T’was the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring … except for the creaking of floorboards from down in the hall.
That’s the trouble with old houses, they have real wood floors. They swell and shrink with the weather; when it’s dry you have to tippy-toe carefully because they make enough noise to wake the dead.
It’s a dying art, y’ know – a’burglin’. Back in the day you’d be in and out and they’d hardly know you had been there – ‘cept their valuables had gone, of course. You’d look for a window that was ajar, or may be a door that was unlocked. Sometimes you’d have to resort to the ‘tools’ – perhaps a little light work with a jemmy, or may be a few moments with the skeleton keys, but you was soon in.
The idea was to disturb as little as possible. After all, it was someone’s house you was in and you didn’t want to mess it all up. You knew where to look. Creatures of habit is humans. Sometimes they would surprise you, like a roll of tenners in the sock drawer, or a nice diamond ring in the medicine cabinet. But usually the same old stash in the tea caddy, nice watch on the dressing table, necklace in the knicker drawer.
Of course, you always wore gloves. Only a complete divvy would leave finger prints. But nowadays there is no skill, no finesse. Smash a window, rip a door off its hinges. Then once they’re in they blunder about like a chimp at a tea party. The place looks like it’s been hit by a tornado. And they aren’t fussy about what they take, neither. Anything that they think the pawnshop will give them a couple of bob for, they’ll have.
No pride in their work, that’s the trouble with the youth of today. Once upon a time they used to learn the trade proper – like an apprenticeship – but now they thinks they know it all, and just won’t listen.
Like getting nabbed by the Old Bill. We’d always say, “It’s a fair cop, guv.” Give ’em a bit of banter down the nick, and get off with a warning, but these youngsters gotta put up a fight, and struggle, and bleat. Then they are surprised when they wake up in the cell, with bruises. They don’t realise the rozzers is only doing their job – just like us.
It’s a dying art, y’know.
© 2016, K Patrick Moody