Copyright © 2011 Winsor Loew
Harry Crane stepped out onto the sidewalk and looked at the sky. The rain had stopped, so he decided to walk over to Phil's Bar for a drink. He locked the door of his little shop, tucked his umbrella under his arm, and set off down Brook Street.
It had been a long and busy day. What made it worse was the absence of his partner who had spent the day at home in recuperation after being savagely attacked by a mugger on the previous afternoon.
Harry shook his head in disgust as he thought about the rampant crime in the streets, and the utter uselessness of the police. Even when muggers or rapists were caught they couldn't be kept. Criminals seem to have more rights than anyone else these days.
Harry's thoughts continued along these lines, and he grew angrier and angrier with every step he took. There is no doubt about it, he thought, the laws are stacked against honest, law-abiding citizens. The hoods and thugs are taking over.
At the corner of Brook and Fifth, Harry stopped and waited for the green walk signal. When the light changed he stepped carefully off the curb and proceeded to cross the street, making sure to avoid the puddles on the wet pavement. He didn't see the young man in the baseball jacket approaching from the opposite direction.
"Oh, excuse me," said Harry when the inevitable collision took place. Politeness was second nature to him.
"No, no...it's my fault," said the younger man. "I really wasn't watching where I was going." He bent down and retrieved Harry's dropped umbrella, handed it back to Harry, and continued on his way. Instinctively, Harry raised his right hand and felt his jacket pocket for his wallet, a habit quickly developed by people living in this part of the city. His wallet was gone! He spun around.
"Stop!" he yelled. But the young man kept walking.
"Stop! You hoodlum!" Harry yelled again,
At this, the young man turned around. His puzzled expression quickly turned to one of abject fear as he saw Harry, wild-eyed and brandishing his umbrella like a sword, come lunging toward him. He ran ... and Harry followed.
Adrenaline was surging through Harry's body; all his stored up anger and rage came bursting forth to serve him in this, his moment of action. He chased the young man for half a block down Brook Street, then recklessly through the traffic when the young man cut across the busy thoroughfare to the park beyond.
"Not this time!" Harry shouted. "No more! You've met your match me me, you scoundrel!"
Being younger, and more fit, the young man would easily have escaped Harry had it not been for the wet, slippery grass in the park. He lost control of his feet and landed on his back.
In a moment, Harry was towering over the helpless wretch, wielding his umbrella like a batter at the plate.
"Hand over that wallet with all speed, or I'll crack your worthless skull open, " he demanded.
The young man fumbled in the pocket of his jacket, then tossed a wallet onto the grass at Harry's feet. "Take it, take it," he pleaded, "just let me go!'
"Ha! A coward -- I should have known!" said Harry triumphantly. He picked up the wallet and slipped it into his breast pocket. "Go on then, get out of here!"
The young man scrambled to his feet and was gone.
Harry Crane was exhilarated as he strutted into Phil's Bar like a conquering hero. "I've struck a blow for the honest man!" he announced regally, and proceeded to relate his heroic adventure to the regulars seated at the bar.
Upon finishing his story, and receiving cheers of congratulations from his friends, Harry ordered a round of drinks for everyone. But when he reached for his wallet to pay the check he was astonished to find that, once again, it wasn't there! Digging deeper, this time his fingers discovered a ripped seam at what should have been the bottom of the pocket. He felt around the lining of his jacket and nearly fainted when he came across... not one wallet, but two.
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