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The Wager

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posted by Chatwick Harpax alias Subsequent Wickedness on Sunday 14th of January 2018 11:52:23 AM

The Wager.. ….. Prologue “Sigh, Here goes it then, “he probably is still at that bar” …… I said with a slight hesitation, but with no whine in me voice ( for the record). I then promptly turned away and moved off , wading my way back inside… …… The tale Ten minutes later … I finally was able to make an approach up to the long scarred oaken bar, after weaving my way amongst the countless numbers of mingling guests, all dolled up for the evening. So I guess that is my excuse for not quite successfully keeping my focus on the task at hand that was inadvertently before to me.. Finally reaching me destination, I Ordered an old fashion (with rye ) and sat down next to him and said pleasantly.” how is it going Mate?” He had been studying the dance floor, but at my greeting sighed and pulled himself away to look me up an down with a rather suspicious eye. I met his gaze squarely, still smiling, avoiding the impulse to stare at the lit cigarette dangling from his lip. Being a pipe man meself ,I was a wee bit opinioned when it came to sloppy cigarettes smokers, especially those who left the bloody things dangle cheekily in their mouths at all times. “Wotcher” he said, a bit snidely I thought, since I was just trying to be friendly. “Do I know you Guv?” He quizzically added. “ Sorry.” I admitted, “ Thought you looked like a bloke I knew up Manchester way.” “Not from there am I , guv !” He stated rather dismissively. I ploughed on… “Well, one can’t always be right, can one?” “Just getting a drink” I continued,” I see yours is out, whatcha be having ?” “Highball” he said smartly, and turned back away. For some reason I was not surprised at the blokes drink of choice. He certainly was most interested in the goings on the ballroom dance floor! I caught the Keeps eye and indicated a refill was in order for my new found ‘mate’. By then I had mine and I took a long, gloriously settling, sip. “That’s better” I sighed, a bit too deeply probably, but my new acquaintance, with full attention back on the ballroom dance floor, paid my comments no heed. He hadn’t asked me name, which was fine by me, kept me from having to remember the one I would have had to ‘ave made up. Nor did I care to know this blokes name either, though I was harboring a pretty good guess that it would be a rather recognizable one, either mentioned from the telly or yeterday’s fish and chip wrappers. But I could see I had lost the chaps attention…. “Pretty” I said following his gaze. “What ‘s pretty ?!” he stated sharply, not diverting his watchful eyes. I noticed that they were a bit shifty, his eyes, like a sly, watchful fox, and that they moved with a rapid constancy. Think a young Trevor Howard with Peter Lorre’s eyes, and you have the chap to a T! “The dancers, mate” I said, “this lot is dressed rather elegantly tonight!.” He peeled his eyes off the dancers twirling and swishing about, and turned slowly to me, a bit scornfully , “what did you expect guv, its full dress tonight, that’s why you and I have these uncle’s monkey suits on, taint it?” “Indeed sir” , I said agreeably with what I hoped was a winningly sincere voice, though down deep, to meself, I felt this prig deserved anything but politeness. Still I carried on, trying to be friendly. “That lass in the green is pretty” I remarked, nodding in a direction by the far corner of the floor to where a rather petite lady with black hair, prettily clad in a shiny bit of a green gown, black glasses owlishly perched on her nose, and displaying a rather nice little set of shimmering emeralds, was dancing with a bird like bloke wearin ,of all things, a scarlet red vest. “Personally, I like the way her emerald jewelry sets off against her gown!”, I added whilst pointed her out… He had gotten his drink, and I noticed he had quarter drained it in one gulp, and set it down without a kind word, like say, thank you..! He was on his way to a real bender if he kept up with that pace I thought, eyeing the two other, empty glasses, already collected at his elbow on the bar top! He had gone back to his eyeing of the ballroom’s inhabitants, I could see his shifty eyes flitting about. “Whasat” he finally said, “The gangly bird dancing with cock robin? Yah,I suppose so.” He snorted at his own remark. Then looking at me for a long second, he continued on.. “Like her jewels do ya than mate?” he said not bothering to hide the snideness in his comment .. “ Meself, Guv, I notice more than a sweetie’s bloody jewels !” He again chuckled dryly at his presumed wit, I did not choose to join in.. “Occupational hazard I guess, noticing jewelery .” ,I admitted, choosing not to expound on my drinking partner’s opinion, “I own a small jewelry shoppe on the village green.” “Nothing much, but it pays one’s rent.” That opened him up a bit…. “I guess than a gent like you would prattle on about jewels” “Is that what brings you alone here these evening?” “I aint seen you out dancing with anyone.” There was definitely insinuation behind his words, but, therin, laid a delicate path I dared not explore, lest my incipient plan blew up in my face. I gave no reply, and after the observation was spoken, let him continue on in his dry, sniping tone that I was beginning to realize was his normal manner of speech! “So you just want a bit of a peek at what you sell guv?” “ Me, I just like lookin at the whole bleedin package, iffin you get my drift !!” And giving me a weaselly little grin, he nudged me with his elbow with a mirthless cackling laugh , then turned his attention raptly back onto the thronging occupants of the dance floor.. Spotting a possible opening, I delved into the breach. Sink or swim time. “So what do you do when you are not attending these rather posh affairs?” I asked, trying to keep a wedge in our conversation. Even though the answer was pretty obvious from the blighters manner of dress, and baby smooth manicured fingers! “Nuttin” he said through gritted teeth, never diverting his gaze to me, “Don’t hafta work like a regular Git, gets a small allowance from me father don’t I! Not much though, old parental gents are too cheap by half if you ask me, livin in the stone age where an extra few quids