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Short Stories - The Wicker Thief

finalist in the Sacramento News & Reivew 2007 Flash Fiction contest
Illustration by Pat Barrett

The Wicker Thief
by William Doonan

Sometime during the night, an alarming amount of wicker was stolen from the backyard of local businessman Josh Hemming. Curiously, a priceless collection of solid gold garden gnomes was left untouched.

“Why violate a man like that?” Detective Pike asked, shaking his head sadly. “Why take his wicker?”

Eddie Markham from forensics snapped a couple of pictures of the scene. “Someone had it in for Hemming. Maybe he had enemies.”

“No,” said Josh Hemming, stepping into the yard. “No, I’m loved by all.”

Markham shrugged. “Then I’m out of ideas.”

“I’m not.” Pike spun around. “How badly do you want it back? The tables, the chairs, the benches, the swings; how much is it all worth to you?”

Hemming quickly ran the numbers. “About $90.”

That reward, the largest on record for a lawn furniture burglary, was quickly claimed by a local pawnbroker. “I should have known it was stolen,” he admitted, handing Pike the thief’s address. “Secondhand wicker is a cutthroat business.”

Detective Pike arrested the wicker thief at his downtown penthouse, closing the book on scores of lawn chair robberies in the county. “Help me understand,” he said.

“I can’t,” the wicker thief said. “I just wanted to be the best at something. The best in the world.”

“Well, that you are,” Pike admitted, snapping the handcuffs shut. “But with you behind bars, patio furniture owners everywhere can feel safe again.”

“I doubt that. He’s almost fully trained now.”

“Who?” Pike asked.”

“My apprentice.”

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