How I Live Now

Day 49

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Day 49


I think we are fucked. Everything that could have gone awry went sideways and fast. When I woke this morning, I felt it would go off without a hitch, but…. the day slowly went south after breakfast. When Matias rang the doorbell around 7:30 AM, all I wanted to do was faceplant back into the pillow on my bed. Never mind getting dressed in something conspicuous and making my way to the lawyer’s house to rob it. I probably looked like one of those cat burglars from the Sims. Arriving home late last night didn’t help with my irritability either. Yet, with the turn of events, I’m confident the police will come pounding through the door to Doug's apartment any moment. The robbery was… well, flawed, to begin with. All afternoon, Matias has been crying in agony, but he’s finally sleeping. He wouldn’t let me take him to a hospital for help. I guess this is where I get into what transpired today.


When Matias swung, he was unnaturally optimistic, and I couldn't stomach it for long. His cheerfulness didn't help me feel any better about what we were going to do. I had this sickly feeling in my stomach. Despite the nausea sensation, like a model pirate ship stuck inside a bottle with stormy seas, imagine me holding a midget back by his head as he’s flaying balled fists at me. Every time the dwarf swung an arm, it missed me. Well… I feel like that dwarf who can't control the outcome of the fight now. Odds are stacked against me.


As we walked to the bus stop, I nibbled on a breakfast bar and zoned out. There wasn't an actual time for breakfast. Matias conversed about the plan, but listening to his rambling only amused me for so long. Eventually, I completely blocked out his conversion to escape the circumstances. Though it didn’t last long. I wondered what it would be for a deaf person. It might have been nice as an excuse to not have to listen to his shit. However, Matias picked up on these subtle clues.

Nudging me with his arm, he grinned.

"Hey…you listening?"

“Mmmm….” I added, shrugging.

“What’s on your mind?” Matias said, placing his hand on my shoulder.

We stopped, blocking the narrow sidewalk. It was okay, though. Not many people were out at this hour, just two teenagers with two backpacks who looked like they were up to no good.

Sighing, I said, "just thinking what Salvatore will do after we get the USB. He's not going to stop asking us to do stuff, and we’re like loyal dogs now.”

Matias peered over my shoulder, making sure nobody was in hearing distance.

“Then we hold the USB until he lets us go on our way,” Matias added.

The statement seemed a bit naïve to me.

"Did you just hear what you said?" I added.

Matias slumped, “yeah… but I’m trying to make do with a bad situation.

“I know… it's just… I think we need outside help,” I muttered.

“If we got the police involved, going down the legal route, we’d never make it to trial to testify in court,” Matias announced.


And that was the end of that chit-chat.


We kept strolling, going in the direction of Zillow Hills, and I regarded what Matias said to me. Did Salvatore have that much influence? Could Sal hire people to infiltrate the inner ranks of a federal court to snub us off? Would it be brutal and public, just so he could orchestrate our execution to send a message to any other folks thinking of double-crossing him? Perhaps would it be in a quiet back room where witnesses wait to be called to the stand?


Soon the city streets bled away and were replaced by the gentle slopes of the Zillow Hills. We were laying, belly down, scoping out the house again, making sure it seemed abandoned to make our move. The home looked peaceful, both cars were gone from the driveway, and oddly the gardener wasn't working this Saturday. It gave me the heebie-jeebies, sensing that something was off.


I should have trusted my gut and chose to put off the home invasion. Matias didn't seem like he was in top form either. Usually, he'd be all excited, but I think somehow, the conversations we have had of late seem to be getting to him, and he seemed more focused today. Most other days, he's just toyfully going about things, but he appeared to actually be cautious today. Somehow, without having to say much of anything, Matias felt the same way. Something didn't add up; according to the schedules, nothing went according to plan with what the surveyor said. People were coming home in the middle of the day, not coming home at all, and the gardener wasn't working. Possibly the Copeland's gave him the day off, maybe it was his kid's birthday, and he took them for ice cream. If I had the power to go back and alter my decision, I'd do it without question.


Seeing as our window of opportunity was closing, we removed the items we'd needed straight away from our bags and dawned balaclavas. Those would have made more sense in the dark, but they might have been more visible in broad daylight. Tights or pantyhose might have been more fitting for the job. Not that it helped with my gut feeling.


Suited up, we slid down the hillside to the front gate. There was a camera by the entrance so, we chose to head to the left of the property. The last time I was here, I believed I saw an animal patrolling the property, but it didn't seem to be policing the green swept lawn today. I possibly imagined things for all that I knew, and then it got brought on by the anticipation of what needed to happen to steal the USB. Matias even brought one of those training whistles, he blew it, but no dogs came running. I’d even brought some cooked chicken, laced with sleeping pills.


So, feeling confident, I knelt down on one knee, feeling panic seep up my throat like heartburn. My heart began to step up its rhythmic beating, and my breathing grew more laborious. Giving Matias a boost up, he sat on the wall, peered around, and then offered out a hand for me to have a go. Running at the fence, Matias hoisted me up with one hand, and I latched my freehand into a crevice at the top of the wall, then pulled myself up. I'll admit, Matias looked a bit funny with the black ski-mask thingy, but his beautiful brown eyes still shined like diamonds in the night sky.


