One Lucky Night

The moon shone down on Rick as he hid the dark alley, a self-proclaimed modern-day Robin Hood. They both were dashing rogues, robbing the rich and giving to the poor. Granted, the ‘poor’ in Rick’s case was himself, but things were tougher now than back in Mr. Hood’s days.

He pulled the collar of his jacket up and rubbed his shaved head, wishing he had remembered a toque; the summer was giving way to autumn. He considered leaving for some other alley, but he’d had bad luck in his usual turf. Maybe his luck would finally turn around here.

Orange pants strolled by and Rick stormed out, target locked. “Hey!” Rick yelled to the poor sap in front of him, but they didn’t stop. “Hey, asshole!” He ran and spun said asshole around. It was a young man wearing weird glasses, stupid hipster clothes, and one of those idiot manbuns.

The hipster pulled out his headphones. “Um, can I help you?” he asked, his voice even higher than his feminine appearance had hinted.

“Yeah, dipshit. Gimme all your money.”

“Um, and why should I do that?” He cocked an eyebrow and planted his hands on his hips.

Rick grinned as his knife flipped out with a pleasing sound. “Or else I’ll fucking stick you, you… hipster idiot.”

“Um, wow, okay, I’m not a hipster.”

“I don’t give a fuck! Hand over the cash!” Rick waved the knife around in a threatening manner; he hoped, anyway.

“Um, you’re excused for interrupting… And, um, I don’t have any cash on me.” Hipster Idiot stood his ground, ignoring the knife.

“Well… gimme your phone, then. Credit cards, anything.”

“Oh, my God. You know that credit cards are just a way for the government to keep you sheeple in debt, right?”

“I swear to God, if you don’t shut up, I’m going to cut your tongue out and shove it up your ass.”

Hipster Idiot threw up his hands in resignation and pulled out his phone. Rick’s face fell.

“What the hell is that?!”

“Um, like, it’s my phone.”

“What, are you from the fucking stone age?” A faded and cracked grey flip phone rested in his palm; it looked like the first flip phone ever invented.

“I’m sorry I’m not ‘normal’ and use social media like a brainwashed zombie.”

Rick massaged his temple with his free hand. “Alright, well… gimme your music player, iPod, whatever.”

“Um, what?”

“Whatever you’re using to listen to music on your stupid headphones!”

“Oh! Um, I don’t listen to music. I just keep them in so people won’t talk to me.” Hipster Idiot drew out his headphones and dangled the free end in front of Rick’s face.

“I can’t imagine why they’d talk to you at all.”

“Um, rude.”

“Fuck off.” Rick resisted the urge to scream. “Alright, well, get outta here, dipshit.”

“Um, gladly. Better luck next time,” he said with a wink, turned on his heels, and left at a brisk pace.

“Better luck next time,” he repeated mockingly as he stormed back to his alley. Fucking hipsters. He should have given that idiot a bit of a roughing, maybe cut off that stupid manbun of his. God, those were ugly. If he wasn’t a hipster, who was? Where did one draw the line? How could anyone define anything in life?

As he peered out of the alley, blowing into his hands, he saw a man in a trench coat hustling down the sidewalk across the street. The man glanced at him as he strolled out of the alley, but kept his head down. Rick casually sauntered across the street, whistling.

The man frowned at Rick and his off-key whistling and picked up his pace. A deeper frown was followed by a faster pace as he caught Rick following him. The guy looked over fifty, but he sure could move.

Finally, Rick got tired of the game, and yelled, “Hey!” The man didn’t stop, but instead started running, keeping his hands in his pockets as he ran. Rick swore and sprinted after him, shoving him into the wall of the hardware store at the corner.

The man instantly threw his hands up in defeat, whimpering. “Did my wife send you?”

The threats in Rick’s throat stopped cold. Wasn’t he supposed to talk first? “What?”

“My wife sent you, didn’t she? Oh man, I’m so fucked… please, don’t hurt me!” The man pleaded.

