For Fiction class, I was to write a 3-5 minute excerpt to read out loud to the class. I got an idea from watching a man attempt to break into a car on TV (Lie to Me). What is depicted in my short story is no ordinary breaking-into-car (is there a better term for this I could use?). I had the initial idea that started with, "What if the guy is breaking into the car and another guy..." - well, I don't want to ruin it for you. And from there, the other idea was to - okay, never mind. I'll just shut up now. I don't want to ruin the surprises.
I’ve been in this business since 1994, even before I dropped out of college - that’s about four years now. The East Side hasn’t changed much in that time. Asians come here, god knows why, but they’re rich and they flaunt their wealth because their lives used to suck and now it doesn’t, or something, so the Mercedes is a symbol of their achievement. Woop-dee-doo. If you’re going to buy a $90,000 car, put in a decent security system. These people have more money than sense. But they always leave the best and weirdest stuff in their cars. Never trust a car with Hello Kitty seat covers. Fucking Asians. But I shouldn’t complain. They’re my primary source of income.
I break into cars during the day, wearing a suit and carrying a drycleaner’s bag. This way, if someone catches me, I can tell them that I’ve locked myself out of my own car and that I’m breaking into it using the coat hanger from the drycleaner’s. I’ve done it several times and only once had a guy seen me. He didn’t do anything, but I nearly shit myself because I’m usually a lot more careful with not being seen, and doing it during work hours doesn’t help with that, but at least I figured out that I could get away with it. Ever since then, I’ve suited up for the job.
Today I’m going to a parking lot in the basement of an office building. I have all my gear with me: a black duffle bag and the dry-cleaning. People have probably already gone for lunch and are now slaving away at their desks, glaring at their computers, trapped inside their tiny little cubicles, watching the minutes go by, waiting to go home. But I’m not. I’m ready for the adrenaline rush of my afternoon adventures.
I’m turning on hunting mode as I turn down an alley. I rely on my senses of hearing and sight, blocking out the unnecessary senses, especially smell – the alley reeks of urine. Luckily, the parking lot smells like gasoline and cement; they’re scents that are just as unmistakeable, but are far less pungent and far easier to shut out than piss is.
I come across a shiny new 1998 Lexus. It’s a sports coupe but it’s in fucking beige. Why bother going sporty if you’re going to be boring? I put on my black pleather gloves and shake my head.
“Somebody’s going to look real nice after Ben gives you a paint job, eh, pretty lady?” I rest my hand above the door frame on the driver’s side and I peer in. I set my duffle bag down and begin unwinding the brass coat hanger. From my duffle bag I take out a pen that has the tip of a screwdriver attached to it and squeeze it between the window and the door frame. Once the window is pried out slightly, I insert the wiry hook to flick the lock open.
Footsteps. My ears become sensitive to the sound and I stop. Heavy steps. It’s a large male. I have to stay calm, I know, but I begin to shake and my palms perspire instantly. Soon, my hands are swimming inside my gloves.
“Hey, man. What’re you… what’re you doing?” He stops near me and stares.
“I’m… I locked myself out of my car!” I laugh nervously.
“Man, that sucks. Do you need a hand?”
“No, no! That’s fine. I got it. I’m just glad I had my dry-cleaning with me!”
“It’s a nice car. What year is it?” he asks.
“‘98. Sports coupe.” I force a smile. My heart is pounding in my chest so loudly I can hear it.
“She’s a beaut. Now, where did I park my car?” The man takes out the car keys from his pocket. “I never remember where I leave it.”
I chuckle and nod.
“Sports coupe, eh,” he mutters quietly and turns away. He holds the keys in the air and pushes a button on the small black device on his keychain. I hear a nearby thlunk. But I also felt the thlunk. I look inside and see the doors had unlocked. My stomach turns. I look up at the businessman expecting him to do something stupid.
“Oh! Here it is!” He pushes past me to open the door. The screwdriver-pen falls down. I step back. He slams the door shut, turns on the ignition, and leaves.
I’m stunned. I feel my pants are wet. The stench of urine overpowers that of the gasoline.