SSM: “Burglary” by Mary Jones

24 May

Last January, I came home from work to a burgled home. They’d taken my laptop, a jar of coins, our television, and some other odds and ends. Along with the violation, there’s a strange pompousness that comes to being burgled, an assumption that I owned what another wanted.

I found myself wanting to talk to the burglars, to say that ever lifting phrase, “If you just would have asked…” which is bullshit of course, a way of making me feel better about my station. When people come to my door, I’m immediately suspicious, I keep the storm door between us, I look beyond them. I rarely give a solicitor at my door a fiver, let alone a TV or my laptop.

I’d be interested in how people read this story by Jones over at PANK. Do you read it as envy? As an affair? Is an affair a sort of burglary? Is burglary out of envy or necessity or both: like how rape is so often thought of as a crime of passion, but it’s more a crime of power? Are there any psychologists in the house?

Carol decided to burglarize her neighbor’s house. She was a friend of the family, but there were things she wanted that the family had. She was tired of seeing the things, leaving them for the family. She wore a ski mask and used a flashlight. She went in late at night, when no one was home, except the husband. The wife and the kids were out of town visiting with relatives. They would not be back for days, and Carol knew it, so she could take her time getting the things she wanted. Sometimes when the family went away, they left her in charge of the dog, so she had a set of keys that the woman had made for her years ago.

The dog greeted her when she opened the door, its tail wagging. It was a big dog with a dopey disposition—the kind of animal that always seemed to be smiling at his own thoughts. Carol fed it treats from her pocket as she made her way through the house. First she went down the hall to where the children slept. In their room two walls were painted pink, for the little girl, and the other two walls were painted blue, for the little boy. Carol had a gigantic garbage bag. It was the kind of bag you use for things that break through lesser bags. She went to the beds and put all the things that kept the children warm at night into her bag. She took their pillows and their blankets. She took all of the stuffed animals that had been tucked underneath the covers. She took the nightlight, too.

Read the full story at PANK.

One Response to “SSM: “Burglary” by Mary Jones”

  1. KW May 24, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    If you haven’t listened to her read this, please do. She reads quite well. A slow, even-tempered voice. Pleasant. And there’s a rustle of cloth on the microphone.

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