Heist Couture

Confessions of a Heist Mastermind

I am one of the most materialistic fuckers you will ever meet. I’m in class right now, writing this piece in my cashmere sweater and custom tailored pants. Our writing professor tells us to ‘be pretentious.’ He doesn’t know I’m wearing Italian lingerie. 

Materialism would be an understatement. Each possession, meticulously selected, is a strategically chosen piece in an intricate chess game of expectations and appearances. It’s a game I’ve been training for my entire life; one I had no choice but to play. Ivy league degree to D4. Consulting job to C4. Designer clothes to C3. Expensive jewelry to F3. There are about three hundred billion possible moves I could make next, but the world has already dictated the ones I need to win.

That’s just the opening gambit. I’m not there yet, not by a long shot. There’s still so much more to achieve. I need a duplex penthouse with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the city. I need to drive to my C-suite job in a white Audi R8, crocodile Birkin riding shotgun. I need to tell you that I’m not materialistic, and that the expensive things I use are solely for their quality and functionality. God forbid I buy luxury items for status signaling–that would be way too nouveau riche for my taste. I’ve watched too many Gossip Girl and Succession episodes to do that. You wouldn’t catch me dead with a ludicrously capacious bag. 

You probably think I’m an arrogant snob now. That’s fair, I would too. But every heist mastermind needs an origin story right? It’s just that mine isn’t a heart-wrenching, tear-jerking story about me executing a heist as part of my father’s dying wish. Or an enticing, quasi-erotic tale about me falling for a delinquent who brings me down a path of bad behavior. I am simply one of the most materialistic fuckers you will ever meet. 


Merriam-Webster couldn’t give you as accurate a definition of materialism as stepping foot into an international school in Bangkok. Chanel bags, Rolexes, yacht trips–all before your first legal sip of alcohol (not that we cared, the police are corrupt anyways). 

My parents always disapproved of these extreme cases of materialism. They would scoff at the kids sporting Versace sweats at middle school dance parties, and the ones pestering their parents for lavish omakase budgets, just so they could Instagram-story the gold-flaked salmon bites. From a young age, it was instilled in me that materialism was wrong, and that embracing it would make me a bad person. Nobody wants to be a bad person. It’s the root to suffering, my devout Buddhist mother would tell me. Money doesn’t buy happiness. Focus on your education, friends, and family. But it didn’t help that the kids my parents frowned upon were my closest friends. Why did they get to bask in all these opulent luxuries, while I was left yearning for them? It wasn’t fair.

But life isn’t fair sometimes, you say. Like when your friends’ parents are Forbes-listed conglomerate owners and yours aren’t. Or when they get a hundred dollars for every A on their report card and all you get is a pat on the back, despite never having gotten anything less than a B since elementary school. And it certainly isn’t fair that they spend summers sipping spritzes in Milan while you toil away at home buried in textbooks. You’re not ungrateful. You’re really not. But sometimes, you just feel like a ticking time bomb–an Among Us imposter with an imminent death sentence, waiting to be unmasked. The only way out? A pair of sparkly designer shoes. 

I’ll admit, I was jealous. I’ve never said these words out loud before, but god damn I was jealous. It didn’t feel good. The voices in my head reminding me of my inadequacy grew louder, while my desire to fit in surpassed everything else. And if that meant I had to spend every cent my parents worked tirelessly to provide, I would do it. Did I feel guilty? Sure. I even feel like shit writing about it now. But my insatiable hunger for possessions metastasized to become something so much more immense than I could‘ve ever imagined. It consumed me to the point that I compromised my gratitude and my empathy for my parents: the very people I loved most. I had no control. 

I was fifteen when I saved up my first $100. This wasn’t enough to buy the shoes I wanted, so I resorted to other means: counterfeits. I remember strutting into school in my fake Gucci fur slippers (side note: it’s worth mentioning this was in 2017 when Jake Paul popularized Gucci slippers; second side note: I wouldn’t be caught dead in them now). No one at school could tell my shoes were fakes.  After all, I had purchased Grade A counterfeits. The envy emanating from my friends was palpable, and I would be lying if I told you it didn’t feel good. These shoes weren’t just accessories to me.

These were my golden tickets to an exclusive club that accepted only the top 1% of applicants–a club I finally belonged to. Let’s just hope they didn’t find out my membership card was made with a copy machine. 

