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Hagelstein
Cat Burglars
“Back to my plan,” I said. “We at least have the probability of some cash. Why don’t we stick with that?”
“I have good ideas sometimes,” Noye said.
“Sometimes,” I lied. “But that one’s a little shitty.”
He didn’t take it personally. I liked that about Noye. He chewed his bagel, thinking of another crummy idea.

Noye and I owned a comic book store together at one point. We found out quickly you can’t make a living off of that. Our first job was on our landlord. He had a newsstand in the same building and did a big cash business. When he started raising our rent to squeeze us out of there and make room for a coffee shop he was going to add we didn’t know what to do. Noye actually came up with the idea – his only good one. We got on the roof one night and Noye went in through a duct. The landlord kept a lot of cash on hand. We closed the comic book store and never paid another the landlord another cent.
After everything was closed we met in a city park a block away. The bums were asleep under the bushes. We took a quick walk around the block to make sure the restaurant was dark and went into the alley behind the restaurant. I had a backpack with our gear. I pulled out a homemade rope ladder with two steel hooks on the end. I tossed it on the roof and snugged it down. I was considering patenting the design and marketing it to burglars.
On the roof, Noye got into a safety harness attached to a hand winch while I got the vent cover off as quietly as I could. I hooked the winch to a sturdy pipe and Noye was ready to go. He scrambled down on his own. The winch was to get him up. I heard him unhook at the bottom and move to the back door. I waited by the vent, listening. He was back in a minute, whispering up the vent.
“There’s a bar on the back door with a padlock.”
“I’ve got a crowbar. Can you pop it off with that?”
He went away again, then came back.
“It’ll be noisy.”
“Okay, forget it. I’ll stay up here.”
One less problem. No door opening, so no alarm to work around. I didn’t like being exposed on the roof and having Noye wandering around below with his limited ability for staying on task though. I’d have to keep him in line by phone. I had bought two pre-paid phones that afternoon, for a situation just like this, and planned on tossing them both in a canal when we were done.
I had pulled the ladder up after us, but peeked over the roof to make sure no one was around. Then I went back to the vent to listen. I had lowered the empty backpack down so Noye could put the cash box in.
My phone buzzed.
“Find it?”
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