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The Atom Thief

it's always the small things. you never really notice them until they're gone. but by then of course it's too late.

he waits, motionless, just outside a pool of orange juice coloured light cast by a solitary street lamp, sickly bright as though it were rich in e numbers. in the shadows his breath is barely visible in the chill march air. a low trilby hides his eyes in deeper shadow, takes the glint off his spectacle frames, and the upturned collar of his three quarter length coat obscures the rest of his face. not that it matters anyway, he would be just as invisible in any other attire. he is one of those rare individuals that has the ability to look so unremarkable as to just blend into the background in any environment. he may as well be part of the wall. the long coat and hat just make him feel more like he's playing the part.

he enjoys what he does. he does it purely for pleasure, not for commercial gain, or out of moral standing or even for religious reasons. he does it because he can, and he enjoys it. everyone knows an angst ridden teenage tearaway that claims they only ever shoplifted for the buzz, they didn't need whatever they stole. well, it's like that. he doesn't need his ill gotten gains. but he does treasure them. every one lovingly stored in a small glass jar, labelled with the time and date in his tidy, unremarkable handwriting.

but unlike the teenager he never stopped. he never left his 'wild days' behind him. why should he? he's never been caught. and he knows he never will. he's that good. somewhere in the shadows of his overcoat he smiles. an unnerving, smug smile of deep satisfaction. the kind of smile, which if seen on the face of a passer by would cause an immediate paranoia attack, because they look like they know something you don't. and they probably do.

he's smiling because it's almost time. he's spotted his victim at the other end of the alleyway, a young man in a dark duffel coat, long sandy blonde hair. the endorphins kick in, sending a shiver down his spine. carefully... the young man is but yards away, ambling along ignorant of what is about to befall him, bobbing his head to the soft breakbeats crackling from his headphones. the young man starts, as suddenly a figure detaches itself from a sea of shadow against the wall, bumps against him, the rim of a trilby brushes against his cheek. a muttered apology from the young man - 'oh, sorry, didn't see you there man.' the figure in the hat is unremarkable, but not noticeably so, easily forgotten, but not in a memorable fashion. he could have been made up of a little bit of everyone he looks so ordinary.

the victim walks on, instantly forgetting the encounter. the man in the hat carefully brushes something from the brim of his hat into the palm of his hand and runs snickering into the night.

Write for Upsideclone

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If you've read Upsideclown and old articles here, you get the idea. Submissions are always welcome: We operate a strictly hands-off editorial approach (we won't even correct your spelling). Once submitted, your article goes to the vote by the seven clowns. A majority, and you're in the queue for Friday publications. Go on -- And if you want to know more, hints or clarifications: come ask us in talk.


Clare Maguire > 6dec2002 > The Face of The Future
Simon Batistoni > 15nov2002 > Ghost
Kelly Bean > 8nov2002 > The Program
Anonymous > 1nov2002 > Winning the Lottery
Ned > 25oct2002 > Calibre
Tom Massey > 4oct2002 > Roses
Simon Batistoni > 27sep2002 > Message Centre
Riana > 20sep2002 > Value Added
Giles Turnbull > 13sep2002 > A lab technician's lot
Kevan Davis > 6sep2002 > The Campaign for Real Advertising
Giles Turnbull > 30aug2002 > The old lady and the whelk
KTL > 23aug2002 > Feet
Sandy Tulloch > 16aug2002 > How the people came to stop thinking
RavenBlack > 9aug2002 > An Arm And A Leg
Nicholas Wilshere > 19jul2002 > Two full-page ads
Dustin Ruby > 12jul2002 > Family Life
Matt Jones > 14jun2002 > The end of history
Cathrine > 7jun2002 > The Eye of the Beholder
Nick > 31may2002 > I wanna shake your hand
RavenBlack > 24may2002 > Precognito Ergo Sum
Ned > 10may2002 > Spambot
Tyrethali > 26apr2002 > The Contest
Holly Gramazio > 19apr2002 > A Tale of No Watermelons
Brooke Magnanti > 12apr2002 > What The Dead Remember
Tyrethali > 5apr2002 > Superego
RavenBlack > 29mar2002 > Black Rain
james > 22mar2002 > The Atom Thief
RavenBlack > 15mar2002 > Soul Trap
matzu > 8mar2002 > Angry Elton
RavenBlack > 1mar2002 > Hell Is Other People
JT Bruce > 22feb2002 > Door Ajar
matzu > 15feb2002 > Send in the clones
Kevan Davis > 8feb2002 > Litter
RavenBlack > 1feb2002 > The Perfect Job
Tyrethali > 25jan2002 > Mystery
Giles Turnbull > 11jan2002 > The Twisted World of Advertising
Tom Armitage > 21dec2001 > Numbers
Sandy Tulloch > 14dec2001 > Killing Cats
Brooke Magnanti > 7dec2001 > The Jet Set
Giles Turnbull > 30nov2001 > Driftwood
james > 23nov2001 > with you in mind
RavenBlack > 16nov2001 > UpsideClones
Kevan Davis > 9nov2001 > Do Not Stand Forward Of This Notice
Giles Turnbull > 2nov2001 > Group Effort
Kevan Davis > 26oct2001 > Ask The Audience
RavenBlack > 19oct2001 > Don't You Just Hate Stupid People
Martin Griffiths > 12oct2001 > Your Nearest McDonalds...
RavenBlack > 5oct2001 > Life's a bureaucracy, and then you die
Kevan Davis > 28sep2001 > Work To Win
Tom Armitage > 21sep2001 > Don't Book it - Thomas Cook it.
Giles Turnbull > 14sep2001 > What happened to George
RavenBlack > 7sep2001 > Mental States
Kevan Davis > 31aug2001 > Walking Distance
Stuart and Jack > 24aug2001 > dialogue
Kevan Davis > 17aug2001 > Collector's Item

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