In spite of the soul-tearing ticking that tickled his wrist and tortured his ears, hed managed to sleep for a whole day. Sun shone, permeating through the grotesque windows in dire need of cleaning and repair, concentrating serene morning warmth onto his tinging skin.
The rooms poor temperature management or rather the lack thereof (no air conditioning unit), made Das sweat buckets. He got up with the locks of his blonde bangs and fibers of his clothes plastered to the beads of sweat on his skin.
”This **ing room, ” he muttered as he got up and knelt down before the bed.
The room was impoverished. Almost of the lowest quality but Das was right: it was worth it. He was doing it for something greater and could definitely withstand a few obstacles along the way.
So what if the shoddy room had plundered his hygiene, so what?
Everything here was ephemeral. And besides, there was, in fact, one good thing in the room. That thing was hidden. Hidden beauty. That thing was a ticket to freedom. Picturesque. It was under his bed, inside the suitcase—that thing was … gone?
As Das peeled his eyes at the empty suitcase, he had to rub them and focus on it again. After which, hed closed the suitcase shut, slid it back under his bed, and started rubbing at his temples aggressively. He couldn believe it but it was gone; and so, he knew it was impossible to push himself into a delusion that believed otherwise.
Das stood, peering at objects in the virtually vacant room and not seeing them at all as a result of being so deep in thought. Who could have stolen the money? There was supposed to be seventy grand, a necklace, a chain, a gold watch in that suitcase, and a vagrants slippers. He refused to believe that he was so slack a thief he allowed another to walk in and steal from him.
Possible suspects, Das thought as he neared the door, one of my neighbors. Or, perhaps, my closest neighbor.
Das frowned. The tenant was the owner of the place. He wouldn be surprised if the man had a spare key for each door. Judging by the loud female moans coming from Erricks room next door—an unsolicited surplus to Das ticking and creaking—the tenant was an overt flesh-bag of lust.
Das looked at his wrist before opening the door. The text was precisely under his skin; seemingly a candescence to it as it shone a bright white bright enough as to be perceptible through the fibers of his wrist. But it remained nothing short of inexplicable.
[7 days left]
Opening the door, Das sighed. ”A week left …. how unfortunate … ”
From the time hed opened the door, he feasted morning eyes upon his neighbor, Errick—the lascivious tenant to whom he attributed the robbery—and Errick had a smirk on his face that only quantified Das suspicion.
”Mornin, kid, ” Errick said, buckling his belt.
”Im not a kid, ” Das said, ”Im just a man who got robbed yesterday. ”
Errick scoffed. ”You look like a little overgrown boy to me and, for the record, I ain looked at your room. Not once. ”
Yeah right, Das thought as he glared at the man.
Indubitably, Errick had his hands tied with other sensuous affairs when Das first came home tired a night …. or two ago. Das had put the necklace, gold chain, and the watch in the suitcase which was half filled with the seventy grand at the time.
So the money wasn stolen in his absence from his room but rather in his presence: it was stolen during his sleep. How could he have allowed such a thing to happen? He was trained for such matters. Trained for years. Trained all his life. Why then did he fail to detect a small plundering like this?
Hed decided to attribute his failure to the cotton in his ears as well as the ticking and the creaking and the riling restlessness; he nodded as he thought about it—yes thats why hed failed. Not because he was incompetent or anything of analogous nature, right?
Errick scratched at his beard.
”Im havin a little event at the bar today, would you care to join me? Yknow, since you
e such a big boy? ”
Das subtly furrowed his brows. An opportunity. Errick was distracted. He was no longer acknowledging the disappearance of Das money; this was the ideal time to tap into his head.
Das burned iron: a dangerous thing to do that could spell body deficiencies but worth it a thousand. He felt palpable pain and heat and he couldn use his hands to guide the iron since that per se would result in the tenants suspicion.
Instead, he used his mind. He felt the iron burning in his brain and a needle sticking him in the back of his eyes like a nasty migraine. And he looked into Erricks eyes—a gateway to his soul. And he tapped into the mans consciousness. Two seconds. However, the vibrations were subtle and of naught but normality; and so the tenants words were rendered … truth.
”Ill have to pass, ” Das said as he took off.
”Your loss. ”
He walked down the stairs and as he proceeded down the small flight he wondered who could have been responsible for the plundering of his money. It was bewildering and the sum amounted to just about eighty grand, including the necklace, chain, and watch. This made him render the loss a small one. He had a week. One week to make a full million dollars with not a dime in his pocket. No big deal.
