Legal Theft Flash Fiction: On Time (592 words)

And there they were, right on time.

Two perfect wooden trunks, dark, carved wood with steel straps shined until they could have been silver, identical down to the long keys tied to the locks with glimmering gray ribbon. The lids were gently curved, with corners carved with lines of ocean water to round them down. Each side was carved with a thousand fish, swimming in their elegant swirls, each lithe body just a dash in the whole beautiful rush.

Killian touched the closest one gently. The oiled wood was smooth and cool, though it warmed instantly. “Finally,” he murmured.

Destri paused in the middle of turning the second so that it slid off the palate he had used to carry them inside. “Finally?” he repeated. He raised his eyebrows with a smile. “I got them to you exactly when you asked.”

Letting out a shaky breath, Killian tried to laugh. “I know, I know,” he said. He raised his hands innocently, but couldn’t take his eyes off them. “But the wedding is so close.”

“They were a lot of work,” Destri told him.

“I know,” Killian said again, appreciatively. He couldn’t imagine. Every fish raised out of the wood by hand. “I would have given you more time, but… I didn’t realize no one else had arranged to get them a set.”

“Hard to believe,” Destri muttered in return. He put his hands on his hips, then kicked the trunk lightly to turn it the rest of the way. Killian winced, and then realized he was being ridiculous. These were not that fragile.

“Darn useful things,” Destri said. “Having a chest to leave your things in while you’re out on ocean and someone else is staying in your place.”

Killian laughed a little to himself. “I think people forget that Avi and Ness ever leave anything here. They like the ocean so much.”

“So they forget that they need home trunks?” Destri said. He raised an eyebrow at Killian. “That’s like forgetting they need pants.”

Killian shook his head. “I’m just glad they’re here.”

“On time,” Destri reminded him.

Killian turned away rather than look at the other man again. His purse was on the far shelf anyway, and he’d need to pay his friend before he would get him out of his workshop.

“You know how it is,” Killian said over his shoulder. “They were out of my hands, and I ordered them months ago. So I worried.” Picking up his purse, he weighed it in his hand, then opened it and spilled it into his hand. The largest chunks spilled last, and he rolled them in his hand to hold onto them while he put the rest back inside. “And then the day was creeping in, and I was just starting to get that unreasonable sort of antsy.” He turned back toward Destri, motioning vaguely, with the payment in his fist. “What if I hadn’t given you enough time? What if…”

Destri stopped him with a wave.

Killian hesitated.

“You know,” Destri said seriously. “If I hadn’t gotten them done on time, I would have helped you abduct someone to make sure the wedding got postponed.”

Killian paused. Then he started to laugh. “I can always count on you.”

Destri shrugged, but Killian saw him smile too when he looked back down at the trunks.

I’m a thief! A horrendously late thief.

I stole the opening line of this piece from my friend, Kate. Be sure to stop by her blog to read up on her punctuality, and then check out all the other thieves as well.

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