Authors: John Lekich
Tags: #JUV021000, #book
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Text copyright Â© 2012 John Lekich
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
The prisoner of Snowflake Falls [electronic resource] / John Lekich.
Issued also in print format.
75 2012Â Â Â Â Â
813'.6Â Â Â Â Â
First published in the United States, 2012
Library of Congress Control Number
: Teenage burglar Henry Holloway is sent to a small community that tests his criminal resolve.
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am writing the story of my life in a notebook I stole from a drugstore. Come to think of it, I stole the pen too. Given this information, there is no particular reason for you to believe that I'm especially honest. But I figure writing things down might be a good start in the trust department. I'm hoping that when you know a few things about me, you might begin to understand how I ended up where I did.
I've decided to try a little experiment. While writing my story, I'm going to be one-hundred-percent honest. You never know. I might even get to like it.
With this in mind, I think it's only fair to let you know my real name right off the bat. It is Henry Thelonius Holloway. Feel free to call me Henry anytime you like. You may think, what's the big deal? Everyone has a name. Actually, in my case, I have a bunch of different names. I have a student
card that says my name is Horace Latimer. I have a library card that claims I am Marvin O'Hara. And I have a driver's license that swears I am a legally bonafide driver named Antonio Pastorelli.
I first came across the late Mr. Pastorelli's license while making an unauthorized visit to his former home. With the addition of a few borrowed tools, including an X-Acto knife, a laminating kit and a small picture of yours truly, I was able to make some handy changes to Antonio's former id. By the time I was finished, the Motor Vehicle Department version of Mr. Pastorelli went from being a seventy-seven-year-old senior citizen to someone who happened to look just like me.
It's not that I'm some big-time forger or anything like that. But with a little knowhow and determination, I was able to alter the original license so that it looks close to genuine if you are casually inspecting it in a reasonably dark place.
Even though I may look a few years older than my age, I am only fifteen. That's one of the good things about being the new and improved Antonio Pastorelli. Thanks to my handiwork, it is a documented fact that Antonio has just turned seventeen and can operate a motor vehicle all the livelong day.
By now you're probably wondering why I have so many different names. Let's just say that it's to my advantage to have as many different names as possible. You should also be aware that I steal a lot more than stationery supplies. In fact, I have stolen everything from a stick of gum to a 1957 Thunderbird convertible. For some reason, I always think better while I'm chewing gum. And driving.
Mind you, I returned the convertible to its original parking space after a couple of hours of driving around and organizing my thoughts. I even ran it through the car wash and tuned up the engine a bit, since I noticed it was running a little rough. I didn't return the gum. But show me someone who wants their used gum back and I'll show you someone whose company you should definitely avoid.
You know how some people are good at playing sports or solving math equations? Well, I'm good at picking locks and hot-wiring cars. I've also been told that I have a natural ability as a pickpocket. Although, the one and only time I liberated someone's wallet, I felt so guilty that I had to put it right back into the side pocket of the sports jacket in question. I don't mean to brag. But the man on the bus who happened to be wearing the sports jacket at the time never even knew that his wallet was gone.
I wanted to get the fact that I'm a thief out of the way as soon as possible. When people find out I'm a thief, they usually react in one of two ways. They are either totally disgusted or they figure my life is like one of those movies where burglars crawl under laser beams to steal valuable paintings or jewels.
I would like to say right here and now that I've never crawled under a laser beam in my life. Also, I do not steal anything that someone has taken the trouble to hang on a wall. In fact, I am currently restricting myself to stealing only the basics. Given my current predicament, I tend to focus on taking money and food. One thing about living in a tree house? There isn't a lot of room for storing excess merchandise. Plus, it's very easy to draw the attention of law enforcement when you're walking down the street carrying a flat-screen tv.
Lately I've been thinking about concentrating on smaller items. You know, wedding rings, wristwatches or the occasional engraved cigarette box. But it turns out I have a problem taking things that people are sentimentally attached to. I have even tried specializing in digital cameras. But then I'll start scrolling through the pictures of some happy family on vacation in Hawaii or Disneyland, and I'll end up leaving the camera right where I found it. I guess that's one of my rules. No matter how hungry you are, nobody has a right to steal someone else's memories.
Not that I'm making excuses or anything. After all, plenty of people are sentimentally attached to their own personal collection of money. And I take cash just about every time I can find any lying around. Also, I came very close to cutting and eating a slice of an untouched birthday cake once, which is about the lowest thing you can do just before someone else's birthday. Especially when you've just broken into their house.
The only thing that stopped me from cutting into the cake? I couldn't figure out how to slice it without ruining all the pink roses on top. According to the fancy lettering, somebody named Angela was just about to turn nine. Anyway, I didn't want to ruin Angela's ninth birthday. So I never took anything that day. Not even a sliver of cake.
The candles were already stuck in the frosting and everything. It reminded me of when I was about to turn nine, which was just after my mother died. My Uncle Andy ended up buying me an extra big cake that year. But nobody felt much like eating it. I hope Angela's birthday was better than that.
If it makes any difference, I try my best to be a very neat and orderly thief. One of the fringe benefits of being a burglar is that I've developed a genuine appreciation for the hectic nature of modern life. Sometimes I'll enter a house and it will be so messy you'd think it had already been burglarized. If I like the feeling of a particular home, I'll straighten up the place before I leave. You know, make the beds, load the dishwasher. That sort of thing.
In fact, I always try to remember that I'm a guest in whatever home I'm burglarizing. An uninvited guest, mind you, but a guest just the same. If it weren't for the unsuspecting hospitality of the people I burglarize, I'd probably be stuck in some foster home right now.
Remember what I said about being honest? Well, here's one of the most important things you should know: my privacy and independence are very important to me. My biggest fear is that I'll end up eating foster-home oatmeal with a bunch of strangers.
Whatever happens, I want to make my freedom last as long as I can. That's why I'm currently spending the summer in an abandoned tree house. Like the big house next to it, the tree house belongs to the widow of Mr. Pastorelli, the man whose driver's license I now carry. Her name is Evelyn, and she has no idea that I've secretly taken up residence on her property. Since Evelyn gets around with one of those aluminum walkers and doesn't venture outdoors much, I consider her the perfect landlady for my particular situation. There have been a couple of times when I've had to stay very still while the maintenance man serviced her outdoor swimming pool. But that's not so bad when you consider that I get free rent for as long as I can remain under the radar.
I have discovered that Evelyn has a lot of pictures in her house. She is a grandmother a few times over, but her children and grandchildren never come to use the pool. This fact gives me a very melancholy feeling. So even though Evelyn never fails to leave a spare key under the matâthat's about as convenient as it gets in my line of workâI make it a point never to steal from her unless it's absolutely necessary.
I've used the pool a couple of times late at night. I like swimming alone in the dark. It's one of those feelings that's peaceful and not lonely at all. Of course, I try not to abuse my midnight swimming privileges. The worst thing someone in my position can do is get emotionally attached to a place you may have to vacate at any moment.