concerned!!” He literally spat out the last few words. “Shame” I sympathetically pretended to agree , “but still”, and raisin my glass, said “cheers to being able to keep a roof over one’s head.” We both drained our glasses in salute and I ordered another round. After we were served, my new ‘friend’ , out of the side of his mouth since his eyes were glued back on the ballroom dancers stated wryly, “You like’n them emeralds? Guv ” , and I could see his eyes were again stuck on watching the lady elegantly wearing,( in me own humble opinion), the green satin offset with her brite glittering emeralds. “A bit too mousey for my taste”, He continued, “ole 4 eyes there, still, I wouldn’t say no to admire’in what she has under that shiny dress!” And he let out another little snort at his crude witticism. Crude apparently being a trademark of all this Bloke’s remarks! I choose to ignore his rather rude comment, and went on, trying to remain unruffled by my new friends rather blunt outlook on the fairer sex ! “I admire any gemstones that I can sell my dear sir.” I said causally, delicately, “ but there are other things that I will also allow to command my interest.” “ Wjats you on about then?” He asked, reluctantly taking his eyes from the dance floor and placing his attention fully back onto me, as he looked me over like he had just now noticed I was there!. I remembered thinking, yeah ya bleedin prig, two free drinks and not a thank you in sight. Picked a winner here, I did! But when I spoke, my words and manner of speech did not betray any of me thoughts. “Well”, I admitted rather sheepishly, “In my line of work I come across many alerts from the constabulary about ladies who have had jewels come up missing, and asked to keep an open eye out.” He looked suspiciously at me.. “The bobbies ask YOU about it?” he questioned. “No” I admitted, “all jewelers receive the same circulars.” “But you see, the thing that peaks my curiosity at these events is to try and catch one in action!” “Catch one what guv ?” he asked quizzically. “Thief !“ I announced in a ‘everyone one knows’ tone of voice’,.. “You see lad, a good many circulars describe how ladies lose a bit of their jewelry at functions like these from time to time. It is assumed that the expensive pieces just had bad clasps, but me, I am not so sure that is the case, for it appears to happen far too frequently in these parts!” “What else would it be guv?” He asked, his sluggish curiosity, finally, peaking ! “Well” I said, leaning in to him rather conspiratorially, “ I have come to a conclusion that there is a fraction of thieves out there that are able to lift jewels being worn by ladies, like these being worn here tonight, without being caught in the act! And I attend functions like these on the off chance to see if my thesis is correct.” “Thesis?” my rather cheeky friend asked, not getting the drift. “ I sighed inwardly, thinkin entirely to me self that we will be here all evening if I have to explain everything to this most likely privately schooled, but still uneducated Git! I decided to go easy on the verbage with him from now on ! “Theory lad, a belief that, say, our lady yonder in the green frock could possibly be parted from her emeralds by one of her dance partners, if the bloke was of the mindset to acquire them in that manner.” “And since she wouldn’t be suspecting it, said dance partner, say, may have an eye for her necklace, and slip the emeralds away from around her very throat without her even noticing, until he was either long gone, or the emeralds returned to her !” I explained calmly. “ You sayin guv?” “ that that swarmy cock robin bloke dancin with that skrawny 4 eyed bird, may be after her necklace?” “Rot!” he smirked , taking his eyes off of the couple and onto me , “nigh impossible to do such a thing!” “Besides”, he continued on, “ If someone was that interested in her jewels, why not just follow her out and do a complete job of it !?” “A lot more risk involved being caught doin it that way Mate, not to mention it being rather obvious that she is being robbed! No, to do it this way a thief could come away scot free with the goods without any suspicions falling upon himself.” I stated in a quite logical tone of voice. “But, a bloke would have to be a rather quick fingered one, like a pickpocket wouldn’t he now?” He questioned, his eyes back on the dancing couple. And have someone to practice on, I thought to meself before answering… “Nay my good sir,” I assured, “I think it could be done by the most common of thieves, I bet even non-thieves like you or I could do it with some success!” “Blimey mate, your still half cracked barmy for even thinking that way!” He sneered, but I saw him take a long, speculative look at the green satin clad lady, being waltzed merrily along the dance floor, completely unawares that she and her nicely shimmering emeralds had become such a rather unscrupulous topic line of speculation! “Ten quid lad!” I said quietly under my breath. “Whots that then mate?” He perked up while addressing me quizzically, “Tenner for what?” “Ten quid Says I could lift that particular lady’s pretty necklace straight away, and not be caught out in the process?” He thought about it for one long minute, finishing his drink in the meantime. “Don’t know guv, Bobbies may frown upon that!” I countered, trying to set the hook in deep, figuring a bit of creative lying would be in good order to ease away his concerns. “Not if I don’t get caught lad, and that necklace is only a cheap imitation. She probably got it out of a cracker jack box ,and being chintzy, she wouldn’t be surprised at the clasp breaking away an it falling as she danced, if sayin she would happen to noticed my amateur attempt, would she now?” I could see he was mulling something over as I spoke, as his limp cigarette was bobbing up and down still clamped in his pursed lips. It was certainly a long time coming together, this blokes imaginary skills! He finally nodded towards the lady in green, happily being swished around the dance floor in all of her innocence bliss, her emeralds making a nice show of it, sparkling on like they were , just crying out to be noticed and admired, which they were, and perhaps soon that sparkling cry would be hushed by an admirer ! “Suppose that gangly 4 eyed bird looks gullible enough to try it out on. Probably too shy, so won’t make too much