For some Giving isn't always Traditional. Hunter and Denny's First Adventure ~ W/C = 1914
|The clatter of a passing snowplow woke Hunter from her winter nap. Childish joy filled her as she threw open the sash. Her view revealed a city blanketed in a clean patina of new fallen snow. She frowned a bit, while she always loved the luster the snow lent to the city, today would be different. Her Holiday traditions were quirky, to say the least. Today's were very special for her. It was her Giving Day. Two weeks before, each bright Christmas Day, she chose to Give back, her own unique way.
Detective Denny Martin knew there was a thief at work on his personal beat. Not any thief, a skilled and daring pickpocket. A brazen criminal targeting the senior citizens in his own neighborhood. He had chosen his stake out position well. Carrying his sack of surveillance toys to the roof, he set them up quickly on top of the wall. He had a great view of the shopping district, his aerie hidden from view by swirling dry leaves and blowing snow. He was certain this was the day he'd make her pay.
Hunter dressed with care, not out of concern for her appearance. Her lithe body would have looked good in an old potato sack. She dressed for freedom of movement, and to blend in. She added a black sweatshirt for a bit of warmth. On top, a white ski jacket. A recent find she could doff and toss in a hurry, in the event she needed to evade pursuit. As always, some danger, which added more fun. As always, she'd be ready to run.
Denny studied the picture on his phone one more time. Shaking his head at the caption it carried. "Wanted by Interpol, If sighted observe and report. DO NOT APPREHEND." The warning frosted him. A known thief, operating on his turf, and he was only supposed to tell someone? In ten years as a detective, Denny had never turned a blind eye to a crime, and he didn't plan on starting now. The chill in the air paid little heed to the warmth of the sun. A chill gripped his soul as he cleared his gun.
Leaving the house, Hunter tested the little cleaty things strapped to her shoes. Happy the cleats would provide enough traction, she headed uptown to the market district, and the festive holiday decorations. The holiday wreaths, hung from each lamppost, twinkled with pinpoints of light. An aroma of roasting chestnuts added spice to the air. One last concern crossed her mind. What if the snow kept her chosen marks in their homes? Sighing, no way to tell, just stick with the plan, and hope things went well.
Spotting her as soon as she entered the shopping district, Denny started the video camera. He began snapping still photos with the camera hanging from his neck. Together the cameras provided continuous and stop motion versions of the blonde thief’s travels through the market. He needed to catch her stealing on camera, then he could confront and arrest her for preying on his flock. Would his plan work? There’s no way to tell. Stick with the plan, and hope things go well.
Out of the way, Hunter searched the passing crowd. Still worried the older residents on her turf might forego their shopping because of the snow. At last, she spotted a mark chosen weeks ago, a little old fella, chubby and plump, a pipe firmly clenched in his teeth formed a halo of smoke atop of his head. Crossing the street carefully, she approached from behind. Smoothly executing her pass. The mark felt nothing but the light contact of a stranger walking past. Giggling with joy at her successful attempt. Thinking to herself, one down, only eight more to go, hoping the rest, won’t be nearly as slow.
Denny cursed at the cameras, which showed nothing to help. Neither had captured an image of anything in her hand after the pass. He whistled through his teeth at her dexterity. She was without a doubt the best Denny had ever seen, fast and skilled, the mark didn’t even know she had passed him. She returned to her vantage point, looking for her next victim. In another life he would have been very attracted to her. Her grace, classical, almost as if she had trained as a gymnast or dancer. He settled to wait, he had to go-slow, at least when he caught her, he would finally know.
Hunter spotted most of her other marks in quick succession. All were the neediest, yet most giving of the people who inhabited this area. Two of them had already benefited when she had purchased the buildings they lived in, cutting their rent and paying their utilities. They all had various bills that troubled them. It made her happy to help. Christmas was a special time, filled with good cheer and giving, a perfect time for helping and loving.
Denny saw Hunter make her ninth lift of the day, this time as he rewound the cameras, he overshot her pass. Letting it run to the pass, he was stunned. Once again, when he saw there was nothing in Hunters hand after the lift. It was a perfect angle, and he should have seen everything. Jolted by a sudden realization, He rewound once again to the see the approach. Watching in slow motion, he spotted it this time. As she approached her mark, a thick white envelope slid out of her bag and into her hand. There it was, after the pass, the envelope had disappeared. He whistled again, all at once it was clear, this was all about giving, and not about taking.
Relieved, Hunter spotted her last mark, she had spoken to this one in the coffee shop. He was sad, a great-granddaughter had recently been born. He wanted to hold her but there was never enough money left at the end of the month for airfare.
“I’ve seen pictures, and we’ve Skyped at the library. I’d give anything to hold her in my arms and rub her rosy little cheeks.” His voice brimming with tears.
