The moon shone down from its designated position in the starry night sky as I perched upon the roof of a nondescript house. It was wholly an unremarkable house, but for the fact that all the occupants had been knocked unconscious and all their valuables taken. The police would find no sign of a breakin. They never do.

Below me, the street was orange lit by streetlamps, but even in the moonlight I was completely invisible from my position. I was waiting for my prey.

It was a chilly night indeed. I pulled my cloak around my shoulders and enveloped myself in its silky warmth. My cowl was pulled down, my scarf covered the lower half of my face as always. Even if I was silhouetted against the moon passers-by would think me only a roof decoration, or a chimney, or perhaps just the owner of the house sitting on their roof and all dressed in black.

A lot of my work relies on the naivety of the populace.

Below me, I heard three sets of footsteps, and my heart quickened. But it soon faded, and I could see they belonged only to a young lady walking her dog.

The dog was an Afghan hound.

It had a green collar.

I was just admiring the creature's pedigree when my ears pricked up to the sound I had been waiting for - a playful tune, jingling out an up-tempo version of Greensleeves. It had come.

The ice cream van always chose this route, I knew. My contacts in the underworld had been most instrumental in sending me maps of the most popular routes for this particular fleet of ice cream van. This was a curiosity indeed - an ice cream van that operated at night to fill a previously unexplored niche - but in my business you don't question your good fortune.

I stood and struck a pose as I threw my grappling hook onto the power lines overhead, but both the hook and the rope was lined in rubber so I did not receive a shock this time. I timed my moment perfectly, leapt off the roof, threw myself at the source of the tinny music, and smacked heavily into the pavement just behind it.

Just as I had intended to.

I ran along behind it until it reached a T-junction and paused, whereupon I leapt onto the rear and clambered up onto the roof. I had needed the exercise, I said to myself as I checked for broken ribs.

Two, I discovered.

Getting better.

I flattened myself against the roof of the van in case any curious nightwalkers felt the need to inspect what occupies the space directly above ice cream vans, and clung on tightly until the van had reached the destination I required - Lloyd's Bank. The security system was described as completely impenetrable by the bank blurb, but the installers had never met me. It should provide the backdrop for an enjoyable evening's sport.

I dangled down by the driver's side window and knocked on it cheerily. The driver made a double-take, and distractedly rolled down the window.

"Yes?" he asked.

"Can your mother sew?" I asked back.

"No, she's a championship wrestler."

"You're supposed to say 'yes'."

"Oh. Sorry. Yes."

"Then get her to stitch this one."

I socked the man in the jaw, and he slumped in his seat. Job done, I leapt off the van and rolled as I hit the pavement, evading injury once again. I stood up to take in the bank building.

I was just in time to watch the ice cream van, now wildly out of control, plough straight into it, demolishing the front wall, setting off numerous alarms and finally coming to rest in the middle of the cashier area. When I removed my hands from my face, I smiled thinly. Everything was going exactly to plan. Now I could sneak in the back while everyone was watching the front and -

The nasty little hissing noise I had perceived suddenly evolved into an ear-splitting explosion as the ice cream van was destroyed in a shower of flames, twisted metal and raspberry sauce. The bang took out what remained of the first floor, a hefty chunk of the second, lit the whole building on fire and sent an enormous toxic mushroom cloud drifting heavenwards.

I smiled again. Everything was still going exactly according to plan. I hadn't actually intended to raid the bank at all tonight. I had actually intended to destroy the bank as a distraction so that I could loot -

- I looked around hurriedly -

- that hot dog vendor stand further up the road.

And so, my pockets loaded with lightly toasted buns and uncooked sausages, I hefted my emergency rope and grappling hook and took to the rooftops once again. From the top of a small travel agency I watched, unseen, as the fire engines and ambulances arrived to deal with my expertly crafted distraction. I allowed myself another little smile as I knew I had once again defeated the law enforcement agencies, evading them once again.

I stood up from my alert crouch -


- and hit my head on the ceiling.

"Ben, what on earth are you doing?"

I looked down at the person who had just entered this room, which I now realised was my bedroom. "I know not this 'Ben'," I said haughtily. "I answer only to the name of Yahtzee Shadow-Creeper, master infiltrator and gentleman thief."

"O-kay, Yahtzee Shadow-Creeper, why -"

"Yahtzee Shadow-Creeper, master infiltrator and gentleman thief -"

"Whatever. Why are you perched on the wardrobe?"

I examined the wardrobe guiltily. "It was lonely," I tried.

"And what have you done to that towel?"

"It's a cloak!"

"It's one of our best bath towels that you've dipped in black paint."

"I can't exactly infiltrate the houses of the rich and noble wearing a cloak of magnolia, can I."

I was treated to a look which was a mixture of confusion and pity. "I don't think I should let you play Thief II anymore."

"Aw ... but I'm on a mission and there's all these really cool robots ..."

"Get off that wardrobe."

"Fine, fine. Right after I send a homing pigeon to my fence -"


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