BY MIKE VINSON
10:15 P.M, December 31, 2014
Upscale Lennox Hill neighborhood - Manhattan, New York
Having easily disarmed the Brink's Home Security System, penlight in hand, "The Ghost" entered the upstairs master bedroom of the two-story, 10-million-dollar mansion. He was called "The Ghost" because, except for a few world-class "Fences" (those who buy and sell stolen goods), no one, even the FBI, knew his real identity, much less that he was a high-end "cat burglar."
Dressed in an all-black diving suit, black ski mask, black gloves, black running shoes, and carrying a solid black athletic bag, his wiry, 5 feet, 8 inch, 140 pound frame stealthily moved about the master bedroom, artfully scanning the area with the penlight.
There it was in the corner, the state-of-the-art, high-tech-security Brown Vault! He knew about the Brown Vault because this master thief had hacked into Brown Vault's customer listing. Still, he knew the mansion's owners, a billionaire couple named Eli and Casandra Epstein, in their late 60s, were a few miles away in The Hamptons--home to many of New York's rich & famous--bringing in the New Year with the likes of Alec Baldwin, Martha Stewart, Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, Donald Trump, Derek Jeter, and a host of others.
He had learned of the Epstein's intention to attend to the New Year's Eve shindig in The Hamptons by following them on Facebook. "These people yakking away on social networks, divulging their personal business and intentions to complete strangers," he thought to himself, shaking his head in disbelief.
The Ghost looked at his watch: 10:16 P.M. He had forty-four minutes to get inside the Brown Vault and grab whatever jewels and cash he could, and vacate the premise, well before the midnight-hour countdown. Since the Epsteins had made their fortune in the diamond business, rumor had it there were a smorgasbord of precious stones and a decent amount of hard cash inside the vault.
"Easy money," he silently thought, smiling devilishly. Penlight trained, he stepped lightly as a kitten on carpet toward the vault, the excitement accelerating with each step.
"Jesus is watching you," an unseen voice announced.
One foot in the air, black bag in one hand, penlight in the other hand, The Ghost froze in place . . . terrified! What was he to do?! Run?! That wouldn't do any good at this point: If he'd been caught, well, it would be the end for him. Finally, he resolved himself to the fact his nerves were on edge, and his mind was playing tricks on him. With that, he, once again, commenced quietly making his way to the vault.
"Jesus is watching you," the unseen voice said for the second time.
Breaking his own work ethic--not losing it under pressure--The Ghost turned from the vault and pointed his penlight in the direction from whence the unseen voice had spoken. Nerves completely frazzled, The Ghost realized he couldn't carry on any further until he identified the source of the voice speaking to him.
Suddenly, The Ghost came upon a bird cage! Inside the cage was a Yellow-Naped Amazon parrot, one of the most expensive birds in the world, bright green in color, highlighted with patches of yellow.
Relaxed to the extent he exhaled an obvious sigh, The Ghost, point-blank, asked the parrot, "Are you the one that said 'Jesus is watching you'?"
"I am," the parrot affirmed.
Embarrassed and miffed, The Ghost retorted with, "And I suppose you name is Jesus?"
"No, my name is not Jesus. My name is Moses," the parrot said matter-of-factly.
Now angry, The Ghost shot back with, "What kind of dumb family would give their pet parrot a dumb name like Moses?!"
"The same dumb family that named their Rottweiler dog Jesus, the dog standing right behind you," Moses said.