LIVING THE LIFE X

‘LIVING THE LIFE’ is a series of more short stories that take place in the year 2020 in a fictional State named Callisto located in the Northern part of the United States. In Callisto, life is the same, yet different, because no one outside the State really understands anything about what actually goes on here. Along with the location; the characters, events, and conversations, are completely made up and you’re not meant to find morals, or meanings, or signs; But neither I, nor anyone else, can tell you what you think. Here we find the boys, where they usually are, doing their usual thing. The afternoon before: 

LIVING THE LIFE, CHAPTER 10: The Sunset 

After being interrupted while planning their next heist, Bryce, Jeremy, James, and Weston were back at 70823, resuming their master plan. Of course they weren’t upset about the interruption, they went on the adventure of a lifetime, again. They’ve been on several lifetime adventures, and were planning another one as we speak, but what was different about that last one was that they met new friends, and helped them get their money back. It felt nice to help people, and do good, even though they were doing bad at the same time. They didn’t think so, though, and at the end of the day, who was the only judge? Themselves. 

It was a hot August day on the outskirts of Callisto. They had every window open; they didn’t have A.C. They also had the door wide open, which they hardly ever did, so you know it was blazing. They each had tall glasses of ice tea, spiked with vodka. The rest of the bottle was in arms reach.

As it was discussed in the beginning of Part Eight, it took them a while to conjure up what to do for this next heist, which they decided would be the last heist of the summer. They had quite a bit heat on them now and wanted to get out while they were ahead, instead of behind. Bars. 

Anyways, to the heist: They loved the watches they got away with, the pure goldenness, how they glistened in the sun; they each had one for everyday of the week. But what they were planning to get this time was something they didn’t even know they wanted until Weston thought of it.

THREE WEEKS AGO

“Come on, guys, I can’t believe it’s taking this long to think of this last heist.”

“That’s the thing; it’s the last heist of the summer. It has to be great.”

“The Rolex heist was great, nothing will beat that.”

“You’re right. Al though, the Rolex heist was GOAT status.”

“Everything we’ve thought of is so unoriginal or too risky.”

“Don’t say that, it’ll make people think we’re soft.”

“I’m not about to die, Bryce.”

“Me neither, but that’s already been established. You don’t need to say it.”

Weston was the only one who wasn’t talking; he was trying to think. Then they all began to think. It was quiet for a good five minutes. Then: “The museum,” said Weston, suddenly. “I got it. There’s a magnificent suit of armour, and a sword, enclosed in a glass case. I just remembered, I saw it when I was there for a project in first year. It belonged to a legendary Knight, Sir Benjamin Lightstorm. Let’s steal that.”

“Weston, you clever sonuvabitch.” 

PRESENT DAY

Similar to when they were planning the Grandaddy Heist at the Rolex Store, the boys were sitting around their coffee table with the museums blueprint spread out over it. Not wanting to be seen there more than once, they trusted Weston’s memory. They planned to be inside the museum before it closed, and still be in there after it closed. Tonight, two of them, yet to be determined, were going to stash their bags outside one of the museums exits so tomorrow night, when they would be alone inside, they’d be able to have what they needed. They obviously weren’t allowed to bring huge duffle bags inside.

The two volunteers, who would be delivering the bags to the stash, were being determined right now; all four of them wanted to go but it wasn’t necessary to risk it, so they agreed on two. The process of deciding who would be going was by a rigorous Connect 4 tournament. All of them were self proclaimed GOAT’s at Connect 4, and to tell you the truth, they were exceptional at the game. They drew sticks to see what the matchups would be: Bryce vs Jeremy and James vs Weston. They decided that only one win would be needed to settle it, instead of best two out of three. The two winners would do the deed, but still play a final match for bragging rights. Bryce and Jeremy shook hands, and began.

Who knew that deciding three winers of Connect 4 would take so long; they weren’t surprised because good players always had a lot of draws when they played each other. An hour, and 20 total matches later, Jeremy and Weston were heading out the door.

“So we have everything we’re going to need, right?” Asked Weston.

