They both heard his father before they saw him. He was a big man, who carried heavy bounty home, and when he smiled, his white teeth contrasted with his dark skin.
“I think I’ve hit the jackpot today, Ai.” He boomed as he stepped into the kitchen
“Oh?” she said, leaning forward to kiss his cheek.
Adam sometimes wondered why his small, frail looking mother had married someone who looked like he could split her in half. His father was so big and she so small. It was like a couple where one was 6’ 7 and the other 4’ 2. Whenever he asked, they’d always just look at each other and laugh. And then his dad would reach over and ruffle his hair which Adam hated. He wasn’t a child anymore. He was a teenager now.
Adam looked just like both of them. The same goofy grin from Zafir, Ai’s straight hair and almond eyes, and golden brown skin, the perfect intersection of two loving parents. Some parents had children who looked nothing like them. But maybe Adam was lucky. He couldn’t tell really if he was lucky or not, but he looked just like his parents.
Of course, then they’d always pull him in for a family hug and Adam would squirm his way out, complaining about how he wasn’t a little kid anymore and that family hugs were for little kids. But of course, he knew his limits and Adam never tried to step over the line. He hated aggravating his parents. Maybe there was some good in him.
Adam watched as his dad set down his sack.
“I found a television set in perfect condition at the dump today.”
“You did?” His mother’s eyes lit up. “Is it that set that I was talking about?”
Zafir shook his head with a frown.
“Unfortunately, no. It seems like you can only find them deeper in the House.”
“Can you get there?”
“It’s not getting there that’s hard. It’s getting back with the set.”
Adam watched as his mom sat there thinking.
“What is it like over there? I haven’t gone to that branch of the House very often.”
“Lots of lasers. The worst thing to have when you’ve got a 30 pound TV set to carry.”
“The Termons got a set.”
“Yes, but they have friends. Who knows how many people they sacrificed to get that TV. It’s only $10 per round of admission anyways.”
“We’ll see.” She glanced over at Adam. “Eat, honey.”
Adam rolled his eyes and began eating. His parents were such skilled thieves. They went to the Thieving House every night and Adam always wanted to go. His parents never said no, but somehow, he never went. Maybe it was because of Carl. And the look of worry he got every time Adam mentioned it. Damn that boy could be persuasive sometimes…
“Can I go to the House tonight?”
“Of course! You were always welcome!”
Adam nodded silently. Yup. That was all that he needed.
Carl was going to the House tonight whether he liked it or not.