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Submitted on
December 27, 2010
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     The worst people hired him because he was the best burglar around. No one knew his given name, not even him. As a child, he'd grown and fed himself by stealing what he needed on the streets. He had no name. But since many people called him- "That one!" -the growing and adept burglar decided to call himself "Thone." He knew he needed at least a name, if not food, home, clothes -- and why not some kind of fame and fortune? Yes, he decided, he'd have both infamy and fortune. He was certain he was a clever, quiet, sneaky, and nice young man, fully deserving of both. Soon he had both.

     Late one night, a very rich man hired Thone for a new job and asked him the usual questions. Thone was as silent with the rich as he was with the poor. For that matter, he was more silent with the rich. Thone never explained his work to anyone, and it was always the rich who hired him. Thone was the most expensive burglar ever known to other criminals.

     This rich client, whose chins Thone counted in half a second, paid him half the money ahead, over two hundred thousand, with the rest to be collected on delivery of the stolen. Like any dishonest guy, the client tried to strong-arm Thone into a stupid secret meeting place and all those et ceteras, but finally agreed to Thone's terms.
     Thone would see him when and where Thone was ready and not one moment before.

     He was surprised by the outrageous greed the client showed, yet not a flicker was seen on Thone's face. Thone fed a stray cat on his way home and thought about how strange people were. He'd been asked to find safes and break into them without a trace left behind. He'd even been asked to pick up a particular piece of paper left on the governor's desk without a trace left behind. And other dicey jobs, always done "...without a trace left behind." But this job was a first for Thone.
     It was downright weird, far past strange.

     He reached his place, circled around two buildings to the real, unseen entrance, and took an elevator to the basement.
     Then he let himself down still further, using a device he kept for the purpose, one that looked like an extra shovel and not like the second elevator it really was. This shovel was a magical ride to a lower level and the good life he led.

     Because the new job required special equipment, Thone opened his own safe after a fine, near silent dinner ten stories below street level. The only reason it wasn't silent was the black cat Thone kept, with whom he spoke to on occasion, and always dined with. Thone used little purrs and chirps to talk to 'Dot Cat' and loved the cat as much as he loved his job.

    Once Thone's safe was open, he shoved cat kibble out of the way and got The Key. The Key opened a trapdoor under a bed that looked massive but was feather-light. Thone hid the trapdoor under his bed for one reason. It lead to his burglaring tools.

     He used The Key by turning it three times left, once right, and opened the trapdoor. Then he happily slid down the circular railing of a stairway until he reached floor Minus-Eleven. Thone loved to slide down that rail. That was another reason he hid The Key. Anyone would love to slide down the rail, it was the best ride ever. But they'd find his secret things if they used it. For this job, Thone needed a special link, and found it at the bottom of links he kept in a very small box, among various .com-s, .net-s, .art-s, .edu-s, .gov-s, .org-s and many more.

     Once the link was found, Thone decided to get this over immediately and went back to the street level, into a closed library and waited until he knew he was safe from police or, worse yet, librarians. His client wanted only twenty-five letters in the English alphabet, not twenty-six. The client didn't care which letter, any letter Thone stole would do. Thone asked nothing, though it made as much sense to him as the huge sum of money offered to steal one letter from the alphabet.

     Thone turned himself into a .org link and crawled up to a dictionary open on a stand. He swung out over the wide expanse of white and black pages. He proceeded to choose one letter out of the twenty-six. Obviously it couldn't be 'a, b, u, r, l, g' or 't, h, o, n,' or 'e' or Thone would have no name and no job. That left too many more letters to examine. Thone didn't think 'x' should be it either, because he spent a large part of his life examining things. There, one more crossed off, 'i.' Now there were a only a few, maybe.

      'C' was crossed off. How could Thone cross letters off without it? Or charm people when his back was against a wall? Now 'w' and 's' were captured too. Still too many letters left. Money had 'm' and 'y' in it. Crossed off. Thone was sweating now. He didn't like questions and it was hard to not just take the 'q' and run for it. But without questions by unusual people, Thone's name and job would be forgotten. Without a 'u,' the letter 'q' was nearly forgotten itself.

     'F' always had good uses, for 'feminine,' for 'feline,' for swearing when unduly angry and for the black cat, which had 'f' in its name already. Thone cursed silently. The entire alphabet seemed to mock him, trying to make him lose a price so high he could retire for the rest of the year, at least.
     Just when Thone decided he would stay underground literally, he had a brilliant idea.
     Who uses the letter 'z'?
     A zebra sounded just as exotic as an 'ebra.' And the zoo where many lived sounded, in fact, much better as an 'oo.' Zesty, Zen, zip, zone, zygote, he tried them all. 'Esty, en, ip, one, ygote' - they all sounded fine to him. The best part: he could keep the large retainer already in his possession and never have see this particular client, Mr. Izdzzit, again.
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Erm. I tend to be in a very nitpicky mood at the moment. I hope you don't mind *blush*

I like the first sentence. It's very catchy and it has that neat contrast between 'worst' and 'best' :)

"but so many called him 'that one' he called himself Thone." - the 'so' sounds a bit off in the context; it keeps making me think of the people who don't call him 'that one' and wonder what they're calling him. Maybe it's just me. Also, you need some breaker between 'that one' and 'he called himself'. A full stop?

