Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man in long robes dash away from the corner stall. The weather that day wasn’t the best, the mist in the air was some what haunting. He nearly took down a man’s mongrel in his mad sprint, the stall vendor still screaming her blood dry. I quickly approached the woman, trying to settle her nerves.
“What’s going on? Are you hurt? What did that man do?” I bombarded the woman.
“Well – ” she came to her senses “nothing at all… ‘cept take my banner!” a confused look spread across her mug, now full of color as the blood wasn’t so scarce.
“Your banner?” I asked.
“Yeah! It was the one I hung across here.” she pointed up to top of her stall, now naked, just wood and nails.
“That’s odd..” now mocking her puzzled expression.
I handed her some coin for the damage, informing her to watch her back for any other suspicious looking gents. She graciously took the gold and I was off.
Why destroy, no, ATTEMPT to destroy one’s place of business without a substantial amount of damage to hinder the owner?
It didn’t make sense to me.
– – –
It was late evening, the sun as low as my brow. I was dead tired, yet I still walked the stalls. All the vendors were cleaning up, packing their things. The smell of the left overs from the butcher’s cart was reminding me of how crazy I was to stay so late.
As I headed towards the exit, homeward bound, a young man came jogging behind me. He tripped a bit as he made his “landing”, a few feet from my six.
I raised an eyebrow, “They make those is men’s size?” I prodded his sandals, one now laying next to him on the ground.
“Yes sir! –…– I mean, No sir!” he was out of breath. He scratched his head as I helped him up.
With a chuckle, “What can I do you for, my loopy youngling?” I smiled.
“You’re OHbear, eh? Merchant type? I got something you might just find interesting.” he smiled back.
“Go on…” – the same puzzled expression came back for a second visit.
“Seams a local gang has got the fancies for stealing ‘flair’ and other such glamor decor. No rhyme intended…sir..” he scratched his head again.
“You know, come to think of it, I did witness a banner thief earlier..” I said what was already going through my head, no rhyme intended.
“I’m late for dinner, but… If you do see anything like that, keep my name out of it… I’m risking my neck even speaking to you!” he stumbled off.
“You didn’t even tell me your–…” he was gone. He disappeared faster than he tripped the time before. He forgot his sandal.
I had an idea.
I was looking at myself in the mirror, my mask now off and tie untied. My staff leaned against the reflection, it’s blue hint gave a glow that I was trying to find inspiration in.
“How do I appeal to a rascal, a trouble maker?” asking myself things became more common in my years of late. My eyes then spied McDuck’s trunk, now dust blanketed without recent love.
“Oh brother!” I laughed – “How many times will you help me and not be here to reap the benefits?”
The latch to the chest was rusty but still strong and sturdy as a Merchant would have it. Inside were treasures of cloth, garments, hats, ties, and fake mustaches to match! I sifted through piles of vests, dusty trousers, shoes, and socks!
I found what I was looking for.
– – –
I was a bit of a sight.
The purple wedding gown I had on was quite the fit, the wig still had a dust bunny or two peeping out from inside it’s locks. I chose to wear my cat mask for this venture, rather than the usual dog face I so proudly wore.
I found an empty stall and set up shop. Crickets set the rhythm to my work, stardrops and ambers dotted the area around my loot like the night’s sky.
With a lift of the skirt and a wig straightening, I proceeded to advertise in my subtle but handsome demeanor.
As I closed my lips at the end of the second sage, my trusty dusty wig flew from my skull, the beating of a one man stampede caught my ear just behind me.
“Not this time.” I leapt within spirit two steps ahead of my wig thief.
With a thud, he hit the ground and the wig became ever so dustier. He scrambled a bit as I made my way towards him, the blunt end of my staff now pressing him fetal at his throat. He raised both arms and I quickly withdrew. As I helped him up, he coughed and sighed a bit.
“I’ve never met a man more excited about a wig.” I put my hand on his shoulder. “What do you think you’re doing out here?”
“It’s a test! … For myself.” Yet again, that same puzzled look spread now across his face. “You wouldn’t get it! Just leave me alone!” he cried.
“Listen, whatever you and your gang are doing to these people’s stalls has got to stop. You think it’s senseless, but people really work hard to make a living!” I tried to reason with him.
“Gang? I have no friends…” he said, whipping a tear from his eye.
That look is contagious.
“You mean, that all these weird theft jobs, … from all these people… is just .. you!?” I couldn’t believe it. This kid, not even sixteen, was running this village like veteran.
“Well, yeah!” sniff, “I thought, if I really want to be strong, to be the best! The sneakiest, most scariest, most craziest! Most stealthy! Most hidden!–” he was now dancing around, holding his arms as if he were some breed of rabbit or squirrel.
I grabbed his shoulders once again.
“Listen! You, my boy, have great talent! You shouldn’t be wasting it on petty ‘tasks’ in which you think you’re proving something to yourself” I cleared my throat, handed him a piece of paper. “This, is the man you should be proving your strength to, little one.”
The paper simply read Jaken, and with a gasp of excitement he finally smiled.
“Gosh… I guess your right!” he placed the paper in his pocket, the same robes I had seen before. Upon looking him over, I now know why I had mistaken him for a grown man before. This boy was quite the giant, a good foot taller than I. His lanky stature, I see now, gave him the legs and stamina to book it. Seriously, I was impressed.
As I watched him walk off, I remembered the teachings I took under Jaken and how, if he chose to, he would soon experience the same greatness I took so closely to heart.
As the smile faded from my face, my eyes gazed down at the now wrinkled purple gown I still … yet again, so proudly adorned. I began to laugh, as I sighed to myself,
“If Jaken could see me now!”