by Jerry Guarino
martini shaken not stirred
Alex was suave and polished, the type of man women long for. Prepped and pampered since he was a child, he grew up in a fine New England home to parents of distinction. He attended the finest private schools and vacationed in Europe. His hobbies were magic and tennis; in fact he was professionally acclaimed at both of them. Alex was just about perfect for any refined woman looking for a mate, except for one fact. Alex was a thief.
You may remember the David Niven character from The Pink Panther movies. Alex was a cross between him and James Bond. Not only did he steal from the rich, but he bedded beautiful women along the way, all while avoiding capture by various law enforcement groups. He traveled the world stealing from the elite and super rich, in Europe, Asia and the U.S. He became a minor celebrity, playing as an amateur in tennis tournaments and entertaining the wealthy with magic shows at posh parties. Alex seemed to have everything.
Often, he would sneak out of these parties to look for fine jewelry and other expensive items, only to return innocently to the festivities. He used his skills as a magician to appear and disappear at will and his sleight of hand to palm valuables from unsuspecting men and women. He never got caught. He was never even suspected, proven by the fact that he was invited back to the rich and famous parties everywhere.
Alex had a criminal rival, about the only person who knew what Alex was doing. Her name was Sorana, a dark-haired beauty of Italian descent. Alex and Sorana seemed to run into each other at these wealthy homes. One night, Alex and Sorana slipped away from the party to make love in an upstairs bedroom. Alex tried to take a necklace as they were getting dressed when Sorana caught him. It was either confess or be turned in to the owners. Sorana told Alex that she was also a thief, that she stole from the wealthy around the world too. They made a mutual pact, not to turn the other one in. Whenever their paths crossed in Paris or Belgium or Palm Beach, they would always make time for some romance during the party.
It was at one of those parties that Alex asked for a volunteer from the gathering for a trick, the familiar make someone disappear act. Naturally, he chose Sorana and while the crowd applauded with laughter and admiration, Sorana was upstairs stealing jewelry. When she returned, after discreetly hiding her stolen loot, Alex slipped away to break into one of the owner’s computers and take financial credit information.
Alex and Sorana seemed like a pair that movies are made about. The beautiful jet set couple traveled the world, making love and stealing from the wealthy. If they weren’t criminals, you would even admire them.
Little did Alex know, but Sorana was a secret agent for Interpol, splitting her time on both sides of the law. She gathered evidence against Alex, all while stealing at the same time.
One night in an upper Manhattan soiree, Alex seduced the wife of a billionaire banker, even slipping out to make love with her during the party. Feeling scorned by her partner in bed and crime, Sorana decided to end this arrangement. A week later, police planned to raid his home in Greenwich.
The police surrounded his home around midnight. Officers with machine guns, dressed in protective gear, announced their presence and then opened the heavy front door with a battering ram. They threw a flash-bang grenade inside, then rushed through the rooms, laser sighted red lights pointing the way. They found Alex in bed, cowering with fear.
“I give up” he said. “Don’t shoot me.”
“Where’s the loot, Alex? We know you have everything stashed here because none of it has been recovered.”
“In the room in the back of the house.” Alex was crestfallen, his reign of crime now over. They led him out in handcuffs and put him in the police van.
The detectives went to the back of the house, and prepared to see a room full of treasure. They opened the door, flipped on the lights and were immediately attacked by a dozen cats.
About the author
Jerry Guarino’s short stories have been published by dozens of magazines in the United States, Canada, Australia and Great Britain. His latest book, "The Best of Café Stories", is available on Amazon.com and as a Kindle eBook. Please visit his website at http://cafestories.net