"The worst of the richest" - it's a bit vague if this is just one person or a group of them. You have the repeating 'worst', too. Actually, the entire sentence is a bit unclear. The first time I read it I thought he was every bit as silent when he was robbing the richest, not when he was getting hired. If he's silent when he's getting hired, then I feel as if I've discovered a new, fascinating gem :D

"whose chins Thone counted in half a second" - *giggles* how many were there?

"paid him money ahead with the rest to be collected on delivery of the stolen" - I feel the need for some more detail here. Half the money? A third of the money? It's not the proportion that's important, but it gives a more realistic impression.

"all those et ceteras" - I'm adding this to my 'favorite phrases' list.

"bad guy" - is this Thone's POV or the narrator's? I can't tell.

"And more, always '...without a trace left behind.'" - I like the idea here, it's very sneaky and thievish and magical at the same time. I'd replace 'more' with 'others', though, because 'more' is slightly vague.

"circled around two buildings to the real entrance" - there's a fake one? Can we see it?

"using a device he kept for that purpose" - how is he using it?

"Anyone would love to slide down, then they'd find his most secret things." - this feels a bit, I don't know... Could you hint at what those things are? Are they wonderful? Dangerous? Both? Strange? Magical?

"he was safe from police or, worse yet, librarians." - such an old sort of joke, but it always gets me laughing :lol:

I love the way he thinks about all the letters. Brilliantly done! :D And Mr. Idzzizdzzit indeed :rofl:
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clarkdimond Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2014
Hadn't read this one.  "Life he "led," not life he "lead."  You don't often write whimsy.  This expands your boundaries.  Me, I would have stolen ñ.  You can burn pinon in Canyon City.
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2014   Writer
Thanks for the catch.  I'll give you an n for reading another story. :)
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2012  Professional Writer
This was super cute and very well written. I thoroughly enjoyed the storytelling and the kind of mixing of intangible things with tangible ones (stealing letters, Thone's tools). As for your questions:

- Yes it's well done because, imho, it's original (as in I've never seen anything like it), it's got good flow, and kept me sucked in. It's a good length and it's just adorable.

- Yes, Thone is very well seen. He's a lovely boy and though he is a burglar he still has set morals, is kind to animals, and yes he's proud of his trade and his prowess therein but he's not malicious. In fact, he's kind of happily childish at points (I really like the bit about the fun slide, it's sweet and it shows a bit about Thone). And I think he's very clever.

- I had a little trouble picturing it at first BUT, that's because sometimes I want a blueprint by the author. i got a good picture of the shovel like thing and the elevator. His home I imagined was like a cosier version of the bat cave.

There are a few things I think could make it better, the first being, the Cat, for me, is in there very little, but it's name isn't mentioned and it's relationship to Thone isn't very defined. Clearly he likes animals and clearly he wants company and also the cat's name is a deciding factor in the final quest, so I suppose just a few lines dotted here and there about the cat might make it seem like more of a friend and less of a 'thing that's in the room'.

Also, this sentence really jarred me: Because the new job required special equipment, after a fine and nearly silent dinner ten stories below street level -- Thone kept a very black cat and they spoke on occasion -- Thone opened his own safe, shoved cat kibble out of the way and got The Key. I feel like the thought about the cat and him speaking to it is what I'd like expanded. But also it was just a bit too counter to the other thought bookending it, that I didn't see what they had to do with each other. So I suppose I think it would be better if those two were separated. Just my opinion, discard it if you don't agree.

That was the only thing that stood out to me, the rest of it was a nice, easy, funny flow. i really like Thone. I wonder if you might do more stories with him? I would definitely like to see him and his cat again.
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2012   Writer
Thanks. :) I like your suggestions very much.

I'll give this a rewrite when it's not the middle of my night (like it is now).

I'm not sure I always write well at this hour, though a lot of my work is submitted about 5:00 a.m.

:iconthankscommentsignplz: ...I'll be sure to rework Burglar.

I edit even my old work often, a habit not easily dropped. (Could it be because I write in the middle of the night? XD)

You're the second person in comments who wants more about Thone.
I'll keep that in mind, too. Thanks again.
Crazythewaytobe Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It's a cool story:) Do you think he'll come to steal again:p
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2012   Writer
Thank you. :) Of course he'll steal again. It's how he makes his living. I think I spotted him near Canada. :D
Crazythewaytobe Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ha ha oh good, I look forward to hearing about his jobs:p
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012   Writer
I'll write about him again someday. Or year. Or whenever. ;)
Janoera Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Hello LJ, I didn't get to know you much before I left and now you left:( Thanks for everything:)

I spotted an error, in the first paragraph No one knew given his name, shouldn't it be no one knew his given name?
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012   Writer
Thanks. The errors that get by writers!
Are you back at WritersInk?
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