“A drill, a mini sledge hammer, and a handgun,” confirmed Bryce. “Just in case. It won’t come to that, though.”

“Let’s hope.”

Jeremy and Weston gave daps to their friends and left the hideout. The sky was orange, the clouds were cirrus; it was dusk, but the heat was still fiery. Jeremy and Weston lugged the two black duffle bags towards their glossy red Tesla; the reflection from the sky made it look blood orange, it was remarkable. They stashed the bags in the back seat, Jeremy got in the drivers side and Weston, the passenger side. Jeremy started it up and began to drive out of 70823. Weston had a joint they rolled before they left and didn’t waste any time lighting it. They were off on their two hour drive to the Callisto Museum. 

Weston inhaled, counted to five in his head, exhaled, and passed it to Jeremy. “So what are you thinking?” Asked Weston.

“I’m still thinking about me schooling you guys in Connect 4.”

“Yeah, took forever, though. Clearly could’ve gone either way.”

“Finish the sentence: at the end of the day, it’s all about?”

“Shut up, man.” Weston smiled and shook his head.

“That’s right. Winning.” Jeremy exhaled out the window and passed the joint to Weston.

“I wonder what our new friends are up to. I miss them.”

“Me too. I mean we’ll probably see them again.”

“But what are we going to do, Jeremy? We’re wanted! We can hardly show our faces in public anymore. Can’t drive the G Wagon at all. Do you know what we did? We’re murderers! Thieves!” 

“Thanks for reminding me, as if I didn’t know already. Can you relax? I don’t want to be thinking about that for the entire drive there.”

Weston tried handing the joint to Jeremy but his hands were wildly shaking. Jeremy hit the brakes on the Tesla. 

“Look at me, Weston. What’s wrong? Do you not want to do this? It was your idea for godsake.”

“I didn’t say I didn’t want to. Can’t I be nervous? Am I allowed to be nervous?”

“You can be nervous if we ever get caught, or pulled over again. For now, just relax. We’re going to drop the bags off and drive back.” Jeremy tossed the joint out and began driving again. 

Weston took a few deep breaths and gazed out the window. “You’re right,” he sighed. “You’re right.”

Jeremy glanced over at Weston to make sure he wasn’t crying, then he looked back at the road. He wasn’t used to being the one to comfort his friends; usually Bryce did that, but he could tell that Weston was genuinely rattled, and couldn’t let him sulk for two straight hours. 

“I’ll tell you the truth, Weston, I’m sure you already know it: if we get caught, we’re doomed. But here’s some hope: only that one cop really saw what we look like, when she pulled us over. Bryce’s girl,” Jeremy chuckled. “If we don’t see her we’re good, right? Think about it. And we obviously can’t drive the G Wagon anymore, but who cares? Only Bryce would really care but not even he’s bold enough to drive it anywhere. We can drive this, which is what we’ve been doing. Callisto is a small State, but we hardly go anywhere. We’re also smart, careful, and we look out for each other. So that’s it. We’ll be fine. And if you get like this again, just look at that watch. Look at it, Weston!” He did, and he couldn’t help but grin. Jeremy laughed hysterically and pressed down on the gas.

Two hours later, it was dark, the stars were out, and they were driving into the museums parking lot. It was a huge museum, with four floors above ground and one in the basement. The concrete steps at the front entrance led two stories up to the main foyer, technically the second floor. Jeremy drove all the way to the back and parked where no one from the street could see them. 

The emergency exit doors were on the first floor and there was more than one at the back but Weston said he remembered, from the first time he was there, and from the blueprint, where the suit of armour was closest to, in relation to the doors. Jeremy patted him on the back and said that’s the Weston he knows. 

For dramatic effect, Jeremy said they should count down from 3. All they had to do was drop the bags inside the industrial size recycling bin, but like I said, and as you know, they had a flare for theatrics. So from three, Jeremy counted down. At one, they pried open the door, grabbed the duffle bags from the backseat, ran towards the bins closest to the X and tossed the bags in. Weston stopped to look at the area to make sure they didn’t waste time when they came back tomorrow. Then he ran back to the Tesla and got in the drivers seat; he was going to drive back. He took it easy driving out in order to not attract attention to themselves. Before they knew it, they were back on the highway, and when they were cruising down the open night time road Jeremy lit the other joint. 

