Many times I'm asked the question: Why turn to a life of crime? What could possibly be so enticing about a career in which a bad day means you could lose a hand, or worse? Are the spoils truly worth it? Does the risk truly present such a rush of adrenaline that you could never be happy doing anything else? And truth be told, they are very valid questions. But for me, it's never been about the thrill, nor the gold in my pockets. For me, it's listening to the way locks sing to me.
There's a subtle whisper to every lock, and I do mean every lock. From the smallest latch on a jewelry box, to the immense and complex that you find on vaults, each has a song they sing, and I hear them all.
You may alrighty be picturing this in your head, and I promise you're already wrong. Each lock sounds uniquely different, and there is almost no rhyme or reason to be found amongst them. Small locks do not always make small, falsetto sounds, and large locks do not always sing in deep, bassy tones. Think of it much the same as regular singing between people. When someone opens their mouth to sing, you can never be quite sure what sounds you're going to hear.
Where is my part in this, you may be asking? Well, I only hear a few notes of each song. Just whispers that drift to my ear when I get close. To hear the whole tune, I must play alongside them. All lock picks have their own tune as well, and when used in perfect harmony, the song I can create with locks are some of the most beautiful things I've heard in all the lands.
Some songs are quick, no more than a bar or so of notes. Other songs last longer, with dips, and twists, decrescendos and crescendos that could make a grown man weep. I suppose you could say that I'm more of a performer than a thief, but I suppose that would be overlooking all the things I do steal after my shows.
While it is true that I make my living off of the valuables of others, that is only a means to an end. Money for food, for clothes, and some pleasures, to be sure. But the bulk of my pilfered wealth goes towards new picks, new instruments I can use to create new songs, to finish old ones that I thought were beyond my talent. There's nothing quite like the payoff of returning to an old song that challenged you so, only to attempt it again with a more finely tuned instrument, and hear the song you've dreamed of for weeks. There is, at the risk of repeating myself, simply nothing like it.
There are many intricacies of thieving, fencing, and sustaining oneself in a frowned upon profession, but a thousand thousand others have spoken about those things at length. I prefer, when I get the rare chance, to speak of my unique experiences, of the songs I've heard and played through my many storied nights hiding from moonlight and guard eyes. The songs I've heard, those I've played, those are things no other thief can replicate. Too many see them as obstacles, something to fiddle with and be done with as quickly as possible to proceed to their "true prize". It's a shame, to think of all the songs in the world that have gone unheard. I take my time. No song should be rushed, or played slower than intended. You find the beat, match the tempo, and insert your own notes when they are needed. And if your instrument should break, or fail to match the tune, you do not force your way through the song. You retreat, repair what's been damaged, and find the right sound to come back and try again.
Where most thieves talk of their biggest haul, their greatest pull, their grandest heist, I talk of my favorite songs, the loveliest choirs I've played with, the operas I've taken part in. I hone my craft the same ways a musician does, hoping that one day I'll take part in some magnificent symphony that people will talk about for generations to come. But until that day, I listen to the songs that all locks sing, and use my skills to join them.