Part One: Chapter Five

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Their room is on the fifth floor and has a beautiful view of the beach and a few of the neighboring resorts, but Atlas does not have time to do more than glimpse the nighttime view. Mary puts him to work unpacking Max’s clothing choices right away, so they can grab some dinner and plan the heist before bed. Mary’s clothes are all a different version of the same outfit she’s been wearing since Atlas met her: black boots, black jeans, black tops, black dresses, and several black and red wigs. In his carry on, Atlas finds the following items of clothing: three leather jackets of differing colors and amounts of wear, five rock band t-shirts, two pairs of distressed jeans (one pair so filled with holes that people will be able to see his thighs), one pirate bandana, an extra pair of Chuck Taylors, and a black bathing suit. Max tucked a note in one of the side pockets, like a mother might leave on the counter: Hey kid, remember not to get your head wet — your eyeliner will run, and your wig could float right off. Also, in case you need it, I packed an extra nail polish in the other side pocket. It’s harder than it looks, so have Mary put it on. Good luck with the heist. After he reads it out loud, Mary burns the note outside on their balcony in their metal trash can so no one can ever find it and use it as evidence.

They change into their nicest clothes, which for Atlas means just changing his t-shirt, and Mary gets in a black dress with a pirate skull belt around her waist. It’s late, almost 9:00 PM, so the buffet is quiet and only two other tourists sit on the far side of the room. Atlas is starving—the last thing he ate was a dry ham sandwich on the plane—so he descends on the rolls, tacos, chicken wings, French fries, and other greasy foods with an appetite that only a seventeen year old boy can muster. He scoops several foreign foods onto a second plate as well, which would have been too expensive or inconvenient for Andrea and Chris to prepare for their (emphasis on foster) son: mussels in butter sauce, crab cakes with a side of tartar sauce, cheese cakes covered in luscious strawberries preserved in their glaze like children asleep under their bed sheets. Mary procures a roasted chicken, which she tears apart viciously with dog-teeth fingers, and within five minutes the floor plans she spreads in front of him are fingerprinted with grease.

“We have to move quickly,” Mary says through a mouthful of chicken, “and tomorrow night, we strike. If their aunt and uncle meet us, they could potentially identify us later on, so I say we break in while they’re out to dinner. This is me,” she says as she slaps a pepper shaker at the entrance of the house, “and this is you.”

“Why am I the salt shaker?” Atlas asks.

“I don’t know…because you have blond hair?”

“Not really,” he says, trying to keep a straight face, “I think I should be the pepper shaker.”

“Fine,” Mary says with a huff, switching their shakers.

“Actually, I think I liked being the salt better.”

It takes Mary two more times before she realizes he’s toying with her, and to retaliate, she launches one of her grapes across the white-clothed table. Atlas returns a petit four like a cannonball between enemy ships, and Mary plants a piece of chocolate chip cookie in the remainder of his cheesecake. Luckily a server walks by and clears the dishes, or all of their food would have ended up as spoils of war strewn across a snowy battlefield.

“As I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted,” Mary continues, “I’ll disable the alarm while you sneak in the side window and get to the safe and open it using this device.” Mary flashes some kind of handheld machine at him, then stuffs it back in her purse.

“Wasn’t that just a cell phone?” Atlas asks, peering over the table.

“Okay, you caught me, it is ‘just a cell phone.’ But it also has an app that I myself created that can crack the codes on any safe in the world, which I will be selling on the black market if we manage to pull this off without getting arrested. Now, I’ll keep lookout while you steal the money, and then we’ll hop on the 9:45 bus to the airport. Any questions?”

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