Gift Horse

“Wow.” the man whispered to the corpse.

The warehouse was silent. All the drills and table saws lay dormant while many wood panels looked on waiting to be worked on. Only a few lights kept the building alive. The windows were almost completely black with the overcast night.

The man crouched and looked closer. The corpse had short brown hair and was about six foot in length on the ground. His open eyes were a bright blue. No noticeable scars other than the bullet hole in his forehead which was leaking blood. The body was dressed in denim jacket and pants with a white tee shirt.

“It’s like looking in a fucking mirror.” The man checked the pockets and found a wallet in the breast of the jacket. He flipped it open. The corpse had a drivers license that named him Gregg Vincent.

“Well, Mr. Vincent, you pack quite a wallop.” The man rubbed his right cheek where a bruise was already forming. “Next time make sure the guy you’re robbing doesn’t know how to defend themselves.”

A breeze whistled in through the door that Vincent, the intruder had pried open.

The man stood, cocked his head to the right as an idea came to him. His eyes searched the warehouse for answers. He whispered to his demons, “I could do it.” He searched through the rest of Vincent’s wallet and produced a single twenty dollar bill, a TD Bank Visa card and debit card. The corpse had memberships to Blockbuster, Full Fitness Gym and the Toronto library. “What the fuck were you doing this for?”

The corpse seemed not to need anything. Was it a corporate break-in by a competitor, perhaps?

Checking more pockets, the man found a cell phone and keys with a remote unlock keychain for a Ford vehicle. The man left the body and stepped outside through the pried door into the light snow fall. He hit the lock button on the remote with no result. Walking quickly around the front of the small warehouse, he pushed again and was greeted by the familiar honk of a car acknowledging the lock command. The lights flashed on a Ford Escape across the road in the parking lot.

Returning inside he checked the running shoes on the body. “Size thirteen,” he informed the air and shook his head. “A fucking mirror.”

Outside the wind picked up to a howl and the snow began to fall harder.

The man tapped the cell phone, a Blackberry. First, he looked up the name of the corpse and found an email with Thompson Investigations in the address. There were no other Vincents listed amongst the contacts. Still using the Blackberry, the man did a quick web search on Gregg Vincent which turned up with no local hits. A search on Thompson Investigations turned up nothing as well. Checking the phone’s memo pad, he found a file called “Passwords” which listed different passwords and pin numbers, including on listed for each TD Bank card.

The wind volume rose with a quick gust and snow started to pelt the dark windows.

The man shut down the phone. Pulling his own out of his front left pant pocket, he crouched and slipped it into the front left pocket of the corpse. He pulled his wallet from his back left pocket and rolled the corpse just enough to put it into the back left of those blue jeans. He then picked up the gun that he had wrestled off of the intruder, and put it in his own waistband.

He walked away from the corpse, again, but this time went to the front office area and got his own jean jacket. As he slipped the coat on, he heard his wife’s voice screaming at him over a broken dish earlier. How she had bellowed at him until he put on his jacket and left her in the doorway. The thought reminded him and he pulled out the corpse’s wallet again. The signature on the back of the credit card would be easy enough. A second look at the drivers license and he found an address in Parkdale, a rather seedy part of the city that was not too far away. His own car keys lay on the table beside the reception couch where he had planned to spend the night.

The clock ticked just past one in the morning as he went back out to the warehouse. He sat and pulled the shoes off the corpse. He then pulled his own cowboy boots off and switched them. “Not the best choice for a blizzard, but beggars can’t be choosers now, can they? Eh? No answer there?”

He stood up and checked his pocket. He had the phone, wallet and keys of the corpse. With all his own materials left behind, he stepped back out into the newly started blizzard.

The Ford Escape was near brand new from what he could ascertain. One of the keys turned on the ignition of the now white and snow covered SUV. He slowly pulled out of the parking lot and noticed that the blast of snow had already covered his tracks crossing the street.

The drive to Parkdale would have normally taken five minutes along The Queensway from the warehouse. In this snow, however, even with very little traffic it was nearly an hour. The SUV radio showed it was just after two. Parking on the street would be interesting, but in this snow it was unlikely any parking attendants would be along with tickets.

He found one key that fit the front door to the three floor apartment building. Apartment 7 was half a flight of stairs down, and the third key on the ring fit the lock. He slowly crept into the apartment. It was a bachelor pad and with the sparse nature of the furniture, he decided no one else lived there. A computer sat in the corner. He quickly moved the mouse and the screen burst to life showing a wallpaper of a forest. Calling up the internet, he found a bank website in the bookmarks and the computer had a saved password. The bank account popped up showing more than $200,000, and the credit card was empty with a limit of more than $100,000.

“Too good to be true,” he gasped. He found a cheque book in one of the kitchen drawers and slipped it into his pocket. He quickly turned off the computer and locked the door dead bolt as he slipped back out. He got out to the SUV and pulled back out into the snowy street as the clock hit 2:30. He drove slowly to the first TD Bank he could find. Again parking on the street, he checked the phone for the pin numbers.

He felt a bead of sweat on his forehead as he slipped the card into the machine. His heart pounded in his ears as he punched in the pin number for the account. The machine quickly produced the thousand dollars he requested in twenties and fifties. He folded the bills and slipped them into his jeans.

Then, he got back in the SUV. Turning the key, the engine came on without argument. He flipped down the sunblock and opened the vanity mirror. “Hello, Gregg,” he said to the image. “Hello, Mr. Vincent.”

Then, he ran.

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