‘Do you really think we could?  Get away with it, I mean?’

That’s Jane all over. Pretty as. Gorgeous. No, exquisite. But so naive!  Big brown eyes almost popping out on her cheeks, she opens them so wide!  Boys trip over themselves trying like mad not to be obvious. Leaning forward. And she doesn't see it hardly.

‘She sucked you right in that time, Jane.’

‘No, Beth.’  Ingrid turned on me. Her eye’s grabbed mine. Give her an extra pair of arms and she could model for an Indian temple statue. Always one for a dare. Grins, rolls those eyes, one eyebrow cocked. ‘I really mean it. I reckon we could do it. Not easy getting the act all together, but we could. That’s the fun part — rise to the challenge, like. Yeah, I reckon we really could. Turns me on just the thought of it. Wow!’

‘You’re crazy, Inge. Absolutely crazy!  Stark raving!  Steal a ruby ring!  Thomas’s isn’t a supermarket with everything out in the open and lots people milling around. Everything’s locked away under a centimetre of glass or more. What happens if we get caught?’

‘Yeah, sounds pretty scary to me,’ Gen piped in. Ever cautious.

‘That’s heavy. Trick is not to get caught. That’s the other half of the fun. I reckon I’ve thought of a way, though. There are four of us. I reckon we can do it. Just have to set up a distraction. Not too obvious. There’s hardly ever more than two people serving, so it should be easy. We just have to target both of them.’

‘But what about the video?’  I asked.

‘Yeah, that’s a bit of a worry. We’ll just have to disguise or hide our faces a little bit. Not too much, mind, so we put them on their guard — just enough to make it hard for them as they look back over it.’

‘How wpould you manage that?’

‘Pity veils aren’t the go these days. I suppose a couple of us could wear a wide hat for starters. Those cameras are always near the ceiling.’

‘We could use long hair or wigs,’ chimed in Jane.

‘And glasses.’  Surprise, surprise, Gen!

‘How do we get the tray of rings out of the glass counter?’  My two bob’s worth.

‘Got to make as though to buy one!’

‘What if they only take out one ring at a time?’

‘Too bad!  Could try asking to look at two or three, I suppose. Here’s the general idea. Ask to look at a ring. Try it on. When someone else sets up a bit of a disturbance, pinch one of the other rings from the tray. Once that’s over, hem and hah a bit and decide against the purchase. Take it off. Give it back. Smile sweetly and go.’

‘What’ll you do with the stolen one?’  Jane this time.

‘Hide it somewhere. Under the tongue sounds quick.’

‘Won’t the stone be a bit big?  Be hard to talk normally.’

‘That’s a thought. What about nicking one with the stone and the diamonds set along the band instead of across!’

‘Won’t they miss it. When she puts the tray away, I mean.’

‘That’s a chance.’

‘What about a costume ring in its place?  A good one I mean. Lots of new shine and a big splash of red.’  My bit.

‘When do you think we might do it?’  Jane again.

‘Hadn’t thought of that. What do you think?’

Gen piped up. ‘Reckon it’s best to leave it while. Give us time to think of problems and details. I’m not sure about the whole thing.’

‘Yeah, best give it a few weeks for the idea to settle.’

‘I’d best get off home now. See youse!’  I put in.

We all picked up our bags and strolled off.

On Monday Inge snuck me a look at a ruby ring behind the shelter of her locker door.

‘Come here. Take a quick sqiz at this,’ she rattled out beneath her breath.

‘Christ!  Christ all-bloody-mighty!  You did it!  How!  What was it like?’  I whispered. Nearly pissed myself when I saw it.

‘Did it with Jack!  He wasn’t too keen when I put it to him. Put my hand on his shirt front, stroked down his chest a bit, looked him the eyes, and put him on a promise. There were lots of people in the shop on Saturday so there was plenty of distraction anyway. Walked in there all lovey dovey and asked about some rings like we were getting engaged. We were so excited afterwards it took the whole afternoon to settle down. No trouble keeping to my promise, I can tell you!   Still feel horny just to think about it!  Wow!  Rooted ourselves silly!  Don’t tell the others any of this, though. Fewer know about it the better. Mad to tell you even. Hard to keep it in, but! ...

‘Scary, though, waiting to see if anything happens. Had the runs all yesterday. First I thought I could take it back later. Tell them the joke was on them. That doesn’t seem a good idea now though. Could charge me anyway!  Have to find some place to hide it. Bury it, I suppose, somewhere away from home. Reckon I just might have to tumble a lot more with Jack. Take our minds off it and give ourselves something else to worry about, eh!’

She rolled her eyes. That mischievous lift of the brows again. The smile faded. She looked quite wistful.
‘Never be quite the same though.’



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