Thursday 15 October 2009

Honor Among Thieves - by Michael J. Solender

I know we're an English (based) site, but we'll respect the spelling of each respective author's native tongue...unless it's Transylvanian! So 'honour' becomes honor...


Of course there is honor among thieves. I told him straight-up I'd get my coins back and damn if I didn't make good on it. I have always been a man of my word, honorific and all that. Just because I was rat-arsed and knock down cabbaged gave no cause for him to break into me apartment and take me gold coins.

Today marks the second time I've stolen them, though the first was much easier and I didn't steal them from me little brudder on that occasion. In fact me brudder Jim and I had planned that heist together and had agreed to a fifty-fifty split which is exactly what we done. 32 coins, one troy ounce of gold each.

.999 pure.

16 Krugerrands and 16 Chinese Pandas.

"YOU-BIK-QWE-DIS." Jim said. A college boy. Said that meant they were every-present, which would make them easy to move.

At the market exchange rate on that particular day, we was looking at nearly 30 grand's worth a haul.

Granted he had the in wit da fence - no questions asked, he said. Deals in gold coin and bullion, he said. Smooth as babies bums, he said, with none a' the soiled diapers, he said.

His mate worked for the coin dealer and gave him the tip.

A poof up and around Piccadilly, his flat was a walk-up, completely hidden from the front view by the ornamental cedars. His mate had dropped packages there before and knew the place had a C/17 alarm that could easily be cut round the back and a kiddies lock on the front that wouldn't even slow me down.

"We'll be knocking down pints at the Farewell Arms and surrounded by lassies wanting a piece a' our pie, tonight Jimmy."

"Farewell Arms, bullocks that, palsie. I say we get us a proper bottle of Scotch and have a real meal at LLoyds, it'll be on me after we cash in."

"Well, you are the rightly Lord a' the Manor, aintcha? Not a scrapper like your older brudder, is ya? You can have LLoyds, I'll take me share and turn out at the pub for some darts and a pint or two. Let’s get this on."

Jimmy was a bit high and mighty, but I'd never worked with a better bag man and apart from working alone, he was the only one I trusted.

Until last week that is.

The job was just like it was laid out to be. Easy cut of the alarm, into the flat one, two, three and the safe, was anything but, in my silky hands. 32 lovely, shiny round gold coins. Thank you, we'll be on our way.

Jimmy, after calling his mate, says there's a problem with the exchange and we'll need to sit on the change a few days.

"OK," I says. “You wanna keep em, or should I?"

"Let's each take sixteen. I'm thinking about taking holiday on the continent and I'm not sure when I'll be back. I've got connections over there as well and they'll be easy to cash in for us both."

He takes the Krugerrands and gives me the Pandas. "There is not a spit of a difference between them," he tells me.

Oh but there was. It turned out to be quite a difference.

While celebrating me haul at the Farewell Arms that evening, I end up talking to me mate Ivan. I'm not one to brag and tell tales, mind you, but Ivan is ex-KGB and knows a thing or two about currency and gold, so I show him one of the Pandas and he nearly creams his britches right there at the table.

Turns out me Pandas are really super rare "Xian Feng Vault Protector" coins, only 1000 ever minted. These babies are worth 100 large each. He can fence them for me and clear me 75% of their value. Just to show that he's serious, he spots me some up front dough as a friendly gesture so that he can be sure I give him the action.

"No worries, Ivan. You are my man. My brudder's leaving for Paris tomorrow with his half and I got the rest of mine at me flat. We can make the arrangements tomorrow." That was the plan.

3 hours later as I staggered into me flat, there's Jimmy smoking me cigars and drinking me brandy. He's got me coins in his hand and he's shaking them about.

"You were gonna just let me jet off, weren't you, BROTHER."

"Oy, you made the split, fifty -fifty. How was I ta know? Did that bastard Ivan ring you?"

"As a matter of fact he did, brother and I'll just be taking 8 of these and leaving you with the 8 Kruggerands and we'll be square."

I was too drunk to argue. He split and I passed out.

I woke with a block of brick for a head, but enough presence of mind to go back and reclaim me coins - fair was fair.

As, I told yous earlier, today marks the second time I've stolen them, though the first was much easier. I didn't steal them from me little brudder on that occasion.

And I didn't put a bullet in his brain that time either.

Michael J. Solender has two older brothers. One collects gold coins.
Michael blogs here:


  1. Welcome back, Mike.
    Brotherly love, eh?
    Good stuff, fella.

  2. Just when you think he's on vacation...

    Michael J. Solender ups the ante.

    As usual, Mr. Solender, beautifully artful prose.

  3. Great writing. No matter what he seems to write the poet in him always seems to surface.

  4. Full of the classic elements and components of noir Michael. Works on every level, particularly the pacing which kept my attention going and going and going until reaching the inevitable end and endings....

    Cut-throat honor feeds the man's need to live oh-so-dangerously. Thanks Michael.

  5. Now that's what I call writing! Splendid.

  6. True confessions. Zinger of an ending. Great fun, Mikey.

  7. I do that all the time. Forget to leave my name
    but you knew that.

    Jeanette Cheezum

  8. Very tasty stuff Michael. A pleasure to read.
    Regards, David.