He inhaled, counted to five in his head, exhaled, then passed it to Weston. “Say, what are you thinking now?” Jeremy asked. “You’re fine, right?”

Weston looked at him. “You ever think we should stop the outlaw life and go back to school? You know, get girlfriends?”

Jeremy’s facial expression looked like he was appalled at the thought. “Going back to school? No. But yes, eventually we’re gonna get married and have kids.”

“I was just thinking; you know we can’t be bandits forever. We’ll need to make money some other way. Like a career or something. And we need money to support our wives and kids, too.”

“You’re right. It’ll probably be something I consider. But for now, I’m not interested. We’re still young. We’d only be in our third year if we didn’t drop out. And there’s girls all over the place, so I’m certainly not concerned about that.” 

Weston didn’t say anything. He exhaled and passed the joint to Jeremy. 

He inhaled. “Why are you being so existential all of a sudden?”

“I guess I just feel bad for what we’ve been doing. Don’t you? Don’t you believe in karma?”

“Yes, and no. As in, I sort of do. You see, if you do something you think is wrong and you dwell on it forever, negative things will come to you. You have to be confident in everything you do, and trust that it’s the right thing for you to do. For yourself. At the end of the day, you’re what matters most. If you can believe that, act like it. Nothing bad will happen to you.”

There was a brief silence, save for the sound of them smoking the joint.

“So if I decide to leave the squad and do my own thing—”

“Whoa!” Interrupted Jeremy. “Pull over, pull over.” Weston did. “Stop right there. First of all, Weston, this is the last heist anyways. Second of all, you can’t just do that; we’re family. We’ll always be family, and we’ll always have 70823. We’ve known each other since elementary school.”

“I’m not saying we won’t be family, I’m saying this life ain’t for me. And after this next heist, which I know was my idea, I can’t do it anymore. Like next summer.”

“I hear what you’re saying, Wes. Believe me, I do. We’ll get through it, though. And we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

They left it at that. Jeremy tossed the joint out as Weston continued to drive, and even though Jeremy cared about his friend he decided to not ask what anyone was thinking, ever again. His eyes were open to something he never thought would come, but he knew Weston was right, and he knew it was better to talk about things, but Jeremy spent the next hour and a half in silence, thinking to himself about what he was going to do after this heist. He occasionally looked at his wrist for support and reassurance. Boy, did that watch sparkle. 

Bryce and James were still wide awake, drinking, taking hits from the bong, and blasting music, when Jeremy and Weston walked through the door; they looked dead tired. Weston shut the door and slugged behind Jeremy to the couches, where Bryce and James were partying, and crashed. Bryce and James looked from Jeremy to Weston, and from Weston back to Jeremy.

“Y’all okay?” Asked Bryce. “Everything is a go right?”

Weston sighed. “Yeah, it’s a go. We’re just tired.”

“I can imagine; felt like you guys were gone all day.”

“Want a drink?” Offered James. “Or a bong hit?”

“Nah, I won’t even get high right now. We had those preroll’s while we drove.”

Jeremy nodded his head to agree with Weston.

“Damn, you guys are hella burnt out, eh,” said Bryce. “It’s all good, we were mostly waiting for you guys to come back before we went to bed. I guess we should all get some sleep.”

So they did. 70823 didn’t have any conventional bedrooms; the two couches turned to pull out beds, and there were two other mattresses on the floor in the same area. You can see why Weston said this life wasn’t for him anymore. When the lights went out he laid on his back and stared at the wooden ceiling, thinking about tomorrow, and thought about what he told Jeremy during their drive to the museum and back. He was excited to do this heist, he loved all that medieval stuff, and he knew about Sir Benjamin Lightstorm before he visited the museum in first year. Now he was going to steal the suit of armour he died in, and the sword he used to slay hundreds of other Knights. Weston eventually dozed off into a peaceful sleep, where he probably dreamt of himself, as a knight, in the field of battle. 

