The Thief

The large, ornate-looking door creaked open as two of the cities guards walked in. One of them held a polished mahogany baton while the other led a small, lanky man behind him. The man looked ordinary for the citizens of the small river port that he lived in. He wore cheap, undyed cotton clothing with a tan cotton vest. His hair was black and greasy, and his face always seemed to hold a smile, as if he were a joking man. The first guard held the man in place in front of a desk as the second watched the man suspiciously. The mayor of the town sat behind the desk, seeming to size up the man that had just been escorted into his office. The guard with the baton moved towards the man at the desk, speaking in a quiet tone. The escorted man struggled to listen but then decided against continuing as he heard he was just out of range. As the guard with the baton returned to his position, the mayor looked at the greasy-haired man again.

“So. You’re a thief?” He asked, his voice level and unamused. The captured man spoke, his voice cheerier than was to be expected under the circumstances.

“No, no, no. I’m not a ‘thief’. You’re making me seem like some petty criminal who’s been pickpocketing old ladies. I prefer to simply think that I’m quite good at acquiring things that may not always belong to me,” He spoke, the smile still present on his face, and the mayor looked at the two guards in the room.

“Leave for a moment, soldiers.” He said, and the one with the baton stepped forward.

“Sir! We wouldn’t want to leave you alone with…” He paused. “This character! What if he attacks you?” At this, the mayor gave a small chuckle.

“You’re implying that this scrawny little thing could hurt me? I’d bet an ant could stand up to him and be evenly matched. Leave.” The soldiers shuffled out of the room, closing the door behind them. The thief placed a mocking hand over his heart and pouted at the mayor. The mayor turned back from his desk for a moment, gathering a small parchment he had stored on a back table and speaking. “So in broader terms, you’re a thief.” He said once again, and the thief shrugged nonchalantly, speaking once more.

“If you insist I be called that, sure. I may have taken some things that didn’t belong to me.” The mayor sighed heavily.

“I’m glad we got that cleared up, then,” He said with a slight pause. “Guards!” He shouted, and the two soldiers came barreling through the door. One of them raised their baton assuming that the mayor was in trouble, but then lowered it again when the mayor began to speak. “Take him to the cells.” He said and turned away from the two guards and the thief to replace the parchment he had taken. As the thief was led out of the room, he gave a slightly larger grin to himself. All the way to the cell, he felt the bulge of the mayor’s coin pouch underneath his shirt.

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