The Doorknob Thief

By: Nisovin

Some people have a knack for finding strange things; strange things always seem to find Zane Legends. Sometimes Zane is on the move, and those strange things have to search him out. Other times Zane remains pretty much stationary, and that’s when the strange things almost overwhelm him.

Zane sat in a hard, uncomfortable chair, his feet crossed on the desk in front of him. He was watching Simpsons reruns on the TV in the corner and eating a turkey hoagie. There was a stack of six more hoagies on the desk, a bunch of bananas, and a twelve back of Cherry Coke, though two cans were already empty, and another was nearly so. Being an overnight security guard for a decent sized jewelry store, Zane needed the rations to keep him up and alert, and he needed the Simpsons to keep him in a good mood.

All the lights in the building were off, including in the monitoring room. Zane figured that a nighttime guard should work in the dark, so that’s what he did. Every few seconds he glanced over at the camera monitors, but everything was still. Everything was always still, who would be foolish enough to rob a jewelry store? Every entrance was alarmed, and so were all the glass display cases. Zane felt his job was rather unnecessary, which made it even better. He got paid for sitting around watching TV and eating, there was no better job in his opinion.

Then, just as an episode was ending and he was stuffing the last bite of another sandwich into his mouth, he glanced over at one of the monitors and thought he saw a shadow of something moving near one of the rear exits. When he looked again he didn’t see anything, so he dismissed it as his mind playing tricks on him. But a few moments later he saw it again, a shadow moving, this time next to the door to the main display area, so he decided he’d better go investigate.

He snuck out into the main room and looked around. Immediately he noticed a black shape next to a door. After a few moments of study, Zane realized it was a man dressed all in black. What he was doing near the doorway, Zane had no idea. So, he decided he’d find out.

“What are you doing?” Zane asked in a strong voice.

The figure did not make one sound, but instantly fled toward the back door of the store. Zane pursued, and found the back door wide open, with the black figure rushing down short flight of stairs outside. Zane stopped at the entrance. He never came in or left this way because of those stairs. The front entrance had no stairs, so he always came and left that way. By the time Zane realized that there really weren’t that many stairs and he could simply jump over them, the black figure had disappeared.

“Burnt sausages, he got away!” Zane muttered to himself.

Zane decided to go investigate to see if anything had been stolen. One by one, he checked all of the display cases, but they were all perfect fine, and the alarms were all activated. Then he walked over to the door where the thief had been kneeling, and saw something unusual. The doorknob was missing. Why would a thief break into a jewelry store and steal a doorknob? Zane wondered to himself. Then, with a sudden flash of brilliance, Zane checked the back door. Sure enough, the doorknob there was missing as well, and the alarm system had somehow been deactivated.

Zane decided he’d better call the store owner. After a few rings, someone answered.

“Hello?” said a groggy voice.

“Hello, sir, this is Zane Legends.”

Immediately the voice became more awake. “Has something happened?”

“Well, sir, kind of. Someone broke in, but as far as I can tell he only stole two doorknobs.”

“Doorknobs?” the owner asked, wondering if he had heard right.

“Yes, sir,” Zane responded. “Maybe he would have stolen something more, but I chased him out.”

“Well, if he only stole doorknobs, we don’t need to report it to the police. Just keep an eye out for if he comes back.” The shopkeeper did not trust the police very much. There had been a previous issue, but Zane had only heard rumors.

“Yes, sir, will do,” Zane confirmed. “Good night, sir.”

“Good night, Zane.”

Zane hung up the phone and went to close the back door. Unfortunately, because the doorknob was missing, it simply would not stay closed no matter what Zane tried. So, he readjusted one of the security cameras to point directly at that entrance, then returned to the monitoring room, where he opened another can of Cherry Coke.

Not a half hour later, Zane saw a black figure enter the already open back door. Zane did not immediately go out to chase the man away, he wanted to see what the thief was up to. The thief slowly made his way to the front door, which somewhat surprised Zane, and yet at the same time, Zane kind of expected it.

Zane walked out and began to sneak up on the man, but the man must have heard him, because he suddenly leapt up and ran to the back door, where he escaped into the night. Zane went to check the front door, and discovered that he was too late, the doorknob was already missing. He found it unusual that the man escaped through the back door when the front door was so much closer. It was almost as though the man knew of Zane’s fear of stairs.

Zane chose not to call the owner this time; after all, it was just another doorknob. Unfortunately, the store was now rather vulnerable. So, Zane prepared his defenses. He carefully poured his remaining Coke on the floor and on the doors, then placed banana peels in strategic places all around the building. When his preparations were complete, he hunched down in a corner and waited.

He didn’t have to wait long. Soon, he heard a voice from the front door.

“What the heck? This door is all sticky,” the voice whispered.

“Be quiet,” whispered another.

As the thieves entered, Zane could clearly hear the squeaky sound of their sticky, Coke-covered shoes. He listened with anticipation, and sure enough, heard a hiss, a thud, then another thud, as a man slipped on a banana peel and knocked over the other man as he fell. He heard similar sounds coming from the back door. He jumped from his hiding place with several nice sized pieces of rope and quickly tied them all up, then drug them to the middle of the room.

Two of them were arguing about whose fault it was that they ended up in that predicament, so Zane stuffed some of his hoagie sandwiches in their mouths to shut them up. One of the others asked, “Who are you?”

“I’m Zane Legends, thank you for asking.”

“Where did you get that scar?” the thief asked.

“Well, it goes like this,” Zane said. “I was –.”

At that moment, police sirens interrupted him. Being the smart guy he was, he had called the police right before the thieves had arrived, and they had shown up just in time.

“Oh, burnt sausages!” exclaimed one of the thieves.

Zane stuffed the last sandwich down the thief’s mouth and said, “You can’t say that! That’s my line!”

Genre: Crime
Setting: At night
Character: Thief