Current working conditions

Too cold tonight for the burglars
who could wear dark coats of course,
but the wind is racing, unrelenting,
and only the most professional of thieves
would force themselves out of their own house
and into yours to do even a half a night’s work.

We’ll put the alarm on, but more from habit
than expectation it’ll see any trade.
Burglars are people too, subject to weather
and other interferences. A getaway car
that won’t start. Sudden holes in the gloves.
An allergic reaction to long-haired pets.

Imagine the Careers Counselor years before:
“Scared of the dark and a fear of heights?
Hardly the tools for a Roof & Window man.
Are you sure you won’t consider extortion or blackmail?
White collar crime’s only getting bigger,
some of my boys are doing just fine with mail fraud.”

Sneak thieves operate well enough in daylight
even when it’s cold, although fewer doors are left open,
but you have to wonder if the darkness robbers
keep an eye on the forecast for nights like these
and hope the wife doesn’t lay out long underwear on the bed, saying
“Find something heavy to steal, you’ll soon warm up.”

They say adrenalin keeps a man warm, but hanging around,
all that hiding in the bushes or in a parked car
(engine and heater off), waiting for the bathroom light,
the bedroom light, to finally go dark. Avoid readers, those who stay up
their nose in a book, their ears wide open. You want the talk-show crowd
fallen asleep heavily halfway before the end.

Probably best to burgle happy people, less likely to bump into them,
up and worried, walking the halls. But there’s no need to worry tonight,
unless you’re a burglar behind on your rent. Record lows in Texas
mean that only the most committed will be out working.
The rest will be at home with their disappointed wives
their dogs and dreams and largely unrequited alarms.

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