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Partners in Crime

It pays to keep an open mind.

By Mark GagnonPublished 19 days ago 3 min read
Partners in Crime
Photo by Erik Karits on Unsplash

“Hey watch where you’re walking, you big lug—I could have been killed, and it would have been your fault!”

Dickson looked all around and couldn’t figure out where the voice was coming from. Besides, it really didn’t matter. He was on a job with a tight timeline, and there was no room for distractions. He raced across the darkened showroom, bypassing the display cases filled with cheap costume jewelry, and ran toward the office door. His intel had told him that’s where the safe was located. What it didn’t tell him was there were two doors, one on either end of the back wall.

The professional thief hesitated briefly, thinking ‘you can’t go wrong if you go right’. Dickson pivoted quickly toward the right, only to halt when the mystery voice spoke once again.

“You’re going the wrong way, dumbass! The safe is behind the door on the left.”

Dickson’s temperament shifted from startled to annoyed, then angry. “Okay, where are you, and why are you helping me?”

“Don’t worry about it. We can talk about all this after you’re done here,” replied the mystery voice. This time, it sounded as though it was coming from the thief’s left shoulder.

Running out of time before the guard’s next pass, Dickson raced to his left. For a person with his skill set, picking the door lock took about as long as if he had a key. The safe was an old floor model with a rotary tumbler system. He reached into his bag for a stethoscope so he could hear the tumblers fall into place when the voice spoke up once again.

“Three full spins to the right and stop on 5. Two spins to the left, stopping on 20. One full turn to the right and stop at 10. It’s the owner’s daughter’s birthday.”

Dickson had no time to question any of this. He did as instructed, and the safe door quietly opened on well-oiled hinges. The thief helped himself to the valuable contents and swiftly left the building. Later that evening, he fenced the jewels and headed home for some well-deserved rest. He heard nothing further from the mystery voice, which was okay with him.

It wasn’t the sun’s bright rays beaming through the window that woke him up, but an annoyingly loud voice asking, “Hey, got anything to eat in this dump?” Dickson bolted straight out of bed, grabbed a knife he kept on the nightstand and scanned the one room efficiency apartment. He saw—no one.

“I’m over here knucklehead! On the countertop, by the sink. You really keep a tidy place. I couldn’t find one crumb to munch on. If we’re going to be partners, that’s got to change. I require food at regular intervals.”

Dickson refocused his attention on the kitchen area and saw him, or it, to be more precise. Sitting back on its haunches was a two inch long black and brown cockroach. He hated those bugs more than any other creature on the planet. Dickson took a calming breath, mustered all his self-restraint and asked, “That was you giving me instructions last night?”

The roach bobbed his head in the affirmative.

“I don’t understand. How is it you can talk?”

“Seriously! We roaches have been on the planet since dinosaurs roamed the earth. Why wouldn’t we develop speech? We just don’t usually talk to humans. Your kind is normally too skittish around us as it is.”

“Well, I must say, having a conversation with a bug is rather strange. What’s your name, or do you even use names?”

“I’m Ricky. Ricky the Roach. Nice to meet you, formally that is. Now, how about that food?”

It didn’t take long for a partnership to develop between thief and roach. Ricky would enter a targeted business or museum with a micro mini camera strapped to his back and send Dickson video layouts of the target. Then the human partner would steal the targeted items and sell them to the highest bidder. His wealth and reputation grew exponentially.

All went well until that fateful day in early April. The snow had finally melted away and the migrating birds were returning to their winter homes. Dickson had just set Ricky down on a park bench and turned to pull something out of his satchel. A large crow swooped down from his perch and, in a single gulp, Ricky was no more.

Try as he may, Dickson never could get another roach to speak to him. He retired soon after the unfortunate incident. The job wasn’t the same without his partner Ricky the Roach.


About the Creator

Mark Gagnon

I have spent most of my life traveling around the US and the globe. Now it's time to draw on these experiences and create what I hope are interesting fictional stories. Only you, the reader, can tell me if I've achieved my goal.

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  3. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  4. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (4)

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  • J Bradley Burt18 days ago

    What a combo! Too bad Dickson couldn't have recruited the crow! Although, a crow casing the scene would have been pretty obvious, I guess. Nicely imagined!

  • Donna Renee19 days ago

    Ricky the Roach 🤣🤣 poor guy had a rough end! I enjoyed the humor and dialogue throughout this! I think it could be fun to use an image of a safe or a thief as the feature image so that the reader can be surprised a bit by Ricky’s reveal to Dickson.

  • Donna Fox19 days ago

    This was such a great entry to the challenge, well thought out and written! Such an unexpected animal to hear speak. You did a great job injecting comedy into your work!

  • Tina D'Angelo19 days ago

    Ahem...I hate to be the one to tell you this. There are no roaches running around in the Northeast in the winter, unless you live in NYC. Very funny. Ricky the Roach. Good luck on the challenge. I'm passing on this one.

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