Clark goes first, climbing onto the air conditioners and reaching up to the window. Not surprisingly, it's locked. I watch as he takes out a knife from his pocket and inserts the end under the bottom of the window. It's not like most of the ones today, it only takes Clark several second of wiggling his knife underneath and a strong pull to open the window so he can raise it up. Luckily, there's a thin metal bar connected to the right side of the frame that let's him prop it open. There's no going back now.
Clark wastes no time in getting to work. Within seconds he's pulling himself up into the window. And right as he's about to do one final lunge over the edge, I think of something. "Wait." I say.
Clark freezes and looks down at me. "What?"
"How are we supposed to get back out?"
He thinks about this for a moment. The serious expression on his face makes me wonder if it’s the first time he has. A quick check of his thoughts says it is. Suddenly I'm not so certain about this plan.
"We'll look for something on the inside to stand on. If we can't find anything, one of us can give the other a boost. That person can then grab the stuff and pull the other out."
I think about what he's said. It makes sense. "Alright."
Clark nods and returns to the opening. A quick vault over the edge leaves him hanging on the other side. I see him look down around him before he speaks to me. "Nothing around to drop onto. Make sure you brace before you fall."
"Will do, " I reply, "Good luck."
He smiles with the same crookedness as earlier. "I was born lucky Matt, don't you worry."
He then let's go and drops to the floor. The whole warehouse echoes with the sound of his feet touching the ground. When it dissipates I can hear him walking around. "Clear as water," he says, "Come on in."
I climb on top of one of the air conditioners and pull myself up to the window. I'm a bit taller than Clark, so swinging my legs over the edge is a bit awkward, but I manage. Once I'm hanging on the other side, I look down and see Clark on my right. He gives me a nod and I brace before dropping down. When my feet touch the floor, a sharp pain runs through both my legs. I grimace and do my best to ignore it. Letting Clark see me in pain would only make this day worse.
Thankfully, when I turn around and face him, I see that he's not even looking at me, but rather all around. I do the same. From what I can tell, the building appears to be one large room with long, metal shelves that horizontally go up and down its entirety. And other than near the windows, which are scarce along the walls, the place is dark and hard to see. I can however, see the endless stacks of boxes seemingly on every shelf. When I look back at Clark, he's already rummaging through one of them.
"Radios," he says, stopping, "I imagine they're worth something, but I doubt I could find anyone who'd want 'em."
I nod. Until now I actually hadn't thought about what we'd find. I was too consumed in worry about getting in and out without being caught. I figure I'll just follow his lead.
He walks farther down the shelves, looking at the different boxes. Some of them have labels or pictures, others don't. I can't help but notice as he walks that there's a slight limp in his left leg. I guess I wasn't the only one affected by the drop.
We stop at the end of the shelves without finding anything Clark thinks is worth taking. Although we've only checked out one aisle, I can tell he's disappointed. "I think we should split up," he says. "We can cover more ground that way. I'll check this side of the building and you check the other."
"Alright," I say. I don't like the idea, but I'm not about to let him think I'm a sissy, so instead I head off in the other direction. It’s so dark it’s hard to see even twenty feet in front of me when I walk.
Once I reach the other side, I head down the closest aisle. It's full of outdoor equipment–lawn chairs, fire pits , it even has a set of collapsible grills. Unfortunately, I don't think Clark knows anyone in need of items for a barbecue.
When I reach the end of the row, I head down the next one. This one is full of back-to-school supplies. I see a box of red backpacks that looks similar to the one I have sitting in my closet at home. Mine of course, isn't in such good shape–it's got a broken strap and a hole at the bottom that makes storing anything in it nearly impossible. In the last month, I've had to resort to carrying my books to school.
But that's why we're here, anyway, right? So we don't have to do that kind of thing anymore. So we can afford our own clothes that aren't ten years out of date and used. So we can take the bus around town instead of walking around in our shoes that are falling apart. That's why we're here.