Shadows after Midnight

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Part 13: Calling the Bluff

Getting to the car I managed to fix the crooked beam to even like its mate.

We got on the road and I began to think.

Instinct told me these rich birds were not city-bred. Their innocence in driving a noticeably pricey antique car, as well as their obvious lack of precautions wearing such ice as they were, told me that much.

I took a chance that they were heading to the highway and the county outskirts.

Sure enough, we caught up to them as they were making the turn onto the highway.

They never caught on to the fact they were being tailed a second time and led Ruben and me right up to a rather nice house in the country

We drive past, then hid the car and stole up to the house, and did a cautious reconnoitre.

Seeing that the only lights on were in the basement, we snuck up closer for a peek.

Through a half window that was obligingly open a crack, we were rewarded by the sight of our group inside casually talking(and drinking) as they sat out on some leather furniture.

They had no idea they were being watched and listened in upon.

It was quite the show as we eagerly eyeballed the pretty ladies move about getting drinks, their elegant gowns and enticing jewels looking like something that

came off the red carpet from the BAFTA awards. Which coincidentally had been on the telly that evening.

But unlike watching this on a show, the jewels these ladies were wearing was real, quite close and, with no security present, very obtainable.

Rueben was all for sneaking in, robbing, and then tying up the lot of ’em, right there and then!

Now, Ruben is a good enough lad who enjoys a bit of sport as we all do but can be dense as far as showing finesse is concerned. So he needs to be reined in at times and explained why it is not always necessary to go overboard when doing a job.

So, I whispered a bit into his ear...

“Steady them horses, Mate.”

“I’m not saying that your idea is not a bad one, but see, that’s a lot of work tying up three squirming girls and a probably heroic minded lad.”

He looked over at me as I went on...

“And besides once this lot falls asleep they will be dead to their world and it will be like taking candy from a baby .”

I explained all this to him as a grin spread across his face in agreement.

“Then we’ll do the job up proper”

“They should not be wearing their ice to bed laddie, and should hospitably allow us to see where they will be putting them once taken off, for easy retrieval.”

Oh my, he indeed liked that thought I had planted.

Hearing commotion we turned our attentions back to the basement. Where the driver was being given glittery hugs and kisses by the girls before appearing to be heading off.

I set Rueben there as a watchman and made sure the fancy lad was leaving.

He was. That gave us one less headache to worry over taking care of, though it now looked like poor Ruben would not be using his knot skills atoll this evening, Heh.

And as I saw the Bentley leave and go out of sight down the road, I allowed myself a big grin of my own before heading back.

Ruben was still at his post. The basement was deserted, except for one of the birds nesting in on the couch.

He excitedly told me that they had taken off their jewels and put them inside their purses, setting them on the basements bar.

I could see their shimmery pursues, looking I swear, a bit plumper, as they sat on the bar.

Soon the last two birds came down in shiny nightdress and turning out the lights, curled up in the remaining leather furniture that was set around the basements bar, and soon enough were dead to the world asleep.

The Shadows after Midnight

Part 14: Cashing in the Chips

Monk’s Perspective Ends:

I held Ruben in check for a further twenty minutes before figuring the birds would be dead to the world asleep.

It was a simple task, circling the house and Jimmying open the outside sun porch door we had seen when coming in, using the thin blade of my knife.

We slipped inside the dark house, using my torch as a single source of light.

It was a well-furnished and richly decorated abode. Though we did not stop to gander, heading right upstairs to the second floor where the good stuff should be found.

There we hit the master bedroom and a girl’s bedroom. In each of the two rooms, we found jewel cases, which we emptied of some good quality day jewellery, but none of it the good evening jewellery like our blithely sleeping princesses down below had been wearing.

That was hidden some where’s else, and I had a solid notion of where that was.

There was a third bedroom, but it was set up as a sewing/spare bedroom. We did not waste precious time there.

Of the first-floor rooms, only one, the den, held our interest.

Fascinating items can be found in a Den.

We found the door unlocked and went inside.

The room contained more leather furniture, a dartboard, oak cigar humidor, and a poker table. Two of the sleeping birds evening frocks had been hung up along an old oak bookshelf.

As Ruben went over and began pawing along the sleeping ladies’ shiny frocks, I went around to the wall behind the desk.

It was behind an easy to spot fake oak panel, the house safe.

I had already been betting I knew what lay inside.

It was easily opened, revealing more of the ladies of the house expensive evening jewels and other pricey finery.

This was quickly added to the nicely growing collection in my leather dispatch case

In a corner of the den was the poker table with a pack of cards. I smiled, clearly remembering what we had overheard them saying about a thief’s calling card.

I pulled out the jack of diamonds from the deck. From a cup on the desk, I took out a black marker and wrote ‘Thank you’ across the cards’ face. Then I pocketed the card as Reuben smirked at me.

We headed down the basement stairs on the soles of our feet. Carefully walking through the room, threading our way amongst the furniture where the three young ladies slept.

Reaching the bar I gave Rueben my torch and picked up each of the purses.

I had Ruben shine the torch inside each purse as I opened it.

Our eyes were met with a most satisfying display of a rippling pile of gemstones inside all three. I added each of the purses to the growing pile in my leather dispatch case hanging from my shoulder.

I pulled the card from my pocket and laid it face down.

Then picking up the elegant evening gloves, piled them on top.

As we retraced or steps, I shined our torch on each of the girls to see if they were wearing any glittery valuables before leaving

They did not appear to be, but it was fun to look them over just the same.

But the blonde bird

sleeping on the couch by the stairway was using a cozy, expensive thick sable fur to warm her nest! And the cash the little item would fetch would warm my pockets.

I decided to let Reuben have his sport.

I motioned to Ruben and he went to the end and delicately, with the feel of a pickpocket, peeled off the fur from along the girl’s figure, exposing the frilly satin blouse and silky blue skirt she was still wearing from her evening out.

Missing her warm fur she stirred, rolling over to face the couch and snuggle in against it.

But as she did Ruben and I both noticed the blue jewel surrounded by clear diamonds that had flashed at her throat as she was settling in.

Ruben looked hopefully at me questioning, and I nodded, taking the mink from him and draping it over my arm.

Licking his lips while removing his black leather gloves, Ruben crouched over the girl.

Dipping his fingers in he gingerly felt around the satiny high neckline of her satin blouse, delicately located the jewel. Then with the skilled fingers of a surgeon, unfastened and slipped away her flashy blue broach.

The blonde bird never stirred during the operation.

I breathed a sigh, then turned and headed upstairs with Ruben at my heels like some happy mutt.

We then left the premises to head back to our hidden car, and make our escape into the shadows of the night.

End of Monk’s narrative

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