They woke up the next morning in a fantastic mood, like they usually did before a big day. Naturally, there was a mixture of nerves, too, but it was mostly excited nerves; they knew it was very unlikely that any serious harm would come to them. Unlike the Grandaddy Heist, where Jeremy and Bryce got shot; none of them were sure if that made Bryce and Jeremy more or less courageous. Anyways, they valued their lives, and even though not everyone could get shot and live to tell the tale, they didn’t want to experience it again. But if the day ever came where they would have to surrender and give themselves up, or try to evade the law, they agreed to evade the law and live, or die, with the consequences. It was easy to say given that they weren’t in that situation, so who knew what’d happen if that day ever came, but seeing that when they were pulled over, they ran from the police, they might’ve been serious. Maybe some of them were. They all hoped that day wouldn’t come.

The pull out beds were stowed away and were couches again. Bryce, Jeremy, Weston, and James sat around the table with the blueprint and went over the plan one more time. 

“So, the museum closes at 9 tonight,” said Bryce. “We’re going to get there around 7, then split up in twos; one pair will take the tour that leads through History and Astronomy that starts at 7:15, and the other pair will take the tour that leads through Nature and Science that starts at 7:30. When the tours end, and when we’re walking back with the group, which should be around 8:30 and 8:45. We’ll break off from them and hide in the bathrooms.” Bryce took a breath and resumed. “Now, we can’t just do it right at 9 because staff will probably be roaming the floors. We have to wait until it’s just janitors, and that’d probably be around 10. We’ll text each other at that time to make sure none of us fall asleep.” Bryce Laughed. “It’s going to be boring, but it’s okay. Make sure you have your masks on before you leave the bathrooms. There’s going to be four janitors, so we’ll have to create a distraction to lure them away from the X then we go for it. See if the drill bits can unscrew the case, if not, we have to sledge it. Grab everything as fast as possible and run to the exit. Get in the Tesla and drive back here.”

“Wow, this is going to be fun,” said James.

“Everyone understands right?”

They all said something along the lines of yes, very triumphantly. It was just after noon, they rested up and took it easy until quarter to five, when it was time to go.

At 6:56 they were driving into the parking lot at The Callisto Museum. James parked where Weston told him to, pretty much where him and Jeremy parked when they dropped the duffle bags. There was no stalling this time; they were all ready when James turned off the ignition. Bryce said “Here’s to the last heist of the summer; may it be a flawless success. On three: Action. One, two, three:

ACTION.” They all said at once.

They got out of the Tesla and walked up the steps towards the entrance, masks strapped inside their sweaters, and hearts rapidly beating, but they were calm on the outside. They noticed there was quite a few people still inside, which was good. Then they split up; Weston and Bryce, James and Jeremy, and went to buy their tickets. 

James and Jeremy waited behind a few people in line. They looked over at Bryce and Weston, who were looking cool in their dark clothes. They were all wearing dark attire. James walked up to the girl inside the ticket booth and paid for his ticket. He waited beside Jeremy while he got his, then they both made their way through the floor to ceiling height double doors that led to the exhibits. They spotted the tour guide holding the sign that read ‘History and Astronomy 7:15’ and went over to wait with the rest of the group.

Everyone seemed to be present at 7:15 so the tour guide took that as her cue to begin. She introduced herself as Madeline; she looked to be 30 years old, but a young looking 30. She told them she’s lived in Callisto all her life and she graduated from Callisto University with her masters in history. Astronomy was just a hobby she picked up along the way. After her brief introduction she led them to the basement, where the Astronomy section was. They walked down several flights of stairs and it got darker the further down they went until they reached flat ground, where they could hardly see at all except for small specs of light scattered around. Some people on the tour didn’t seem concerned; Jeremy and James overheard whispers saying that they’ve been on the tour before. Madeline directed them a little further down what was probably just a hallway. 

“Okay, so before we walk through these doors you’re going to have to grab a pair of protective glasses because it is going to get really bright. They should be on your right, just reach out a bit.”

James and Jeremy did, and sure enough they felt the glasses. Madeline waited for everyone to put them on then she opened the doors.

