A minor compensation


Ever since we were small boys, Bosco bragged about being better than me: at sports, at lessons, at getting the girls.

            No matter how hard I worked, he always beat me.

            Not until we were older did I realize he cheated.

            Growing up where we did and to parents like ours, we were bound to turn to crime.

            But even there, he seemed to exceed everything I did.

            He always stayed one step ahead of the law, whereas I always got caught.

            When crime changed, he changed with it easily, learning new tricks and new technology with ease while I had to work hard to learn anything.

            He also never seemed to feel the guilt I always did.

            To my credit, I always saw myself less a criminal and more a Robin Hood, stealing from rich people who found legal ways to steal from the poor.

            While I knew I was never so clever or smart as Bosco, I worked harder than he did.

            I learned everything I could about how burglar alarms worked when they came into vogue, and how to avoid closed circuit TV when the rich got those. As of late, I learned more about computers than most people who claim to make a living in that industry.

            Of course, Bosco mocked me.

            He claimed I gave thieving a bad name and said I might as well be working a straight job for all I put into my stealing.

            He knew how uncomfortable I felt, how stealing always seemed a little dirty too me. He got off being a bad boy. I just felt bad.

            But I think Bosco secretly envied me Ė especially when my learning got a jump on identity theft and new internet crime Ė that cops were slow to catch onto.

            He liked the dazed look his victims got, while I felt more and more comfortable at the fact that I didnít see or know the people I hurt.

            When the cops did catch on, however, my life fell apart. Technology  often left a trail as easy as one left in blood. I found myself dumping scheme after scheme just barely ahead of the police.

            Bosco, who never committed himself to the field, quickly reverted to his old skills, bumping people on the head at ATMs or terrorizing them with his home invasions.

            I hated going back to that.

            But I guess seeing Bosco get away with some much made me angry and a little braver.

            Beating people on the head didnít leave an electronic trail.

            Many cops had grown lazy, forgetting how to deal with more violent crimes.

            Finally, I stopped seeing my victims as people or their blood as real blood. I tried not to think that I now had to pick on poorer people because the rich could afford security I could not breech.

            Bosco didnít care, rich or poor, as long as he got what he wanted from them.

            He seemed to love violence as much as the money he got and made a point of leaving his victims dead if he could.          

            Maybe he was smarter than me in this regard since dead people canít testify, the way mine did, when the cops finally caught up with me.

            But then, maybe neither one of us was smart enough since the cops hauled him in, too, and said DNA had tied him to one of those crimes when a living witness couldnít. Ė and for once in our lives, I got the jump on him, since heís scheduled to get the needle a week before I do.

            A minor compensation, I know. But itís better than nothing.



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