“Finder’s keepers, loser’s weepers,” Ben sneers to the guards’ backs after having safely removed the King’s crown from it’s perch on a velvet pillow in a high tech protective box. The guards pivoted, their weapons raised and gawked at the sight in shock. Ben hung from the ceiling, well a window in the ceiling, from a cable attached to an automatic pulley. He pressed a button on his watch and the pulley pulled him up back through the window in seconds. The guards finally opened fire right before he reached the window. They didn’t even knick him!
“Why are guards always such bad shots?” He yelled down at them mockingly after he had crawled back onto the roof of the museum. He pulled back from the window and a bullet whizzed past where his head used to be. “Okay too close, time to get outta here.”
Ben threw the crown into his bag and sprinted to the fire escape on the opposite side of the building. They would expect him to go down on the side he was closest. Wrong. Ben was too smart, been doing this for too long. He’s never been caught and he didn’t plan to tonight either. This was the last one, the biggest one. After this he planned to settle down, maybe find a girl. If he could, even put his skills to a good use and get a real job. He laughed at his own thoughts, he could never follow orders from someone else. It just wasn’t his style.
He reached the first floor of the fire escape and was about to continue to the ground when he realized his exit was blocked. There were four guards coming around the corner armed and already scanning the escape. He wasn’t spotted yet, but it was only a matter of time. He easily picked the window lock to open it and re-entered the museum closing the window behind him.
This was not part of the plan. His plan did not include the four guards that had shown up on this side. Something was off. There were more guards than usual. He had drilled this, tested it. They never had enough guys to check the whole building at once. He had missed something, which was weird because he was perfect. Always. Ben didn’t make mistakes.
He pushed his rising panic aside and concentrated on escaping. He headed to the other fire escape ducking every once in a while when a patrol of guards passed. He got to the fire escape closest to him only to find the same predicament. What the hell is going on! Then a sickeningly familiar voice rang from the overhead speaker and Ben fought a groan.
“Benjamin Ellis, well isn’t this a surprise?”
“Jimmy,” Ben cursed under his breath. This was worse than he imagined. Jimmy. His partner. His friend. His brother. Jimmy had done the unimaginable. He had betrayed Ben.
Ben picked up the half eaten bread and started to take a bite when Tommy, a bully that was much older than Ben’s five year old frame came up to him.
“Hey! That’s mine you squirt!”
“O-oh. I-I didn’t know. I-I’m sorry,” he stammered out. He raised the bread to the Tommy but before he could take it another boy, smaller than the Tommy, stopped Ben and looked up at the bully.
“Finder’s keepers, loser’s weepers you jerk! The squirt found it first, so go weep somewhere we can’t see you!” Tommy was surprised into silence and didn’t question the smaller kid. The kid turned to Ben and smiled. He was missing his two front teeth. “You shouldn’t listen to bully’s or they’ll never leave you alone. I’m Jimmy. What’s your name?”
“Ben,” he replied in a small voice.
“Well Ben, I think you’ve learned an important lesson today.” Finder’s keepers, loser’s weepers. Ben remembered, and he never forgot.
Ben broke from the memory and found his eyes had misted. He quickly wiped it away. No. He couldn’t, he wouldn’t let Jimmy ruin this for him. He left his hiding spot and headed to the security room. There was only one-way out, and that was through Jimmy.
He didn’t run into any guards on the way, but his mind was spinning too much to really think about it. He got to the door and flung it open. Ben froze. He found Jimmy, but not the way he thought he would. Jimmy was tied to a chair with two knives sticking out from each knee. There was someone standing next to him, Ben looked at him as if in slow motion. A man Ben recognized as a detective, specifically the one who investigated all of his thefts, stood there holding up a gun pointed at Ben's head. Ben looked back to Jimmy. He looked like he’d been to hell and back a couple times. Tears shone on his cheeks. He hadn’t wanted this. He didn’t want to turn Ben in. He still loved Ben even after all the awful things they had said to each other.
The detective was yelling something at him but he couldn’t hear him. Ben had come to a realization. Neither him or Jimmy were getting out alive, and somehow he was okay with that. Time snapped back to real time and Ben looked up at the detective.
“Drop the bag and put your hands up! Put them up Ben, don’t make me shoot you,” he was yelling over and over. He really didn’t want to shoot Ben, but Ben didn’t have a choice. Ben dropped the bag and pulled out the .308 handgun from his back. He faintly heard the detective yell ‘Gun!’ then all hell broke loose.
Ben counted 8 shots. Four for him. Four for Jimmy.
“The life of thieves will be the death of us,” Jimmy sighed one night after a close call with some cops.
“You think so? What if we get away with it all?” Ben replied enthusiastically. Jimmy only shook his head.
“Ben make me a promise. Promise me we’ll die on our own terms, you and me together. No man left behind,” Jimmy looked deep into Ben’s eyes and Ben realized how serious he was. They were just two kids, 15 and 17. It was too early for them to be thinking about death, but it was constantly on there minds. Ben’s mouth straightened and he held out his pinky finger. Jimmy looked at it and he cracked a smirk but took the pinky finger in his.
“It’s a promise…”
“I never break a promise,” Ben smiled and Jimmy returned it. Jimmy’s pinky finger twitched slightly. Ben fell to his knees and raised his pinky finger. They were close enough to embrace there pinky finger’s one last time before they both passed.
The detective looked at the two boys still making the pinky promise even in death. He scratched his head in amazed confusion. He walked around the bodies to the satchel Ben had dropped. Looking inside it he couldn’t help but laugh. The crown wasn’t there. The kid, who had been evading him for over a year, was still evading him even in death.