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  • (Note: This story is adapted from a novella I wrote called KETCHUP AND MUSTARD.)

    Rick gazed at the gravestone sticking out of the ground. His story was a dark one, full of violence and thievery and ending in the death of his crush.

    Rick wiped a tear from his eye and thought back to himself and Julia, as kids, laughing in joy and playing hide and seek.

    In his mind’s eye he saw himself saying, “Got you!”

    Along with Julia and his brother, John, Rick had hidden a dark secret. They were pickpockets, thieves.

    Rick and John stole together, but as kids they didn’t exactly like each other. They were like ketchup and mustard.

    Rick liked to talk to Julia about this in letters. But one day he found himself writing from a juvenile detention center.

    Julia wasn’t in prison with him, and she wanted to quit stealing. She thought the fact that Rick and John had ended up in prison was proof that they shouldn’t be doing it.

    The brothers were held in prison for a year. When they were released, Rick and Julia were very glad to see each other.

    As adults Rick and John stole, but most of their heists were small. But one day they heard about a hugely popular gem. And they wanted to steal it.

    They soon convinced Julia to do it with them.

    Success! They stole the gem, and began planning their next heist.

    Rick was sick when it came time for their next theft. He couldn’t come with John and Julia, so he stayed home reading OF MICE AND MEN.

    But then tragedy struck and Julia was shot by another thief.

    And that was their story. Rick mourned and mourned at Julia’s gravestone and then he wrote and wrote his book, KETCHUP AND MUSTARD. He wrote until the birds started chirping at the first light of day.

    Image: BY A GRAVESTONE
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