General Flash Fiction posted April 12, 2010

This work has reached the exceptional level
Flash Fiction

Thieves And Liars

by Janilou

He sat on the cold, iron bench, head hanging like a cowering puppy, a drab army blanket draped over his shoulders.  Winter's lingering breath whipped past his bare ankles. From his vantage point, he could see a woman approaching, and he observed her without emotion.

She wore grey slacks, a pale blue sweater, and a cashmere scarf carefully wrapped around her neck. Wisps of golden hair escaped the winter hat cradling her head.  Not bad, he mused. Not bad at all, but what a waste.

As she drew nearer, he tucked his head closer to his chest, still watching her with one squinted eye. He didn't want to alarm her and spoil everything. When she was just ten steps away, he looked up -- a quick, sorrowful glance. He looked away just as fast, but not before noting with satisfaction the distasteful expression on her face.

She hesitated as she drew nearer, and he made his move. Holding one dirt-smudged hand palm upward, he rasped, "Ma'am, could ya spare some change?"

 Now he looked into her soft blue eyes. She sure is a pretty thing. It's too bad.

She clutched her handbag to her chest, as if trying to decide his fate. She glanced over her shoulder, and he bit his lip to contain his smile.

"I -I don't have much," she began.

"I'm not going to harm ya, Ma'am." He used his best mournful look. "Truth is, I'm a Vet. Hurt my leg in 'Nam." Hesitating, he slapped his right knee gently for effect. "Down on my luck, that's all. Looking to scrape together enough for a bus fare home to Missouri." 

Her lips pressed together into a thin line that twitched at the corners. "Well now, that's original. Surely I'm not the first person who's passed you by today. Hasn't anyone else taken pity on you?"

He grinned. "Sure 'nough, ma'am." He patted the bulge in his pocket.  "Reckon I'd have just enough, if you'd be kind enough to help me out. I could be on that bus by tomorrow morning. Name's Chuck, anyway. What's yours?"

She looked around, ignoring his question. 

He followed her gaze. "Looks like we're the only folks crazy enough to be out here, ma'am."

"So it seems." Her body tensed, as she slipped one hand into her over-sized handbag. 

He waited like a cobra ready to strike the unsuspecting woman. Wait, don't rush. Let her get it out first.

She withdrew her hand and he lunged, knocking her down. She screamed, fought, but she was no match for his strength. He shoved her onto her stomach, twisting her hands behind her back. 

"Don't hurt me, please," she gasped. "Take my money. Take everything. Please don't hurt me. Let me go!"

"I don't think so." He grunted, struggling to maintain control of her arms, as she flailed beneath him.

A man in a tattered trench coat lumbered toward them.

"What took you so long?" Chuck snapped.

The man shook his head and grinned. "You should try running in these things," he said, motioning to the over-sized shoes adorning his feet. "Besides, looks like you have the situation under control." He picked up the gun by the woman's handbag and handed his partner a pair of handcuffs. "Here, these ought to hold her."

Chuck secured the weeping woman's wrists. "Save the tears, darling. You sure didn't show any sympathy to all the poor homeless beggars you've robbed at gunpoint in this neighborhood over the past two months. So now, I guess there's just one more thing to say. You have the right to remain silent . .  ."  

Could It Be Me? contest entry


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