Sure, she stole the diamond ring, that wasn’t the question. She’d plotted the heist for nearly a month. It wasn’t no canary. No cognac. No blue-blooded Hope Diamond big enough to make her walk with a limp, its weight dragging down her right pocket. No. It was just a slip of a thing. An afterthought rock with an afterthought mount on an afterthought little silver circle. The kind of ring that wouldn’t impress a pauper or his daughter and it never impressed her. But it was hers. Given to her to signify the first day of her less than auspicious engagement to criminal mastermind and first-rate nothing and nobody, Garland Howard. The love of her quarter-served life sentence. Garland, Tinsel to pretty much everybody who had dealings with him and didn’t have the sense to restrain themselves from repeating the experience, was the one who was dead. Probably as verdant and desiccated as a Christmas tree in the pauper’s box they buried him in by now.
She didn’t kill him. But that wasn’t the question.
Annie stole the ring back for reasons that were clear for that long month of plotting and rehearsing and conning and making all the little thefts that let her appear to be just some newlywed bitch out of the Pennyrile who stopped in to be getting her ring resized. Nice people trust other nice people. That was their first problem. Though Annie could always add up other people’s problems in her head like a jeweler could see the spots in a rock without much talking to the. If she could count theirs higher than hers, she’d leave the matter be. If she had it worse, well then, she’d best not be talking troubles unless she was looking for more. Annie had a lot of silent days. She wasn’t living the sort of life where it was valuable to make friends.
She’d wanted that ring so much, the reason for needing it had been subsumed by the taking of it. Now that she thought about it, she could have stolen that blinking, green emerald eye big as her knuckle set in a bed of tiny, glittering diamonds instead the cheap, shitty thing they’d sold so that Tinsel could have that new TV. The TV that played one thing: reruns of crime procedurals. He liked counting corpses, inventing workarounds for failed murder plots, going ballistic at the inevitable fuck-ups of perfect crimes. It lit him up like Christmas. Annie had nothing on a stiff with a fork through its temple. Ironic, that he’d die like that, like something right out of CSI, never getting to watch them fuck up the investigation of his own death.
But none of that was concerning Annie at the moment. That damn ring, symbolizing her fidelity and verity and terrible taste in men who had terrible taste in jewelry, was in that worn, brown bookbag that was making its way somewhere through Bowling Green, in the possession of some thief. Worse than that, some thief who thought they were better than her.