Even with the glasses on James and Jeremy thought they were about to go blind. It was spectacularly bright, like light from Heaven or fire from Hell; they weren’t sure where they belonged. It took some time for their eyes to adjust and when they did, they were amazed: there was the sun, a projection, at least, but it looked so real, if not for the obvious size difference, and their skin also wasn’t melting off; but it was hotter than normal inside, and the texture of the sun was unbelievably realistic; the flares were dancing around, the colors going in every direction. 

“You guessed it, we’re at the sun. The beginning of our solar system. This tour will bring you to every planet in our solar system and they’ll all look life like just like this. The rooms will also get cooler the further away we get from the sun. Feel free to touch, don’t worry, it’s completely safe.”

During the tour James and Jeremy saw awe inspiring projections of things they thought they’d never see. If this was the closest they’d get to visiting space, they were satisfied. They saw the rings of Saturn and all its moons, the huge red spot on Jupiter and all its moons; by that time it was practically winter. The clouds on Jupiter looked like there were actually massive hurricanes going on. They saw constellations spread across the darkness and even projections of satellites and space stations. Madeline was also a magnificent guide. They left the solar system and saw displays of unique space crafts used to travel, there were astronaut suits from every space program, too. James and Jeremy almost forgot they were there for a heist. They left the Astronomy section and deposited their glasses inside a bin so they could be reused. Finally the lighting was back to normal. Madeline led them upstairs, only one floor above Astronomy and led them towards the History exhibit. The History Exhibit is also where the suit of armour, and the sword, of Sir Benjamin Lightstorm would be. Madeline stopped them infront of another set of large doors.

“Okay, all, we are about to enter the History Exhibit. The History Exhibit ranges from when dinosaurs roamed to pretty much present day.” James and Jeremy hoped nothing like Jurassic Park was about to happen. “Once again, feel free to touch, or take your time with certain parts, this is the last stop so we’ll be here until 8:30. It’s now 8:00.” 

Madeline pushed open the doors and the crowd herded inside. James and Jeremy felt softer ground when they walked through and they noticed they were standing on fake grass. There were replica trees, a creek, and dinosaur projections walking all around them. My! How did they look so real? This museum has been here for how long? And this is their first time coming? James and Jeremy were upset Weston never told them about this place sooner. They wondered how their tours were going. 

Then they saw it; inside the Medieval section there were so many suits of armour and swords, but the one that belonged to the prestigious Knight, Sir Benjamin Lightstorm was unmistakable and definitely wasn’t a projection, and certainly wasn’t a replica; it was glistening, it was shining like their watches in the sun, like the sun from the Astronomy exhibit; they should’ve had protective glasses now, too. The swords blade was golden and so was the hilt, and it had more sparkling jewels embedded inside. They read the blurb engraved in the plaque attached to the glass:

This suit belonged to Sir Benjamin Lightstorm, arguably the bravest Knight in history, not only for what he did, but for what he didn’t do, as well: When faced with the opportunity for eternal glory, Sir Benjamin knew becoming royalty and being enshrined in gold wasn’t what was important; it was fighting for his country, alongside his brothers, that was important. Sir Benjamin Lightstorm died in this suit, with his sword ‘Sunset’ in hand, during the Battle of Mount Carpathia. Survivors on both sides know his name, and today he is still talked about; he truly gained eternal glory.’

James and Jeremy looked at each other and smiled; that was going to be theirs soon. They quickly caught up with the rest of the tour, but they didn’t have much time left.

They walked through the War exhibits, where planes were flying around the ceiling, shooting each other; some were even dropping bombs. There were rifles, shotguns, and many other fire arms. Army suits, navy suits, from all generations, but they couldn’t stop to look for long. It was 8:30, the tour was over and James and Jeremy couldn’t wait to get out of there now. They thanked Madeline for doing an amazing job and told her they’d definitely come back soon, but right now they desperately had to use the bathroom. She said no problem and allowed them to leave through the massive double doors. Once they were out, they sprinted to the nearest bathroom. 

