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Unformatted text preview: aling, conditions were perfect. It was a gloomy afternoon early in March and only a few degrees
above freezing—always more uncomfortable than ten degrees below. Very few people were out on the streets.
Rain like gray pencil shavings.
“Are we going?”
“Bikes,” said Rudy. “You can use one of ours.”
On this occasion, Rudy was considerably more enthusiastic about being the enterer. “Today it’s my turn,” he
said as their fingers froze to the bike handles.
Liesel thought fast. “Maybe you shouldn’t, Rudy. There’s stuff all over the place in there. And it’s dark. An
idiot like you is bound to trip over or run into something.”
“Thanks very much.” In this mood, Rudy was hard to contain.
“There’s the drop, too. It’s deeper than you think.”
“Are you saying you don’t think I can do it?”
Liesel stood up on the pedals. “Not at all.”
They crossed the bridge and serpentined up the hill to Grande Strasse. The window was open. Like last time, they surveyed the house. Vaguely, they could see inside, to where a light was on downstairs, in
what was probably the kitchen. A shadow moved back and forth.
“We’ll just ride around the block a few times,” Rudy said. “Lucky we brought the bikes, huh?”
“Just make sure you remember to take yours home.”
“Very funny, Saumensch. It’s a bit bigger than your filthy shoes.”
They rode for perhaps fifteen minutes, and still, the mayor’s wife was downstairs, a little too close for comfort.
How dare she occupy the kitchen with such vigilance! For Rudy, the kitchen was undoubtedly the actual goal.
He’d have gone in, robbed as much food as was physically possible, then if (and only if) he had a last moment
to spare, he would stuff a book down his pants on the way out. Any book would do.
Rudy’s weakness, however, was impatience. “It’s getting late,” he said, and began to ride off. “You coming?”
Liesel didn’t come.
There was no decision to be made. She’d lugged that rusty bike all the way up there and she wasn...
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- Winter '13