Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Curse of the Bejeweled Rosary, Part One

     Snatching the purse from the terrified woman’s arms, Dominic waved his switchblade over towards the man with her as he growled. “Ah, ah, ah… let’s not get too hasty, unless you want me to cut her pretty little face?”

The man clenched his fists but stood down, backing up a few feet, his hands seeking the girls elbow to pull her back as well. Dominic smiled, his hoodie partially covering his auburn hair. He took a step back and began rooting around through the purse, until he finally found the wallet. Opening it up, he almost squealed with joy when he saw rows of twenty dollar bills sitting in the billfold. Taking the money and shoving it into his pocket, he tossed the purse and wallet down onto the ground near the woman’s feet.
“Hope you guys are enjoying San Antonio so far,” Dominic said with a feral smile. “If you pack that much cash every time you visit, we should do this again.”
And with that Dominic flipped his blade closed and backed out of the alleyway, before jogging down the Riverwalk and into the crowd of tourists. Unzipping his hoodie, he pulled it off and rolled it into a ball, before throwing it away in an outdoor trashbin. A few people looked at him funny, but he just smiled. He had nearly eight hundred dollars from that one mugging alone!
His wife had been bothering him for months to get a job, and while he’d looked for a decent one, he’d taken to visiting the tourista spots on the weekends for a little “side work” so to speak. Sharon didn’t know, as he merely said that he was working for a contractor company for now, just to make ends meet. She took the lie well enough, and returned to her cable television and wireless internet. So long as it was paid for, she really couldn’t be bothered to care.
Eyeing another mark, Dominic sizes him up. An older white man with closely cropped white hair, sagging skin and lined edges to his soft face. He wore an expensive grey suit, and walked with a cane. His shoes were polished black penny loafers with gold plates on the top, probably detailing who made them.
He was walking along; hat pulled low over his eyes, one hand leaning heavily on the cane, the other clutching a string of… diamonds? Yes, he had a string of tiny diamonds looped around his hand, with a heavy golden cross resting in his clenched fist, Oh this was just too perfect! Dominic walked ahead of him, towards a darker area near one of the bridges, and stooped down low so as not to be seen.
Sure enough, the man continued on closer, muttering something as he went, before turning to walk onto the bridge, stumbling right into Dominic. Dominic shoved him hard, sending him sprawling on the pavement, before pouncing on him and scrabbling to take the decorative rosary from the man’s gasp. The man immediately let go, allowing it to unwind from his wrist, all without making a sound. The old man stared at Dominic with tired, watery eyes, even as the young mugger rose to his feet over the man.
“You got anything else old man?” Dominic asked, pulling out his switchblade with a satisfying snikt! of the blade sliding free and locking into place.
The old man stared at Dominic for a while before shaking his head. He was murmuring something in a low, hoarse voice. Dominic leaned down to listen to what he was saying. He knew a little Spanish so he might be able to tell what he was going on about.
The old man, head pressed up against the far banister of the bridge, was shaking all over as he spoke, his tongue making noises that Dominic had never heard before. A distant peal of thunder had the crowds some thirty yards away laughing; not this man. He clasped Dominic’s hand, the one that held the jeweled Rosary, and he squeezed. Dominic felt a slight burning sensation, and was about to ask the man what the hell he was doing when he heard a cough from behind him.
Turning, Dominic saw a San Antonio Police Officer, a young black man. His arms were crossed and he looked more annoyed than anything else. “Dominic, am I going to have to bring you in on another case of mugging? This time with some assault thrown in, if that old man landed in that spot because of you?”
Dominic was happy he held his switchblade close to his thigh as he closed it up quickly, sliding it up his sleeve. Before he could even begin to lie, the old man grabbed his bicep with one hand and propped himself with his cane, using Dominic as leverage to get up.
“No problem officer, I was just walking around your fine city when I slipped and fell,” the old man said cheerfully, a slight British accent leaking through. “I would have been stuck if dear Dominic hadn’t rendered aid.”
“I see. And did Mr. Dominic take anything from you?” The officer asked, stepping closer.
The old man placed his cane in front of him and leaned on it. “No, I don’t think so.” He patted his pockets and smiled when he pulled out a bulging money clip with a Texas ID card. Dominic could just make out the last name on the ID… “Nickels”.
“Alright sir, well if you don’t mind I’d like to walk you to your destination. It sounds like we might have some rain tonight.” The officer said, walking up and putting a hand on the short old man’s shoulders.
Mr. Nickels nodded. “Let me tip the boy who aided me so, it’s only customary you know.”
“If you insist sir,” the officer didn’t sound too pleased about the idea but stood and waited as Mr. Nickels turned and peeled a twenty off of the roll of twenties in his money clip, holding it out to Dominic with a smile on his face. Between the fingers holding the twenty, the old man had somehow managed to slip in a business card.
“Go on young man, take it.” Mr. Nickels said, a wide smile stretched beneath cold eyes. “All the answers you’ll seek I can provide them to you. Just keep the card, and have a good few drinks tonight.”
Dominic took the money and the card without a word, shoving them into his pocket carelessly. The Rosary he slipped into a zippable back pocket, zipping it closed foir the time being. “Thanks Mr. Nickels,” Dominic said.
“No lad,” the strange little old man said. “It’s Professor. Professor Nickels. And thank you!”

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