Getting in was easy part. A broken window, flip of a latch, slide the frame up and climb through. You're in.
Breaking into an apartment is all about what you do on the other side. Smash and grab, walk and want, trash and take. The key rules are get in quick/quiet and, if you can, get the goods and get out. The chance of discovery can lead to situations you don’t want to be in. Confrontations are dangerous and can lead to crimes you didn’t mean to commit. Best to make sure no one is home and no one sees you. In and out with no fuss and no muss. Just you, your thoughts and their stuff.
When you break in you are violating someone else’s sense of safety and their routines. You aren’t just taking things you are breaking an illusion that they have control, that they actually own things, and that they can depend on those things being there when they get home.
In reality you are only helping yourself to stuff. It’s all just stuff. They never see it that way. Occasional a friend who knows what you do for a living will ask “How would you feel if it was you?”, to which you can only reply “It isn’t my stuff”. You can’t engage in morality. It only leads to having to go straight.
Tonight’s place seemed familiar. I had grown up this neighborhood. I had even had a place in this complex somewhere. I had shared it with my live in girlfriend Carly. It had been back in the day when I boosting cars to sell to a local chop shop. She had not been so keen on my job, but she liked us together. I had to get out of stealing cars when the technology got to the point where I was going to end up in jail. I didn’t want to go to jail, so I had taken another grinder, 9 to 5 job for a body shop that paid less than selling other people’s cars.
Apartments, stupid prefab rents in bad neighborhoods, all look the same. I had picked this one because it was all the way at the back of the complex, it was on the ground floor and I could glide in from a parking lot hidden behind a small wooded area that was bisected by in frequently used bike trail. I used it a lot when I was living here to come and go unseen. No one ever used the trail. Your tax dollars at work.
Jobs that go wrong have a feel. That sudden realization that the person or persons you thought were gone for day or out for the evening were actually still home. When you have that feeling it’s best to just get out. It’s not a guarantee that the job has gone wrong, but better safe than sorry.
I started to pivot to leave when I felt the gun press to my temple. “Welcome home Princess” barked the familiar voice over my shoulder. “Let’s sit and figure out what to do with you. Head for the couch” the voice continued shoving me to the ratty old, yellowed before it’s time, love seat .
If the voice was familiar, it was because it was my own. I can be real dirtbag when I start off calling dudes “Princess”. I was potentially going to hurt me very badly. I needed to think quick and hope I didn’t try pull the trigger before I could talk myself out of killing me. If my memory of this incident served, I killed the intruder when I caught him. He had some valuable stuff on him. The same things I was carrying now. This wasn’t going to end well.