Another Bead Of Sweat
Another bead of sweat rolls down my back and enters the chute that is the crack of my arse. The first bead was annoying with just a hint of a tickle but this one is annoying.
The first few drops were not felt as I was distracted in a mixture of relief, fear and flight.
But now, hidden behind a thick box hedge with a silent grassy yard behind me and the night above me all starry and warm and my breath searing in big silent gasps through my lungs I have the adrenaline and time to notice this one.
I reach around and pull my boxers out of my bum but don’t take my eyes away from their important job of peering through the hole in the hedge. The sightline is good; the hedge is the border between the street and me and I can’t get caught.
My employers want the cars and the cars worth taking are far too hard to break into and start without the keys. You need the keys. And the keys are in the houses.
And in the right suburbs the pickings are easy. Two, three, four car families, too many cars for the one, two or even three bay garages. Cars in driveways, cars parked on the street. A lot of them under three years old, half of them brand spanking new, some of them not even locked. Mostly though you need the keys. And the keys, they’re in the houses.
Have a little drive around or better still get your mates to do it for you. Nothing better than mates who deliver fast food, or even better who are tradies. They are always driving around the suburbs, working in the streets and have heaps of opportunities to check out the houses and cars.
What sort of cars?
Meet at the pub on Friday arvo to brief me, their “break in merchant” mate
Summer is best. Not school holidays and not during exams. I like after midnight, when sleep has drawn the doona over the work weary. When asked I say,
“Middle of the week of course, say about 2.00am. A bit of light is all right. You need to see where you are going.”
Double-check for alarms and dogs, and then follow the plan.
Knock over a whole block if you can, say five or six houses till you get one.
Quick. Quiet and clean, dark clothes, something you can climb, run and hide in. Gloves and pencil torch. No more than five minutes in and do nothing before you find and open an exit route,
Work methodical and don’t get distracted. Just cash, phones, watches, keys.
Most times I drive out, quickly but quietly with lights on, seat belt on, all law abiding, on the mobile letting the flat bed tow truck know that I am inbound. Seriously more fun than Iraq and with no roadside bombs waiting to go off and take your legs away.
Tonight in the tight narrow beam of my torch I had just seen the keys and his wallet on the kitchen bench when I heard the feet hit the floor upstairs and someone start yelling and begin running down the hall to the top of the stairs.
So if things go tits up don’t stay if disturbed. Run hard and fast towards your entry or exit and get outside. Go hard for 50 metres and then check behind. I am fit, a tough mudder regular, army including a stint in Iraq.
Most victims are fucked after the first 50 metres. Husbands and dads dressed in their boxers or stark naked often their gut wobbling up and down, dick swinging from side to side. They are now blowing up, yelling, swearing, gasping for breath but starting to slow down.
They are starting to realise they have no weapon, their bare feet are getting sore and the wife and kids are screaming. Usually I give them a wave and stride out down the street, cut through some open looking yards and head to some darkness and phone for pickup.
But. But sometimes I stop and turn around just to see if this time the exception is coming for me. Someone quiet and fast, strong, outraged but breath and adrenaline in control with cricket bat/carving knife/ axe/ crow bar in hand, spoiling for it.
Not this time. He was coming. But he wasn’t quiet or strong. I could hear him gasping for breath and swearing at me when he exhaled. He ran under the streetlight and I could see that he was big, really big and built like a church bell with legs. Fat flopped everywhere; his gut was soft and pendulous, flopping way over the band of striped boxers. In his meaty paws he held what looked to be a three wood. Eyed wide, mouthing obscenities he came on downhill out of the streetlight’s circle into the darkness. He was thirty metres away and coming on quickly. Big, clumsy strides driven by anger and complete disregard for safety, his thumping feet in thongs.
I knew I should go but I so wanted to stay and fight. It would not have been much of a fight and I was so tempted to start running hard towards him, get inside the wild vicious swoop of the golf club and take it off him. In the end I did neither.
As he got closer I realised he had just hit the steepest part of the street. So did he. For the first time in Christ knows how many years he was running hard and the muscle memory was caught wanting. When he hit the steep bit his body weight and anger just kept him accelerating until very quickly he was out of control. He could not stop and he was running faster and faster just to keep his feet. Within 10 metres he was in big trouble and he started to veer off towards the footpath. On some level he thought he needed to put that lazy 140kgs into a controlled crash landing. The look on his face must have been gold but in the dim light I only saw the wide whites of his eyes as he careened past. He tried one desperate wild swing with the wood but I was out of range and the big follow through only hastened what happened next.
Making the footpath his feet finally lost the battle and tripping he commenced his fall. In the half light, slow motion like the demolition of a mothballed factory chimney. He disappeared through a rather neatly trimmed hedge with a crash and a scream and in the following silence I started to become aware of just how many lights were coming on.
I quickly ran back to his house and dove behind a hedge as voices and faces started appearing at windows and doors. Old mate’s agonised yells were getting louder and soon nearby dogs were howling in harmony.
I stayed watching and listening as the excitement waxed and waned. The ambulance came and went, someone came and checked the house, closing the front door and then leaving. No one looked that hard at the hedge.
No police came. Maybe too busy or maybe no one rang. If old mate was unconscious or dead there was probably no one who knew for sure what had even happened.
I hummed favourite tunes to myself, something that always passed the time before deployment for me and after an hour or so the street was once again quiet and dark.
Back into the house I went. Went in the same way as before. Grabbed the keys, drank some water from the kitchen tap and went down to the driveway. I have my mission. I left the wallet, He was going to need that.
When I pushed the unlock button on the key fob the lights in the car lit up the night and I could hear the doors clunk loose, loud and solid like tom-toms. I quickly slid into the driver’s seat and found my hands and feet inches away from the pedals and the steering wheel but if you steal enough of them you know where the driving position controls are. I quickly got the mirrors right for me and started the car. I turned down the shitty music on the radio, reversed out and drove down the street.
Driving past I saw a cat sniffing the golf club on the footpath.