I did it.
I crossed to the other side.
I lurked in the dark, an eye on my watch, biding my time, waiting until it was safe. It was not quite the middle of the night, but I knew they were asleep and would never catch me. No, I've learned a lot from being a prosecutor, I know the mistakes people make.
Ain't gonna happen to me.
I went in solo first, my accomplice waiting in the shadows. I needed her to carry the stuff, but I went in first to make sure we'd get away with it.
The first victim, sucker, whatever you want to call him. I was hesitant, I'm a big guy and I wasn't sure which floorboards might creek. My usually confident tread was hesitant, I am not ashamed to say that, yes, I tip-toed. A little. But I made it in, checked it was safe and gave the signal, the all-clear. We were in and out in seconds. Perfect.
The second mark was easier, I was more confident. I strolled in, sticking to the walls, the dark spots, sure, but no tip-toeing this time. Easy. Job done.
I just about danced out of there, pirouetted next door to case the third and final "target."
That was as easy as the first two, and when it was done I felt the elation that comes with getting away with something, a kid who eats the last cookie in the jar and waltzes out to play, free and clear. But my accomplice and I, we played it cool. Conspiratorial glances, playful smiles. We knew what we'd done.
It won't last forever, though, sooner or later we'll be caught. Happens to everyone, you stay in the game long enough.
But seeing their faces this morning, it's worth every creak and jitter. I'll stay in the game as long as I can. As long as they believe I'm Santa.
One more year at least.
Or so I hope.