32 - Cat Burglars

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We stood in a side alley late one night, the cold air turning the tip of my nose red. The windows in stores were darkened, the holiday decorations gloomy without the lights. The three of us were huddled together, staring across at the jewellery store Mary Jane's mother worked at. The store was closed for the night, the lights off and the front doors locked. Despite the fear dancing in my stomach, I waited with them both.

"Have I mentioned this is a terrible idea?" I whispered, yanking at the gloves that covered my hands. The two of them had spun a plan to fake a robbery to get Spider-Man's attention in hopes to meet him. All week I had been trying to get them to change their minds, but I hadn't had much luck. "We could get in serious trouble? What if we get your mother in trouble, Mary Jane?"

My friends turned back to me, looking a little cold in their black clothing. It seemed that they had played the part rather too well. "I know the codes, okay? Plus the alarms are triggered when the display cases are touched not when the doors are opened, which helps since I have the key." Mary Jane started.

"We only set the alarms off once inside," Gwen added in. "We don't break anything, don't take anything. The police will show up in about ten minutes. Spider-Man will arrive before then hopefully and we get our meeting with him. We put in the codes to turn off the alarms and get out before anyone knows anything. It will look like the alarms malfunctioned for a few minutes, that's all."

Mary Jane gave a little nod too, a little proud of their shady scheming. I crossed my arms over my chest, pursing my lips. "And what about the cameras? Despite being able to turn off the alarms and get out before the police show, we'll be seen on camera."

"I've been checking out the place all week," Gwen started. "There are four cameras. One I actually believe doesn't work...but there is one by the front doors. One upstairs near the glass displays with the super expensive rings. The other two are on the main floor, right up in the right corners." Gwen paused, being a little dramatic, but she was enjoying it. "We know where the cameras are, we just don't fall into their sight. We get inside, wait for Spider-Man and get out."

I frowned at them both, a little weary how much effort they had put into this terrible idea. "Have I ever told you you're smarter than you look, Gwen?" I replied, stepping in closer. "Despite this still being absolutely insane."

Gwen gave a little grin, flipping her hair over her shoulder. "I enjoy scheming."

We stood in that little alleyway a little longer, watching the empty street. It was actually rather lucky the store was in Brooklyn and not Manhattan because the street wouldn't be empty in that case. With a little hesitation, Mary Jane started moving. We followed close behind her, my shoes slapping against the damp road. Thankfully the rain had stopped.

We reached the front doors, standing still for a moment. I peered over my shoulder, keeping an eye on the road and the walkways. Mary Jane pulled out the key she had somehow stolen from her mother and fiddled with it. After a short silence, I turned to face them both. "What's going on?" I insisted, "Why isn't the door budging?"

I could see the panic flash through Mary Jane's pretty eyes. "I don't know, I thought it was the right key."

Gwen pushed Mary Jane out of the way with her hip, jamming the key into the lock. She twisted it around a few times but nothing. "Okay, so you managed to steal the wrong key." Gwen sighed out, pocketing the key and turning back to face us. I was more than ready to leave and forget we ever tried to do this in the first place. "We can just use the fire escape."

"How do you know the store has a fire escape?" I asked quickly, hurrying after Gwen as she marched towards the side street.

Mary Jane followed behind us hopelessly. "What building in New York doesn't have a fire escape?" Gwen questioned over her shoulder. It took a second or two for my eyes to adjust to the darkness in the side street but as my eyes reached up I saw the metal ladder of the fire escape. Without another word, Gwen was climbing upwards in a hurry. Mary Jane followed behind as I hung back. There was a hammering in my chest and I went through the plan again in my head. Get inside, avoid the cameras, set off the alarms, get the meeting with Spider-Man, put in the codes for the alarms and get out all before the police arrive. Great.

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