Leaping down into the yard, we slowly composed ourselves, made quick work of the journey up the side of the garden toward the rear entrance. Following the cedar oak paneling around to the back of the McModern home, we raced by the poolside until we were right by the secondary garage door. Matias got to work on trying to pick the lock on the door, but it wouldn't budge. Growing weary of the stubborn lock, Matias figured he'd try another entry. There was no glass to break, so we walked alongside the pool, passed by a folly, turned seating area, and came to an extension of what appeared to be a sunroom.


The sun came out, warming our backs as we worked. I helped Matias hold the glass cutter to the windowpane, and he drew the mechanism clockwise, and it started to cut the glass. Somehow it felt too easy to me. Surely a motion detector or a vibration sensor on the door would have gone off. Mind you, we didn't see one when we checked before we began cutting. Matias reached in, turned the thumb lock, and the door opened when the glass came away with a circle like you see in the movies. As Matias packed away the glass cutter, I pushed open the door, glanced around the rich folk's sunroom. I thought it funny how I stood in their house without an alarm going off. I had peeped at Matias a few times, prompting him to hurry as I scratched my head. The balaclavas were getting somewhat uncomfortable, combined with the heat and itchiness, making the experience unpleasant.


Not wasting time, Matias announced that we should split up to try and find the USB and get out of there as quick as possible. Dividing up, Matias went left, and I went right. It led me into the living room; neat hardwood floors, expensive-looking couches, and shag carpet. Beyond the living room, another smaller chamber opened up, and I made my way to what looked like a desk. It had to be the lawyer's office, so I marched over. The office was abnormally clean; everything seemed to have a place, even the little paperclips were stored in a small vile on the edge of the desk. The large glass desk in the middle of the room seemed like an excellent place to start searching, so I started pulling through documents sitting on the tabletop.


I should have probably worn gloves now that I think of it, but neither of us did. Once the lawyers' station exhausted all leads, I peered around the office frantically, looking for other places to search. Rushing over to some filing cabinet, I tore through the drawers, but all to no avail. A picture of the lawyer’s family, a pretty girl, and a young boy on some bureau made me think of Matias's family and how lucky he is to have a family. Yet, my attention was drawn to yell coming from the other side of the house. Dread crept over me, like a snake rising up, taking point and read to strike its venom at an unsuspecting victim. Bolting through into the living room, bashing off the sofa in the effort, I came stumbling into the sunroom and stopped by the archway to the kitchen.


Matias stood frozen to the spot in the middle of the kitchen, by the island, holding a small revolver-type gun in his hand. Sensing the worst of the problem was yet to come, I edged through the archway, attempting to get a better look at where Matias was pointing the gun. I alerted him even, so he wouldn't turn the gun on me. The worst-case scenario–he found the dog. Yet, as I straddled the wall, straining to see around the large refrigerator, the boy I had seen during the stakeout came into view. However, he sported a sling for a broken arm this time, holding a glass of orange juice in the other. As cute as the kid was, I didn't blame him; he certainly looked panicked. The light from the opened fridge illuminated the back of his head, showcasing his soft-looking brown hair. The cool air flowing from the refrigerator was a welcomed reprieve from the humid weather.


Wishing to get a handle on the situation, I went to calm Matias down.


“What are you doing?” I asked.

“He… He just turned up,” Matias added.

I glanced across to the petrified boy, his head now stooped a little, fearing to look at Matias with the gun.

“I thought no guns were allowed,” I said.

Matias shrugged, “I make my destiny. I wasn’t coming here completely out of options.”

"Look, he's… like the same age as Hudson. Don’t point the gun at him?” I added.

"Don't mention my brother's fucking name…." Matias added with a scowl.

I raised my arms in apology. Turning to the boy, I got his attention.

“You… What’s your name?” I said.

The boy looked up, the glass rattling in his hand, the orange juice swaying to suggest this nervous energy. However, his bottom lip quivered, and it looked like he would cry if the glass wasn't enough.

“Au… Austin,” the boy stuttured.

I gandered across at Matias; he still had the gun trained at him, just waiting for the kid to move. Somehow, it seemed unlikely for that to happen, as the kid presumably would have wet himself quicker.

“Austin… maybe you can help us, and then we'll be on our way," I added, extending my arms out, trying to reason with Austin and Matias equally.

It felt like mother-goose instincts kicked in, and I was trying to sympathize with this Austin kid. Plus, it felt like I was trying to calm down a loose cannon.

“Okay…” Austin murmured.

“You’re what… twelve?” I asked.

“Thirteen…” the boy muttered.

"So, then you can be brave…." I added.

"Yea…" Austin whispered again, the concern showing in his voice.

“Does your dad have a red USB key?” I asked.

Austin appeared to be evaluating the question, but without patience, Matias stiffened his grip on the revolver and terrified the boy with his statement.

"Answer his fucking question…." Matias yelled.

“I… I don’t re–really know about my dad's work…." Austin cried out.