Part of me felt like hot shit. The other felt like I had just committed a crime. The fear of exposure gnawed. What if I got caught? What would everyone think? Would they be disgusted? Even I was disgusted with myself. I reeked of desperation (that, and of faux fur).

A year later, I accumulated $450. I spent it all on real, rubber Gucci slides. It felt amazing.


Last week, I got a whopping signing bonus. My Google search history currently looks like this.

Hermes Kelly Belt

Cartier Tank Watch

Loro Piana Summer Charms

Van Cleef Bracelet


Fucking materialistic bitch. What the fuck is wrong with you? I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I continue browsing. 

I couldn’t sleep last night. I stayed up until 4am thinking about watches. At 4:10am, I finally snuggled into bed. Alexa had just turned off Desk Lamp 1 and Door Lamp. I closed my eyes and did some meditative breathing exercises in an attempt to purge my mind of all thoughts. 4:22am. I jolted out of bed and reached for my phone.

Vintage cartier panthere resellers near me.

After several minutes of scrolling, I finally went back to sleep. 


How to Become a Heist Mastermind

Step one. Recognize your motivations on why you want to carry out the heist. Analyze the life events that led you up to this point. 

The most important step. You can’t become a legendary mastermind if you don’t have a good origin story.

No one’s going to make a Netflix show out of your life if you’re a boring I-just-did-it-for-the-money mastermind.

Dig deep. Psychoanalyze yourself. Everyone’s bound to be fucked up in some kind of way.  

Step two. Evaluate the potential compromises of the heist.

Think about what you will be compromising on if you carried out the heist. Your morals? Your laziness? Your reputation? Maybe your signing bonus could get revoked? Don’t underestimate how physically and psychologically taxing being a mastermind can be. You need to be mentally prepared before you can lead a team. Chances are, your team is going to have the same concerns as you. You must show them that you believe the upsides outweigh the compromises–lead by example. If you’re up for it, we can move on to the next step. 

Step three. Identify your target(s).

I’d like to point out that certain heist markets are already very saturated. For example, jewelry, banks, art. There are already way too many talented masterminds in those fields–you won’t be remembered. Find your niche. Steal exotic animals, yachts, used celebrities’ tissues, I don’t care. Be creative. 

Step four. Construct a heist strategy.

After having analyzed the patterns of a number of successful real-world heists, I’ve come up with a 4E’s framework you may implement to construct your strategy.

  • Evaluation: Conduct a monetary cost-benefit analysis. This will inform you on how much capital is required to execute the heist, as well as a valuation of the net profits. 
  • Entry: Perform research on your target to formulate an entry plan. If your target is an institution, understand how to bypass the security systems. If your target is an individual, you will need to know their daily schedules and routines.
  • Execution: Specialization of labor is key. Figure out the steps required for heist. Then, select your team members based on the skills needed for each step.
  • Exit: Never underestimate the importance of a well-prepared exit strategy. Think getaway cars, counterfeit passports, a Cayman Islands bank account. Thank me later. 

Step five. Gather your team.

Skillset is definitely the priority, but make sure your team has unique personalities as well. You cannot have a boring team. Remember, your team is a direct reflection of you. If possible, recruit two people who you think might be sexually attracted to each other. Maybe three. A love triangle always makes for a good subplot. 

Step six. Execute the heist.

No further explanation needed. Just don’t get caught.

Step seven (optional). Send out a survey to find areas of improvement

A proactive mastermind is better than a reactive one. Have your target(s) rate you on your team’s abilities. Were you stealthy enough? Were there any valuables you missed? Did they have an inkling beforehand that you were about to rob them? Your target may be demotivated by the robbing to respond , so if all else fails, conduct the survey internally instead. Have your team rate themselves on how well they think the heist went and how they would like to improve next time. We always want to be learning and growing. 


Getting the Gang Together

I’m sweating. It’s 59 degrees outside, I’m in shorts, but I’m sweating. My heart palpitates frantically as I head over to Apartment 806 (my suggestion of a Zoom meeting was strongly vetoed), and I nervously rehearse my somewhat-persuasive speech under my breath. I must look a little crazy.

