“I’m gonna get so much shit this year, man.” said Alex.
“I don’t know if we can top last year.” laughed Mike in reply.
The two 16-year-olds were discussing what they’d done on that night for the previous two years, which was enter the homes of the adults out participating in the town’s birthday festivities, and stealing whatever they could get their hands on. In Mike’s basement, they got ready. They dressed in all black clothing, each sporting a skull mask, and each had an extra large duffel bag meant for sports equipment.
“Should we bring Tom along?” Mike asked.
“Hell no, he moves too slow. And last year, Joe almost got us caught, that dumb piece of shit. Thank God he’s 18 now, the adults can deal with him. No, this year, just us.” Alex essentially ordered.
The young men finished getting ready, and Alex looked at his phone for the time, which read 8:10 PM. They walked upstairs and stepped out onto Alex’s porch. The moon brightened the night sky, clouds floating in and out of its way. The street was empty, not another soul in sight. Every person in Glarus over the age of 18 could be found at Jim Ranger’s farm, and the children could be found at the library.
That left those at the already awkward ages of roughly 12-17 to their own devices. Luckily for Glarus’ 120 residents, only four people were in that age group this year. Even so, two of those people were up to no good. With all of the adults away, and darkness providing them extra cover, Alex and Mike set out on their mission.
Their plan was a simple one. First, they would find a house with no lights on, an easy task, as only a handful of houses were indeed illuminated, probably by the homeowners accidentally forgetting to shut their lights off. Next, they would knock on the door to assure no one was home; they’d never found a house where someone was. Then, they would go around the house and find an unlocked window and if they couldn’t, they would simply jimmy it open.
It was a simple plan that had worked for two years already without fail, and they expected no different this year. They walked down two lonely, desolate blocks (there were only three blocks of residences in Glarus), as far as they could get from their own, to look for a house to break into.
“We’ve already done most of these houses, dude.” Mike said.
“I know.” Alex replied pensively, as if deeply immersed in thought. “We should go to the farmhouses.”
Mike let out a quiet laugh. “You’re kidding.”
“Why not?” Alex reasoned. “Everyone is at Mr. Ranger’s farm, he’s not the only one with a farmhouse. We’ll just go to the first farmhouse, it’s like a half mile away from Mr. Ranger’s.”
“That’s that older lady, right? Miss Simpson?” Mike asked.
“Simpkin, but yeah. It would be easy. She’s gotta have some jewelry in there or something.” Alex reasoned.
“Alright fuck it, let’s do it.” Mike replied, ready to follow Alex’s lead given his past reputation for success in like endeavors.
And with that, they went on their way. Just at the edge of the three residential blocks, resting on the main road that runs through Glarus, began the Glarus Farms. Each plot was sold to families generations prior, and every few years, a different owner took responsibility for hosting the main Glarus birthday festivity.
They walked the short distance to the first plot of farmland in Glarus, Miss Simpkin’s farm. From the shadows across the street, they observed their target home, noting that all the lights were off, and that was essentially the only prerequisite needed for a house to be a target for them. They made their way across the road and approached the large, dark house.
After a short debate, it was decided that Mike would be the one to knock on the door. While Alex observed the side of the house, looking up at the windows into the nearly pitch black inside, Mike took four steps up the creaky stairs to the porch of Miss Simpkin’s farmhouse. He opened the squeaking screen door and knocked hard on the wooden front door three times.
He waited for a few moments, and when no one came to the door, he knocked again. After some more time with no response, he knocked one last time. Deciding it was safe to enter the home, Mike yelled to Alex in a hushed whisper that they were clear to move forward with their plan, telling him to try to find an unlocked window.
The two boys moved along the opposite sides of the house, checking each window, but to no avail. They met in the backyard of the house and found that none of the back windows were open either.
“Guess it’s time for the screwdriver.” Mike said.
“Fuck, I guess so. Why couldn’t the front door just be open like that last one last year?” Alex replied.
“Well…I didn’t check the front door.” Mike said, sheepishly.
Alex gave him a look that visibly expressed his dumbfoundedness with his partner’s lack of common sense. After a sigh, Alex silently led Mike back around to the front of the house, and the pair walked up the paint-chipped porch to the front door. Alex extended his hand and turned the knob; the door quietly slid open.
“Gotta love houses in the middle of nowhere. They don’t expect anyone to come out here to rob them.” said Alex with a subdued laugh. Mike quietly agreed as the two entered the house.
Miss Simpkin’s front door opened to a large foyer with a staircase on the left hand side. To the left was the dining room which led to the kitchen, and to the right was the living room. The boys waited for their eyes to adjust to the crisp darkness before proceeding through the house. Alex suggested they split up, but Mike disagreed. He reasoned that it was because if someone came home they would both need to find a way out, but the true reason was that he was afraid, which Alex jokingly laughed about.
The two went left first, duffel bags over their shoulders, looking for anything valuable they could take. In the dining room was a cabinet filled with silver and gold silverware, which Alex put into his bag, while Mike put expensive China in his. After going through the kitchen, where they didn’t find anything of real value, they entered the office that connected to it.
In the office, they found a set of baseball cards in plastic cases, which they assumed were worth money, as well as an envelope filled with actual money, something that made them both nearly jump with excitement. Opposite the door that connected the office to the kitchen was one connecting it to a bathroom, which they skipped for obvious reasons. Their plan was to check the living room and then go through the upstairs before leaving.
They walked through the kitchen, dining room, and the foyer to get to the living room. They started looking around when suddenly, form the corner, they heard the click of a lighter, followed by the sight of a flame. It was a man sitting in a chair, lighting a cigarette, with a gun in his hand, resting on his knee, pointed in the direction of Alex and Mike. His presence made the boys jump, and their bodies fill with fear at getting caught. All the possibilities of punishment ran through their minds.
The man took a hit of his cigarette and blew out a plume of smoke before speaking with a sinister grin across his face.
“Picked the wrong house this year boys. We’re gonna have some fun.”
“We just–” began Alex before he was cut off by the man in the chair.
“Oh save it, you little son of a bitch. Whatever it is you have to say, save it. I know why you’re here. You got my house last year while I was at the celebration. And you know what? I didn’t know you were gonna choose this house this year. I was prepared to stay in Miss Simpkin’s every year until you boys chose this one, or at least till you were old enough to join the festivities yourselves.”
“Alright, we’re sorry. Please, we’ll put the stuff back.” said Mike.
“The hell you will.” said the man as he leaned forward, out of the shadows.
“Mr….Mr. Kern?” Alex asked.
He was correct. The man in the chair was Elliot Kern, a former schoolteacher at the school two towns over (there were no schools in Glarus, so the neighboring town of Brunner housed its students), who had indeed taught the two boys he now held at gunpoint.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” responded Kern. “Always knew you little assholes would grow up to do some shit like this. Now, you boys know we have a police station here, right?”
The boys nodded in affirmation.
“Then you know that the sheriff is my brother. And you know that I can do literally anything I want, and there will be no repercussions.”
“Please–” began Matt.
“I’m not done talking yet.” said Kern, loudly. “Now, I could shoot you both dead right now and be within my legal rights anywhere, not just here and under my brother’s watch. I could do that. But I’m gonna go a different route. Do you boys know about the celebration?”
The boys once again nodded.
“We’re gonna change history tonight.”