The Second Mouse

Brandon followed the black-clad man carrying a canvas bag at a distance. For weeks he had been tracking this particular man, ever since the announcement  the Rishi Diamond would arrive at the National Museum. The article might as well have said “Thieves: Open Season-Get Rich Quick.”

Every thief worth his salt started making plans the second the knowledge became public in an effort to be first. The early bird would get the worm. The worm in this case would be a diamond worth more than the GNP of several small nations.

Rumors had reached Brandon about Dieter Von Hausburg, widely regarded as one of the best thieves in the world, coming to the city and making a play for the goods. Hausburg always, always, worked solo. Brandon wasn’t even sure Dieter needed the money. It seemed more likely he was making the play out of pride.

Either way, Brandon meant to stop him.

Streetlights created a hodge-podge of light and shadow along the sidewalk, the city buildings looming over the two of them. They weren’t the only two on the street; various denizens of the city’s darker pursuits shared the walkway.

It only felt like the two of them existed in their own world.

Hausburg stopped suddenly to talk to a sad-looking prostitute, face lined from the beating life, and her pimp, had inflicted on her. Brandon shuffled past the two, adopting body language that told observers “Don’t mess with me.”

It didn’t really matter if he lost Hausburg. He knew the German’s destination after all.

He fished a cigarette out of his coat pocket and lit it, playing the uncaring pedestrian role to the hilt. It must have convinced Hausburg because the German started moving again. Not wanting to raise anymore suspicion and scare off his quarry, Brandon changed course.

There was more than one route to the museum.

***

Brandon hid in an alley near the museum, careful to keep out of sight. He checked his watch. 12:34 a.m. One minute until showtime.

A cable shooting through the air caught his eye. He smiled and pulled out his cell-phone. He kept watching as Hausburg slid down the zipline to the museum roof. He waited until Hausburg took off the one of the panes on the skylight before dialing 911.

“Hello, police? I’d like to report a suspicious man on the roof of the museum. He’s clad all in black and looks like he’s up to no good,” he told the operator in his best old timer’s voice.

The police were on high alert and their response time would be quicker than normal. It took all of a minute and a half before a black and white screeched to a halt in front of the museum, the officers leaping out of the car and barreling up the stairs.

Alarms blared over the normal sounds of the city at night, screaming out to anyone that would listen.

Brandon shook off his backpack and pulled out the uniform inside of it. He quick-changed and headed toward the chaos. Red and blue lights strobed over faces and guns as more cops showed up to back-up the first responders. Brandon joined the army of blue that stormed the museum.

Hausburg had no place to go and quickly surrendered. The Rishi Diamond was confiscated from his possession and put into an evidence bag, handed off to a uniform for processing. News crews surrounded the perimeter, heralding the capture of one of the most wanted thieves in the world by the fine work of the city police.

Brandon shed his uniform and strolled away, hand caressing the gem in his pocket. The early bird might get the worm, he thought, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

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