Focus

“Have you ever wondered what it would be like to…”

“Don’t start.”

“What do you mean?”

“You always ask these bizarre questions when you know I’m trying to concentrate. Don’t.”

“So what should I do?”

“I don’t know. Why not try being quiet?”

“Okay.” He leaned against the wall and tried not to say anything.

“Stop it.”

“What? I wasn’t saying anything.”

“You were humming.”

“Was I?”

“You were.”

“Sorry.” No talking. No humming. He suspected that tapping his foot or his fingers were also out. That didn’t leave many options. Somehow, though, he managed to stay silent.

For almost a minute. “Seriously, though. Haven’t you wondered what it’s like to be dead? I mean, do you suppose you still think?”

She dropped her head in frustration. “Seriously? If you don’t shut up, you’re going to get a chance to find out the answer right now. Let me finish. Unless you want to find out what else I can use these for.” She brandished the small, slender tools at him.

It was likely not a bluff, but he couldn’t help himself. “You are very attractive when you get angry.”

She stood as she spun around to face him. “I am going to shove this lockpick through your eye and into your brain. Do you believe me?”

“No.”

“Then stop it. The guard could wake up any second, and we need to be gone before then.”

He nodded. If he opened his mouth again, he was certain to push her too far.

She was back at work on the lock. Her irritation was palpable. Yet, almost immediately, she had it open.

Inside the chest was a sheaf of papers, a pouch, and two vials of a greenish-blue liquid. Ignoring everything else, she grabbed the vials and closed it back up, replacing the lock when the lid was down.

“Let’s go,” she growled as she shoved past him.

He followed without saying a word. They stepped over the good, still unconscious on the floor, and made their way back into the night where they could disappear. They made a good team, and she knew it, even if he frustrated her. He didn’t dare tell her he had realized early on that she worked best when she was annoyed.

Safely away from the house, he began whistling. Tuneless, of course. He also knew that he got a perverse pleasure from annoying her. And she probably wouldn’t stab him now that the job was finished.