Editorial: What if

 

It’s dark.

I’m nervous but running on adrenaline.

This isn’t my first time, but it’s my first time in Darien.

I’ve heard it won’t be the last.

We drive slowly through the night. Where to choose? So many beautiful homes. So many luxury cars.

I can’t imagine having all these things and not wanting to keep them safe.

But their loss is my gain.

The first house is dark and quiet. I approach the first car quietly, afraid to set off an alarm when I touch the car door — what if it is locked? I look back at my friend, behind the wheel of our car. He’s ready to hit the gas if it goes off.

But no alarm. No resistance. The door opens easily. There’s a purse on the seat. There’s an iPhone plugged in. No time to take inventory. Only time to take.

My friend and I share a look. Go ahead, his eyes urge. Try the next one.

So I try the next one. My breathing feels so loud. My heartbeat is thunderous in my ears.

Gently, I coax the next car door handle.

With ease it is pulled open, but this time, there’s not much inside. I grab a handful of change from the console.

Quietly.

• Open door: Why suspects tell cops thieves target Darien

I hand my bounty to my friend in the driver’s seat.

“Let’s go,” he whispers.

“No,” I whisper.

“One more.”
I’ve gotten a taste for it. I’m on the hunt and my prey is too easy. I’m on a high, physical and mental.

I am getting brazen. I want more.

The next house isn’t as easy. It’s dark, but the car is closer to the back door.

I ease this door open. Again, no lock, no alarm.

They deserve this, I think. So stupid for leaving their valuables so at risk. The other guys I know were right. Darien is the place to be.

This time, I get a purse, and it looks fancy and expensive. And that’s just the outside.

Then I see the back door slightly ajar.

No way, I think. It can’t be. I look at the door and I look at my friend.

He shakes his head — no, it’s too risky.

But it’s too late. I can’t go back now. I leave the purse in the driveway. And I push the back door open.

It’s obvious they are home. But they are asleep. The house is silent. I quietly open drawers. I find a laptop, another iPhone. My hands and greed are full. Still, I’m not finished. I’ve got something to feed —

Maybe a debt, or an addiction. Maybe my family.

The floor creaks — and I turn. We are face to face.

You and me.

Yours is full of fear. Mine is full of anger and resentment. I’m not going to pay the price for your lack of responsibility.

You open your mouth to scream for help. My only goal is to silence you. No help. No police. No jail.

I have nothing left to lose, you see.

The knife is out before you can see it and my hand is over your mouth before you can make a sound. I drive it in quickly and effectively.

This isn’t my first time for that, either.

I leave you on the floor of your kitchen.

Your loss is nothing to me. But I’m sure it is to you. And your children. Or your parents. Your neighbors and your friends.

Remember — your loss is nothing to me.

I flip the knife back in itself. I grab the laptop and iPhone.

On the way out, I grab the purse on the driveway. Inside I see your keys.

The keys you never thought to use.

The keys you won’t need anymore.

Like your life, I quietly disappear in the night.

Until we come back again.

 

What if this was reality?

Will you lock your doors now?

Or will this have to actually happen before you do?