“Uh… yeah, she’s… mad as shit, man.” Rick dropped his gaze for just a moment as he considered his next words; his gaze continued down the open jacket, past the slight wrinkles of the man’s bare body, onto the wrinkly friend of the man’s. “Jesus, dude! Why the fuck are you naked?”

As Rick recoiled, the man tried to flee, but Rick quickly caught him. He brandished his knife with one hand and pushed him against the wall with the other, but he couldn’t both hold the knife and block the view of the liberated genitalia, so he put the knife back in his pocket.

“Alright, listen, you… shithead, your wife sent me. And she says… she sends a message.”

“She says ‘she sends a message’?” The man stared at him.

“What? No, idiot, I’m getting to the message.”

“Oh… I’m sorry, okay?” the man exclaimed in misery. “I didn’t mean for it to get like this, but Lucinda, she’s… she’s blackmailing me! And I just couldn’t tell Gayle that, I just couldn’t…” He started to sob.

“Hey, stop that. Come on, stop.” Rick slapped him across the face a couple times. “No need to cry, everyone makes mistakes. Seriously, dude, stop the fucking sniffling, or I’ll stop it for you.” The man made a visible effort to control himself. “Alright. Your wife, she… she knows. She’s known all along.”

“What?” The man’s eyes shot wide. “How?”

“Um… well, women, man. They… they always know.”

The man’s eyes stretched wider. “God damn, you’re right… I’m so stupid!”

“Yeah, you are. And, she says… that you’re supposed to give all your money to me. As payment.”

“Payment?”

“Well, yeah, someone has to pay me for delivering the message.”

“I don’t… I don’t have any money on me.” The man sniffed.

“Son of a bitch,” Rick breathed. “Alright, what do you have?”

The man shook his head. “Lucinda was specific. She said not to bring anything, just come… like this.”

“And what a prize that is.” He took a deep breath. “Well… Whatever. Just go.”

“R-really?” The man kept his hands up.

“Yeah, screw it. I delivered your stupid wife’s stupid message.” Rick released the nudist, biting his lip as he turned to the street. My fucking luck.

“Alright, well…” The man bundled his coat around him. “Have… have a pleasant evening, sir.”

“Just fuck off already.” The man’s footsteps sounded like he was indeed fucking off. “Oi!” Rick called back to him, and the man turned his head around, keeping his feet moving. “Your wife also said my dick is way bigger than yours.”

To his surprise, the man stopped. It wasn’t like a casual stop, but a Robin Hood creeping in the forest, step on a twig stop. “You’re the one who’s sleeping with my wife?!” The man’s voice had turned from hunted to hunter.

“I, uh…” Why?

“I’ll fucking kill you, scumbag!” The man barreled towards him, his jacket flapping behind him like wings of a demon. Rick was paralysed by the sight of the wrinkly, naked monster running towards him, and then he was tackled onto the pavement.

“Fucking son of a bitch!” They wrestled around, Rick trying to keep the man’s hands from closing around his throat while also trying to reach his knife. “Fucking chill, dude, I was kidding! I’m not fucking your wife!”

“I’ll kill you! I’ll kill you!” The man screamed, struggling to make good of his threats. While the man had weight, Rick had strength, and all he needed was a good bearing to shove the man off. He pointed the knife at the man, whose jacket fell now around his waist, the moon illuminating him in all his splendour.

“I was joking, man!”

“I don’t believe you,” the man growled, eyeing the knife. He made feints with his head, trying to spy a weakness in Rick’s guard.

“Jesus… look, I was just trying to mug you! You know, take your money and shit? I don’t know who the fuck your wife is, or Lucinda, or… anything.”

The man frowned. “Really?”

“Yes! Fucking hell!”

“So… my wife didn’t send you?”

Rick inhaled deeply. “That’s right, Sherlock.”

“So… she doesn’t know?”

“The hell if I know, man.”

“So… I’m in the clear?”

“I would fucking guess so.”

The man contemplated the rather fortuitous turn of events, then beamed, his anger forgotten. He took a step away, then hesitated. “Uh… I can go, right?”

“Fucking get out of here!” Rick lunged at him and the man fled. Rick massaged his temples as he groaned. It was getting late; soon no one would be walking around. Then what? Rick sat on the cold cement, his mind conjuring possibilities.