fuss when she catches you trying!” He looked at me. “ And make no mistake bloke , you will be caught… and then I wouldn’t know you from Adam ! Make it two for one guv, and you are on a bet!” He snarked.. And like that, the hook was set ! Though, blimey, I had seen carp from the ‘Myths’ finally taking bait with less subtly!! “Capital!” I acknowledged, “I like a good challenge!” I arose, straightening my jacket and tie, and looking at the lady wearing the green gown, I commented, half encouraging to meself, “You are on lad!” And marched myself off to the dance floor. The current song was ending and I caught up with my quarry as she began nicely swishing her way off the dance floor. I had observed she had been dancing with several different partners , making that note after she had first attracted my interest, and saw she was now, once again, alone. Laying fingers gently upon a green satin clad shoulder, I gently touched her from behind. She turned and with a rather fetching demure look ,caste me a pair of questioning hazel coloured eyes. Said eyes were rather enticingly enlarged by being behind the thick lensed black glasses she was wearing. “Care to dance?” I asked, with some earnest, after all ten quid is ten quid! She smiled, laying upon me an aire of innocence that rather took me aback for an instance…,then said sweetly “I am a bit worn out just now sir” My heart dropped down to my feet at that! Seeing my disappointment, then she continued with a perked smile, placing a gloved hand to her throat and playing with the very necklace, one which decidedly, despite my earlier comments, would not have come from a crackerjack box! “I be guess ‘in that I can’t see what harm one more dance could do, would it then ?” She spoke with a rather soft sort of Irish brogue, that was second generation at best, but had me hooked with its lyrical lilt! “Brilliant!” I said with heartfelt meaning, and led her back to the wooden dance floor as the orchestra was getting ready to start playing again. A slow dance started up and I took her in my arms, keeping a discreet, friendly distance between us. We made small talk, though I avoided talking anything about jewelry. Trying to think like a thief, I was figuring in me mind that if the plan was to be carried out with success, I, and my victim, needed to stay well away off the subject of the jewels she was wearing!. I did, however, manage to steal several discreet glances at her necklace, a pretty thing, thin gold chain, set with a single row of emeralds divided by small sparkly chips of diamonds. It had a loose lay around her neck, bouncing easily along their perch, which was just nicely above the girl’s tightly satin clad chest. By the manner in which the necklace was moving about, It should slip off rather easily, if I was to now be judge of such matters! After a few random comments concerning the evening’s doings, I complimented her on her pretty hair. Which it was, pretty I mean, strikingly black, falling softly down to her shoulders where its curled ends swayed with a most delighting motion, not to mention the long emerald earrings that kept peeking in and out as they swung merrily from her hair. I removed my hand from round her waist and lifted a lock with my left hand in emphasis, taking the opened opportunity to study her necklaces clasp, and to re-set my hand upon her rather sensuous feeling back side, gently laying it nonchalantly just below her shoulder. She appeared not to notice the change. She ate it up, giggling with pleasure, flicking her hair back, sending the pair of those lovely ,longish earrings sparkling alongside her enchanting face, the whole effect made even more lively with those eyeglass magnified, doe like wide eyes! She was quite a vexing, most charming thing, my dance partner, and the conversation flowed easily between us. She appeared to be an absolutely sweetly trusting soul, and I, with some slight reservation, made the most of it! My hand twas still rested upon her back, and I slowly allowed it to travel upwards, watching for any sign of skittishness from my dance partner. But she continued on chatting away, accepting smiles from me as silent answers , which was just as well, for my mind was set on other things, and any conversation requiring me too think out an answer would have intruded on my concentration, hampering me on the way of acquiring her necklace, and winning the ten quid wager! Her long satin gown felt like heaven under my fingertips, and I was beginning to become pleasantly mesmerized by the manner in which it fluidly swished and fluttered around us as we danced. I had been waiting for an opening, when I realized that the dance music was in its final chords.. I decided I had go for it now! So I forced out a comment about one of the blokes sitting at the bar ( far from my fellow conspirator!), her eyes sought and found the gent out, then she fetchingly giggled in agreement to my observation. Meanwhile my fingers had deftly reached up to the end of the gold chain hanging down from her necklaces clasp. Ever so slowly I had been pulling it down, like one would a lampshade chain, and the whole affair obligingly slithered quite willingly, descending along on the slick backside of the smooth surface of its’ mistresses conveniently chosen gown, soon placing the clasp in my grasping fingers. At the same time I was watching the necklace with its flickering emeralds and diamonds, from the front, as her head had been turned towards the bar. I noticed how the necklace was moving up, smoothly slithering along the sleek material of her pretty gown, praying it would not catch and draw her attention! The sparkling little beauty behaved, and gave its’ unawares mistress no fair warning!! We twirled around and I led her to a far corner where a group of fake trees were clustered, giving me a bit of haven from the possibility of being seen making my final move! My earlier peek had showed me that I knew the type of her necklaces’ clasp, now wedged in my fingertips, and having worked on many like it, believed this one presented no problem. So it twas, with surprising ease given me nervousness, the out of sight clasp nicely popped opened, leaving one end of the expensive necklace laying over her shoulder, resting like a shimmery snake in the green grass, as it laid out upon her shiny green gown. Then, in quick fashion, timing it perfectly as the