“I live in a huge mansion, and just minutes ago a man (or woman) just locked me, my brother, and my mother in our pantry closet.”
I have been here for weeks months days years hours minutes seconds.
Okay I have been here for five minutes. Let me explain.
I live in a huge mansion, and just minutes ago a man (or woman) just locked me, my brother, and my mother in our pantry closet. I woke up this morning and read the newspaper. It said that a criminal group had five failed attempts to take over rich mansions. FAILED. I wasn’t worried. I went to my private school. We were talking about what to do if a criminal came into our house. Little did I know I needed to listen.
I’m really scared. What if my house is a victim of one of these criminal warehouses? I’m nervous. I was trying to smile and keep quiet so my mother and brother would stay calm. That didn’t work. My mom won’t talk, and all my brother can think about is dividing the food in the pantry. In his defense he’s only four and does not know what’s going on. In my defense neither do I.
ONE YEAR LATER
We’ve been living here for a year. We’re running low on food. This pantry is dusty. This pantry smells like old ketchup. The floor is too hard to sleep on. I can hear the mice in the walls. Everything tastes like mold. I am now nine. My brother is five. Mother went missing. I didn’t cry. I knew this was a challenge. I had to take it head on. We just went to bed one night and when we woke up she wasn’t there. I hate living here. I know that my house, MY HOUSE, is now a criminal warehouse. I hear every night commands. Commands such as, “If that girl and brother find out about us we’ll put them to work.” I hate living here. I hope they find us. I’d rather work for criminals than live here one more night.
THEY FOUND US.
One morning we were eating some ridiculously stale muffins, when the door opened. I knew it wasn’t mother because the figure was wearing a black suit. Mother doesn’t own a black suit. The figure said no words but it’s time for work. My brother and I gulped. On the way into the main area the figure asked our names.
I said, “Livvi and Josh.”
“Kids, we’re putting you to work,” the figure said.
I had only one question on my mind: would we get to see mother? I had only so much to lose so I said, “What did you do with my mother?”
“She works for us now.”
I couldn’t help myself. “Will we get to see her?”
“Yes! Tonight… if you behave.”
“What do we have to do?”
OUR FIRST HEIST
I pass filth, dirt, and well, all the people I’ve ever seen in a newspaper. They growled at me. My brother spoke gibberish. That is all he ever talked since the mold started building up. I am so grateful he is not dead. He is my only friend. He always has been. Ever since dad died three years ago, he has been my best friend. I’ve heard enough to know that we would be working for these criminals. I figured that since my life already sucks so much, I have nothing to lose, so I start asking every question I have.
“What is our first mission?”
“You are going to distract the people working at the bank.”
“Pretend you are missing your mother.”
“I am missing my mother,” I said quietly to myself.
IN THE BANK
We entered the bank using the front entrance. All of the criminals went through the back entrance. I feared they would kill us if we didn’t complete the mission. I was trying to keep calm, but I was shaking. I had to complete this mission.
If I die, the criminals will keep my brother just to torture me. I couldn’t let that happen. We went up to the bank teller.
“We have lost our mother, sir.’’
We talked for about ten minutes.
A women popped into the room.
“Is that your mother?” said the bank teller.
“Yes,” we said.
And sure enough it was.
My mother and I hugged in the backseat of the van while the other criminals talked about how much money they took. I wanted to learn about the criminals before Mom, Josh, and I escaped.
The first criminal I wanted to learn about was Ronnie. I cornered him in the hall. He said, “Leave me alone, or I’ll take the upstairs room away from you,” he said like he didn’t want to be bothered. I stood there pretending I didn’t notice how grouchy he was.
“I WAS ACTUALLY WONDERING HOW YOU GOT HERE.”
“My ma left me when I was young. She was bad, now I’m bad, okay?
“What if you gave your mother a second shot.’’
“I’ll give her a shot. I’ll give her a shot to the head.”
“Just give her a chance, mothers don’t just leave their children.”
His face was full of confusion. He started crying. The toughest criminal here. CRYING.
The next morning I told my mom what happened when I talked to Ronnie. She just kept talking about getting out of the warehouse.
“There are only four criminals who live here regularly. We just have to take them out.”
I could not stand it. I went downstairs to get oatmeal. That’s breakfast, dinner, and lunch here.
I noticed Ronnie wasn’t there.
“Lulu, where’s Ronnie?”
“Went soft, kid.”
“Said somethin’ ‘bout goin to find his ma.”
An idea came into my head: What if I made all the criminals soft? Then we could get out of here.
“Lulu, why are you here?” I asked.
“I was a bank teller. Everybody who worked with me was trying to get money. I wanted money. I had a son. We were not poor. I’m just very competitive. I was the youngest of eight children. I had seven older brothers. I wanted to be a leader.” Lulu looked away from me, as if what she had to say next embarrassed her. “I wanted to be a leader so much that I killed my husband and robbed the bank. I put my son up for adoption. I didn’t love him.” Lulu looked back at me, an expression of horror on her face. “Wow. I’m terrible. I didn’t realize what a terrible person I was before this. I want to be a leader not a follower. I think I’ll do what Ronnie did. I’ll make my life better. I’m so sorry. I’ll tell the others to get out.”
13 YEARS LATER
It is my wedding day. It has been 13 years since the criminals left the warehouse. Guess who is at my wedding. Lulu. I paid her bail. I am rich you know. She even got to adopt her son, Michael. That is who I am marrying. We have a lot in common. I do love him. My brother is now giving a toast. We got him treatment so that he doesn’t speak gibberish anymore.
I barely even think about what happened. I just think about my new life.
My new criminal life. I’m following in Lulu’s footsteps. JUST KIDDING.