An ache bloomed in her heart for his sadness, she gave him a soft smile. “Is that your Christmas wish?”
The smile he returned trembled at the corners, “If I still believed in Santa Claus, it’s all I’d ask for.”
“Don’t give up, Santa has his ways.” A small tear tickle down their cheeks. She added his name to the list she kept near, he needed her help, with that she was clear.
Denny sprang to the stairs and came down with a bound, confronting the man. Flashing his badge, alarming the sad little guy.
“What…what’s wrong officer,” the old man stammered, a bit of panic in his voice. “Have I done something wrong?”
“No sir, no,” pocketing the wallet with his badge and ID. “Detective," trying to calm himself and the old man. “Detective Martin,” catching his breath, “Can I like to ask you a question?”
“If I didn’t do anything wrong, what questions?” The old guy barked, his voice thick with suspicion.
“Sir if you could,” pointing to the old guys right coat pocket. “Please check that pocket and see if you’re missing anything." Looking for a reason, settling on a half-truth, “you may have been the victim of a pickpocket.”
“Ridiculous,” the old guy sputtered, “I would have felt...” Looking at the thick white envelope he found in his hand, he knew wasn’t there before. “What in name of the name of heaven...how...?”
Cutting him off, “could you open that, sir,” a bit out of his police persona, almost begging, “please?”
Opening the envelope reveled a round trip airfare to where his new great-granddaughter waited for a warm Christmas hug. What looked to be about five grand in cash to Denny and a note. Denny, almost in awe asked “may I read the note sir?”
Definitely in shock the old man passed him the note, tears forming in his eyes, blurring his vision, “no reading glasses, read it to me…please.”
Denny read the note…twice, before reading it out loud;
Santa does work in mysterious ways. Please enjoy your trip to visit your granddaughter and new great-granddaughter. Give them both a big hug from me. Use the money to buy her pretty things and happy toys. The return trip is open-ended. I made arrangements with your next-door neighbor to feed Leo, your cat. Don’t worry I’ll watch your house and get the mail.
“I, I don’t understand.” the old guy was now weeping. “Who…”
“It doesn’t matter who sir,” fighting back tears of his own, Denny shook the old fellow's hand. “Do what the note says, give everyone hugs and enjoy your visit.”
He turned to walk away, his mind a whirl of thoughts, why would a thief do that, what else did she pass out today?
Hunter appeared in front of him in a flash, her eyes twinkling with anger. “Did you hurt my old guy, did you take his tickets and money?”
“No, no,” eyeing her hand coming out of her pocket, recognizing the small taser she was palming. “Calm down and put that away, it’s not legal.”
“So are you going to arrest me,” with a tight smile she showed him a now empty hand.
Again, “no, no,” seeming a bit perplexed. Then he asked, “for what, giving people stuff?” She gave a little shrug. “Tell me,” hopefully, “is the money clean?”
She rewarded him with a childlike smile of glee, “as clean as the new fallen snow.”
“Well,” then I guess I wasted the day following you around.” Shaking his head ruefully, “time to pack up, maybe I’ll catch my thief another day…”
“You mean the bad pickpocket stealing from my people?” She frowned.
He smirked, “your people?”
This time his reward was an angry glare. “Yes my people, that guy cost me a lot of money.” Hunter's voice filled with accusation, “why haven’t you caught him yet?”
Sheepishly, “you seemed like the most likely candidate. I focused on the world-renowned thief on my beat.”
She brightened once more. “World-renowned, I like that!” She looked up sharply, over Denny’s shoulder. “Humph, there we go, turn around” pointing as she moved closer behind him. "Look at the guy in the black overcoat and green scarf."
“Yeah?" He answered tentatively.
“At least a half-dozen wallets in that coat don’t belong to him,” she was clearly not happy about that.
“So much for honor among thieves,” smirking again.
“He’s a bad thief.” Her angry glare flashed again. “He steals from people who can’t afford it.”
“I didn’t know there were good thieves.” a smile lit up his face for the first time.
She smiled back. “Maybe you need to get to know one…”
He laughed, “you might be right about that…”
She interrupted him, “dinner?”
“Sounds good,” he was blushing a bit.
“Tonight, seven at Mario’s," more a command then a question.
“Yes ma’am,” his only answer possible, blushing brighter now.
“Now shoo, go do your job,” making motions at the crook, “get that criminal off my street."
"Yes Ma'am" Denny started towards the thief. Calling for nearby back up as he watched him lift another wallet, "got'em"!
He turned back when she called out to him, "remember seven at Mario's." Tossing something at him, "you're going to need this" walking away giggling.
Denny caught the wallet holding his badge in midair.