For over a month, I’ve kept this plan a secret from my friends in fear of their judgment. What if they don’t agree to help? What if my heist fails? Or worse, what if they shamed me for my questionable morals and my ugly obsession with materialism? But I realized the time had come for me to muster up my courage. I couldn’t do this without them. As much as I wanted it to be, this wasn’t going to be a one-man job. Every heist needs a team. I just had to figure out how to convince them. 

Some of the most important lessons in Buddhism and Jainism are as follows.

  1. Stealing is bad.
  2. Materialism leads to suffering.
  3. Engaging in these sins would plunge you into a torturous purgatory where a roaring fire burns you for eternity. 

Yet here I was, stepping foot into a Jain/Buddhist household, pen and notebook in hand, about to ask my friends if they would join me in leaping into this eternal inferno together. Hopefully, they enjoy the heat. 

I give my friends code names to protect their identities. It was a pattern I saw in my hours of ‘research’ watching heist blockbuster films. Code names not only protect identities (for legal reasons), but they also give characters a bit of a mysterious flair. Take the show Money Heist for example–it wouldn’t be the same if the robbers were called Carl or Gilbert instead of Denver and Berlin now would it? Carl and Gilbert would probably help me file my taxes. But Denver and Berlin? Ooh, rob me anytime. 

I came up with the names Rizzy, Arnold, and Big Nick for my friends. What the fuck, they said. Those are the worst code names I’ve ever heard. So fucking obvious. They finally settled on using Bangkok districts as their code names: Silom, Sathorn, and Thonglor. They’re giving me a run for my money, better at this heist thing than I am. 

We plop ourselves onto the plush, dark gray couch. Silom starts eating a pokė bowl, while Sathorn whips out his laptop to work on his assignment. Thonglor rushes downstairs to grab his UberEats order. College students have no time to waste.

“Guys, are you ready for this?” I ask, voice tinged with nervous anticipation.

Silom and Sathorn nod, not looking up. Just get on with it. They’ve been ready for the past ten minutes.  

“No, but are you guys actually ready for this?” 

I was stalling. Fuck, why couldn’t I just say it. Do you guys want to be part of my heist? “It’s simple. Don’t overthink it.” 

They had all, in theory, already agreed to play my game, and knew that I wanted to plan a “heist” for my writing class, but only now did they seem to be waking to the fact that I was serious. 

“I’m thinking of robbing Andy and Ella’s apartment for their designer stuff. If you guys don’t help me, I’ll fail my class.”

They finally look up. 

“That actually sounds pretty fun. I’m down.” 

“Yeah, same.” 

I’m baffled. 

“Okay. Any concerns? Any internal conflicts you might experience by doing this? You’re both cool with robbing our friends?”

“Yeah I’m cool with it,” Sathorn responds nonchalantly, his mouth filled with half-chewed pokė. He looks over to Silom. 

“Me too.” 

Thonglor enters the room, Chinese takeout in hand. “So, what are we doing again?” he asks. Lack of FOMO was never his strongest suit. 

Unhesitantly, Silom declares, “We’re going to rob Andy and Ella. You in?”

“Oh fun. Sure.”

I let out a sigh of relief. That was a lot easier than I expected. I guess eternal damnation isn’t so bad when it feels like the warmth of morally ambiguous friendships. 


The Plan

Heist movies have a lot in common. One, they have attractive lead characters (think George Clooney and Brad Pitt) and two, they make simple things a lot more complicated than they need to be. Since I didn’t have the budget to get plastic surgery to look like Mr. Clooney for this project, I made it my goal to turn the straightforward objective of robbing my friends into an elaborate, complex, Oscar-winning heist. 

First things first, we needed to decipher our targets’ schedules to pinpoint the ideal moment for the heist.

 “Silom, Sathorn–can you guys handle that?” 

“Yep, on it already. I’ll check their school email’s G-cals,” Sathorn declares as he swings open his laptop. Silom does the same. 

I had no idea you could even do that. This is precisely why I assembled a team of sharp, Ivy-league educated criminals! 

As Silom and Sathorn work on their first assignment together, I couldn’t help but catch myself smiling. Subtract the soft Bollywood tunes emanating from Silom’s bedroom and the stacks of stale pizza boxes filling the air with their lingering scent, you’ve got yourself a scene straight out of a heist movie. Maybe a low-budget, comedified, college student-produced version, but a heist movie nonetheless. I’m excited. We huddle in a circle, continuing to brainstorm our ideas.

“Wait, why are we asking our targets for consent again?” Sathorn challenges.

