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A Thief's Concise Pocket Guide to Stealing Hearts
If you are in possession of this Guide, you have successfully stolen it from a greatly respected thief: Myself. Though I am loathe to lose it, I applaud your chutzpah and sneakiness. But still, you have not yet achieved Greatness—and perhaps you would like to try. This guide can help you do so, and place you on the path to glory.
Be warned: Greatness does not come without cost. To become a Master Thief, to truly triumph, you must steal something that is at once so valuable, slippery, fickle, and impossible to possess as to prove beyond the doubts of all detractors that your fingers are the lightest and your resolve the steeliest.
You must steal a Heart.
Perhaps you’ve stolen lunch money, test answers, coins, or video games. Perhaps you’ve stolen glances, moments, privacy, or laughter. Was it easy? Was it fun? Compared to stealing a Heart, all these early successes of yours are child’s play, my friend. Stealing Hearts is a dangerous game with unknowable consequences, rather like Russian roulette. You think you’re scot-free, then BANG! Dead in the water.
Have you the guts to steal a Heart?
It is not impossible, for I myself have seen a Heart stolen. I can say with confidence if you can follow these tips, you will have an actual chance at succeeding. However, these steps are not easy. I’ve only known one to follow them through to the end and steal a Heart. She was a true Master Thief.
Here are the steps. But in the end you are on your own.
1. Be the Thief and not the Mark.
2. Choose the target Heart carefully. There is no glory to be had in stealing a low-hanging Heart. Find a Heart full of smarts, honesty, and curiosity, one that is fresh and rare and wild and free. Finding the right Heart is the hardest part. It must be the best one. Otherwise, there’s no glory in it.
3. Once you find the Heart, learn everything you can about it. Observe it. Take notes. Begin to imagine what it’s like to have that Heart. Imagine stealing it: if you can imagine it, you can do it.
4. Make an impression on the Heart. I’m not talking about a firm handshake; I mean something BIG. Use the data you’ve gathered to do something notable. Specific. Bring it a cake shaped like its favorite shoes, or a picture of the dark side of the moon. Remember: small choices yield small results. And no Grand Master Thief ever got there by doing anything small.
5. Make the Heart desire you. Take the utmost care of yourself and your tools and be at the top of your game. Eat. Sleep. Wash. Above all, do not allow yourself to become ‘HANGRY.’ Carry trail mix, granola bars, emergency preserves, insulin pumps – whatever it takes to keep your wits about you. Nothing is worse than shaky hands or short fuses at a critical moment. Be prepared. Be your best.
6. Learn boxing, just in case. There may be rivals after your chosen Heart. You must not allow them to get too close. Hearts are fickle.
7. Find a way to make yourself indispensible to the Heart. Learn its secrets. Learn its stories. To do this, you may need to share some of your own secrets and stories, but CAUTION: sharing secrets and stories is hard to do without risking your own Heart. Choose the secrets carefully.
8. Remember at all times that you are the Thief and not the mark.
9. Look directly and honestly and long at the Heart, and see it for what it really is. See its beauty and weaknesses. No Heart can resist being Seen, really. Once it lets you see it, it’s halfway yours already.
10. Stay on your guard.
11. At this point of no return comes the biggest step. To steal the Heart, you must give the Heart something of yourself, enough that it will give itself to you. But CAUTION: remember at all times that you are the Thief and not the mark.
12. Accept the Heart as a gift, but DO NOT give your own Heart in return.
(Escape being the most important part of the plan.)
Now, this may sound easy enough, but let me tell you: nay!
I’ve stolen sparkly hair ties. I’ve stolen purses and friends. I’ve stolen ideas and songs. For all my successes, I’m not Great. I thought I could follow these sensible steps. I thought I had the control. But a Master Thief is not just sensible and controlled. A Master Thief is also impossible to defeat. I know because I met one, not long ago. I didn’t know at the time she was the Grand Master Thief, and now I’ve no Heart at all.
Yes, she stole my Heart – all while I thought I was stealing hers. Do you think I’m proud of it? Do you think it’s easy to admit I was outsmarted? Wipe that smirk off your face. It could be you, next. Yes, even YOU.
Anyway, now I’m finished. Washed up. I’ve sunk so low you were able to nip this Pocket Guide from me with barely any resistance. I’m past resistance. I’m past thieving: no Heart for it anymore.
Hearts are fickle and hard to keep.
Good luck, young Thief. The only way to be entirely safe from this horrible fate is to lock your Heart up and throw away the key. But then, without your own Heart daring and risking, how will you persuade another to give their Heart to you? You can’t, you see.
No Heart, no Greatness. There’s the rub.
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