song ended, I bought her willingly into a friendly hug thanking her, whilst at the same moment whisked away her necklace from around the high neckline of her satin gown, smooth as sliding a melting ice cube across the surface of a piping hot griddle! It easily slipped off, then fell safely away and was securely stowed away into a tux pocket before we had fully broke apart. Shamelessly I smiled into her eyes. “Thank you luv, that was rather nice of you !” I told her in all sincerity. Removing my left hand from me pocket, and delicately took her green gloved one up to shake! She looked down at our hands for one brief second, and I eyed the quite glaringly empty spot where her rather fine necklace of emeralds and diamonds had until so very recently had been dangling. Could it really be that easy I thought curiously to meself over it , briefly wondering also what would be in a real thief’s mind at successfully reaching this point! She looked back up and smiled winningly at me as I innocently looked into her eyes. I could a bit guiltily tell she was truly clueless as to what had just transpired. She chirped back with her rich Irish brogue…” Pleasure was all mine, to be sure, kind sir, thank ye for the quite lovely dance, but now its time for a restin of weary feet ya know.” She slipped her hand, hesitantly I thought, from mine. And with that she turned and I watched for a rather few elongated seconds as she swished her way off, almost wishing to meself that at the last minute she would notice the necklaces’ absence. And in me mind I imagined be given a second dance as a reward for finding her lost necklace, or perhaps something even better may come of it … well worth losing ten quid over! But she didn’t notice and was gone, soon melting in with the crowd on the opposite fringe of the wooden dance floor. And all my imaginings evaporated with her… I found me heart was pounding, and I forced meself to turn away, and head back before any undue attention was given to me, THERE standing there like a loon with the lady’s still warm necklace in me jackets’ pocket! Some thief! We hadn’t even exchanged names, which would have been a quite natural thing to do if one was trying not to appear doing anything out of the ordinary! It’s a wonder she hadn’t noticed and start to wonder… Maybe she was? And I pictured how she had played with the necklace as I had asked her to dance. Blimey, I wasn’t out of the woods yet, was I!. I made me way quickly to my newly made mate at the bar , intending to collect me winnings. “That was easy!” I lied as I regained my seat and took a long sip of me drink, trying to appear calm.. “Codswallop” He said unhappily, not bothering to reach for his billfold! “ Knew the twit was gullible, but not that stupid, she never cought on , did she now?” “Apparently not.” I admitted. “ But it does prove true what I was saying earlier, and if a rank armature like me could pull it off, then just think about what a regular thief could do, rather proved me point, don’t it now!” “Its not Cricket guv.” Was his response, and he drained his glass and set it down sharply He singled to the Barkeep by fidgeting with his empty glass, ordering another. Just for himself, apparently buying others a drink was not in this Blokes mindset, as well as paying off his depts.! “Bye the bye, what do you do now with her necklace guv?” He asked accusingly, looking down at his fresh drink. “Or are you one of them thieves…!?” “Not hardly sir, I’ll turn it over to security at the door, found it just laying here on the floor don’tcha know sir…” I mimicked. Then ,with a co-conspirator’s smile, I lied again.. “Like I said me lad, it’s a cheap bit of rhinestones! Otherwise I probably would have been too nervous to accomplish it!” He hesitated, I could see he was stalling about something, and I rather guessed it was over paying out , on the wager he had lost, which I had hinted at! Not surprisingly, he avoided my hint, by asking one of his own..“ You think anyone can do what you just did guv?” “Certainly mate” I said, “Look, she hasn’t even caught on!” We both looked over at the lady in green. She had reappeared, joining a group at the far end, and no one being actually aware of anything amiss, let alone her own innocent self! Though I had to admit that I found the necklace’s absence from around her throat quite a glaring concern… But I remained calm about it ! The longer she took to notice, the less likely she would connect its loss with our dance, I reasoned with meself, almost feeling into the part of a suave jewel thief one see’s acting out on the telly…! Turning to my co-conspirator, I said, half to convince me self, “I tell you lad, women think their jewels are safe whilst being worn. The last thought any of em would suspect is that someone can lift their jewels off and be away..! That’s my theory on how thieves with light fingers could operate on in my humble, uneducated opinion, and manage to get away jewels for keeps, not just to win ten quid on a bet!”. I could tell that something was churning about in my now, quite liquored, friend’s narrow mind. He turned his eyes away from the lady in shiny green gown, .. “Okay guv, You got away with it, but would youn be willing to double your winnings that It could be done again by you, say what?” “Tell you what lad” I said turning the heat up on the situation. “ Lets make it more interesting, raise the ante to fifty on you trying it yourself next, victim of your choosing, and I will double it if you come clean away?!” He picked up his drink, taking thoughtful sips, still studying my face, as his mind continued churning things about… “Actually guv, 100, two to one , that how sure you are I could do it? “ I whistled softly under me breath for emphasis, ”That’s about all I have !” I replied, appearing a bit hesitant. “Com’on Guv, a rich jeweler like yourself!” He nudged me again, and let out a snide cackle, the cigarette still dangling from a sneering lip. “Anyting but rich mate, but you are on!” I pulled out my notecase and counted out £ 100 in a pile, letting him see the thick wad of notes remaining ! “ Yours I said, if you dare try and are successful!” And I shook is hand, watching a rather foxy grin spread all over his weasley face ,he openly drooled over the healthy pile of pound notes, his sodden cigarette bouncing up and down quite vigorously in his pursed lips. Not a good