Third Time’s a Charm
By Mike Stevens
A Blue Lion Tale
This being caught crap was getting old, Richard Sellers thought to himself. He had just been released from prison for the second time. It had been ten more years of suffering. Both times he’d been to prison were for attempting to steal the same pornographic statue, The Blue Lion. He knew deep in his bones he was a master thief, and what he wanted to steal was The Blue Lion.
He’d thought about attempting to steal something easier and less well guarded, but he wanted the biggest challenge, and therefore the biggest recognition. His ego demanded he steal the hardest to steal, and The Blue Lion was it! He had been too careless before, and this time he vowed to be more careful.
Once again he stood outside the same bathroom window he had used before. This time he had made sure not only was the homeowner out of the house, but the damn neighbor, who was a cop and who had caught him the two previous times, was also gone. He might not be the smartest man in the world, but he wasn’t going to be caught by doing the same stupid things again!
He silently crept up to the bathroom window, already having cut the power, cut a small hole in the glass using a glass-cutter, and was reaching in to unlock it and pull it up, when an alarm sounded. This alarm was new, and he was unprepared for it. He was startled, and cut the crap out of his hand when he tried to pull it free. Damn! The window, unlike last two robbery attempts, was now connected to the alarm system. He managed to locate the wires connecting the bathroom window to the emergency generator and cut them; then he stood perfectly still and made no noise, fully expecting to hear approaching footsteps, but heard nothing. He knew he should have given up the robbery attempt, but now he was angry. Damn it, he would have that statue! He wrapped his hand up as best he could by using a part of his long-sleeved shirt to bind it, and climbed through the window. That cut would require stitches. Oh well, he’d worry about that later. Right now, he needed all his concentration. He switched on his flashlight and went to disconnect the stereo and strobe light alarms from the emergency generator located near a small table in the hall. It was what he had failed to do before. Therefore, both alarms had worked, even though he’d cut the power. He hadn’t thought of them being connected to the emergency back-up power. That being done, now it would no longer have any power, no matter what. He had disconnected everything that might be connected to the emergency generator. Then, he crept down the dark hallway and started to open the door to the living room, and was blinded by a flashing strobe light. What? He thought he had disconnected that, along with the stereo! What he needed to do to escape from the blinding rays was to get into the small sitting room where the cabinet containing The Blue Lion was located. He must have only thought he had disconnected the power for the strobe alarm. Just to be safe, he cut any wire leading away from the stereo. The strobe light alarm was trouble enough, but at least it was silent, whereas the stereo alarm would alert anyone happening by on the sidewalk that there was a robbery taking place. He started to open the sitting room door, and immediately loud, pulsating music erupted from the dark. He quickly ran over to the stereo and smashed it to the floor. Silence once again descended on the house. He was afraid to move, but after about a minute of waiting, he heard nothing. Man, he sure had been lucky. That was the most bazaar thing he’d ever seen. The damn thing didn’t have power, but apparently it could run without it! First the strobe light, and now the stereo; what the hell was going on? He quickly, yet carefully, went to work removing The Blue Lion statue. He gingerly started working his hand into the security case, avoiding the laser beams protecting his target. The last time he’d attempted to steal The Blue Lion, he had failed to notice an upper protective beam which shone straight down. Here he had been so careful avoiding the ones he had been aware of, and the one he’d been unaware of set off the alarm, so this time he very carefully reached in, avoiding the beams, grasp The Blue Lion, and as gently as he could, withdrew it out of its protective laser beam shell. At last, he held the statue in his hands. Nothing could stop him from stealing it now. He crept out of the living room, went back down the hall to the bathroom, and climbed silently out into the yard.
He had done it. He had stolen The Blue Lion; now, it was off away home. He started across the yard, and—suddenly, an earsplitting pulsing wail was emitted from the statue itself. From across the way, a light was clicked on in a house. Damn, shut up, you little bastard! He threw it in a panic against the outside of the house, and it fell to the ground, still shrieking its warning. He started running to make his escape when he heard the same voice, of the same man who’d caught him twice before; the cop who had been gone, bark,
“Freeze, face down on the ground, now!” But, he had checked to make certain the guy was gone. How? Damn!