Friday 7 December 2018

In Plain Sight


By Kay Middlemiss

Tap…tap…tap… “Come on, come on,” words whispered through half closed lips.
Tap…tap…tap… sensitive fingers on scarred, grey metal; touching, searching, listening for the pulse hidden beneath the surface.

Tommy Price, perched on the corner of a dusty office chair where he could watch without being a distraction, pulled the thin fabric of his demob jacket closer for what little warmth it gave, crossed and uncrossed his arms trying to ignore the knot in his gut. This was taking too long.

Suddenly Neddy sat back on his heels. The light from his head-torch drawing a beam across the dark space, over the betting slips and pre-war horse-racing photographs that covered the walls, rested on the anxious frown of his accomplice. “Can’t be done.”

“What d’you mean, ‘can’t be done’?” He was joking, surely. Neddy was the best cracker in the business. Everyone said so.

“I said, ‘can’t be done’. Don’t you understand plain English? It might be old and scruffy but it’s got some mechanism that’s stopping me getting in. Anyway,” Neddy went on, “I’m not so sure there is a fortune in there. Think about it. Would you leave a stash in an empty building that’s due for demolition?”

Tommy thought about it. “Hide things in plain sight, that’s what they say. Nobody’d be daft enough to try and crack a safe like that.”

“We did.”

“Ah, yes, well, I had information, didn’t I?” Tommy sniffed the stale air: fag ash, pale fumes from a paraffin heater, old sweat… this room was not dead. Someone still used it. Someone would be back – back for the contents of the safe they couldn’t open. To be so near, thanks to all his careful planning and be denied the prize, didn’t sit well with Tommy Price, part time businessman and cat-burglar. “But there’s a fortune in there.”
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