 5000 times without becoming biological floor graffiti and you might just become one of the most in-demand re-possessors in your hemisphere.
Jean and Rachel had gotten their approach to artful absence down to a science. The night’s work was coming to an end. The time to become absent was nigh. However, they’d encountered a problem. Problems were not foreign to their workflow, but what they had was a problem all the same.
Normally, what thieves risk life and limb to procure is something to the tune of precious gems, works of art, or the capital to purchase both; however, renaissance thieves know no such limitation of scope. One job might be get a twenty million dollar work of art. Another job might only be carried out to capture confidential information.
While widening the scope of potential work definitely increases potential profits, every different category comes with its own unique set of challenges. New challenges demand skill differentiation, and depending on the degree of differentiation, uncommon thieves can quickly morph into practitioners of many different professions. In this scenario, the borrowed profession of the hour was “live surgeon”.
While opening people up with blades and leaving them that way is easy enough, the two quickly learned that closing one back up after the fact required licensure for a good reason.
It’s moments such as these when cashing in on good karma comes in handy; for the darling thief, it’s far more pragmatic to count on borrowing some of the devil’s spare luck.
As they weighed their options, something deeper within the enclosure groaned and sent ripples through the floor. The ripple queued them to remain motionless for about 15 minutes before resuming the improvised operation.
Eventually, Jean broke the silence.
“You know Rachel, I’m just saying, I can’t say I blame that place for banning you.”
“Shut the fuck up and help me get this guy’s shirt off. God, is the fabric glued to his tits?”
“See? That insensitivity right there, that’s what did it. That’s what always does it. You’re supposed to avoid people’s emotional vital organs. People feel pain in those sometimes.”
“I’m going to harvest the emotional vital organ in your ass.”
“Ah ah, not while we’re on the job love.”
“I hate you. I hate you almost as much as I hate whatever possessed this fatass to button his shirt all the way up to the neck this morning. Who does that? Literally who does that?”
“I actually think there’s something sort respectable about it. Y’know, like in an ‘I-wear-a-hat-specifically-to-keep-the-sun-out-of-my-eyes’ kind of way. You just don’t see that kinda homegrown properness very often in the big city.”
“Well I guess unlike you, not everybody walks around with their nipples on display like a Nigerian prostitute all the time.”
“Now now, let’s not go so far as disparaging Nigerian prostitutes.”
“…You think this guy gets pegged by hookers?”
“I mean he just kind of gives off that vibe, doesn’t he? Lookit him.”
“…Turn his head a little bit to the side.”
“See it now..?”
“…Yeah I see it. This guy right here is a regular connoisseur of brokered booty smashing.”
“Probably on Tuesdays or Thursdays.”
“Probably sells propane too.”
“I wish he smelled like propane. Honestly Jean, you’re around dead fish all day and old fish all night. You probably don’t even smell this shit. You don’t know how good you have it.”
“Hey, my cuisine and my clients are completely innocent. Be nice.”
“It would be nice if it didn’t feel like one of these buttons could blast off his gut and ventilate my skull at any moment. Honestly why am I doing this?”
“You can take my shirt off too if it makes you feel better, Rachel.”
“Like your gay ass needs an excuse.”
“Gay for you.”
“Well I’m definitely the man in this equation.”
“A man’s man at that. A pure savage. Look at how quickly you ripped his belt off. Did you bring lube?”
Jesus Christ was not whipped quite as hard as Rachel cracked the fat man’s newly freed belt across Jean’s leg. Jean laughed. The man grumbled and belched up a plume of something with the scent of Sodom and Gomorrah’s sewer system.
“Goodness Rachel, if you’re dead-set on having them swarm in here for a noise check then at least leave the guy in a more flattering pose.”
“Pssh, not my fault if they come here. You bullshit activates my gag reflex, only instead of gagging I kill you.”
“And kill me you do.”
“Come over here real quick and let me kill you, Jean.”
“Gonna have to take that tantalizing proposition to-go, Rachel, I am not getting closer to that man with his pants completely off.”
“Jean…Please tell me that I have hemispatial neglect and I just don’t notice that the thing we’re looking for is clearly tucked into the waistband of his underwear.”
“You do not have hemispatial neglect, love. You have catlike vision. There is nothing tucked into that man’s waistband besides enough skin to shelter the Navajo.”
“Jean…please tell me I’m not about to open his stomach.”
“Not with my knife you’re not about to.”
“Fuck today. Actually fuck it.”
“Love today for what it is.”
“Okay. Fuck you then.”
“Not a bad choice.”
Their prize emitted a rhythmically twinkling sapphire light that made the the color of the man’s intestines oscillate between maroon and pale pink. A sound like ribbons of flesh being cut overtook the room.
After a time, the object was liberated from the supine man’s stomach and glowed like levitating egg concealing the light of day. At long last, the comparatively easy part was over.
A resounding, floor-shaking groan signified that their presence was no longer a secret. The ideal time to become absent had long passed. At that moment, their best and only course of action was to leave the first responders hungry.