Isaac and Miria were bored. This wasn't so much shocking as just plain unheard of – but ennui crept up on them, one day, out of the blue, a bone-weariness that made Miria clap her hands to her face and wail, "What's wrong with me?" while Isaac desperately scrambled around for a mirror to peer into, he was so certain his face had become an old man's. Then they snapped their heads around to look at each other, perfectly in unison, and breathed equally exaggerated sighs of relief.
"At least it's not showing," Isaac said, smoothing a hand over his brow, while Miria nodded an emphatic yes.
Maybe time was the issue – time, which had become some strange warp with the consistency of pudding; or the lack of dangerous thrills that did not somehow involve wandering around the subway system. Maybe it was the current fashion taking its toll, their tight jeans squeezing the life out of them as they wove through Times Square looking for something to do, and at the same time, wanting nothing more than to take a break. They squatted on the ruby-red steps of the TKTS booth, considering their options.
"We could watch a Broadway play?" Miria suggested, gesturing first at Mary Poppins' silhouette, then at Danielle Radcliffe's wide, all-consuming grin.
Isaac shook his head no; no, because they had already done that over thirty times maybe, and sneaking in had simply lost its shiny veneer. Again, the lack of danger.
"We could visit Czes, maybe? Ennis?"
Tempting, but that wasn't the answer either. They'd already barged in on Firo and Ennis's snazzy 3rd Avenue apartment three days ago, waving their arms and shouting loudly about the impending doom that was sure to follow this terrible summer heat wave. Isaac had read about it in someone's discarded copy of TIME magazine, and therefore the claim was entirely valid.
"Why isn't your air-conditioning on?" Miria gasped. "You'll die of dehydration! And these blinds," she hurried over to the windows, rapidly fiddled with the pull-chain next to the mocha curtains. "They've got to be closed! Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of breast, prostrate, lung and colon cancers!"
"Poor Czes!" Isaac added, with manly tears for maximum effect. "He still has his whole life ahead of him!" He made imploring motions at the window, like it was going to burst open and the sun would fry them all alive very soon. Czes shot him one of his smart-little-boy-looks, with a cool eyebrow raised like an old man, but Isaac took no notice.
"Hi guys! How's it been going? Do you want some pizza? We just ordered some." Firo stood and waved them over to the neat little dining set where Ennis was sitting with a small smile on her face – it might have been Ethan Allen, but knowing Firo, it was just as likely to be IKEA. Isaac and Miria did their aghast motions in perfect synchronization for a few more minutes, then decided that, well, pizza would be very nice ("Ooh, I love anchovies!" Miria went), and was there any news yet from Maiza, who was last seen sailing (er, flying) off to Asia in pursuit of spiritual peace?
"We could play that game where we go to Central Park and help out the people in the hotdog stands?" The two of them were a hit in Central Park, and they had done this bit of fun quite a number of times in the past year, after a botched attempt to make off with a pretzel cart which they were certain had been using some kind of illegal substances, it was too flavorful. Sometimes they did ice cream carts instead, the original owner lounging about, while Miria happily gave Spongebob popsicles to insistent kids with sticky fingers.
"No," Isaac answered again, dolefully. "They're all great suggestions, but right now – I feel like we need to do something different."
Isaac had always had a flame his heart: a certainty about what things to do and how to do them, the passionate knowledge of what time well spent meant. He had grown up knowing that it was useless to worry, and that even if everything that glittered was not gold, it was a lot more fun to have than have not. He liked to steal things, but there was always a reason for it, that the gold-tipped compass point of his heart exactly knew. Nobody had understood it completely, had waved him off as idealistic or weird or annoying or all three, until he met Miria. In her he had found his same perfectly mirrored joy, the simplicity of goodness that made whatever they were taking rightfully theirs.
It was a lot of fun, really. He was living the great life. It was just the recent heat, probably, that had leached some of the sparkle off the edges – all he needed to do was grab them back.
For a moment, he briefly considered proposing to Miria. That, at least, was something they had never tried yet. A June wedding, in Saint Patrick's Cathedral, bells a-tolling, doves a-floating in the air above them with flower wreaths in their beaks, and all their friends from the good ol' days happily firing gunshots into the air – but no. They didn't actually need that. Miria looked askance at him, blinking her eyes, waiting for his next call. The next fabulous adventure.
After a fashion, he decided that they needed a heist - a traditional, knotty, complicated one, to stretch their limbs and get them in the swing of things again. He determined that they would steal the safety deposit box of a certain Wall Street tycoon (they still liked stealing from the mafia best, but new money was exciting too), and developed a plan for it that began with an exploding computer on the 23rd street Best Buy retail store, temporarily stealing Vermeer's Officer and the Laughing Girl from the Frick Museum, and infiltrating a Lady Gaga concert in the evening. They both managed to slip in as backup dancers, complete with leather thongs, police tape winded around their chests, and black and silver glitter. They shimmied about onstage, in step with each others' choreography if not everyone else's, and managed to grab each others' hands and do high kicks right before the firework-laden finale, laughingly shouting about how they were on the right track and born that way.
They had broken into a nearby hotel a few hours later, randomly deciding on a room that thankfully turned out to be empty. At 3 AM, they were finally done taking turns covering the bathroom sink in glitter.
"Hey, Isaac," Miria said, waltzing out of the bathroom. She might have still been a little high on adrenaline (Isaac knew he was), because she twirled a little before collapsing on the bed. Oddly enough, the exhaustion seemed to have rejuvenated them both.
"Yes, Miria, sweetheart?"
"These are the good times, right?" There was still some glitter on her eyebrows and in the hair over her forehead; the smile she gave him was sleepy-sweet, no longer really attending.
Isaac thought about all they'd been through, and the life they were leading. He'd long ago decided he liked it; every day, he was somehow able to remind himself that he never wanted it to end. If they got tired of Manhattan, there was always California. Or maybe they could go on a quest to seek out Maiza in the Orient. Or go to Europe and steal the Queen's pastries. The sun-soaked-skin-cancer-causing-sky was, truly, the limit.
He flopped down next to her on the bed with a massive grin.
"We never have anything but good times.“