poker player, are ye lad I thought to meself, keeping my face in an easy grin that no way betrayed what I was thinking ! I continued on.. “Whom do you have in mind?” I asked looking around with a conspirator’s aire?” Soon I spied a rather easy mark of a gangly young lass, admirably wearin a tawny coloured taffeta gown, her tightly worn frock appearing as slick an easy a material to slip away jewelry off of as the green gown my victim was wearing so winningly! And this lass was wearing a simple, longish string of polished faux pearls, fastened with an uncomplicated hook –in-eye clasp! I nodded his attention over in her direction, drawing his eyes from the money pile! “That fetchin lass over there in brown, one with them pearls, looks to be an easy enough one, dontcha think?” Not surprisingly, He shook his head no, “ Nah, I think that blokes ‘er husband , and he looks a rather nasty git!” As he said this, his now drooping eyes had sought out and been staring at someone else. “There, that lass in blue near to her!” he smirked, “the one dancing with the prat in white!” I looked over, and acted as if I had just noticed her, though it had been pretty obvious that she was the one my ‘friend’ had had his watchful eye on all evening. I had just wrote it down to a rather jealous infatuation of a stranger . She was a diminutive lass, rather provocatively wearin a short sky brite blue dress of sleeky silk, tightly outlining her not too un eye pleasing figure. She was also openly sporting a nice collection of diamonds! Authentic diamonds consisting, of a rather eye catching bib like, 3 tiered blazingly rippling necklace with matching earrings and bracelet, all glittering and sparkling with priceless prickles of colourful fire as she moved about. She also was wearing a vulgarly large diamond on her pinky, but all her other fingers were bare. I kept mum about her jewels being risky real, and I wished him good luck, whilst appearing somewhat doubtful he could pull it off. Because, for one, mine at least obligingly had her necklace laid entirely along the collar of her gown, but this one in blue had a ruffled scooped collar, her necklace laid out above totally on the bare skin of her throat! Granted the skin glistened with a bit of sweat, which may make it a bit more doable, but mine had been entirely resting upon her green gown, never touching her warm flesh with it’s cooler gems! This one, I wouldn’t have picked her for a first attempt! Not even a second or third attempt. It would take a master thief ( if they actually existed) to lift away that necklace off from a girl dressed as such! And in spite of all my assurances to my drinking mate, he was no master at anything, even sober, the caddish prig..! That money may be as good as mine, if I could pry his hands from it!! But, in the seconds that me mind played this out, he had quickly gotten up and beelined to her, cutting in abruptly and sending her dance partner wearing the unfortunate white tux, scuttling off. Subtly , not! I thought, bull in a china shop that one! I watched with wonder as they danced, the smoke from his limp dangling cigarette blowing hazy smoke into her face, and she scrunched her nose unhappily each time he did so. He made her dance close, and had wrapped one hand, snake like, up and around her bare shoulder, his lips whispering close in her ears. She looked rather like a skittish colt, but surprisingly appeared accepting of her unfortunate fate of a dance partner. But, by Jove, despite all his cheekiness , lack of sophistication and his victims unease, the twit actually started to pull it off! His hand travelled up along her backside until it reached flesh and gruffly trying to pry open her necklaces jeweled clasp. I really don’t know how she never felt it. But, apparently, she didn’t and before one could blink (or wince), he had the jeweled clasp worked opened and had pulled the glittering necklace of diamonds up and over her shoulder! His backside was now to me, and I watched the necklace, like a shimmering waterfall, drip dangling down from his fist behind her, its glittering diamonds back-dropped nicely by the blue coloured slick material of her dress.. Surprisingly, no one else saw it in the seconds before he managed to stow it roughly away in a side jacket pocket ! I watched him turn her around in his arms until he was able to make eye contact with me, and I saw him give me quite the ‘thumbs up’ look of triumph. He then abruptly left her ,not even botherin to finish the song even, the twit was that much in haste! And in that haste to make it back to the money pile, pretty much plowed over the green gowned lass, whose purloined necklace was now residing in my pocket! I reached into that pocket and reassuringly felt that necklace with me fingers as I was watching it all unfold... Now, so abrupt was the encounter on the dance floor, that the poor lass’s glasses were knocked off, and she stumbled against him as she bent down to retrieve them.. He pushed her unsteady figure aside, as she looked up to him for unoffered assistance, causing her to fall onto her knees. As others came to her rescue, he walked away without a backwards glance, and came over to me, smirking widely with a pouncy, self-satisfied look upon his ( rather punch able at that point ) smug face. Pay it up lad he said with a rather churlish grin… and I uneasily picked up the thick pile of notes and handed it to him. Than pulling out my notecase, extracted another £ 100 and handed it over also. Apparently, he had all but forgotten the tenner he owed me for my venturous efforts earlier, but I let that sleeping dog lay quiet like. “Nicely done.” old chap I freely lied , “Don’t forget to turn it in, im sure the lady will eventually be a missing that pretty piece.” “No worries guv, she’ll get it back in due course!” and he slapped me on the backside as he gleefully counted my £ 200 worth of pound notes, looking all the world like a crafty cat who had eaten the gilded canary! He was so sure of imself during the whole endeavor that I suppose warning bells should have been going off like gangbusters , but I gave no outward sign, my demeanor remaining icy calm, not an easy trick I will say at that place and time!. I Just causally rose, and shaking his greasy, sweaty palm ( the one not tightly holding me money), lied again by sayin “ Smartly played”, and in turning, Saw that