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July 08, 2024

The Glass Heart

By Dan Mulhollen

"I dreamt about her again," Benny said, as he turned the steering wheel, entering the driveway. "That kind of dream. I can't understand why dreaming about the sex her and I never had is so upsetting." He stopped the car at the gate.

"You think too much," Marty said, sitting next to him. He looked into his gym bag and pulled out a small white remote control. As he pressed the button, the gate swung open. "I broke a dozen hearts by time I was your age. The trick is not to let it happen to you."

Benny drove the car up to the front porch. "There was just so much Leanne and I talked about doing, for it to end so abruptly. I know, three months have passed, but it still hurts."

He turned off the ignition and they both got out of the car. They were dressed in similar outfits; jeans, hooded sweatshirts, gym shoes, stocking caps, and thin gloves.

"She got herself in a messy situation," Marty said, as they walked onto the large, wrapped-around porch common in Victorian houses. "Saw that as the only solution." He turned the doorknob.

No alarm sounded. The $1000 given to Magda, the disgruntled maid, had done the trick. They got free access to the mansion, and Magda was probably on her way back to her homeland, with gifts for her family and tales of how miserably she was treated in the US.

"I just felt so powerless in it all," Benny admitted, examining the entry hall with its antique tables and armchairs. "Like nothing I could say would have made a bit of difference."

"The stuff we want is in the bedroom," Marty said, heading for the stairway. "Thing is you can't live your life on maybes. Besides, do you really think she learned anything from this?"

"I suppose not," Benny said, shrugging his shoulders, "apparently I really never mattered that much to her." "And what have you learned? Hell, if she even hinted there was a chance of reconciliation, you'd be at her feet like a hurt puppy."

Benny winced. That may have stung, but he could not deny the truth in his partner's statement. "I just can't be cold like you."

"Then expect to get hurt a lot," Marty said, as he started climbing up the steps. "I'm lucky, never being one for sentiment. Give me a bottle of whisky and a hooker I'm reasonably sure doesn't have any STDs and I'm happy."

"Don't you ever ask for more?" Benny asked, joining him at the top of the steps.

Marty looked at his partner and smiled. "Once upon a time," he said, wistfully. He then shook his head and walked to the first door, turned the handle and walked inside. "We're mostly after the jewelry. The old man is supposed to have a nice coin collection too -- a lot of nineteenth century silver."

It was a large bedroom with more than enough room for two people to live. Marty was drawn to the coin albums on a bookshelf while Benny went through the drawers. There was a small box filled with jewelry; earrings, chains, pendants. Gold and silver with seemingly every sort of precious stone imaginable.

"We really hit the jackpot here," Marty said, cheerfully popping the coins from their slots, scooping them up and placing them in a large black vinyl bag.

Benny looked at a small Plexiglas box. Inside was a glass heart, colored deep red about three inches across. Etched into it was "To Eloise, love Bradley."

"This worth anything?" he asked.

"Nah," Marty said. "Probably from before they came into money. Cheap little keepsake. Smash it if it makes you feel any better.

Benny thought about it. He took the heart into his hands and squeezed it. He could imagine the young couple, so in love, and that trinket all Bradley could afford to give his beloved Eloise.

"We've taken enough from them," Benny said, returning the heart to its case. "Let them keep a little happiness." He set it down on the dresser and patted it gently.

"I guess we should be going," Marty said, picking up the vinyl bag.

Benny nodded and picked up his own vinyl bag. Just before he stepped from the room, he looked back at that glass heart. He thought about Leanne, a few tears in his eyes.

"Thanks," he said, as they started down the steps. "A lot of guys would have laughed their asses off at me."

"In our business," Marty said, smiling, "a dependable partner is a godsend. And in thirty years of this, you're the best I've worked with. No problem."

They left the house and quickly drove off, their work for the night completed.

Article © Dan Mulhollen. All rights reserved.
Published on 2010-02-08
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