I give him the age-old ‘tea analogy’ example: you can’t force tea down someone’s throat if they don’t give you permission. He looks bewildered. Oops. Maybe this analogy only works for sex, not robberies. Attempt two. 

“So they don’t call the police on us, I guess?” 

A chorus of ‘ohhh’s reverberates across the room. Maybe simplifying matters isn’t such a terrible idea after all. I’ll try to keep that in mind. 

“Can’t we just steal their keys and break in? Wouldn’t that be so much easier?” Silom interjects. 

Fortunately, I have a solid response. Stealing Andy and Ella’s keys would leave us with limited time to complete the heist before they noticed their keys were missing. Instead, we should create duplicates to use later. Last Saturday, Ella came over to my place because she had lost her keys and couldn’t enter her building. It turned out she was planning to have Andy’s keys copied at the supermarket, a process that would provide her with a new set in just a matter of minutes. Congratulations, Ella. You have officially become an accomplice to your own robbery. 

Thonglor fidgets his legs restlessly. He doesn’t seem convinced. 

“Are you sure that’s going to work? I’m a little worried.” 

I pause for a moment, eventually coming up with a reassuring response for my teammates. 

“Bro. Trust.”

Surprisingly, it seems to do the trick. Are they brilliant or are they idiots? 

Thonglor excitedly shares that he watched a pickpocketing tutorial on Youtube last night. “I could pickpocket the keys for you!” he announces. 

Feeling left out, Silom attempts to offer his contributions to the plan. “Guys, what if we knock on the door first before breaking in to check if they’re home, and if someone answers, we run.”

Sathorn and I exchange a mixture of amusement and affectionate annoyance. Sweet, young, naive thing.

“Dude, if they open the door, you can just say hi. You do realize we’re friends with them, right?” Sathorn chuckles.

“Oh, right. Sorry.”

So, it’s settled. Here is the team’s mutually agreed upon plan of how we were going to conduct the heist.

  1. Take Andy and Ella to dinner.
  2. Get them drunk. (Kudos to Silom for this one).
  3. Thonglor will pickpocket their keys and copy them before they notice their keys are missing.
  4. Return the original keys.
  5. Use duplicate keys to break into the apartment when targets aren’t home (or simply say hi if they are).
  6. Steal all designer items available and replace them with counterfeits purchased from DHgate. 
  7. Revel in success. 

I guess this is the part in the movie where the director yells, action!

Materialist Finance: The Game

Good morning, Player 1. You’ve just returned from your Thanksgiving getaway. You had an amazing time, ate lots of good food, and did some holiday shopping. Now, it’s time to face the aftermath and check your bank account statement.

*Kahoot-style loading music* 

Oh no! Your current balance is $204. 

Game Instructions:

Navigate the rest of the month without running out of money. You lose once your balance hits $0 or when other players figure out how much is in your balance. Good luck!


Day 1

You do some grocery shopping at Trader Joes. Smart move! It’s more economical to cook at home. Your cart is loaded up with the essentials: eggs, spaghetti, frozen scallops, and Veuve Clicquot champagne. Current balance: $122

Day 2

The holidays call for a new little black dress. Thankfully, Calvin Klein is having a major sale, ending in four days. You seize the opportunity and make the purchase. Logical decision! Shipping costs you an extra $5. 

Current balance: $73

Day 3

With class starting in 15 minutes, cooking is out of the question. You UberEats a croissant for breakfast and a medium-sized iced Americano to stay awake. Gotta keep those eyes open in class. 

Current balance: $64

Day 4

The Instagram targeted ad algorithm strikes again. Blame it on Zuckerberg for taking advantage of your underdeveloped prefrontal cortex. You succumb to the allure of a pair of earrings you didn’t know you needed.

Current balance: $52

Day 5

Ralph Lauren’s website beckons with a tempting 40% off on everything. The holiday sales are too hard to resist. You add a cozy sweater to your cart. 

Uh oh! An AT&T notification rudely interrupts your shopping spree. Your monthly payment of $50 is now due. 

Clear cart. Clear cart. Clear cart.

Current balance: $2


Thanksgiving is the best time of the year. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, then the holiday season sales. What are you doing if not shopping on Thanksgiving? 

