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There I was, and the most beautiful thing in the world was right in front of me, glinting in the sunlight. I knew I had to have it. I HAD to.
My eyes fastened onto the beautiful diamond winking at me as it hung from the silver chain. It wasn't the necklace I wanted; it was the priceless jewel that hung from it.
"Dude, you know you can't have it," Tommy, my old friend, my partner in crime whispered to me, his familiar smoky breath tingling in my nostrils. Whenever I smelled it, I wanted to just reach out, scoop it into my hands, and stuff it into a box so I could smell it all day and feel that Tommy was right there by my side, even if he wasn't.
The first time I met Tommy, it had been an accident. He was smoking a cigarette and I had crashed into him in my hurry.
"S-Sorry," I had stuttered, expecting a punch in the face and some c.u.r.s.i.n.g, but all Tommy had done was stamp out the fallen cigarette and light another one.
"You up for one?" was all he asked, taking out a long drawl. Transfixed, I had watched the smoke curl up in the air and disappear.
"Yeah. I'm up for anything." We had stood there for a moment, passing the cigarette back and forth. I expected him to roll up his sleeves any minute and ball up his hands into tight fists, then thrash me till his arm grew tired.
"What's your name, boyo?" Tommy finally asked.
"Charlie Jackson," I had immediately answered after taking in a long breath. I waited for him to tell me his name; he seemed like a pretty good guy.
Tommy took a while, as if considering his answer. "Tommy." I thought he would continue and spit out his last name, but all he did was hand me the cigarette and wait.
"Tommy...." I looked at him, raising my eyebrows.
"Just Tommy," was the cool reply.
"You don't have a last name?" I asked, dumbfounded.
"Nope." He took another long draw.
"Why don't you make one up?" His gaze shifted to me.
"Never wanted to and don't need to. I've gotten along fine without a last name all my years, boyo." Tommy let the cigarette fall from between his fingers and watched as the smoke trailed from the end. He finally squashed it and began walking away. "You coming or not?"
Buddies for 15 years. That's how long I've wandered the place with Tommy.
And now, he stood by me faithfully, telling me I couldn't have the one thing I wanted so badly.
"Dude, you know you can't have it." I snapped back to reality, transfixed by the diamond necklace in its blood red, cushioned box.
"I want it."
"You can't have it. It's money we don't have." He dug in his pocket for a smoke, then thought the better of it and let his hand hang.
"We can steal it." I turned to him with a sort of half dreamy, half crazy look in my eyes. "We've broken into so many stores before. It's that easy. Break the glass, grab it, and go." My gaze wandered back to the beautiful thing. "This isn't anything new, you know."
"Yeah, but what would you do with it once you have it?" Tommy reasoned, pushing me. I shrugged carelessly without looking at him.
"Keep it. Treasure it. You know, that kind of stuff." Tommy shook his head.
"If you're thinking I'm helping you out in this, I'm not," he remarked. I froze, then slowly turned to him.
"WHAT did you just say?" I demanded, oblivious.
"I said I won't help you," he repeated calmly. Without thinking, I punched Tommy straight in the nose. And it wasn't a soft one either.
Blood gushed out from his nose. Looked like the box's cushion. It looked like the store's dusty old curtains that hung pitifully, drawn back. Tommy gave me an almost sympathetic, soft look, holding his bleeding nose with a handkerchief he fished out of his pocket.
"Charlie, I thought you were smarter than that," he said softly as I watched the cloth eagerly absorb the blood trickling out of his nose. "I thought you only stole the important things, the things we needed."
"Well," I snapped, "I need this diamond. I need this necklace. And I'm going to go and steal it, even without your help."
Tommy gave me another knowing look and nodded, backing off. "Alright. I'll meet you back at home." With that, he turned his back on me and began walking away.
I stared after him, his last words ringing in my ears. Then I turned back to staring at the pretty necklace, but there was a hollow feeling in my heart. I tried to swallow the lump that had suddenly appeared in my throat.
If Tommy was just waiting for me back at our home, then why did it feel like I was losing my only friend?
I stared down at my hands as I sat on a little wooden stool. I heard squeaks and a slam, then suddenly Tommy was standing in front of me, his hands tucked casually in his pockets. I looked up at him with empty, faded eyes.
The only thing that was separating us was the bars.
"Come to bail you out," was all my old friend murmured as the sheriff unlocked the door, swinging it open. The hinges squealed in protest as I got up, feeling like a little, naughty kid whose mother came to take it home for a spanking.
He said nothing else but walked with me all the way home, but his crusty, blue eyes stared at me. Two globes of faded ocean, swirling in a confusing world of hidden guilt and questions. I shook my head. Tommy said nothing but clapped me on the back as we stepped into our little, humble home.
My friend, my partner in crime.