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A good fifteen minutes went by silently.  I expected as much, but that didn't make it any easier.  A few times, one of them tried to say something, but they kept pulling back at the last second.

"All right, screw this." I finally said.  "I'm going for a walk."  Offering no resistance the rest quickly follwed.  "So are you guys going to listen to me now?"

"We did yesterday didn't we?"

"Fair enough, alright Nate, you're up first."  I spun around to face him.  "Take my wallet from me."  Everyone stopped in their tracks and began looking around.  I sensed their nervousness, we were still in a fairly public place.  "Look, if anyone asks, and they wont....we just say we're settling a bet or something."  That calmed them down a bit and Nate stepped forward.

"There's no way I could make a lift off of you."

"Under normal circumstances?  You're absolutely right, I'd see, hear and probably smell you from blocks away.  This isn't normal though.  I just want to see if you are even capable of performing a pick."  The light jab I made appeared to have worked, Nate began walking towards me and preparing himself.  It was hard to not correct him.  He was making it painfully obvious.  When he finally got to me Nate bumped into my shoulder, clearly something he'd seen on tv.  It could have worked, instead he just fumbled around my back and ass for a second before falling over.  "First things first, know where the wallet is."  I pulled my own black fold-open from my front left pocket.  "That body check was a half decent idea...but it wasn't even back there."  Pocketing it again I turned back to the remaining three.  "Anyone else want to try?"  It wasn't a question, I was simply letting them decide who would try next.

Riley took the initiative and came almost immediately.  Again she was blatantly obvious, not quite as bad as Nate, but still bad.  Instead of contact, she opted for a sidestep, something I prefer as well.  She was surprisingly dextrous, getting her hand into my pocket and hooking a finger in the fold, but quickly losing her grip.  "Nice try, you I might be able to teach."

"Hey fuck off!"

"Easy Nate,"  I turned to face him.  "Maybe that was a little more harsh than intended."  Suddenly and arm was draped around my right side and there was a firm grip on my wallet.  I caught the slender wrist as it left my pocket, definitetly not Trent.  "Nice one Jess, on a regular shmuck you would probably get away with that."  I let her go and she handed it back.  "If you're going for touchy feely though, go all in.  Make it as awkward as possible for you and them, by the time they realise it's gone you can have spent it all."

"Well, you ready for one more?"  I turned to meet Trent's challenge.

"Always."  I called back.  Instead of walking towards me however, Trent just reached into one of his own back pockets and produced his own wallet.

"Do I get bonus points for swapping mine and yours earlier?"  Doubting his claim I immediately pulled the wallet from my own pocket and flipped it open.  Sure enough, Trent's ID was the first thig I saw.

"When the hell?"

"In line when we were getting our drinks, Ideally I wanted to get you to pull it out while we were all sitting there but I never got a chance."  He threw me the one he was holding and motioned for me to toss his as well.  "Thanks for buying by the way."  He laughed, the others snickered from behind me as well.

Before I returned Trent's wallet I opened it and pulled a five dollar note and placed it in my own.  "Thanks for paying me back so quickly."

"I should have seen that coming, but then so should you."  We all laughed and began to head back to the school.  On the way back I noticed the others, mainly Jessica, Nate and Riley trying to pick each other every now and then.  They would laugh at their failed attempts and cheer if they succeeded. I had pulled ahead about five feet at this point and started walking backwards to see if I could witness another attempt.

"Looks like your lesson was effective."  Trent was beside me and looking back over his shoulder.  "They look like you did when we were kids.

"That's because it's only a game right now..." I stopped myself as I saw Nate creeping behind Riley.  He was noticeably more calm but still only managed to get close.  "Kevin is going to make us pick again, and when there's a real risk I don't know if they'll be good enough."

"So make them better."

"You don't think I want to?"

"I know you don't.  I know you and I both wish this all could have stayed buried."  He was right.  I shrugged my shoulders in acceptance.  "Also what the hell?!"

'What?"

"You never told me Ray killed your dad, you just said it was a gas leak or some shit."

"Yea, that's the story Ray told me to tell."

"You lied to me Mitch."

"Oh. I'm sorry."  I stopped to look him dead in the eyes.  "Real quick, what do you think twelve year old you would have done if I had told you the truth?!  If I said that I watched my uncle lead my dad to his death while I watched?"  I didn't give him time to answer.  "Well, let me tell you.  You would have told your parents, Ray would be in prison for God only knows how much shit, I might be in juvie and fuck knows what else!"  Trent had shut down, that was my goal, of course I felt like crap for doing it.  Sensing our hostility the other three stopped messing around and asked what was wrong.

"Nothing," Trent tried to tell them.

"No it is something."  I sighed hard.  "That's what Trent and I are afraid of, and now Ray might be again too."  I got confused looks all around.  "Despite what Ray did, I take after my dad in a lot of ways.  I avidly try not too, but I'm definitely his kid.  Like you just saw I'm real easy to piss off. And there are other similarities."

"Sure, but you haven't killed or hurt anyone."

"And you have no idea how much solace I take in that fact, but my dad didn't start till he was thirty, I'm only eighteen."  I could feel the mood falling as I said that.  "Right now I chalk it up to being pragmatic.  Like I said, violence just makes you a bigger target.  I hope I can keep that level of practical thinking, but Ray most likely thought the same thing about my dad."

"Was there any reason we came back to the school?"  Riley's question caught me off guard.  I turned around to see that I had apparently been walking backwards and we were now almost at the doors we had left from.

"Not that I can think of.  Hey, did you guys have any plans today?"  The unanimous response was "No," aside from times that people should be home.

"Got something in mind Mitch?"

"Yea Jess I do, considering we're going to have to do this a lot more, and for a while still.  I want to run you guys through some stuff.  Trent, you have a big basement right?"

"It's bigger than yours."

"Good.  Let's get going then."

"What are you planning on using my house for?"

"Relax, it's not going to be Seven Bells, but anything is better than nothing."

As we passed the school I saw Kevin's classroom window.  Of course he happened to look outside as we passed.  The rest of the crew was engrossed in their own conversation, but Kevin and I made eye contact.  It was uncomfortable and felt longer than it was, not caring about the staring contest I quickly looked away.  It was in that moment though that I learned something.  I was the real teacher here, and Kevin was just a really shitty principal or something.

I was brought back from my thoughts by the feel of a hand reaching around my waist.  "Don't make contact until you have to Riley."

"Fuck!"

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About the author

Ominous_Paladin

  • Canada
  • Cursed Holy Knight

Bio: Uncontrollable imagination, trying to get a hold of it by posting here. I try to post every couple days but recent personal issues are making that difficult.

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