Your roommate, Player 2, seems to get the memo. Package after package after package arrives at the front desk. The apartment concierge doesn’t bother asking for her room number anymore. With a knowing smile and a subtle nod, he hands over her daily stack of packages. Player 2, blissfully caught in the whirlwind of unboxing excitement, giggles at the sheer absurdity of it all and playfully questions the possibility of having a shopping addiction. 

“Is it me who’s shopping significantly more, or is it you who’s shopping significantly less?” she teases, eyes glinting with a mixture of curiosity and obliviousness. “I haven’t seen you get any new packages recently.”

A forced smile graces your lips as you respond, “Probably both?”

She chuckles. So do you.

“Hey, want to grab dinner this weekend? There’s this new sushi place that just opened up, and it looks really cool,” Player 2 suggests. 

Player 1, pause for a moment. Think carefully before you respond. Remember the objectives of the game. 

“Umm, I don’t think I can. I’ve got a ton of studying to do this weekend.”

“What about next weekend?”

“Yeah, next weekend’s a no-go, too. Midterms, you know?”

Player 2 looks disappointed. However, she’s still clueless about your dwindling balance–a mystery you’ve managed to keep under wraps. She then throws in the idea of getting matching Christmas pajama pants.

“It’ll be so cute,” she insists. You give a half-hearted nod. 

“Can you order it for us then? I’ll Venmo you my half.”

Uh oh, Player 1. The stakes just got higher. What’s your move? Admit defeat? Or keep up the charade?


I find Andy and Ella in the lobby of my apartment. I give them a hug. We laugh at how difficult it was to coordinate the meetup. I thank Andy for making the reservation. No worries, she says, I’m surprised everyone could make it. We laugh a little more. We delve into the stories of our Thanksgiving holidays, reminiscing about the good times before the impending reality of finals season hits us. Our Uber arrives and we reach the restaurant at 6:04pm.

In the gentle embrace of dim lights, leaning against the sleek mahogany bar, Andy and Ella twinkle. Andy, draped in a vintage Valentino dress, effortlessly embodies sophistication. The black silk cascades gracefully over her figure, enhancing the subtle sparkle of a diamond pendant that delicately graces her collarbone. Wrapped around her wrist, a silver Cartier bracelet whispers of refined taste. Ella, in contrast, embraces a daring style with her Gucci ensemble. The iconic interlocking Gs adorn her blouse, harmonizing seamlessly with the opulent gold earrings that sway from her earlobes. A Rolex delicately encircles her wrist, a nod to timeless allure. Together, they compose a dazzling duo, seemingly untouched by the clandestine heist lingering in the shadows.

I can’t tear my eyes away from the Valentino dress. God, it’s gorgeous. I ask Andy what her dress size is. Is that too obvious? Without hesitation, she tells me she’s a 2. Interesting, I think to myself, we’re the same size

Suddenly, the entrance door swings open, and the rest of the team saunters in. Silom, Sathorn, and Thonglor, wearing a nonchalant air, join our table.  

Sarcasm drips from my words as I mutter, “Well, congratulations, you’ve only kept us waiting for an hour.” Hey, there aren’t any rules on being a snarky heist mastermind, alright?

Sathorn looks at me and retorts, “So how’s your creative writing class going, by the way?” 

They chuckle, and I roll my eyes. 

 “Wait, what class?” Andy asks.


“She’s writing a story, I think,” Silom snickers. 

Who let me recruit a team of ten year olds?

I shoot them all a disapproving stare, and they finally change the topic of conversation.

As Sathorn and Andy chatter about their ongoing final projects for marketing class, Thonglor steers Ella into an engrossing conversation about love, dating, and college hookups. Is he… flirting? A couple more espresso martinis later, the conversation verges on getting too weird to document. 

Silom, the mastermind behind the “get them drunk” strategy, seamlessly initiates rounds of cocktails, toasts, and anecdotes. 

“Here’s to our senior year, guys. Love you all.” 

The clinking of glasses and laughter resonates across the restaurant. 

Not bad, Silom. I guess I forgive you. 

Suddenly, the perfect window of opportunity emerges. Ella, caught in the animated flow of the conversation, casually announces her intention to use the bathroom. It’s the cue we’ve been waiting for. I shoot Thonglor an encouraging nod, letting him know it’s showtime.

