The Thievery Shuffle
By Mike Stevens
A Blue Lion Tale
Richard Sellers gummed his prison gruel, barely tasting it, and once again returned to his daydream. In it, he was young again. After serving 45 years in prison, the rest of his life sentence had been waived, due to his age and his having been a good prisoner, and today he was getting out! He fantasized about being young and stealing the famous Blue Lion. He was obsessed with the thought of it. It had consumed his thoughts, night and day, for a long while now, but especially since he’d been sent away for good after his fourth attempt to swipe it. It should have been after his third attempt, but he had gotten out of it that time by threatening a lawsuit against the police department for police brutality after being thumped but good by Detective Gavin McTaven as he tried to beat the truth out of him. As he counted down the minutes until he had freedom, he was thinking up a plan to, once and for all, steal The Blue Lion.
He had been released from custody. He felt so strange, being free to go anywhere, and do anything he liked; and what he would like was having The Blue Lion. It had been broken during his last robbery attempt, and now was housed in an art museum, as the “Famous Blue Lion, An Example of the Price of Greed”. He didn’t see himself as ever having been greedy; he wanted to steal it only for the challenge; then after successfully stealing The Blue Lion, the name Richard Sellers would be synonymous with incredible daring, and incredible skill! But, the famous statue had, up until now, eluded him. That it wasn’t worth much now, he didn’t care in the least. All he wanted before he died was the recognition as a master thief. Therefore, he’d decided to try stealing it again. No, he couldn’t move the way he used to, and yes, he’d have to come up with some new, creative ways to accomplish it, but he would have possession of The Blue Lion!
He shuffled up the sidewalk as fast as his walker would allow and stopped once he was outside the art museum, which was the new home of The Blue Lion. The security guard for the museum was approaching him, shining his flashlight into every shadow. Sellers knew he had to hide quickly as the guard drew closer, but as he started to move, his legs got tangled up in the walker’s wheels and he went down with a loud crash! Immediately, the guard shone his flashlight onto Sellers’ prone form.
“Hey, Mr., are you alright?” he asked.
Sellers desperately struggled to his feet, and answered, “Why, yes thank you, I was just going for my nightly walk from my nursing home, and I guess I took a misstep. But, I’m okay. Nothing is broken.”
The guard replied, “That’s good, I‘d hate to see you break your hip or something. Be more careful, you’re not a spring chicken!”
'I’m not a spring chicken, not a fall chicken, I’m not a chicken at all; I’m a grown-up-man, so cut the condescending crap, would you?' Sellers thought to himself, but answered only, “I will. Thank you!” Then he went on down the sidewalk, like he had resumed passing by, but as soon as the guard passed from view, he doubled back, eyes straining to see the front door. There, that looked to be it. With shaking hands, and after looking both ways along the street to make sure he wasn’t observed, he bent to the lock. Truth be told, he had no clue if anyone was watching him, because his eyesight had gotten so bad, but he wanted that statue. Half-expecting to be caught, his fingers closed around his lock-pick. Man, it had sure been a long time! His hand was shaking violently, but he at last heard the tell-tale “click”, telling him the lock was now unlocked. At least his hearing was still okay! He turned the door handle and quickly shuffled inside. It was pitch-dark, so he felt for his flashlight and switched it on. Playing the beam along the wall, images of mops, brooms, and various assorted cleaning supplies were caught in the light. Damn it, this wasn’t the front door to the museum; this was the door for the janitor’s closet. Damn his failing eyesight!
He backed out and glanced around, looking for another door, and saw the dim outline of another. He shuffled his way over to it, and squinting, saw the word “Museum”. Once more he gripped his lock-pick and eventually managed to get it in the key hole, until it clicked unlocked. Then he swung open the door and he was inside the lobby.
He shone his flashlight around and gratefully saw there were no motion detectors, so he wouldn't have to worry about tripping an alarm. He shuffled across the room, his walker making it slower going, until he was at last next to the glass of the case. He again squinted to locate The Blue Lion. There, he had spotted the vague outline of it. He’d recognize the silhouette which had haunted his dreams anywhere! Carefully he cut open the glass of the display case and thought he saw a laser beam he would have to avoid. Leaning with his legs propping him up against the walker, he reached out his hand to grab The Blue Lion, avoiding the laser beam. Man, his hand was shaking bad. Suddenly, his hand convulsed, breaking the beam, and setting off an ear-splitting alarm. Damn it. He turned as fast as he was able, and “crap!” His foot became entangled in the walker’s wheel and he plummeted to the floor; then heard a loud crack. 'I think I broke my hip', he thought to himself.
Richard Sellers was very sore from exercising. He had indeed broken his hip, and had needed a pin surgically implanted to keep the bones together. He looked out the window at the hazy daylight streaming into his cell. Daylight he would never experience, except through the cell window. When he’d been arrested while attempting to steal The Blue Lion, he had triggered the automatic, ‘Three Strikes’ law, and this time there was nothing to keep him from being locked up, permanently. Damn it!