Interloper – Short fiction
“Kevin! You will never learn anything from watching TV all bloody day!”
Every bloody day. Nag, nag! It was doing his head in, Kevin thought, as he walked quietly through the back alleys. What did she know anyway? His favourite TV channel, Alibi had taught him a lot, it was the perfect educational channel for would be thieves.
Had he seen this in Colombo? Or maybe it was CSI? He couldn’t remember. Kevin sniggered as he looked at the Nike footprints that some bloke had left in the pure white snow. Leaving such obvious tell-tale marks was the same as leaving your graffiti signature everywhere. What an idiot! It was an open invitation to the filth, but he was cleverer than that. He stepped carefully in the same steps so that his trainers would not leave such identifiable markings.
It looked like the residents of No.38 had been lax today. “I’m loving it!” he muttered to himself, as he spied a window ajar on the ground floor. Quietly he went around and checked the house looking for any activity inside at least twice as he had seen once in NCIS.
Gently, he pushed the latch up, inserting a long thin screwdriver through the tiny gap, he opened it. Expelling a breath that he did not realise he had been holding, he grinned from ear to ear. He quietly stepped in through the window, it was pitch dark inside the room. Excited now, that he had actually made it inside a house in Stanley Ave, he pulled out his torch and looked around. His Primark trainers made no sound on the plush carpet but he knew that they would leave a damp patch where the snow had stuck to the soles. For a moment he thought about removing them, he could almost hear his mum’s voice nagging him to, so he ignored it.
He listened out again for sounds of activity but only silence greeted him.
He had entered a bedroom. Going straight to the large vanity table, he quietly opened the drawers looking for easy to sell items. Jackpot! He picked up a watch and slid it on his wrist, examining it under his small Nightspy torch. He would get rid of this easily he thought, the Seiko glittered and shone back at him or maybe he just might keep it for himself, ‘because I’m worth it!’
Kevin smiled “Looking good!” he said, talking to himself and started slipping the items in the rucksack he had brought.
He was so engrossed in what he was doing he did not hear the footsteps until the last second and then it was too late. The door opened and a man stood in the doorway framed by the light behind him. Kevin’s heart started beating like the drum section of a teenage school band, erratic and loud. Thinking went out of the window he had just climbed in through and he jumped at the man pushing him to the ground.
“Take it easy Son!” the man groaned, his thick glasses knocked off his face, he submissively lay under him, staring straight up into his face. Kevin looked down at his pink chubby face seeing a fair haired, middle-aged man well past his prime. His breath smelled of smoke and his clothes smelled even worse, he reeked of sweat. Nearly gagging, Kevin pushed himself off the man quickly.
The man was very slowly and painfully trying to get up off the floor, his breathing making a horrendous wheezing sound. In all the imagined scenarios of burglaries, Kevin had played in his mind, he had never once thought about coming across anyone inside before. He tried to think back over any TV series that he had watched which could give him a clue as to what to do now. Panic emptied his mind. His breath became uneven and shaky, sweat beaded his brow in the chilly room. Frantically, he pulled out a hammer from his rucksack, threatening the man with it.
Coughing loudly, the man pushed his thick black rimmed glasses up his nose, he looked as if he was in severe discomfort. Seeing the hammer, his chubby pink face paled, “Just take what you want, I don’t want any trouble!”
Kevin gestured to a nearby chair. “S..Sit down!” he commanded, threatening the chubby man with as much aplomb as he could. The man sat down in the chair with a thump, wheezing horribly into the crook of his elbow for lack of a handkerchief or tissue “Just take what you want but don’t hurt me!” he pleaded looking worried.
Kevin took a deep breath, his heart was still pounding and the air seemed in short supply in the room all of a sudden. “Semper Fi…..Semper Fi” he muttered calming himself, “W…Where is the safe? Tell me where you keep all your money?” he asked loudly.
“Money? There isn’t any money, and there is no safe. Listen son, you don’t have to do this, just go now and I won’t say anything to anybody.”
“Shut up!” Kevin almost shouted.
The man’s glassy blue eyes looked straight at him, they were cold. Unnerving him a little. “Just tell me where the fucking safe is!” Kevin threatened, thrusting his face into the chubby face of the house owner, brandishing the hammer over his head.
“There is no safe!” The man pleaded, shrinking back into his chair, “p..please don’t hurt me!”
“If you don’t want me to hurt you then tell me where your money is!” he said looking around the room, he saw a discarded scarf, he picked it up and said “put your hands out!”
“Listen Son, you don’t have to do this, just leave now and no one will be the wiser, I promise!” the man assured him.
Kevin put on his best threatening face and told him loudly, “ You just tell me where the money and valuables are and I will leave soon enough! Now put your hands out!!”
