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.