As he strutted out of the apartment complex, he noticed Ray and felt as though he were held by reins like a horse. With such a sudden burden, he couldn help but scoff and frown.
”Hey-hey, Das! ” Ray called as he followed him.
”What do you want this time? ”
”Man, you were out cold for long, ” Ray said, ”you had me waitin. ”
”Waiting for what? ” Das asked, looking over his shoulder.
Ray scoffed. ”For you, who else? ”
”I don recall asking you to wait for me! ” Das snapped.
Ray smirked. ”Well, you ain gotta tell a man to be there for his partner. ”
”Who said we were partners? ” Das asked.
”You did, ” Ray said, ”what, you don remember, Das? Mustve been quite a night for you; you did a bit of drinking so— ”
”Im here in this city to work; I won stand here and have you gaslight me, ” Das said. ”You know, I should have killed you when I had the chance. ”
”Well, if its like that, your loss then, ” Ray said.
Das cried. ”Would you stop following me? What do I have to say, please? ”
”You ain gotta say nothin. Ill leave when we get a job done. ”
Das raised a brow. ”What job? ”
”Why, a robbery,
” he whispered,
”of course. Ive been watchin you and I realized that you
e quite the sly mother**er. Too sly. Too slick for the kicks. Too cool for school. ”
” Das said,
”I get it. But you
e the last person with whom Id partner to do such a job. ”
Ray frowned. ”Aw, why man? Me and you are alike. Do you know what I did? I started stealin cause o you! ”
Das looked daggers at him. ”You didn happen to steal from a suitcase in my apartment, did you? ”
”Ahh, ” Ray said, ”of course not! Id never, man. Im like your biggest fan and your partner. I didn even enter the apartment. Heck, I thought it was just a small house or somethin. ”
”Touche, ” Das said, sighing. ”You could leave now. ”
”Ill dismiss myself when we get a job done together. ”
”I said Im not partnering up with you! ” Das snapped. ”Id rather do it with my molesting tenant. ”
”Why though? Wed make such a team! ”
”The only thing wed make is a fine thief and a unit of burden. ”
e the burden, Id still split the cash fifty-fifty with ya, Das. ”
”You … you are the burden, Ray. ”
”Oh! ” He cackled. ”Shoot. Im such a fine thief already I thought you was the burden. ”
”You have been only introduced to a theft such as myself two days ago, ” Das scowled, ”you can master the etiquette, the code, and the conduct of thievery in such a jarring space of time. ”
”No, Im being serious, ” Ray said, knocking into a passer-by, apologizing, and holding the persons wallet like it was a piece of cake, ”I actually mastered it in two days! ”
Das cocked his head and parted his lips. Rays gestures were smooth. Too smooth for a novice. Hed made himself look distracted with the conversation such that the person of collision would think twice about questioning that hed been robbed.
Rays motion was subtle. He didn look back. He apologized; and thats all he did. In such a small space of time, Das was already deeming him a professional, just after that one move.
”So theres this jewelry store up north, my cars parked in the direction we
e walkin, ” Ray said, ”I was thinkin it would be nice and rewardin for our first job together. ”
”I have only a week to go home, ” Das said and immediately regretted it.
”A week is plenty o time, Das, ” Ray snapped. ”Heck, we could make a million in that time. ”
”You know about the million dollars? ” Das asked slowing his pace; paranoid. His eyes narrowed. He clenched his fist.
”Huh? ” Ray grimaced.
Das burned iron. He shifted it to his head and peered into Rays eyes. One second. Vibrations plateauing. Smooth and gentle. This was truth. Ray didn know about the Death Clock so he wasn one of Das siblings. A great relief.
”Are you or are you not joining me on this mission, Das? ” Ray said with serious eyes.
Das mulled as he looked at him. Ray only learned thievery for two days; surely his incompetence and weak areas would show themselves at some point during their ephemeral partnership. But Das really needed a job; in fact, he was looking for one and it came right to him.
”Fine, ” Das said, rubbing at his temples, ”Im in. ”
”Eureka! ” Ray thrust a fist into the air.
”But only for one job. I like working alone, clear? ”
”As crystals, my man …. ”
”Where do we begin? ”
”Hoppin in my car of course. Its gonna be one hell of a ride! ”
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