The Sure Thing

Jonny told me it was a sure thing, the perfect crime. It was easy to convince me to use my real identity: there were 26 temporary staff at the party that night and the cops had no reason to suspect me; a fake identity would eventually be discovered and investigated.

Jonny was well informed and his plan clever. As the fireworks reached a crescendo, balloons showered from the ceiling and bounced from the laughing guests. The heiress, drunk and excited, never even looked up as I snipped the gold chain and smoothly pulled the necklace away. After that it was easy; I slipped it in into a half-full gravy boat and casually carried it to the kitchen. All the cameras in the kitchen recorded was me disposing of some waste food.

Security questioned everyone that night but paid no special attention to me. I waited around to see the garbage out and then drove to the quarry to wait for Jonny.

It was almost dawn when I heard the police. Jonny must have been caught rooting in the trash and given me up. I was livid; cursing his name when they cuffed me.

The one cop seemed kind enough: “Don’t know about your Jonny son; we’re here on a tip – anonymous old lady phoned us, said she saw you out here prying some diamonds from a necklace.”

They found 2 diamonds taped to the inside of the rear bumper when they searched my car.

After I gave my statement, that same cop pulls me aside, “Listen son, you seem a good enough chap, but you stole a million dollar necklace; someone has to pay. Help yourself, give up this accomplice fiction and tell us where you hid the necklace.”

Jonny was right: it was a sure thing, the perfect crime.

5 thoughts on “The Sure Thing”

  1. I found this story very entertaining. You captured the heist genre very well, I think. I like the matter of fact, almost terse style. The idea is lovely and the robbery and aftermath are very well described in such a small number of words.

    There are some problematic areas for me, which are all to do with story exposition. If this is a perfect crime, then the narrator cannot know Jonny or have been seen with him. This is not made clear enough for me.

    Related to the same issue is the old lady. I find an old lady hanging around a quarry in the middle of the night quite odd, and imagine cops might. I would prefer a more usual and innocent seeming phonecall.

    I would also prefer it if the information in the second sentence was moved down. It makes it obvious that the narrator is likely to be a patsy very early and I would prefer it if this emerged a little slower.

    I enjoyed this. Thanks.

  2. A good caper, with the invisible, cunning Jonny always just out of the picture as the protagonist stumbles into the trap.

    I liked the simply told tale, the details of the plan disguising the trap, and the simple, in hindsight obvious twist at the end.

    Some sentences are very long – you used semi-colons but a full stop may have been better.

    I was mildly annoyed by the repetition of Jonny. You could have varied it with “partner” etc?

    I suggest writing out numbers where possible – definitely “two diamonds” rather than “2 diamonds”, the 26 is OK but “twenty six” may read better. I think the convention is write out anything less than ten.

    I don’t share Cbraz’s concern about plot holes – the old lady would not have been at the quarry, but at/near the party in my view of events, and claimed to have seen the protagonist rooting through trash there. As to the relationship between the two, I would have thought Jonny carefully didn’t use his real identity – but maybe this could have been mentioned.

  3. Our hero is going along with a plan to steal a necklace; he doesn’t know, however, that he is being set up. His accomplice, Jonny, who should be retrieving the necklace, isn’t at the arranged meeting place — instead, he finds the cops!

    I enjoyed the twistiness of the plot, and that it’s a caper within a caper; we never see the bigger picture.

    As to the old lady, the first time I read this I did think that she was at the party. The second time, though, I did picture her being at the quarry. I wasn’t sure where she was, but then I imagine that Our Hero isn’t sure, either.

    Some little nits:

    > in into
    I think this should just be “into”.

    > 2 diamonds
    Personally, I prefer smaller numbers to be spelt out.

  4. I enjoyed this story a lot. Classic caper action. I especially liked the imagery of the misdirection with the fireworks and all that jazz.

    My punctuation / sentence length eyebrows twitched quite a lot, though. Like parfles said, a few of the sentences seemed overly long and could be chopped up. End of first paragraph and last words by the cop, I’m look at *you*.

    Gripes aside – great fun. Convincing narrator and convincing tricky on the part of the absent Jonny. Kewl!

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