The Next Thief Of Magadan
"Even the thieves are getting worse and worse, Ninel thought, looking at the boy’s trembling hands. All the good ones have already left town. A third of the population had fled, TV said. Walking down her street, one saw rows and rows of smashed-out windows, cement apartments gone hollow-eyed, crumbling." A short story.
The luxe door had cost them everything. Oak, with wooden lace. It gave the impression there was more behind it than:
one twenty-year-old TV set at full volume, and
two eighty-three-year-old women.
He was the seventh thief in the last two years. They came as reliably as seasons.
Luzy was already in bed; Ninel had stayed up for the nine o’clock news. Rising petrol prices; a baby rhinoceros born in the Moscow Zoo; in Chechnya, people killing each other; and in front of them, suddenly, a pimply teenager in a black tracksuit pointing a gun at her. Ninel hadn’t even heard him come in. There were so many things she didn’t hear anymore.
“Don’t move. Hands up. If you make a sound, I’ll… I’ll kill you.” His voice was shaky and scarcely audible against the TV, but Ninel knew the procedure.