On January 14, 2022, I wrote the NYC Microfiction Short Story Competition Challenge.
I was given the following criteria to use in my story:
Character: An embezzler
Length: 2,500 words (Maximum)
This is what I wrote:
Sparrows and Ravens
All children learn at a very young age to play the "I spy game" and develop very good detective skills. I became exceptionally good at this game. Furthermore, I developed my spy skills beyond that of all other children to become what is known as a Sparrow, a spy who secretly observes all the others knowing everything they do. A German female spy is known as a Sparrow and a male German spy is known as a Raven. I didn't become like the most famous spy of all time, Mata Hari, a German spy in World War I but one thing we had in common was that we are both of German descent, and I am an exotic dancer just like Mata Hari was. Because of this, I believe, with some training, just like her, I could have succeeded in becoming a famous Sparrow. But I did learn additional skills to steal money, forge cheques, and break into a small convenience store without getting captured. I learned to do this all on my own.
Once upon a time, I began my career stealing when I lived with my stepmother and father in a small mining town in Northern Saskatchewan. They never gave me much as a child, and I had no friends. My father spent his money drinking with his friends and getting drunk. One day, I tried to steal from my stepmother, but I got caught. The price was too high to try to continue with this antic. Because of that incident, my stepmother put my tiny hands and fingers on a hot stove and burned them just to teach me a lesson and stop me from stealing again. Because of this, I went elsewhere to carry on with shoplifting outside my home where there were fewer chances of getting caught and the challenges were more exhilarating.
My teachers and friends viewed me as a child that would be less likely to succeed in life. It was believed that I would slip between the cracks because I was behind in reading, writing, spelling, and arithmetic. Because of this, I was a loner, quiet, and I was walking through a maze of confusion leading me down the wrong pathway. Technology did not exist which made studying more complicated. Furthermore, my parents did not help me with my homework. I was on my own.
Little did anyone know, however, I found it easier to sneak into homes or stores and get cash from others in a small town before the introduction of computers, machines, surveillance equipment, and cameras that were used to assist humans to capture the many Sparrows and Ravens of the world. I must have been amongst the youngest to have become a Sparrow and get away with it. I was very young, not more than ten years old to learn quickly how to steal without getting caught.
First, I perfected my writing skills by becoming ambidextrous, allowing me to forge cheques using the many signatures that I developed. I learned to sign cheques by slanting my writing from left to right, straight up and down, and slanting from right to left. I was capable of writing my signature by looking through a mirror and with both hands. Since I was so young, no one suspected that I was capable of forging cheques, and I was successful in getting the cheques cashed without raising suspicion. Because of this, I was also ingenious enough to not cash too many cheques at the same time.
In addition, I kept a close eye spying on this small convenience store that had a little broken window at the back of it. I watched the owner of this run-down convenience store daily who kept his money in the cash register overnight. When he closed up for the evening, I was tiny and slim enough to climb through the back, broken window like a bird and steal the money the owner left behind. Being a child, I also helped myself to some candy and chocolates. There were no surveillance cameras at that time to worry about.
Because I moved from a small town to a city to live with my mother and stepfather in Northern Ontario, I stopped forging cheques in fear that the introduction of modern equipment would catch me in the act. I did steal cash from my mother and stepfather, however, but they never said anything to me. Because of that, I decided to not steal from them anymore. Was it guilt, I don't know? Meanwhile, I ended up working in a retail store for a couple of years. During that time, I continued to take a little change secretly from the cash register and I would put it in my pocket. I began to feel guilty about my deceitfulness and decided to quit stealing from my employer in the event of getting caught. I felt it was time to quit while I was ahead and start over with a clean slate.
The introduction to new friends in the city brought about new but even more dangerous adventures. For example, my friends and I would run from house to house during the Christmas season destroying the beautiful and brightly lit Christmas lights by tearing the long strings of lights off the trees and running down the streets watching and listening to the lightbulbs blow up. At one home, a man saw us. He came out and everyone scattered. He chased after me but I managed to escape by hiding in the bushes. I saved myself by ducking down behind a bush, holding my breath, and remaining motionless like a rabbit too frightened to move. When the coast was finally clear, I got up and ran away. My heartbeat was rapid as I didn't know what he would have done to me if he trapped me. Because of this, that was the last Christmas lightbulb venture I ever participated in.