The man’s hands shook as he put them out, Kevin tied them together with the scarf as tightly as he could. There was a loud thump from somewhere in the house. Both Kevin and the man looked up at the ceiling.
“What was that?” Kevin asked his voice a mere whisper. “Is there someone else here?”
“You know how these old houses are, they are always creaking and the heating pipes always thump.” the man replied, going into another wheezing fit. “Listen son, can you just give me my inhaler its in my pocket here,” he said pointing his hands towards his trouser pocket on the right.
He wouldn’t know Kevin thought, his mum’s council flat had storage heaters that blazed like a volcano for half the year and were cold as corpses for the rest. The man he did look a bit ill he thought, edging closer he said “Don’t try anything funny or you will get this!” he threatened with a the hammer.
The man wheezed harder. Keeping an eye on him, Kevin quickly rifled through his pocket and located the inhaler, the smell of sweat from him was so powerful Kevin had to hold his breath. He quickly gave him the inhaler and stepped back, the man took a deep drag on it as if he were desperate for a breath.
The smelly old git looked liked he was about to keel over any minute. Kevin decided he was no threat to him. He was keen to check out the rest of the house for more stuff he could take.
“You had better not move from here.” he told the man firmly. “I will be back in a bit, if you have moved an inch, you will get a real beating!” he finished threateningly, feeling more in control now.
He went out of the door making sure the man’s hands were tied tightly. Walking through to the living room he picked up bits here and there that would be easy to sell. There were many pictures of the family, what a posh looking lot, Kevin laughed. He looked at the dark haired family photo with a sneer, all in hallmarked silver frames.
“How old are you son?” the man called out from the other room.
Kevin glanced at him through the open door, that glassy stare of his was getting on his nerves.
“None of your bloody business! Now where’s the good stuff?” he demanded, coming back to the man, waving the hammer about over the man’s head showing he meant business.
“Upstairs in the main bedroom.” the man said weakly, coughing over the thumping noises.
Making sure that the house owner was still sitting in the chair where he had left him, Kevin made his way upstairs. Thinking maybe he would have to find an extra bag for more stuff. Walking into the master bedroom like the man had said, he started opening the drawers.
“Like it, Like it…….!” He whistled happily, as he found small items of jewellery, watches and cash, helping himself to whatever he could find.
Hearing a car door, he jumped, quickly running to the window, flicking the curtain slightly to look out, his heart started pounding again. Police! He ran out of the bedroom but they were already at the door and inside in seconds.
He was caught at the top of the stairs, his exit blocked. The officer looked up and saw him. He shouted “OI! Stop! Running!”
Kevin legged it to the furthest bedroom hoping to find an escape, but the window would not budge. “Fuck! Where did I leave the hammer?” he moaned.
They caught him still trying to break the window with his foot. As they led him downstairs struggling and swearing, he saw the old git sneering at him. They stopped at the bottom of the stairs in front of a large family portrait of the owners. Kevin stared at it thinking something didn’t fit.
“Are you all right Sir?” the officer asked. “Lucky, you managed to get free,” he said.
“I was really scared, he’s dangerous this one!” the man replied, his smile and his face belying the fact. Kevin looked at him in surprise, the old git sounded fine!
“Come on you!” the officer started dragging him to the front door.
“Thank you for coming so quickly officer. Do I have to give my statement now? I am feeling a little queasy, I think I need to lie down.” The man said looking straight at Kevin.
“No problem.” the officer said jovially, “you can come into the station tomorrow. You are lucky you didn’t get robbed by the ‘stinker’ people say that the whole house smells of sweat and bad odour for days.”
“Really?” the man said calmly, pushing the officers out of the door. “I really feel ill now, see you tomorrow.”
Kevin’s head suddenly jerked up. He turned and stared at the man as he slowly closed the door behind them giving him such a chilling smile, a shiver ran up his spine.
Suddenly, like the last five minutes of NCIS, all the clues gelled in Kevin’s brain, as he remembered the photo’s, where was the chubby fair haired man in those? He had not been any of the photo’s, they had all been dark haired and then the smell.
“Officer! That’s him! That was the Stinker! In that house!” Kevin excitedly said his eyes wide having solved the puzzle.
They both laughed at him. “Son, you are not going to get out of this one, you were caught red handed.”
“I am not trying to!” Kevin vehemently said “but that’s not the bloke who owns the house! I am telling you!”
“Yes and I am Prince Charles.” one of the officers laughed. Kevin sank into the back seat of the car defeated.
Upstairs the stinker opened the cupboard door of the Master bedroom.
“Now where were we when we were so rudely interrupted by that upstart, did you have to make so much fucking noise! All that wheezing and coughing has given me a bloody headache!” he told the terrified, bound and gagged dark haired man, roughly pulling him out of the box room cupboard.