For a bathroom, it was very well kept. Considering the condition of rest of the museum, though, they couldn’t say they were surprised. James and Jeremy were alone inside. 

“I’ll text Bryce to let him know we’re in position,” said James and he proceeded to do that. 

James: Our tour just finished, we’re in the bathroom now. 

Two floors above James and Jeremy, Bryce felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. He checked it and replied.

Bryce: Nice, ours is just about to wrap up. Man, that was crazy. The tour. 

Back inside the bathroom, James saw Bryce’s reply. 

James: I know right. Ours was too. Weston should’ve told us about this earlier, we could’ve hit it a long time ago and been back taking tours lol

Bryce had is phone in his hand while listening to his tour guide give her last speech.

Bryce: That’s what I told Weston lol well our tour is over now. We’re going to find a bathroom to hide in. Where are you guys?

James replied.

James: We’re in one of the bathrooms under the main floor, closest to the *exit* of the history exhibit. Im sure Weston can lead you guys there. 

Bryce was walking with Weston towards a bathroom and showed him James’ text.

Bryce: Yeah, he said he knows where that is. Okay, we found our bathroom. We are also in position.

James smiled at his phone, this plan was going to be smooth. 

James: Nice. Btw, we saw the suit of armour and the sword in history exhibit. Oh man, Bryce, it’s beautiful. 

Bryce was now smiling at his phone.

Bryce: I can imagine by the way Weston described it. Alright, we’re going to think of our plan to distract security. You guys should too. I’ll text you closer to 10. 

James replied back.

James: Sounds good. I bet we’ll think of something more clever than you. 

Inside the bathroom, two floors above James and Jeremy, Bryce laughed and put his phone back inside his pocket. They had almost an hour and a half to think of something. 

The time passed; Bryce and Weston spent it pacing the floor of the bathroom, thinking. Then they sat inside the stalls. Separate ones, of course. It didn’t take long for them to think of a distraction, figuring how clever does it really have to be. When it was just about time, Bryce texted James. 

Bryce: We’re ready. We’ll meet you at the place in 7.5 minutes. And don’t forget to wear the masks. 

A few seconds later Bryce got a reply from James. 

James: Okay, see you then.

“Alright, Weston. Masks on,” said Bryce, who grabbed his mask from under his sweater and put it on. Weston did the same. This time they were wearing clown masks. “Let’s do this.”

In stealth mode now, Weston inched towards the bathroom door and slowly opened it up a slither. He used one eye to look out to see if anyone was near by. The hallways were dark; the light shining from the moon through the windows would be their only guide. Weston held on to the door to let it close.

“It’s clear. Just dark except for some light from the moon.”

Bryce nodded. He took the lead and quietly opened the bathroom door all the way; Weston followed. They were in the darkness of the hallway, creeping alongside shadows created by the moon light. They had to go down two floors; when they got to the staircase, Bryce examined the floor below and noticed a janitor mopping around, he looked zoned out. It was time to execute their distraction. 

Weston was about to pull his phone out but when he looked over his shoulder he noticed another janitor, walking up the stairs, a few yards behind them. He tapped on Bryce’s shoulder to alert him of the incoming problem. Bryce pressed himself up against the wall, Weston did the same, and they held their breaths. Weston tried to slowly turn his head to face the janitor when unexpectedly they heard a door slam. The janitors head raised up so quickly, he might’ve gotten whiplash; he stood on the steps for a while, looking frozen, then he brisk walked up the stairs, skipping steps. Bryce looked down, and the janitor who was below them was out of sight. 

So was it best to go down the stairs closest, or the ones furthest? If the janitor by the stairs closest to them was one floor below, the main floor, it was likely that the janitor who they saw on the further one was coming from the floor where James and Jeremy were, or the basement floor, where Astronomy is. They quickly decided to take the staircase furthest from them and silently tiptoed down the hall. They paused for a brief moment to glance up and down then continued to tiptoe down the stairs. They looked around the area of the third floor, the main floor, where they began the tour, and again, saw nothing but shadows in the darkness, blanketing the couches, and displays, no sign of the janitor. 

