The lights in their bedroom window were on all night. It was mildly disconcerting, but, Michael reassured himself for the umpteenth time, there were plenty of possible reasons for it. Despite the occasional paranoid thought, he knew there was almost no chance the young couple would be home. The newspapers were not piling up on the front porch, but only because the friendly neighbor had, presumably, been asked to hold onto them until the end of the vacation. Their year-old, midnight-blue Prius sat in the driveway, as it had since the day they had left for Aruba. So the lights, figured Michael, were either on because they had decided to stay home, or because of those timers that switched lights off and on to deter criminals. The former seemed incredibly unlikely, and in the case of the latter, Michael was hardly deterred.
He shoved the last of the nay-saying thoughts out of his mind, picked up his hammer, and stepped silently out of his car. As he crossed the street towards the house, he pulled on the black ski mask. Even after doing this for so long, the damn thing still never sat right the first time, and it took several seconds of rearranging to get both eye holes over his eyes. For all the trouble Michael had with the mask, the rubber gloves had always been even more aggravating. After years of having to take a one minute time-out after barely beginning a robbery to get them on properly, he had finally switched to genuine leather gloves. They had proved much more efficient, and he was glad he had sprung for the kind lined with rabbit fur. The weather this time of year was pleasant enough during the day, but when the sun went down the cold was enough to slow down fingers, which could mean game over for even the most experienced thief. Michael was sporting one of his many black turtlenecks, a pair of black slacks, and an off-brand pair of matte black running shoes. Everything was fairly tight fitting, lest a garment become snagged at an inopportune moment. The clothes weren't special, or even expensive, but when the entire outfit was on Michael could feel himself change. He became a ghost.
Michael walked to the left side of the house. The wall was fairly exposed to the street, but nobody would be driving about this neighborhood at four in the morning. The bedroom window was on the second floor, directly above where he now stood. Getting up there would be easy enough; Michael had always been a great rock climber, and the skill transitioned well into scaling buildings. Once at the window a quick rap with the hammer and he could unlatch it and be inside. He cleared his mind and began the climb. It was just after reaching the top of the first floor window frame that he heard an impossible sound. There was a crunch of tires on asphalt as the car turned the corner. It was far too dark to see if it was the police or not. The headlights washed slowly over the entire street. Fear burst forth from the mental calm Michael had been in. It was only thanks to experience that he was able to remain motionless while the adrenaline pumped through him. The lights crept closer and closer. The car was traveling mind-numbingly slow. As the swath of light first landed on him he could almost feel its heat. Then, in a second, it was gone. The car had passed.
Michael popped off of the wall and landed lightly on his feet. Whether or not the driver of the vehicle had spotted him, he was far too rattled now to continue. He jogged back over to his car and got inside. Michael looked back up at the house and the bedroom light stared back down at him tantalizingly. As he drove off down the street, Michael soothed himself with the knowledge that he would have another chance. Tomorrow night there would be no interruptions.