The Blindside Parables 25 – Father, Son, and Lonely Ghost

Admittedly, Sam Black had made a few miscalculations over the years. The most recent was his failure to check the lay of the land before burgling a well anointed home. Fondling a diamond necklace, he heard voices below. His hasty exit through a bedroom window did not anticipate the three storey  drop from the hillside home. His neck had not handled the fall well and his next vision was St. Peter reading off Sam’s impressive list of failings.

“Well, Sam,” Pete had concluded, “to your credit, you never stole handbags from old ladies, but there’s no pretending you’ve been Robin Hood either. We’re going to need more time to evaluate your case.”

Meaning: Hang out in purgatory. Don’t call us, we’ll call you.

And so Sam found himself in a nether world where time did not exist, the land of permanent, stagnant status quo. Needless to say, this did not suit a man of action. He considered his options. Perhaps he could do something that would raise his stock with the higher powers.

Flash: he could stop brother Red from luring nephew Benny into the long line of family ne’er-do-wells.

Which was exactly what Red was doing at that moment. For the court allotted father/son weekend, Sam was sharing the facts of life with eager eyed, twelve year old Benny. They were standing amidst the throng of travelers in Grand Central Station on a New York hot summer day. 

“Benny, my son, what we’re doing here is rebalancing a system of economic inequality, a system that favors the rich over the poor. We’re simply moving assets from one man’s pocket into a more deserving one.”

This was Red’s introduction to the fine art of pickpocketing. And the pair stood in the middle of pickpocketer paradise, a teeming train station on a steaming afternoon. No overcoats and excess garments to fumble with.

Red picked their first mark, handed Benny a map of New York, and pointed him at a couple wearing Hawaiian shirts with bags slung over their shoulders. There was a noticeable bulge in the man’s rear pants pocket.

Benny approached with a concerned look and map in hand, “Excuse me, I’m lost. Can you help me find Central Park?”

The couple, who were also studying a map, turned to look at him. Another lost traveler, of course they could help.

But before that could happen, a roundish man, indifferently dressed, seemed to trip and fall on his face at their feet.

The trio of the lost stared down. Red, who normally double tied his shoe laces, couldn’t believe his luck. Somehow, both shoes had untied laces and he’d tripped over them as he made his move on the wallet.

The map readers turned away and Benny was directed to the park in question.

Score: Good Guys 1, Bad Guy 0. Sam was beginning to enjoy this.

The next mark was an older lady wearing an outlandish feathered hat. Bedecked with sparkling jewelry, she had a very expensive Italian purse under her arm.

Benny made the same approach. The woman, not used to being confronted by street rabble, condescended  to listen to Benny’s story. She had just begun to provide directions when a frenzied yipping erupted at their feet. The lady’s heretofore silent companion had taken an instant dislike to the man who was reaching for his mistress’s purse. Benny and hat lady watched as the small terrier launched itself at Red’s trouser leg and clamped its teeth on his ankle.

Now it was Red who was yipping.

“Tiger! Tiger! Bad boy! Stop that!” instructions which the four legged protector finally acceded too, letting go his death grip, and standing back a safe distance to growl.

“I’m so very sorry, sir, I don’t know what got into tiger. He’s never done that before.”

Bending down to rub the damaged ankle, Red looked up and just smiled, “Think nothing of it, madam. These things happen.” With that, he tipped his hat and disappeared into the crowd.

Score: Good Guys 2, Bad Guy 0. yes, Sam smiled, who knew purgatory could be such fun.

Father and son regrouped, Red wondering, where did that dog come from? Okay, the next mark needs to be a sure thing.

By the guidebook he was studying, the older man with the full grey beard leaning on a cane, was another traveler. He, too, had a familiar bulge in his rear pants pocket. 

Overweight and out of shape, Red noted, this was going to be easy.

Once more, Benny approached with a lost look and map in hand. The man, who Benny thought must be somebody’s grandfather, smiled down at him. 

“Guten tag,” said the man.

What was this, Benny thought, the guy doesn’t even speak English.

Then the man’s smile broadened, “Just funning you, boy, I speak English, but my German is much better.”

Benny held out his map to ask directions but before a word left his mouth, the man, with unbelievable speed and dexterity whipped his cane around and thrust it into Red’s belly, sending the surprised larcenist stumbling backwards, landing with an ungainly splat on his butt.

The old man pointed the cane at Red and said in a cool, steady voice, “let that be a lesson to you. After thirty years in the Berlin police force, I know a few things about pickpockets.”

The retired cop turned back to Benny, “My name is Fritz. I’ve come to see your wonderful city. Would you like to share a drink with me, perhaps we can explore together, I’ve heard Central Park is a special place.”

Benny and his newly found grandfather walked off together.

Red struggled to get up, dusted himself off, and looked up at the heavens. 

What did I do to deserve this day?

If only he knew.

Score: Good guys 3, Bad guy 0


Moral, Not all angels have wings.


tio stib

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