Fishy, Rose and the Bastard weren’t just children. They were also criminals. That’s not such an unusual combination, of course. When someone pictures petty vandalism, shoplifting and similar mischief, kids are often the first potential culprits to come to mind. These three were different.
They didn’t steal candy bars and magazines from the corner store. Okay, sometimes Fishy did, but only if he thought the clerk had been giving him ‘the look.’ He always claimed he hated that look but neither of the other two had a clue what he meant.
Children or not, these three were highly accomplished thieves.
Rose was the brains. She knew the seven most common lock makers in the country and what type of pick worked best with each of them. Need to figure out whether interrupting power to a block will shut off those security cameras? Rose knew. What sold the best, what was valuable but too hard to fence, how to pick the best targets and what the best time of day to hit, Rose knew it all or knew how to find out.
She also had the habit of going from a shy bookworm with a massive crush on the Bastard to a violent, easily offended tomboy with very little warning.
The Bastard was smart, maybe almost as smart as Rose, but what he really brought to the team was skill. Some people were quick learners but he was just unreal. It was like all he had to do was watch someone else pull something off and he could do it just as well the next day. The only way into an office building is on the roof? The Bastard spent a couple hours watching Viewtube videos on urban explorers, roof jumpers and stuff. That safe Rose thought was a Hardaway turns out to actually have a false shell? The Bastard spends a few minutes cradling up to the custom built thing like a lover and then he’s working the combination like he’d programmed it himself.
He never did explain the nickname. Occasionally, if they pressed him hard enough, he’d mutter something uncomplimentary about his older brother.
Fishy’s name made a lot more sense once you’d hung around him for awhile. He’d laugh and joke and smile his ridiculous smile, without so much as a trace of guile or guilt in his bright blue eyes. Then he’d make an off-hand remark about ‘the look’ everyone was giving him. Another day, he’d say something about the fox in the sewer that was always insulting him. It was a little… off, but the other two didn’t care. That’s just the way Fishy was and he was their friend. They were a team and that’s all that mattered.
On a different team, probably one older and certainly one that was less dysfunctional, he might’ve been the muscle. On this one, he was the doer. When Rose recognized the overly-made up, fat old lady at the salon as the wife of a wealthy energy investor, it was Fishy that got them to steal her cat. They’d all come out of it with some weird bruises and a ridiculous number of scratches but, in the end, the old lady got her cat back and they got a very generous cash ‘finder’s fee.’
All of this goes to explain why, one sunny afternoon, they were walking down the street dressed in the student’s uniform of an extremely expensive private middle school that none of them had ever set foot in.
Rose had done a few hours of research, gotten pictures of the students that lived in their target building and the typical drop off times. The Bastard had stayed up all night with some stolen fabric and sewing needles to fake the uniforms. He’d also picked up some hair dye and scissors to help them look their parts. Fishy had spent less then three minutes with a screwdriver to make sure the van that should have been dropping off the kids they were impersonating wouldn’t be making its usual rounds.
Changing a flat tire might not take long, not if you know what you’re doing. Four is a different matter.