Bobby James swallowed the last gulp of warm beer in his mug. He’d been nursing it since the bar opened at noon; one drink was all Bobby could afford. He needed to steal some money, and soon.
Bobby scanned the room, wondering if he could con a free beer from one of the other customers. Sam Wilson sat at the end of the bar, bragging as usual to anyone who would listen about what a great guy he was. Perfect. Bobby picked up his empty mug and walked over to him.
How ya doing,” he said as he offered his hand.
The garrulous big man took it in his firm grasp and said, “Long time no see,” but Bobby doubted that Sam was sober enough to recognize him. Sam looked at Bobby’s glass and motioned for the bartender as he threw a twenty on the bar. “You need another drink. Harry, get my friend a beer.”
After the drink arrived, Sam said, “A toast, to the best locksmith in the world.”
Bobby raised his glass and took a deep swallow of beer, then said, “Whoever he is, I’ll drink to him.”
Sam slammed him on the back and guffawed. “You’re looking at him. I’d be working on the safe over at Parsons Jewelry this very second if I hadn’t had to order a whole new locking mechanism. It won’t be in until tomorrow, so I’m taking the rest of the day off.” Sam lowered his voice and said, “Old Man Parsons said his alarm system was so good and his building so secure, he didn’t have to worry about the safe’s broken lock. Well, my uncle did the remodeling on that building, and he uses the cheapest materials he can find. Let me tell you, it ain’t all that secure.”
Bobby waited until Sam had turned his attention to the man sitting next to him, then he headed out the door. If he could figure out a way to get in the shop, his money problems would be solved.
Bobby walked downtown to the jewelry store and saw that the display windows covered only half the space of the building front, with a community theater next door. A sign hung from the door: The Community Players present ‘Sinister Acts’. There wasn’t any break in the front facade between the two businesses. From the layout, it looked like the original building had simply been divided in half to create two new spaces.
Bobby looked at his watch and knew he had to hurry. There’d be a set of drawings in the town building department’s supply of old architectural plans, and if there was a way to get from one space to the other, Bobby would find it.
Buried in the plans, drawings and spec sheets, Bobby discovered that the old theater and the jewelry shop had once had a door between them that was now plastered over. After carefully writing down the door’s exact location, Bobby knew he could break into the store without setting off the alarm. With the safe out of order, he had to act tonight.