the diminutive lass in blue was gone from the scene, and so also missing appeared to be my lass in green with the thick glasses. “Pity.” , I said to meself, would have liked to have ad a final look over at her, and her fine green clad figure , lit under those dance floor lights one last time…! So, I just continued slinking on me way, walked dispassionately off to the far side of the enormous chamber, losing me self in quick fashion back amongst the throngs of gaily dressed, well liquored, unkowin partiers! I was meaning to leave the premises via a back exit with its patio that led into the hedges surrounding the gardens. As I went , I passed a non-caring security type on me way. I did not bother to shatter his bliss him by stopping to hand over a lady’s emerald necklace and taking the time trying to explain how It happened to be in my possession. So with a nod, I just walked casually by, a bloke with nothing to hide by all outward appearances. That was me.. As I went outside, I felt the fresh breeze hit me face, and I breathed it deeply in, finally feeling free of all bother and worries. The end ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Epilogue ( For clarity ) …. I headed directly through the gated opening in the hedges, my final objective was reaching to the far side exit of the lengthy garden that led off to the place where my red touring auto was parked. A bit of a walk, but amongst other things, I always liked my bit of exercise. I made my way, slowing down a tad and admiring the flowers and rather ornate fountains that made up this hedged in, proper little English garden. I had one at home behind the cottage, but nothing on this scale, just a brick path amongst some moss rose and lilies, with a rather ancient wrought iron bench overlooking a small stone built pond in its centre. I found meself automatically reaching for me pipe and pouch, figuring to contemplate with a long smoke as I walked. But immediately though the better of it, time was, after all, still decidedly of the essence. Soon after I reached my objective, an turned to look behind me, no one else was about! I breathed a sigh of relief, it really was over ! I turned and exited through the back gate, Suddenly, I was made aware of the sound of a quick swish of something silky, and before I could turn about, a very feminine set of fingers gently grasped my arm. For the briefest parts of a second my mind pictures the young lass in sky blue. “Ta, my love, I’m here!” a soft voice with a lilting accent whispered cheerily behind me. I turned and looked again into those rapturing hazel eyes, prettily magnified by her heavy black glasses. “Ta, here you are indeed !” I enthusiastically agreed, and pulled her up against me, hugging again into her sweet figure, my hands , openly this time, relishing in the splendid feel of her luxuriously soft, shimmery green satin gown, and the warm cuddling figure it encased!! “Apparently, some turd stole me necklace !” she whispered playfully in my ear, “ ‘ere now! By chance would ya know who the jester is laddie?!” We broke apart, and as she stood there facing me with a rather smugly coy look about her, one hand on her chest, the other playing along her gowns barren neckline. I gave her ravishing figure a quick once over before my eyes finally coming to rest once again on the empty neckline of her shiny green coloured gown. “Indeed, I do “ I admitted, patting me tux outer pocket! She gazed at me as I admitted my sin, a rather lusting look I knew, and melted for over oh so many times past. Nice to know that feelings were still strong between us after a five year partnership before being married, and now a full 10 years strongly lost in a wedded bliss. And what a lovely bride she had been… and still is for all that matters….! I think her thoughts were going on about the same lines as mine, and may have led to us being rather a bit naughty right there an then…. But! But, shaking our heads clear, we both peeked back at the empty gardens, then we looked each other directly in the eyes, and chuckling out loud together , proclaimed in unison, “Let’s get going!” We forthwith went to the auto, and I helped her in being seated inside our small red coloured touring convertible. Once she had slithered down, pulled in the loose ends of her long green gown, and nestled into the warm black leather of the seat, I closed her door. I than promptly hopped in on the right, and fired up the engine into life , and pulled off, leaving the place agreeably, as they say in the olde movies, in our dust.. About a mile down the road I looked up in the rear mirror, no one was following, but then, really why should they? “Luv, we may actually have gotten away with this one!” I said cheekily. I turned to my wife and she pulled herself from deep thoughts and smiled winningly, not breaking her gaze from the curving road ahead. Hush lad, don’t go an spoil this luck.” She tenderly chided. Her green gloved hands, which had been clasped closed upon her gown’s shiny lap , opened a little and I peaked at the wild glistening of the 3 tiered bibbed necklace of quite genuine diamonds that lay nestled in her gloved palms. Whistling, I asked…“I assume that these are from the gents tux pocket ?” “ Quite she said, and a rather easy pick it twas !”, “ Rather a rude ‘un wasn’t he!” She added, straightening her glasses in remembrance.. “ Yes, most certaintly, the self-centered wealthy young twit ! I said, then added “Absolutely agree on that subject !!” “It was a good plan!” I continued, “Played out just as you said it would, dearest !” “Happy out!” My wife agreed, “ when you pointed out her diamonds, I knew that the spoiled missey’s necklace was the best take there by far of the jewels stinglingly being worn by any of the other ladies! And Bob’s me uncle if those weren’t her maters anyways!