I can tell he’s nervous. His hands are trembling. I mean, we’re talking about Thonglor here: the epitome of wholesomeness, the avid soup kitchen volunteer, the 4.0 GPA teacher’s pet. The guy who wouldn’t dream of violating academic integrity, even if handed an unproctored take-home open note final exam. Yet here he is, perhaps one martini too many, on the brink of committing his first ever crime. It’s like watching a character from a family sitcom suddenly enter a crime thriller–utterly unexpected and slightly surreal.

Thonglor, although still wearing an anxious expression, rises from his seat. Suddenly, his wholesome facade morphs briefly into that of a stealthy infiltrator. He navigates the crowded restaurant like a pro, blending into the background noise of the chattering diners. I’ve got to say, I’m impressed.

With a quick glance over his shoulder, to ensure no one is paying attention, Thonglor reaches Ella’s side just as she excuses herself from the table. A deft sleight of hand, and Ella’s keys move from her purse to Thonglor’s possession.

As he makes his way back to our table, there’s a triumphant glint in his eyes, mingled with a touch of disbelief. The virtuous soup kitchen volunteer has just pulled off a heist maneuver that would make Danny Ocean proud. The keys quietly land in my hands under the table.

The rest of the team remains blissfully unaware, caught up in the celebratory ambiance of the senior year toast. But the heist is officially in motion, and Thonglor, our unexpected hero, has proven that even the most unassuming characters can play a crucial role in a daring caper.

“Mission accomplished,” Thonglor whispers. “How about another round of martinis?”


Le Finale

I pour myself a glass of Veuve Clicquot. Lemony richness on the nose. Toffee apple allure on the palate. A chalky coolness and a savory, nutty finish. La mer by Charles Trenet plays softly in the background. French jazz feels better than sex. I bite into the perfectly seared scallop, followed by another sip of the effervescent Clicquot. C’est magnifique!  

I light a candle. The flickering flame casts a warm, amber glow across the room. The scent of vanilla and sandalwood fills the air, enveloping me in its velvety embrace. I close my eyes, letting the sensory symphony transport me. Breathe in.

The view from my living room looks especially beautiful tonight. Building lights adorning the city skyline glitter in harmonious fashion, like a million tiny diamonds. Even the moon is perfectly round tonight. I take it as a sign. Breathe out.

“Hey Boss, are you there?”  

The champagne flute topples as I frantically reach for my laptop. 


“Yes, sorry. I’m here. Is your camera on?” 

The team appears on the screen, each member wearing an air of nervous anticipation. Sathorn, our tech expert, gives a hesitant thumbs-up, subtly conveying a touch of uncertainty about the camera’s operational status. Silom fidgets with his jacket and flashes a somewhat uneasy grin. Thonglor, however, appears surprisingly calm. He’s a seasoned professional now, I guess. 

“Remember, everyone, stick to the plan,” I remind them. “Thonglor, you’ve got the keys. Sathorn, keep an eye out for any unexpected guests. Silom… uh, smile more. We’ve got one shot at this. Let’s make it count.”

The screen goes dark, leaving only the subtle hum of our collective breaths. The heist is officially in motion, and the countdown begins.



Thonglor’s key glides effortlessly into the door. The entrance swings open with a gentle push, and a world of opulence unfurls before our eyes. The living room, a testament to meticulous curation, showcases carefully selected artworks that adorn the walls with sophistication. Below the expansive glass windows, a row of empty vintage champagne bottles stands, silently memorializing moments of extravagant celebration. With every step, the team moves stealthily through the apartment, their progress muted by the plush carpeting.

The bedrooms unveil walk-in closets brimming with designer clothes and shelves lined with neatly arranged shoes, each pair more extravagant than the last. Every bag, watch, necklace, and shoe posted on their Instagram was there, and with surgical precision, the team seamlessly substitutes each item with its cheaper replica. I watch in awe as the team’s synchronicity and expertise in the art of heist unfold, transforming the act of theft into a ballet of calculated movements and silent exchanges. It was beautiful. 

Suddenly, the screen passes over Andy’s Valentino silk dress. 

“Hold on. Go back.” 

A bead of sweat forms on my forehead. 

“Get the dress too,” I insist. 

“What? We didn’t prepare a replica for that,” Sathorn whispers. 

“I don’t care, just get the dress.”

“We got everything we came for already, can we please just leave before we get caught?” Silom sounds nervous. 

“No, we need the dress.” 

