Highway Man’s Mistake

It was late night as I was crouched next to my partner and friend, Grandon, in a small alcove on the side of the street as we quietly waited for a wealthy looking mark with a full pocket of gold to stumble his (or her, we don’t discriminate) way down the dimly lit street, preferably drunk, right into our greedy and well-trained hands. Suddenly, an old elderly man slowly made his way out of the front door of the hospital that lay across from us and down to the seemingly deserted street below. As he passed through a patch of shimmering moonlight, our eyes caught a glimpse of the shining watch he wore on his wrist and the glittering rings that adorned his fingers.

“My God, the one and almighty, has granted us with a gift tonight, boy,” muttered Grandon excitedly as he attempted to remain inconspicuous.

“Are you serious Grandon? That man can’t be any younger than seventy. Besides, he just came out of the hospital. We’ll wait for the next one.” At that I began to stand up to stretch my legs for what was surely going to be a long and unsuccessful night. I felt the hard grip of Grandon’s hands pull me back down.

“Look, boy, did you see that man’s hands? That’s enough silver to treat us to a meal at any pub in the city for three nights in a row, not to mention the beer. I’m not letting another chance like this pass me up tonight.”

I settled back down next Grandon and put the focus back on the prospective mark as he made his way down the shadowed street,

“I don’t care about the money. You may have left your morals behind many years ago, but personally I-”

Before I could finish what was to be a moving and passionate speech regarding the few morals I still had left, Grandon had quietly stood up and was now tailing the old man with head down and hands in pocket. Uneasily, I quickly followed suit.

“Grandon!” I whispered urgently, keeping my head angled downward as to not draw attention. “Think about what you’re about to do. Those rings are wound tight on his fingers. It’s not going to be a simple pick, the only way to get them would be a mugging. Are you really about to assault an elderly man?”

“I’ve told you this before, kid. We need to eat and whatever it takes to make that happen is alright in my book. My God will forgive me. Maybe even thank me for humbling that rich and smug man right there.”

At this point we were closing in on the man, less than half a stone’s throw away. It appeared the elder had no real destination as his movements seemed spontaneous and haphazard. Soon we’d be on top of him… literally if Grandon gets his way,

I grabbed his shoulder, stopping him in one last attempt to change his mind.

“That man is old enough to be your father and one day you’ll be the same age. He’s paid his time to society already and society has obviously rewarded him for whatever he accomplished. He may not be a kind man, hell, he might not even be decent but it’s not your decision to decide his fate. Leave that to your God.”

With that, I gave him one last look in the eye, searching for any hint that I had gotten through to him. I was met with a hard and determined stare. There was nothing more I could do. I broke my gaze and turned away from him, walking back the way we came. I didn’t even bother to look back.

The next thing I heard was a loud cry for help which seemed to echo through the deserted streets. I instantly stopped in the middle of the dark and lonely alleyway, a long way from where I had left Grandon. After a moment’s hesitation, I turned and sprinted back towards where I’d came from. I’d never been so surprised in my life. The voice I heard wasn’t that of an elderly man, but of a middle-aged and morally confused pickpocket named Grandon. He was in trouble.

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