“ “ Umm I said , possibly a bit too modern a setting for her mother, maybe a filthy rich admirer behind the curtains, so to speak..?” “Could be luv” she answered studying the brite necklace as it lay piled in her palm, “ but moer’in ah disgustingly rich one than filthy he would be at that !” Me pretty wife went on… “But, of course the fly in the ointment, was missey’s shadowing brother watching her like a hawk from that barstool! The poor thing couldn’t enjoy herself properly, let alone wander off anywhere alone where a person like m’self could be expected to acquire a bit of them jewels in a proper fashion!!” Yes I agreed, and she wasn’t drinking, and didn’t appear to be needin to use a powder room, I sighed, so it was all up to me!” She looked at me, rather meekly.. “So, what better way than to have her brother take them, and obligingly deliver them to us?” “ I know luv…” I replied … “ at first I was against the idea, especially since it placed me in the spot light!” . I gave her a brief glance…”You, after all my lovely one, are the actress in the family !” My wife laid a hand upon my shoulder, with a gentle squeeze… “ I was knowin you could do it luv, and the gambit was well worth its outcome if successful, which so far, it has!” She said, basically apologizing for placing me in such unfamiliar waters… “And it only cost did a mere 200 quid I added triumphantly, for we both knew what the value of those diamonds would mean to the year’s family income!” Letting her also know at the same time there were no hard feelings over anything.. For, as I was to admit to her later in the sanctity of our lovers tryst, it had been rather a fresh spot of thrilling fun!! My wife squeezed my shoulder quite in happy fashion.. “I think we are done for the weekend my luv, perhaps we should head on towards for home now ?“ “What about the black tie tomorrow night at the regents’castle then Luv?” I asked half curious, referring to the rest of our plans for the outing. “Could do with a few gems other than diamonds to work with.? “And I thought you still were a wanting the opportunity to play out the ‘Damsel in Distress’ routine we’ve been working on ?” I stole over a glance as I said this, half hoping I could change her mind and be game for it. She slipped her arm in mine and drawing her sweet self close to me murmuring, purposefully deepening her rich Irish brogue, purrngly said ..”I think we have done a rather good bit of business for this trip laddie!” “Not often we have a big score this early! And its more’in enough laddy of mine, that we can afford to skip over the other things for now? New routines can wait, Dontcha agree wit me now m’ lad?” She ended with a hopeful beckoning sorta look , a winning weapon that most wives are quite adept at using from their wily arsenal of emotional tugs…. As me wife looked up into my eyes before continuing , I automatically smiled, never being one to resist that type of lure…. “That’s it than, I can see you agree, Darling, On Home to Badger’s Drift it is now!” “And If you be wanint any more jewels stolen, you can continue to practice on me!” she had leaned up and over, as she whispered cheekily, her lustily breath tickling my ear as a long jeweled earring intentionally was allowed to hit me alongside a cheek.…!!! “ OK, Let’s not press our luck on , correct me fine lass!” I stated in agreement…and , feeling a familiar tingling start down between me legs, responded by letting my foot push the accelerator, causing the purring old engine to rev it up and add a bit of speed to our journey! I stole a glance upon the glistening gems piled up in her lap, as they rested majestically upon their sleek bed of green. The taunting little darlings ! “Some nice dimonded set rings and earrings coming out of that lot, and that’s pure silver they’re setting in if I’m guessin right, when all has been said and done, we should find a right nice little nest egg ,my sweet!” I appraisingly observed. “And a wee diamond bracelet for me efforts, luv?” Asked meekly the sole apple of my eye with a pleasingly euphoric grin… “ I can use it as part of the Damsel in Distress act you are so eager to get on with!” She promised eagerly to seal the deal. I happily nodded my acquiesce. I then heard me wife beside me exhale a long , deep breath while reaching up and pulling down the visor and glanced at herself into the mirror. I than heard her say..” Have a watch for passer byes willa luv?” From the corner of me eye I saw her gently lift up the diamonded necklace and carefully fasten it around her throat, letting it dangle down, whilst admiring the rather dazzling, quite eye catching results. In a far off, wistful voice she said, “I guess I do now feel it’s a bit of a waste to have bothered being this dressed up for an evening and not stopping anywhere else?” I felt a sudden rise as I anticipated where her thoughts may be leading upon at the moment “ “ Ya know mw love, we are going to be passing that muggy little bar on the wharf, the one we had a stop in on our last excursion, and…” She let her voice trail off, and I knew it was for me to continue. “Care to stop in again for a final drink an our way home ?” I asked hoping I was right on the subject. “ And you can minx the natives with your finery..? Sounds like a plan me dearest!” I added, with a wholehearted voice of agreement “Indeed sir, stop in for a bit of sup, a nip , then you can have a pull at your pipe and tell me how pretty I look!” She said all this whilst still watching the reflection of the diamonds in the newly acquired necklace screaming out their flickering brilliance in the mirror.... “A Jewel in the rough indeed you will be in there amongst the rather dicey patrons at the Poet and the Peasant Pub.” I said. Brilliant she said, leaning into me, her head gently restin on me chest, giving me an eyeful down the front of her rather perked features, tightly outlined the green satin gown as she grasped me arm! My eyes also took in the emblazoned diamonds dripping down from her throat , my eyes winced at the brilliant fiery sparkles of the magnificent necklace! From a distance they had stood out exquisitely from around the lass in blue’s throat, but up this close they were almost too bloody dazzling ! I knew full well along what lines my wife was half fancifully conniving about deep in her desires… And wearing that squinty necklace out was at the center of them !! I chuckled , knowing we both knew it would be a folly on, oh so many levels, to flaunt about any jewels my wife and I had managed ‘acquiring’ in such devious ways whilst out and about on our occasional jaunts we made into the publics realm for such related purposes..!” But I decided to make sure by saying… “But you know my sweet , best not wear those diamonds… “Righto party pooper!” she teased, “I really wasn’t planning on bragging them about….You recall why dontcha now.!” Breaking away she slipped back into her seat, with a deep