Short story 1
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First day on the job; anything can happen. :) Inspired at least in part by Robert Heinlein's "Citizen of the Galaxy".
Short story 1
I am a pickpocket, but new at the trade. I practice every night on dummies wearing different outfits, with bells at every pocket and opening to reveal lack of skill. Laws are strict: if caught, the right pinky goes; getting caught twice means losing the right hand. The old man took me in years ago, and started me training.
Today is my first time on the streets with no oversight. I’ve a quota to fill, else we all don’t eat tonight. The plaza is crowded, as usual. There’s an auction setting up on the stage, with the merch all oiled up and scented to attract buyers. Rich ladies are carried in sedan chairs by eunuchs. Slaves dash back and forth, running errands for their masters. Beggars are familiar faces in their customary spots. What I’m looking for is the middling affluent, who carry some valuables but have no influence where it matters.
Someone bumps into me, almost knocking me over. I turn, annoyed, to see a flashing smile and quick apologies in an open, earnest face. I wave the apology away, and continue my seemingly aimless path. As I move along, I see a stand selling sweetmeats, and stop to get one. I dig into my pocket for coin, but I come up empty. I pat myself down, in case I’ve stashed it somewhere else… nothing. With a sinking feeling, I realize the awful, shameful truth—
The pickpocket’s pocket has been picked!
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