Jack “Greasy Thumb” Burke always thought of Christmas as a “business opportunity” He had no family, growing up as an orphan, and the closest thing he had to one was the band of criminals he had joined at a young age, who taught him everything he knew. Most of them had either been killed by cops, murdered on the job, or in jail somewhere now. No one was ever nice to him at the orphanage, though he wasn’t exactly very nice to them either. Each year at Christmas the orphanage got the hottest toys of not just the holiday season, but the entire year, and most likely the entire year to follow. He remembered when he was a child in the 80’s and the orphanage got in a whole bunch of Transformers. He stole them all and gave to his crime family, which they sold for quite a lot of cash.

The first day he had ran away from the orphanage after being scolded and beat with a yardstick, and had a chance encounter with Leroy Galante. Galante was a businessman and he and his gang sold and/or auctioned stuff on the black market for money, and Jack had just stumbled onto one of their operations, Though Jack appeared frightened Galante was ruthless, and threatened to have Jack disposed of, even though Galante’s men tried to convince him to easy on him cause he was just a kid. Jack then stated how much expensive stuff the orphanage had, and Galante agreed to see what he could do. He snuck into the orphanage late that night and stole money that was meant for charity. Galante was pleased and took him in. He developed bonds with Thomas Rollack, who taught him shoplifting, James Accardo, who taught him burglary techniques, and John Barnes who taught him about dealing drugs and where to obtain them, as well as where to pawn things Galante wasn’t interested in, and Leroy Galante himself taught him everything about the business.

In his early teens he ran away from the orphanage after being exposed as a thief, and permanently joined Galante’s gang. He started out doing small stuff but not as small as some of the candy he’d stolen on solo jobs as a kid. His life in crime was really the only great thing about his childhood when he thought about it. He would dress as employees and sneak into stores, wear clothes that hide the uniform, load valuable stuff into a cart like regular shopper, then one no one was looking he’d take off his coat, put it in one of black bags he put in it’s pocket, put it under his shirt then go into the employees only sections of stores, and when no one was looking, load all the stolen merchandise into more black bags, then take it out back as if it were trash, and, double checking to make sure he wouldn’t be caught, load it into Thomas Rollack’s waiting car, who had only came when he was instructed and took all the security cameras when he arrived if necessary. James Accardo, had taught him to only steal as much weight as he or the bags could hold, and to never go past the second floor of an apartment building so he could, drop the load on the ground without damage, jump off the balcony, then jump in their getaway car. During house break ins, he was told to always come out a door, or climb out a first story window, as jumping from an upper floor risked losing loads. He also taught him how to make sure police weren’t following him. He missed James, who had been shot dead by police in a burglary gone wrong, and John Barnes was killed in a drug deal gone bad, apparently Galante didn’t pay the promised amount and Barnes was shot to death as punishment. Shortly after that Galante’s operation fell apart, as a careless burglar, who was skilled but only added because of Accrado’s death, decided to prove himself, do a solo operation, and led an undercover cop straight to Galante, who had a police force ready in minutes, Galante and Accardo were forced to surrender, although the rookie burglar was promised probation for busting Galante’s operation, he never got it, Jack found and killed him for “breaking up his family”.

Jack almost felt nervous, considering the disappearances of fellow criminals the past few Christmas Eve’s, but they were all amateurs, nowhere near as professional as he is, he laughed at the fact he was even comparing himself to them in the first place. His solo crimes, especially at Christmas had been very successful. He started small, stealing from Salvation Army buckets, using some money for rent, and setting the rest aside, and the the next year pulled off a string of shoplifting operations, making sure to take out the security cameras first, stealing the merchandise, then going out the back door, and since parking there would be hard without his car being seen, and lugging it to the parking lot would be downright stupid, as he was bound to be see by someone, he scrambled up drain or gutter pipes,, carefully, holding to the bag in one hand, and walked on the roofs of the plaza, jumping over the fence, and loaded the bags into his car, parked at an apartment complex at the edge of the plaza. The money he made off those thefts was possibly even more than he and Rollack made, Rollack would have been so proud to see how far Jack had become. The next year, he pulled off a string of burglaries the way him and Accardo used to do. He stole all the presents under trees he could, unwrapped them, sold and/or pawned anything useful, and burned anything he didn’t want or need. He smiled as he thought of these past accomplishments. Tonight one of the stops was a familiar one to him, the old orphanage. Considering how well his solo crimes were going, he could move to safecracking, a technique Leroy Galante had taught him, but was too risky to execute. Stealing from art museums, would filthy rich, then he’d break out Leroy Galante and Thomas Rollack, and put Galante back on the map again, and they’d make the cops pay for what they did to James Accardo, and take care of the criminal scum who killed John Barnes.

He pulled on a Santa suit, it was a favorite of his to use around the holidays, crept to a side window, pried it open and crawled in, he’d done it several times as a child, and they were still not smart enough to put in burglar alarms. As if he wouldn’t come back to such an easy job. He climbed the stairs to the room where the Christmas tree was, opened the door, and pulled out a bag. He quietly hummed “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” as he loaded all the presents into the bag. He knew for a fact they still shipped the newest toys, as one of Galante’s men, one of the few who was alive and not in jail, had infiltrated the delivery service and personally laid them out for Jack to take, after he had paid half of the money he made in his crimes, it was Christmas, after all, and this was the only family he knew, why not be a little generous? Besides he’d make much more than that selling or pawning these off to the affiliates him, Rollack, and the late Accardo and Barnes used to do business with. Especially since he still has another stop. To makes this victory even more upsetting to the orphanage, he had the milk & cookies left for Santa, and trudged back down the stairs to the window he came in.

He climbed the drain pipe onto the roof, then made his way to the children’s hospital, he had scoped it out earlier in the day, since registration at the front desk wasn’t required, he just walked right in, went to the room where the Christmas tree was, then looked out the windows to see where to climb in. It wouldn’t be that simple now though, as he was dressed in the Santa suit, and that would draw attention, so he parked his car in the parking garage , then broke into the orphanage first, then made his way back to the hospital, and put his first bag in his car, fortunately all he had to do was sneak into a gathering room where no one saw him, having disabled the cameras, and the doors weren’t left open as the hospitals feared thieves would come from the inside, not the outside, and sneak back into the parking garage by scaling the building, since he set it out so his car was right on the side. He tried to slide the window open, but it was wouldn’t budge, most likely frozen shut so he used glass cutter, then reached a through crowbar to damage the handle so it would stay open, and slipped in. He quickly dumped all the toys into a black bag, then climbed out the window, easing his way along ledge after ledge to the parking garage, he climbed in and went to open his trunk, it wouldn’t budge. He searched for his keys, feeling for them or one of his tools, nothing. He must have dropped them in the hospital. Scaling back wouldn’t take long. He climbed back out, and heard police sirens in the distance, as well as the sounds of sleigh bells nearby, almost as if they were above. Probably some late night Christmas Eve sleigh rides, to see all the lights in town, especially the Old Village, with it’s big Christmas tree and lights in the own square. He could hear “Silent Night” off in the distance as the last church service came to a close. To make sure he was safe he climbed upwards to the roof, and ran across with his black bag pulled behind him. He jumped across the short distance to the other side of the street, then ducked into an alley, only to be greeted by another man in a Santa suit. “First it was all the homes last year, now this? You’ve been naughty Jack, and you’re coming with me, forever”. A blinding flash of light appeared in front of Jack. The next thing he knew he was waking up in a bed, dressed as an elf, he recognized the other criminals who disappeared, also dressed as elves. The man in the Santa suit entered, “Come with me, you’ve got a lot of work to do”…

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