The kid seemed to be on the verge of crying, so I approached him, attempting to be the good one of the two burglars.

"Are you lying…?" I asked, placing my hand on the kids' shoulders.

I peered down at his broken arm; it raised questions as to how it happened. Maybe it was the skateboard, but most skate kids seem to know what they are doing.

“No… I swear…” Austin stuttered.

"Do you have safe?" I questioned, squeezing the kids' shoulders, seeking to be friendly.

“Yeah…” Austin said.

With that knowledge, Matias scurried across the kitchen, drew the gun up to the kid's head, and pressed it against his brow. Austin recoiled, shrinking too, lifting the glass up as he began to raise his hands like a hostage. Some OJ from the glass spilled over the lip and wet the boy's t-shirt.

"Show it to me…." Matias demanded.

My expression of disgust made Matias back down a little.

“Oh… Okay…” Austin mumbled, now the tears had let loose.

"I'll take this…." I said, relieving the boy of the glass in his hand, placing it on the countertop.


The intensity of the moment had undoubtedly warmed up in the room since I stepped through the archway. At gunpoint, no less, Austin brought us a garage, and in the corner, he tried moving the garbage bins with one hand. Helping the kid, we pulled up a grill that looked like a sewer grate to reveal the safe embedded in the concrete floor. Without much resistance, Austin opened the safe for us, but the red USB wasn't inside. I'm not sure how to explain it, but that kid looked terrified, not of me, but Matias. He saw for himself that the red USB wasn't inside. Somehow, he knew this would end badly.


My attention shifted to Matias; it must have been my pleading looking, telling him not to lose his shit in front of the younger boy. I don't know what I was thinking. After all, we were robbing this family, but I still wanted to be a good person, despite breaking and entering. Yet, our time got cut short with the kid. I'm pretty sure Matias would have roughed him up for more information, but somebody came home. The garage door started to open, and the black Land Rover Evoque was parked in front of the carport, waiting for the gate to complete its cycle so it could be parked inside. Yet, the woman behind the wheel noticed all three of us and grew alarmed. Austin was sort of in the corner, and we were standing in the middle of the parking bay. I didn't expect this crazy lady to put her foot on the gas, and the car experienced a second of wheel spin before it spun forward. Now things had gotten worse.


Now there was a large projectile coming barreling toward us, and my first initial response was to get out of the way. The car sped into the garage; I pushed myself into the corner out of the way, bumping into the younger boy. However, Matias didn't have anywhere to go, so he did what he could to save himself from being pinned to the wall; he dove onto the hood of the SUV. The gun he held clopped off the windshield, and it came loose from his hand, lodging against the wipers. Letting out a groan, Matias slid off the side of the car, clasping his chest. The mother switched down the lever to reverse, and she began to back up. Being quick on my feet, I stretched out, running with the car for the gun. I didn't plan to use it, but I didn't want that woman to use it on us. I strained for the weapon, leaving the garage, and the woman swerved, hitting me with the fender, sending me flying to the grass curbing by the garage. It winded me momentarily, and when I crawled back up, the woman was driving toward me. Even the window wipers were on now, and like a deer caught in headlights, I couldn't move. Yet, Matias came up from behind me, dragging me up off the ground, and the two of us stumbled out onto the lawn.


Next thing, we were running down the garden, hopping the wall, and rushing off home.

Mind you, we didn't go straight home, but we did walk around for a little to make sure we weren't followed by that crazy woman.


We left the gun behind, and that's shit. I'm not sure where Matias got it, but I hope nobodies' prints are on it or that it leads back to anybody. Plus, I'm just considering what Salvatore will do to us now. We essentially fucked up, and well… I think that's bad. I didn't let Matias go home. Instead, I brought him back to Doug's apartment. He's gone on some weekend retreat with his daughter Olivia, so the condo is ours. And I'm rather thankful it is. I'm unsure how I'd talk my way out of this predicament. Matias cried on the way here, and he'd been in pain for most of the evening. I didn't have the heart to tell him to go, so I let him stay. He's fallen asleep, and I'm writing this entry right now. The silence is pleasant for a change. I'm not sure what it will be like when he wakes up. There will be more groans indicating his discomfort. I'm not a medical professional, but I'm pretty sure he cracked or broke one of his ribs. According to a quick google search, cracked ribs can mend themselves in time, and physical activity should be limited for the duration of this healing period. I'm not sure how he'll explain that when he goes back home. I wanted to go to a hospital, but Matias seemed livid with me for even mentioning it.


Now I have the entire evening to think about all the twisted things Salvatore will do to us when he finds out that we didn't get the USB like he asked. What does this mean for us now? Do we… try again? Are we to wait for Sal to come to us? He'll probably come to kill us next for screwing up. We did, after all, fuckup. I'm getting one of those migraines again, and I know it will be a painful one. I'm going to try and catch a breath. I might just sit in the chair by the bed and watch over Matias. I'm afraid if I crawl into bed, it will wake him up. I don't want him in pain right now; he seems peaceful. Also, I don't want him to wake up, as if he did, I'm sure he'd like to talk about our botched heist.


Talk soon,





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