My friends and I also got involved in hitchhiking to go to parties that involved drugs, sex, and alcohol. I went along with my friends to these parties but was very reluctant to participate, remaining observant, like a Sparrow, of my friends’ unwelcome shenanigans. One night, we climbed into a car and the driver was acting very strange. He was asking us questions which made me feel very uncomfortable. We were in danger and I knew it but being as quick-witted as I am, I told the driver that our friend had two brothers and a sister that were police officers and these officers were following him to ensure we were dropped off at the correct destination. This frightened the driver so much that he quickly pulled over and let us off immediately. My friends were so thankful for my quick thinking because they, too, knew we were all in trouble. The next hitchhiking trip was also risky as a drunken female picked my friend and me up. Because of this, we demanded to be let out as soon as possible. However, we didn't learn our lesson because hitchhiking was our only mode of transportation.
One day, I decided it was time to stop with all my undesirable mannerisms and make a better life for myself. With all odds against me, I decided to go on to university and I graduated with not one, but three university degrees. I continued to secretly struggle in my studies desperately trying to read, write, spell, and perform arithmetic equations. However, I did learn math skills quickly and easily. This helped pave my way into the future. It took me longer than the average student to achieve my goals but I did it. I wasn't an average student and university was extremely stressful for me. Because of that, I worked twice as hard, maybe three times harder but I wanted so much to achieve my goals.
As I said earlier, it was believed that I would fall between the cracks because I was behind in reading, writing, spelling, and arithmetic. My speech was very poor as well. My mother had a German accent and I developed a second-hand German accent from her. This made things even more complicated for me. Although I continued to struggle with reading, I did learn to read from the bottom of the page to the top. I learned to read from right to left of my book. I was capable of reading in reverse by holding my material to a mirror. I could turn my book upside down and read that way. Also, I discovered books that interested me greatly and I would spend hours and hours reading these books.
I became very creative in my writing skills and I began to write very imaginative stories. My brain worked differently than other children allowing me to write "thinking-outside-of-the-box" and "reading-between-the lines" because that is the way that I thought. Because of this, I became an International Author writing true stories that were metaphorical and inspirational. Furthermore, when listening to others speak, I even had the capability of hearing the words they did not say by staying attuned to their tone of voice and body language as well. Because of this, I developed wisdom.
Little did anyone know that I was indeed a genius, not a child ready to fall through any cracks. With the introduction of word processors and computers, I found my niche. I became one with the computer. I understood computers. I felt I could think as one, and I did think like a computer. I was able to manipulate the data I inputted into a computer and increase productivity three-fold.
One day, my employees were astonished by the high level and professional output of the work I performed. Because of this, my employer replaced two employees and hired me to do the work of both of them. For the first time in my life, my work was recognized and it gave me great pride to produce my work to such high standards. I could not perform less than that.
I was very instrumental and inventive in moving up the industrial ladder. Because of this, my expertise in the personal computer industry led me to work for General Motors on the first programmable robot called the Unimate, the first industrial robot. I attended Expo 2005 to feature Unimate. This robot lifted pieces of hot metal from die casting machines. Because of that, Robots such as these began replacing humans in performing repetitive and dangerous tasks that humans preferred not to do or humans were unable to do because of size limitations, or which took place in extreme environments such as outer space or the bottom of the sea. Ironically, it has been my lifetime dream to travel to outer space or the bottom of the sea so this became an exciting career for me.
One day, I was hired to assist in the development of the TV Series from the Stone Age, the Flintstones, and later to the family of the future, The Jetsons. I had the capability of forecasting the future through the characters of the Jetson family living in a utopian future. I helped with the designing of creating houses in the sky, working a three-day workweek, and driving cars that look like flying saucers. I also helped create the robotic maid, Rosie, and their talking dog named Astro. Because of all this, the introduction of home computers, the Internet, Microwave Ovens, Cell Phones, modern medical technology such as EKGs, and MRIs were all introduced before their time.
Over time, I embezzled all the technological secrets entrusted to me and sold them to the Russians. Because of this, I am spending a life sentence in prison.
Finally, as a little girl, l dreamed of exploring everything in life but my goals were all hindered by so many challenges right from the beginning. Because of that, things were more complicated for me in sorting through an unwanted maze I was forced to find my way through and lastly demonstrating that indeed, the impossible is possible! It turned out that instead of being behind, I was ahead of my time.