FDIC Insured

She’s the kind of professional thief you hire to break into your place to see if it’s possible to break into your place. She’s trustworthy to exactly the extent that she keeps her promises to the letter, and no further. She comes highly recommended by all the right people.

“I paid a lot of money for this vault. I’m told it’s impregnable.”

She smiled. “Anything that can be entered legitimately can be entered criminally.”


“You have my quote in front of you.”

We paid. She smiled, walked out, and we never saw her again. A week went by, and we started making phone calls: where is she, why no contact, how can we get our money back?

It wasn’t until I opened my personal lockbox — virtually a vault-within-a-vault — and found the note she’d left, that I realized she’d been and gone.

Needs work, it said. There weren’t any details.

Returned Unopened

My Dear Harry,

I hope this letter finds you well. I have heard from Etheline — her young man is in Cairo with Alexander’s staff — that the fighting around Tobruk is heavy. Please don’t take unnecessary risks and remember that you have people waiting for you at home, chief among them Stewart who is certain that you shall marry me and thus finally provide the big brother he clearly deserves instead of merely the terribly disappointing sister who can’t even manage to throw a ball properly.

I have been moved up to shift lead at the plant, so I am even busier than before. Your mother brings me cakes at least once a week, and Penny comes across from the shop to have lunch most days unless they are too busy. She is becoming a good friend and I cannot wait to have her for a sister.

Please do tell me if there is anything more I can send. I am knitting more heavy socks and a smart blue cap which is almost done. Penny has some things for you too, and Stewart has with great gravitas — and, I think, selflessness — donated some of his hard candy.

I must go as my break is over, so this short letter will have to do for today. I will sit under the crooked Alder at the bottom of the hill tomorrow and write you a longer one, so long as the air-raid sirens cooperate.

Love always and waiting patiently,
Your Annabelle.