First the hipster, with his weird phone and manbun, and now the voyeur, sneaking out at night for some hussy. My fucking luck. His wife was right to cheat on him. People took everything they had for granted, but that’s why people like Rick existed: to rob the greedy of their possessions. Material goods didn’t matter.

Well, they mattered to Rick, at least. He needed the money; they just wanted it. He needed it for food and weed and alcohol, the important things in life. They wasted it on idiot things. The world needed people like Rick to go all Robin Hood on these self-proclaimed kings and queens and keep them honest.

A woman’s voice speaking rapid and angry Spanish freed him from his thoughts. Maybe this mamacita had some pesos to give. He stood up, sticking his hands in his pockets, doing his best to camouflage against the wall. The woman paid Rick no heed as she stormed past him, one hand holding her phone, the other waving about madly.

Rick filed in behind her, but his attempts to stalk her failed as she turned around in one of her outbursts and caught him. Her eyes narrowed as she continued in Spanish, and Rick hesitated. Was she talking to him or the phone? A stomp forward and an accusative finger shoved into his chest answered his question.

“Hey! Stop that,” he told her as she did it again, continuing in Spanish. “Speak English, damn it!” He slapped her hand away as she struck a third time, which provoked her to use both hands in her assault, upgrading her pokes to slaps. “Ow! What the fuck! Hey!” Rick, caught off guard, forgot about his weaponry and tried to fight slaps with slaps.

He managed to catch her hands in his grip, but she wasted no time in using her feet. “Son of a bitch!” He shoved her away and brought out his knife before she could renew the attack. “Yeah? What you think of this?” The woman eyed him like a hawk eying a fat pigeon. “Alright! Alright. English? Englando?”

Si,” the woman replied slowly, her gaze flickering between the knife and Rick’s face.

“Alright, great. Easy.” Rick took a breath.

“What you want?” she asked with a thick accent.

“Your money.” She frowned and shrugged. “Money!” He pointed his fingers skyward and rubbed them together.

She shook her head. “No, no, no Italian. Mexican.”

Rick stared at her, then at his gesture. “What? No! Not Italian, you dumb idiot!”

Si, si, no Italiano. Mexican, si.

“No! No, just… Money! Pesos!”

She slowly reached into her purse and pulled out a wallet. “Yes! Si!” When she didn’t hand it over, Rick made a move for it, which caused her to shove the wallet back into her purse and admonish him in Spanish. “Hey! Give me wallet! El walleto!”

The woman advanced on Rick, despite the knife. And, despite the knife, Rick retreated.

“You know what, fuck it. Go! I don’t care.” He raised his hands in submission and sheathed his knife. He turned around, cursing a thousand times.

Or, he would have managed one thousand curses, had the woman not taken advantage of Rick’s retreat to attack him from behind. Rick screeched as the woman screamed at him in Spanish, making his head ring with her flurry of slaps. He chose the better part of valour and ran, the woman’s voice echoing off the brick buildings as she gave up the chase.

After a few blocks, Rick stopped to catch his breath. My fucking luck. Was he living in a city of nutcases? Rick sat on the sidewalk and massaged his temples again. One chance. That was all he needed. Please, God, just one chance, he thought as he crossed himself. He didn’t believe in God, but all he needed was a sign.

And, just like that, his prayers were answered; the Lord certainly does work in mysterious ways. A lone figure walked towards him, a young woman, walking alone, late at night, a handbag by her side. Rick snickered and began to devise a plan of attack. If he remained here, she would come, ask what’s wrong. He would spin some sob story, her guard would be let down, and then, boom, robbed. Easy. What could go wrong?

Her steps increased in volume as she approached Rick; he kept his head down and sighed deeply with as much pity as he could muster. She was bound to stop and ask him if he was okay.

The steps seemed almost upon him now, and he held his breath, waiting for that angel’s call. He waited, and waited, and waited, but all he heard was the sound of something metal hitting the pavement and her boots clacking away. Rick looked at the ground where a quarter now lay.