sigh of rememberance, before contemplating somberly with a shiver.. “But then, ending an evening in me pretty dress by being lured out and waylaid in a back alleyway by those thievin ruffians once in me life was enough, a second time may spoil the currant mood a bit anyhow, not to mention the loss of these pretties you worked so hard for, husband of mine!!” Out of the corner of an eye I had watched her unhappily undo the fiery necklace and place it back into her smooth lap, and then, as she still spoke, opening the cars glove case. My wife reached in and popped open a small secret panel in the back. Pulling out a small black velvet pouch, she carefully poured the sparkling necklace inside, then placed the plump pouch back inside the hidden niche, and securely closed the secret panel. I heard her give a long sigh unhappily as she did so….. and knew her mind was heading into a darker corner of past experiences… “Tell you what me luv, how bouts I make a close faux copy in emerald rhinestone of that necklace and matching earrings, if you wish, and we can add it to your Damsel In Distress props, along with your new bracelet?” “Oh My Good Lord Luv, would you!” she practically shrieked grasping my arm in delight. “ Then once you have ready I will show you some new ideas to the damsel routine I thought off during tonight’s adventure !!” “Capital!” I said grinning , knowing I had made some rather nice pointers with me lass , and it was always a lark working the bugs out of our routines together! Finally Letting go of me arm, she sighed with deep heart felt enjoyment , and nestled blithely back in the leather seat, her gown rustling its song sweetly into my ears. She turned her head smiling mischievously at me, as, reaching down beside her, she brought up her emerald necklace that I had originally held hidden in me pocket. “These will do the trick just as well anyways. “ she said, looking into the mirror with a smirk as she put them back on in the position they had started out the day place there by me.. “ Shouldn’t have married a pickpocket luv, let it be a lesson to ya, she smirked as she adjusted and admired the effect glittering emeralds draped around her neck. Then my wife flipped back up the vanity mirror and turned happily to face me. “So tis agreed all around then! Stopping at the Poet and the Peasant pub for supper and a nipper, than its off home to the Drift we go !“ She exclaimed this merrily, and with that she happily pulled off from their perch, the owlish glasses she had been disguisedly wearing and carelessly flipped them into the back jump seat. Then,reaching up into her hair , undid her matching twin emerald clips (placing them with a smirk into my now empty tux jackets pocket),and pulled off her shoulder length black wig, allowing her longish hair, the natural colour of sunset cerise, to freely cascade down from its long held ,tight bindings of a bun… The wig soon joined in with the discarded glasses. Again exhaling a proper sigh of satisfaction, I heard her promise , while watching the road ahead, “Once home We can then have a proper dance in celebration!” “In the garden I asked hopefully?” “ Yes you turd, in the garden…then ! But I stay fully dressed in me gown, this time right lad!? It’ll still possibly be twilight and passing neighbors may well see me prancing about in nuthin but a slinky whisp of a slip if you had your way !” “Not daylight forever my sweet I said with conviction, and I feel a long dance… and snifter of brandy are in order.…!” “And a bit more practice lifting me necklace, after your rather amateurish attempt tonight You could use it!” she sweetly chided, her hand reaching up and squeezing my arm. “But no worries, with my training I will make a proper thief of you yet luv! Just think of the possibilities…. !” I could tell her mind was going somewhere with and I just waited for it….. She turned towards the passenger’s window, looking out at the passing countryside…. “Remember Luv, later that same frightful night, the blonde tart in the green and black with the randy boyfriend? I sweetly lifted her pretty bracelet, but I still remember how close I twas to that rather decadent pendent she was flaunting about in everyone’s mug that night. What I would have given to ave had the opportunity to take it away with us! But what if you could have ad a dance wit her, with my skills. That necklace would have been peeled off that sully miss’s shiny blouse with no bother atoll!” “I don’t know about that, my lover, after all being a plain shoppe jeweler is quite exciting in itself, wouldn’t you agree!” I wryly retorted, teasingly….. Than added an afterthought…. “But than again , why should you always be the one havin all the fun my lass!” “Always the spotter and never the Grooms man probably could make one a bit of a bore “ I stole a grinning glance at her, and she turned to face me while playfully sticking out her tongue at me …. “ Words well-spoken my kind, thievin sir !” she then brightly teased, subtly poking me in the ribs, while giving me the most wicked of instigative winks!! “We’ll have you slippin off me necklaces, bracelet , brooches and such in no time, won’t we now.!” She said britley into the mirror . She had retrieved an old camels hair brush from the autos compartment and was working on her longish red hair, bathed as it was caught the sunlight, making things ready. I steadfastly put my eyes fully back on the road. “ I assume you don’t mean just slipping ‘em off while dancing?” I said mysteriously, not bothering at that time to explain the rather interestingly enticing paths of thoughts her statement had thrust in me imagination.” A long ,knowingly enduring sigh, was all I received in form of an answer from my pretty lass , blissfully squirming about in the seat beside me, her long gown whispering its silken murmer! We sped off, soon putting many miles between us and the soon to be quite surprised, rather mangy cigarette slobbering, empty pocketed blighter ! The snarky brother to the now strikingly bare necked lass in the blue silk dress , whose extravagant necklace would soon appear on a flyer announcing yet another mysterious vanishing from a formal affair of a ladies jewels!!! …. Good riddance to ‘em, I said under me breath and turning off the main road, drove on down towards the harbor front. Fini…. For now

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