Brian Smith tripped and began to quietly curse to himself. He was about to commit his very first felony. His mother would be proud.

The Petersons are the most wealthy and affluent family in town. It is Saturday the twelfth of October. It is 11:57p.m. He is stealing to provide money for his ailing sister's medical treatment. Not that anyone besides himself knows it yet.

He fumbles with the window latch and finally realizes that the window latch was already unlocked. He is wearing purple surgical gloves, size large, that he stole from the hospital when he visited his sister earlier today. The window does not creak when he opens it. The dog inside the room is a German shepherd named Ken. Brian came prepared for Ken. He gently tosses a milk bone the open window. It lands with a muffled thump on the intricately designed, hand woven Persian carpet. Ken's dog tag gleams as he steps into the moonlight to retrieve the milk bone. His tail wags as he bends down and opens his jaw. The milk bone crunches when he eats it.

While he tries to gather the courage to complete his breaking and entering he studies the carpet. It is a dark red, like drying blood. The design is of vines done in tan with gold flowers. The color combination should be hideous, but somehow it's not. He only studies the rug because it is something his mother would have loved. I have to do this for my sister.

Brian steps through the window opening and latches the double paned window behind him. The room he had stepped into was the library. He hoped that he wouldn't have to go into any other rooms.

He would not, in fact, have to go anywhere else in the house; the safe was behind the portrait of a dead and gone ancestor. The Petersons were old money. That safe is in the most clich├ęd hiding place in the world. Or at least that's what Brian is going to be thinking in about two minutes. Right now however, Brian is going through the stacks, perusing for any valuable first edition books that he can fence. He has some success, and selects a few and takes them off the mahogany bookshelves; placing them gently into the laundry bag he brought with him. Of course the Petersons can afford to have only the best of everything.

The full moon bathes the room in silver light. It is enormous, books lining the north and south walls. The east wall is made almost entirely of windows. These windows are remnants from a time when glass was rare and expensive. The west wall has a marble fireplace in the center with a desk in front of it. The desk is monstrous, made of mahogany, and older than Brian. It gleams with generations' worth of furniture polish embedded into its whirls and grains. On either side of the fireplace are paintings.

Brian lifted up the left painting, a generic overpriced landscape in a silver plate frame. Underneath was a patch of stone lighter than the surrounding wall. He went over to the portrait of the first wealthy Peterson. He again lifted the frame. This time he found a safe. He slid the dial gently and smoothly until he felt the right series of clicks. After he cracked the safe he opened it to reveal bundles of money. He took all the bundles except the hundreds, deciding that they would be too conspicuous. He loosened the drawstring on the laundry bag and stuffed the bundles inside. He tightened the drawstring and shut the safe.

The money in the safe was actually the profits from tax fraud and other crimes. Every last bill was blood money. Because of this Fred Peterson III would not be able to report the theft.

Brian sniffled as he held back a sneeze. The scent of old books and dust that permeated from the room was causing his allergies to act up.

When he was leaving he opened the window and closed it behind himself, leaving the latch unlatched. As he emerged a wave of sound flooded his ears.

In the library only the sound of the ticking clock on the mantle could be heard.

Outside, however, Brian could hear crickets and cicadas, croaking frogs and the distant rumble of the freeway.

His first and only felony was a success.