“A quarter?” he said.

“Sorry?” The woman stopped and turned to regard him. She was pretty — long, golden hair, emerald eyes, adorable freckles spotting her face.

“A quarter?” Rick repeated, getting to his feet. “You give a supposed homeless man a fucking quarter?”

“Um… sorry? That’s all I had in change,” she said, turning back and continuing her walk.

“No. Nope, nuh-uh, I don’t think so.” Rick stormed after her and she turned back around, confusion rather than fear on her face. “I think I deserve a bit more than that, lady.”

“Look, I know times are tough now, but… it’s not my fault you’re homeless. You seem like a really nice guy, but that’s really all I have.” She shrugged and pulled her orange scarf a little tighter.

“I don’t think so,” Rick repeated, slowly drawing the knife and flicking it out. Fear lit on her face as she took a step back. Finally. “Let’s see what’s in that purse.”

“I don’t… I don’t have any money,” she stammered, her voice becoming timid. “I swear, please don’t hurt me.”

“Show me what’s in the purse, and no one will get hurt,” Rick crooned.

“Look, here, just… just take it.” She quickly shed the handbag and handed it over with shaky hands. Rick snatched it, almost not believing his luck. He didn’t test fate and go through it that instant, however; it would be just his luck that she took that opportunity to attack.

“What else you got?”

“What? That’s it, I swear.” She pulled her scarf closer still.

“You’re hiding something under the scarf.”

“What?” Her eyes shot wide. “No… no I’m not.”

“Take it off.” He pointed the knife at her face and stepped closer. “You wouldn’t want anything to happen to your pretty face, would you?”

She sniffed as she slowly removed her scarf. An ornate, gold pendant was revealed, as well as a lush valley of cleavage, blanketed only by what Rick would barely call a shirt.

“Shit,” he breathed.

“Please, this was my grandmother’s,” the woman pleaded.

“What?” Didn’t she mean ‘these were’?

“It’s a family heirloom,” she pleaded, clutching the necklace.

“Hmm? Ah, yeah, that. Um… keep it.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, but in exchange… take your shirt off.”

“W-what?”

“You heard me.” Well, really, you asked for it; everyone’s gotta learn sometime.

The woman froze. “I…”

“Any day now, lady.” He waved his knife around to remind her who was in charge.

“I… this is so embarrassing,” she mumbled after a pause, casting her gaze away shyly.

“It’s just me, so not really that embarrassing. Plus, you get to keep your stupid pendant. Come on, just the shirt.” A peek of those peaks was all he needed.

“No, I…” she sighed, and began to tease a strand of her hair. “I’ve had this, like… fantasy, I guess, for a while now, and…” She gazed up at him; something else was peaking now.

“I, uh…” Rick swallowed. “What… what kind of fantasy?”

She giggled. “Oh… you know.” Her other hand fondled her pendant a moment before it slid down her chest slowly, sensually. She took a slow step towards him, desire in her eyes. “I know I just met you, and all, but… maybe it’s fate, us meeting like this. You, mugging me, with that… big knife of yours.”

The sound that escaped from her tantalising lips nearly made Rick collapse. He wasn’t exactly sure how he reached this blissful moment, but he wasn’t about to throw it away. “If you think this is big, you should see what else I got.”

She giggled again, biting her lip at the end. “So… you want me to take my shirt off?”

“Um…” Rick cleared his throat. “Please.”

“It’s quite hard for me to do on my own… Think you could help me?”

The knife and the purse hit the sidewalk before her sentence finished. Her priceless eyes gazed into his, her angelic hands grabbed his cheeks, and the kiss made him a believer.

At least, it would have, had one foot not stomped on his toes and one knee not been slammed into his most prized possessions.

“Pig! Fuck you,” his Lucifer spat as he writhed on the pavement, moaning in agony. She picked up her things and went to put the quarter in her bag, but instead hurled it at Rick, catching him right between the eyes.

He howled and watched through misty eyes as she stormed away, then watched as the quarter rolled away from him, rolled towards the edge of the cement, and rolled right off, into the storm drain waiting below.

My fucking luck.


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