Dirk strode up the driveway, past the cat sunning itself in the front window, tail sweeping back and forth in slow motion like a conductor in a symphony only he could hear. On the porch, Dirk thumped the front door several times with his fist. He cocked his ear, listening for signs of life inside. His stomach rumbled with nervousness. He fiddled with the empty computer bag slung across his torso.
Around the back of the house, his buddy Jim would be checking for a possible entrance into the house. Dirk’s little nondescript pickup with the camper cover sat in the alley, tucked in next to a bush to keep it from view of the street. Today could be the day.
The phone in Dirk’s pocket chirped. He pulled it out. It was the all clear from Jim. Time to meet his destiny.
Jim kept telling him the big haul was their destiny. Dirk wasn’t so sure, but didn’t think Jim would lead him astray. Thoughts of being used because he had a vehicle fought with the desire to be part of something for once in his life. Dirk focused on the door willing the thoughts to shut up and go to their own corners of his brain.
After a few minutes the front door opened and Dirk slipped inside. They did a quick check of all the rooms to make sure no one was home.
Jim pushed open the door to the master bedroom. Dirk’s breath caught in his throat. There in the chair by the window was an elderly lady. Eyes closed. Perfectly still. They watched for a few moments until Jim crept slowly over to the chair. He poked the woman’s arm. Nothing.
Dirk went to the dresser and lifted the lid on the jewelry box. The heavy wood was inlaid with a single rose. It reminded him of his grandma, God rest her soul. She’d be so disappointed in him.
Jim’s voice came from the closet, “I can’t believe we got lucky enough that she’s dead. Who knows how long before anyone realizes we cleaned her out. By that time we’ll have made our fortune.”
A shiver prickled the skin of Dirk’s neck as he grabbed a handful of rings and necklaces and dumped them into the computer bag. The sooner this was done, the better.
Behind him a whisper of movement grabbed Dirk’s attention. Before he could turn he felt something hard pressing into his back.
“The old broad’s not dead, but if you don’t get your paws off my jewelry, you will be.”
Fear mixed with the smell of denture cream and talcum powder. Dirk tried to suck in air, but the world grayed around the edges. As he slipped into darkness he heard her crackly voice, “Sheesh, I didn’t even shoot you, coward.”