Wednesday, April 13, 2011


He positions himself at the back, silent an unobtrusive. A black bag lay at his feet containing the tools of his trade. He observes.

There were about a hundred people milling about in the room, excluding the wait staff. Among them were the wealthy, dripping elegantly in gold and pearls. Hobnobbing with them were those who, though of comparable and luxurious means, lacked the confident air of those who were born into money. They wore huge, dazzling pieces of jewelry that defied all the rules of symmetry, suitability and classic style. For him, the former were easier preys: relaxed, unguarded, even foolish.

The room was big and allowed him to move about freely. Several tea lights were nestled on each of the twelve round tables spread out across the dimly-lit room, for decoration as well as illumination. He takes note of the large windows and where they faced, the plain-looking doors that opened to a storeroom, the washrooms and the kitchen, and the main entrance where a couple of eagle-eyed personnel took their posts. What made him good at his job was his attention to detail, his sharpness at spotting an opportunity and his innate ability to stay focused despite a myriad distractions.

He picks up the black bag and sets it down carefully behind a decorative column to the left of the dance floor. He squats, reaches inside the bag and his hand closes around the cold metal apparatus. Checking, fitting, letting his hand get accustomed to its weight. He stands up, excitement building like liquid fire within him. He is ready. He looks around and finds his target. The father of the bride. A cunning businessman who turns everything he touches into gold. His presence commands respect, even fear, and he revels in it. He has just stepped into the room, his daughter a breathtaking vision on his arm. She leans closer and whispers something in his ear, and the stony mask of the businessman begins to crumble into a soft smile. The man behind the column sees his opportunity and aims. He might not get another shot.

It's these stolen moments of which he was most proud.

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