Weston whispered. “This is where we started, they should be below us.”

“What do you want to do?”

“Lets walk through here and use the plan—if we have to.” Weston led the way this time, walking off the stairs and onto the carpeted floor. “I have a feeling we won’t run into any trouble.” 

“What makes you say that?”

“Because they think the place is haunted. Didn’t you see how that janitor reacted?”

Bryce and Weston continued to walk. “Well is it?” Asked Bryce, with a hint of uneasiness.

“I don’t know,” said Weston with suspense, smirking.

Suddenly alarms began to ring from all around them, and all around the museum. The lights were still off but there were red and orange flashes flying along with the alarms. Bryce and Weston ducked beside a large wooden display table but didn’t have the patience to stay there like sitting ducks so Weston ran towards the stairs, with Bryce following, then from behind them they heard a voice yell out: “STOP”, but they kept going and zoomed down the steps with the alarms still blaring. “I’M CALLING THE POLICE”. They jumped from the third step and turned the corner and were terrified when they saw clown faces in the shadows until they realized it was James and Jeremy, but they weren’t sure who was who. Then one of them began hailing them over with the mini sledge hammer in hand and they knew that was Jeremy. They hurried over. The alarms stopped by then, but the janitors could’ve been anywhere.

“What the hell is happening?” Bryce whispered loudly. 

“You said 7 and a half minutes. It’s been at least 15. We had to act!”

“We have to split up again. Quickly.”

“Why? We don’t have time.”

“He’s right,” said Weston. “We need to go, now.” 

He pushed open the door to the history exhibit and they followed him to the suit of Sir Benjamin Lightstorm. It was Bryce’s first time seeing it and the sword; he was mesmerized. James moved him out of the way; they had absolutely no time to drill open the glass case, so Jeremy had the honour of smashing it. He raised the heavy tool across his body and began to swing. Then he felt a hand on his shoulder.

It was Bryce. “Wait,” he said. “We shouldn’t.”

Taken aback, they all looked at him in their clown masks.

“Stop eyeing me like that. Look, we don’t have much time, and I don’t know, these tours made me have an appreciation for this stuff. This is beautiful and we shouldn’t be the only ones who see it; It’s not fair.” 

“Are you saying you’ve become soft?” 

“How dare you?” Bryce gasped, and lifted his mask up. “It’s the principle!”

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty sure we all agree with you. But no one would’ve said it; lo and behold, you did.”

“So we’re not stealing it?” 

It was up to Bryce to make the decision.

“No.” He put his mask back on.

“Great,” Jeremy said dryly. “Now how are we gonna get out of here? The cops are on the way.”

“We need to run out of here, just drop everything and go. Now.”

Just as they did when they escaped Galaxy Mall, they sprinted out of the history exhibit, only this time, they left empty handed. There was a couple janitors outside the door waiting for them  but what could they do? The boys ran over them, literally, and left them in the dust. At least they didn’t suffer the same fate as the security guard at Galaxy. 

“We didn’t take anything!” One of the boys yelled.

Then they slammed open the emergency exit and the alarms blared again; but they were outside, in the fresh night time air, but they couldn’t stop to breathe. They ran to the Tesla and hurried inside. Jeremy driving. He started it up and drove out cautiously towards the street. They saw sirens approaching in the distance and James hit the gas and drove the other way; a couple minutes later they were on the highway. They managed to evade the law once again.

Two hours later they were back at 70823, sitting around their coffee table, sulking. All of them. The heist of the armour and sword of Sir Benjamin Lightstorm was unsuccessful but they had no regrets about not stealing it, they could’ve. They were sulking because now they had decisions to make about how to get out of the mess they made for themselves; about how they were going to be able to live a normal life; about how they were going to continue to not get caught and how long they could go. They couldn’t turn themselves in, they knew that much; they knew that 70823 was the safest place for them till time ran out; they wouldn’t let that happen, though; they weren’t the type to sit idly and wait for something to happen, especially when life was ticking. With the future full of uncertainties, the one thing the boys knew for sure was that that night they all showed that they were truly men of principle. How far would that get them? They weren’t sure. 

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