Little Boy, A Thief In The Night

Dear Michael and Caroline,

It would be in the middle of the night, maybe 2 or 3 or 4 o’clock, in the house where we all lived, and I alone would be awake. I would slide out of my bed and tread slowly down the carpeted hall toward my parent’s bedroom.

My father would be snoring thunderously, my mother sleeping silently beside him. I would enter the room, alert to any snorts or shifts that might signal my parents were going to awaken any moment and discover me there.

I was a boy on a mission, maybe eight or nine or ten years old, hard to know for sure. It gave me a thrill to be there like that, a secret intruder within my own family, a sense of danger. I was doing something no one knew about, much less suspected.

It would be difficult to see much in there with all the lights out, and it might take a few minutes to let my eyes adjust to the darkness. Soon the room would come clearly into view, the bed, the night tables and lamps.

Of course I had little cause to fear being found out. My mother is profoundly deaf, and my father was hard-of-hearing. Neither was going to hear me tiptoeing in on the carpet, or a creaking of the floorboards beneath.

Yet any sleeping creature senses vibrations, and probably aromas, and maybe even changes in the molecules in the air. So I still ran the risk of being caught in mid-adventure.

Still, I pressed on, headed toward my destination. Just past the closet stood a bureau, and next to that a coat rack where my father hung the pants he wore that day. I reached into the pockets and felt the dollar bills there.

On any given night, my father might pack a billfold of about $200 – he required cash on hand for his job managing residential and office properties – mostly twenties with a few tens, fives and singles. Sliding my hand into the pocket, I would then pull out a few bills. I would examine the billfold in its entirety and calculate how much I could take without tipping my hand – maybe a twenty and a five, say. Triumphantly, I would return to my bedroom with my ill-gotten gains, the cash I had stolen straight from my father’s pockets, a suburban pickpocket.

P.S. – See part 2 tomorrow.

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