Break Even

Two weeks ago to the day, Lucas could still recall how they celebrated their last successful job. It even coincided with Tony’s sixteenth birthday. But, no one could have foretold that he would suffer a horrific death.

“Toast to the best!” Jimmy exclaimed. “Us!”

They raised their glasses, the expensive red wine spilling over. Two bottles were part of the loot along with assorted electronic gadgets, jewelries, precious trinkets, automatic watches and other valuable items they could easily dispose off through their trusted fence.

“I think we should rest for a year,” Tony suggested, his staggering body swayed as if slowly dancing.

“You’re drunk,” Jimmy responded, his sneer evident from the way he phrased his reply. “I planned another job so don’t ever think of slacking.”

Lucas, maintaining his two glasses limit, gazed at their leader with contempt. The midget spoke as if he was a dictator. Of course, they were all illiterates so they did not know the fact that many short people in history practiced authoritarianism.

“Maybe Tony is right,” he remarked, waiting for Jimmy’s usual outbursts.

“Why do you always contradict me? If not for me, we would not be celebrating now.”

“If not for Tony, Bobby could have been captured. Your plan has holes.”

Jimmy did not want to prolong the discussion: he knew Lucas was not dumb. His impertinence was useful sometimes, the last job especially, when he insisted that Tony back-upped Bobby. A disaster was averted.

“Let’s sleep on it, guys!” he proposed amicably. “We are all tired.”

Tony, Karen and Bobby nodded; Lucas held Jimmy to a staring match.

– 0 –


Don Ramon could not control his foul mouth. He blamed the guards who were irresponsibly inept at their sole purpose around the building. Two roving and one in a stationary post, they were caught unawares that a group of teens was ransacking the upper floors.

The CCTV footage was revealing. First, the lone guard at the lobby was lulled by a teenage girl in skimpy outfit: she was probably a cheap hooker. One of the roving guards stopped by and joined his colleague on teasing the girl into action. It became easier for the robbers to sneak to and fro from the other guard.

‘Why make a mountain out of a mole hill?” his lawyer asked. “You’re insured. You’ll get double the amount you lost.”

“That’s not the point! The temerity of those young pups annoys me no end. They had the nerve to cross me. And they succeeded making me look like a fool.”

Attorney Abad showed some teeth. All his clients were extremely harsh but there were exceptions, too.

“Am I to understand that you want them taught a lesson?” he read Don Ramon’s mind.


Don Ramon recognized that his lawyer has connections in the underworld. He would not be a sought after attorney if he followed the law accordingly. Using loopholes was his specialty.

“Why not use your clout with the police? They could have been apprehended before.”

“You’re a lawyer, right?” Don Ramon asked as if stating the obvious. “You know they could not be detained for long. They’re minors.”

The lawyer suddenly remembered a face who specialized in the kind of solution Don Ramon wanted. A bent policeman who was thrown out of the service for excessive use of force and other extrajudicial remedies, torture among them.

“It will cost you,” Attorney Abad said, adding his commission to the figure in his head.

Don Ramon waved his hand, signifying he did not care if the service was expensive.

“Who is he?”

“No name, I believe. But they call him Lefty.”

“So, he’s left handed. They are good artists.”

Attorney Abad grinned like a cat. “Well, he’s right handed like most of us.”

“Speak plainly. I am tired of guessing games.”

“He has this shrunk severed left hand he wore as pendant. He boasted that it gives him powers over petty thieves.”

“That’s original,” Don Ramon laughed, not believing his lawyer’s unfounded claims.

“So, what’s the plan?” the lawyer wanted a concrete answer.

“Keep me out of it,” he winked.

(to be continued)



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