Sid slid through the crowd ‐ over the dirt path of the market ‐ with a girl he had by the arm.
First, to find a sucker. The new mother with a loose grip on her clutch. The target wore a flower‐print dress and wicker sandals. She was begging for it. Practically, she wasn’t the beggar.She was the new mother. Old bag with a new clutch.
He made off with it. Initials were printed in gold color on the faux leather, hers along with the initials of some romantic type; N.M. + R.T. Inside the clutch were two fives.
Sid handed one to the girl. He took another and said, “we’ll split this one,” before he tore it in half.
Now to the table where there sat some know‐it‐all type with ratty books for sale. Sid wanted the biggest one. Sid inquired. He talked the man down because the book was so ratty. “Those stories have been retold often,” the know‐it‐all said. Sid knocked over the whole stack, and offered to help the man collect them. He then stole the ratty old book ‐ Arabian Nights ‐ and left.
“What’s that for?” the girl asked.
“You like makeup?” Sid asked as they walked by the Mary Kay lady. He dropped vanishing cream into the clutch the the girl now carried.
An officer, with three missing item descriptions and two suspects, attracted Sid’s attention. “Show time,” Sid said. He lit a match and held it to the book. It caught and was tossed in the trash. The law man became the fire man.
The girl’s parents found their daughter, and asked about her accessories. The girl turned to Sid, who slipped away just in time. Sid sauntered toward home and casually flipped a classical Greek coin he had made disappear.
From between two chicken shacks a jewelry maker called to Sid. “I can tell that you are a man of taste.” She wanted to know what he thought of her work. “Too easy,” he thought. His fingers grazed over the jewels. He dropped the largest stone into his sleeve.
The jewelry maker grabbed his hand and turned it palm‐up. He laughed, there was nothing there, but she worked her bony finger in his hand and then said to him, “You’re playing the part, don’t you see.”
“We are all predestined for something. I was compelled to read your place in our story.”
“Are you supposed to be some fortune‐teller? You want a quarter?”
“What are you supposed to be, young man?”
“I know you by a less dynamic title. You rely on your hands. In the fingers you are dealt luck, in the palm, destiny. You are not free to choose what you take. You must take these things.Your part in the story is necessary.”
“You sound like a hack to me! A story‐teller, not a fortune‐teller.”
“This isn't for you to interpret. You are not a hero in this old story, thief."
Chase White lives in Athens, Ga with his boyfriend of many years. He spends his time outside, writing and gardening. His best work happens to be under dirt smudges. Fortunately, some of it has been recovered, including a story forthcoming in Labello Press’ latest anthology. You can keep up with him on Twitter at @MotherNatsSon.
FLASH GLASS: A MONTHLY PUBLICATION OF FLASH FICTION, PROSE POETRY, & MICRO ESSAYS
Cover Image: "Spots"