This story was written in answer to The Word of the Day Challenge –
This story also included the Ragtag Daily Word prompt word – Bask.
Here’s what I came up with…
The Sun-tanned Raven
Raven was an accomplished thief, but not in the way you might think. Sure, she’d cut her beak (so to speak) doing night-time raids on unsuspecting homes. She could shin up a drainpipe like a sly rat if there were some goodies to steal in higher rooms. Those thefts allowed her to bask in the glow of many a stolen fortune.
The schtick had worked for a while but more people were getting cameras and security was tighter than a Rottweiler’s jaws on a steak. Raven knew she had to find another way or spend her life in the slammer.
What people never realised was, Raven had a dual personality. By day, she was Matilda – service assistant at the tanning salon. She hated the white tunic and trousers she had to wear, the wages weren’t bad though. Alas, it was here she found a new way to keep her bank balance healthy.
“Morning, Matilda. I hope you’ve disinfected my tanning bed for me,” said Mrs Frappe coming in for her weekly top-up.
She already looked like a cooked sausage but who was Raven to tell her to go easy on the tanning. “Morning, Mrs Frappe. It’s all beautifully clean for you.” Matilda smiled.
“Thank you, dear.” Mrs Frappe entered the tanning room with Raven rolling her eyes at her from behind.
Raven presented her with a white robe and waited patiently. “How’s your day going?”
“Oh, perfectly well, dear. I sorted the greengrocer out before coming here. I’ll be damned if he wasn’t trying to sell my all-purpose whites instead of Maris Piper’s. The cheeky devil!” Mrs Frappe undressed behind a screen and came out wearing the white robe. “All-purpose make the worst mashed potatoes, you know.”
“I had no idea,” Raven replied while setting the tanning bed for the lady’s usual twenty minutes.
“Try, Maris Piper next time, you’ll be amazed.” Mrs Frappe put her clothes and bag on the side table.
Raven watched her slide her rings from her fingers and drop them with her necklace into the front pocket. “Are you ready to be beautified?”
“Yes, let’s get this done, shall we.” Mrs Frappe stepped up to the machine. “I have to get a perm and attend a dinner party this evening.”
“Very nice too.” Raven smiled as she slipped the ladies robe off as she slid into the machine. “Twenty minutes all set for you,” she remarked as she closed the lid and set the blue light cooking its patient.
“Thank you, Matilda. There’s never been a better assistant here, you know.”
Raven grinned. “Thank you, Mrs Frappe.” Raven walked across to the lady’s bag and slipped her jewellery from it. “See, you in a few minutes.”
Raven left the room and dashed into the staff area. Nobody else worked here but her on, Monday’s. She pulled out a mini jeweller’s kit and went to work on just one ring and the matching necklace.
Mrs Frappe had chosen diamonds and sapphires today. A handheld gem tester told Raven they were likely real. No tester was 100% accurate, but at least it helped prove they were genuine to some extent.
Happy with the authenticity, Raven went to work with her tools. She carefully removed the diamonds from the settings on the ring – seven in total. From a little velvet bag, she found close matching and good looking resin diamonds, She carefully set those in place of the real diamonds in the ring with a little solder. Raven repeated the process with the sapphires; again switching them with authentic-looking resin ones. The necklace was given the same treatment.
Raven was just finishing the last stone when the warning light flashed on the wall. Mrs Frappe was calling for help. “Blast!” Raven scooped her stolen stones into a velvet bag and stowed her gear in her bag at top speed. She grabbed the doctored jewellery and raced into the tanning room door.
“Matilda, is that you, dear?” Called Mrs Frappe hearing the door squeak a little.
“I’m here. Are you okay, Mrs Frappe?”
The lady was stood in the middle of the room dressed in her robe again. “I’m fine, dear. My phone was ringing. I got out to answer it. Sorry, for triggering the alarm.”
“No, problem.” Raven checked the machine. “You had seven minutes left. Will you be finishing-up?”
“I don’t think so thanks, dear.”
Raven gulped she still had the jewellery in her pocket. “No, problem. We’ll only charge you for fifteen minutes today then.” She moved across the room and opened the changing area screen. A sly step to the side table and a bit of sleight of hand had the jewellery safe in the bag. “There you are, you get changed while I sort the machine,” she said with her genial smile in place.
“Thank you for the discounted time, Matilda. I’ll see you next week.” Mrs Frappe said a few minutes later as she paid her reduced bill.
“Our pleasure, you enjoy the rest of your day.” Raven held the door and waved as the lady walked down the street.
Raven would repeat her thieving technique seven more times that day. By the time she made it home, she’d donated fifty pounds worth of resin gemstones in exchange for six-thousand pounds worth of real diamonds, sapphires, rubies and a nice emerald too.
Raven smiled, she had to bask in the glory of her deceptions. “What do you expect? Raven’s love shiny things.”
Have a great day!