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The Evaluation Examination of Expert Embezzlement

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“Take your hand off that monkey!”

The (once presumed dead) figure in bed sat up and pointed at me - but not me, not really - the reflection of myself in the vanity across the room. I could tell this was it, as the sickly sweet aftertaste of chocolate ice cream traveled back up from my stomach. I swallowed the bile back down, thinking of what this operation would yield me for all of my troubles. I will not go back empty-handed. I can't afford to, not now, and not ever.

I swore I’d acquire it. The bronze orangutan. I had to have it to pass my final, or else I’d fail the Thief’s Guild Exam for the twenty-second time this year, and I couldn't let that happen. My livelihood is at stake. Clenching my hands tight until my knuckles turned white, I stood tall.

And then - as quickly as the figure rose - it fell. Softly stepping on the plush carpeted floor, I worked my way over past the doorway of the room to the vanity. The only sound I could hear slinking past the silk-covered canopy bed was the quiet whirring of my now asleep patron.  Thinking back to why I failed last time, I examined the sound sleeper. Was that person really asleep? Could it be that the headmaster was pretending to sleep, when we'd all been told that the headmaster suffered from sleep-talking, or was I reading into things far too much?

Nearing the master bathroom while avoiding the marble countertops, I thought briefly of home in Dogwood Plains. Of how my parents expected me to be doughty, to be brave and persistent and succeed where others have failed. At last, I reached the fated podium; the bronze statue’s emerald eyes gleaming with mischief as to dismiss my arrival completely. I knew better than to just take the orangutan. I first had to rid the podium of its glass covering. 

It had to be done with the careful and deliberate slowness needed to boil a frog to death. My leather gloves slowly lifted the case, sweat forming under my all black jumpsuit and trailing down to my shoes two sizes too big. Lifting the glass up with both hands left the statue unguarded and unreachable (as expected), so I did the only sensible thing. Depositing down the diaphanous drum directly on the dias, I deftly displaced the delighted doll into my grasp.

It was time to go, I had to be fast. Elusive as a lost TV remote, as unreachable as the word on the tip of one’s tongue, that’s what I have to be. Gripping the heavy idol with more strength than necessary - say, enough to choke a small animal - I sidled out of the bathroom and down to the manor’s front door. My parents would be so proud. Now to find out my passing grade. My skills this time were a C+, at least.




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