Call me selfish, greedy, materialistic, whatever, but this was an opportunity I wasn’t about to let slip through my fingers.  

“Fine, we’ll get it,” Thonglor responds. “Just keep your voice down–someone will hear us.”

“Dude, just mute her.” Sathorn rolls his eyes. 

“We need to wrap this up,” Silom mutters, carefully folding the dress into a concealed bag, as the rest of the team starts to move out of the bedroom

Suddenly, the door swings open. 

A tall, looming figure steps in. His arrival sends a ripple of alarm through the team. In the dimly lit living room, they meld into the shadows and huddle under the dining table, hoping to escape his notice. The room becomes a silent tableau of freeze-framed anxiety.

The person, oblivious to the covert operation, looks around the room. Every move he makes feels like an eternity. The team watches in quiet trepidation, hoping he wraps up his business quickly, unaware of the high-stakes operation unfolding around him. The tension hangs in the air like a tightrope walker suspended in the dark, where one wrong step could unravel the entire scheme.

I stare at the computer screen, trying to figure out who the stranger is. Wait.

I let out a huge breath of relief. 

Oh, it’s Johnny, our friend and Andy and Ella’s next door neighbor. He must’ve forgotten something in the apartment. As the tension lifts, a gentle chuckle escapes my lips.

“Guys, it’s just Johnny. You can get up now,” I assure the team.

However, silence still envelops the room as the team remains huddled underneath the table. Confusion creases their brows, a mix of uncertainty and lingering tension.

“Okay, Johnny’s leaving now. You can relax,” I insist, sensing the team’s lingering apprehension.

“Oh shit, sorry, we didn’t realize we still had you on mute,” Sathorn admits, letting out a nervous laugh. “Did you say Johnny?” 

The team finally eases out from their covert positions, visibly relieved as Johnny retrieves his forgotten jacket and heads toward the exit. Silom, still shaken by the close call, mumbles, “Well, that was too close.”

As the door clicks shut behind Johnny, a collective exhale fills the room. The team, now free from the immediate threat, exchanges glances that blend relief with amusement at the unexpected twist. Chuckles ripple through the room, breaking the tension that had gripped the air just moments ago.

With the goods secured and their exit assured, the team swiftly retreats from Andy and Ella’s apartment, vanishing into the shadows of the night with the spoils of their flawlessly executed heist. 

I pop open another bottle of champagne. The notes? Apple, citrus, and success. 




You have 1 new notification.

Johnny: I’m at the door now. Should I go in?

My eyes flicker to the screen, a smirk playing on my lips. Johnny’s perfectly timed interruption is a symphony to my ears. I send off a quick reply:

Yes, just act natural. I’ll let you know when to leave. 


I knock on my roommate’s bedroom door. 

“Wanna do some holiday shopping?” 

With a smile, she responds, “Thought you’d never ask. Where?”

“You’ll see.”

It’s 37 degrees outside. The air is crisp and cool, yet a thrilling warmth envelopes me. Adrenaline courses through my veins, as my roommate and I race beneath the glow of the sparkling city lights. We reach Apartment 806. 

With a light push, the door swings open. 

Protip: Recruit a team of (brilliant) idiots who don’t lock their apartment doors. 

I look over to my roommate and say, “Grab whatever you want from their closets. I’ll explain later, but for now, happy shopping.”

 She shrugs, and we both get to work. 

For a bunch of religious Buddhist-Jains, these guys sure are materialistic. Arrays of designer jackets fill their closets, while rows of luxury watches populate their desks. 

Remember when I told you I was one of the most materialistic fuckers you will ever meet? ‘One of’, as in, you haven’t met my friends yet. I guess we’re all the same in the end. 

As my roommate and I sweep the apartment clean of its valuables, I catch the faint echoes of Johnny’s voice from the virtual realm. The distraction works like a charm, leaving the team blissfully unaware of the parallel thievery taking place in their home.

In a matter of minutes, we’ve plundered the closets, and the apartment door swings shut behind us with a soft click. A shared giggle escapes us, a contagious burst of exhilaration that only intensifies as we marvel at our arms, now laden with the team’s prized possessions. We blast Madonna’s ‘Material Girl’ at full volume, dancing and singing at the top of our lungs. 

It’s not our fault we’re living in a material world. 


Disclaimer: Every stolen item was returned to its owner after completion of this story. Please don’t deport me.