Education

This is where they trained thieves. They taught kids how to pick locks, misdirect attention in order to pick pockets, be the lookout man for gangs. And they taught older, more experienced students Advanced Burglary, Accelerated Lock-Jamming (for times when you might get caught), Ear-Tuning to perceive clicks and suchlike.

I came here when I was fourteen and had just got done learning under my father (he was arrested). And then, the institute took me in and made me faster, better, more alert, smoother. As a test, I once robbed someone’s bedroom cabinet and then walked into the living room and charmed the house-owners into inviting me to dinner.

My final test was a secret until I got to it. I was left outside a house, blindfolded, with constant surveillance by my faculty. I had to find the right house and rob it, all while effectively blind. I did it. I robbed the owner of most possessions, including rather brilliant clothes, a state-of-the-art mini-theatre system, a lot of jewellery, family heirlooms, and what I later discovered was a love letter from the owner’s first love. I also recognised the owner’s name. He was a legend at the institute, having passed out of there some ten years before me.

And so I graduated with flying colours, and was let out into the world, with the note that someday, a hopeful just like me would give his final exam in my house. Just once. But yes, once.