Backpack Thief (Flash Fiction)
Long day at work. Seconds after stepping off the first bus the light changes and the Saturday night Hollywood hordes cross paths at this intersection where rarely an “excuse me” or a “sorry” is heard. On the other side at the underground entrance, a small group blazes. So sweet, definitely potent medicine.
Down the first flight of stairs a tiny jump at the end and “ouch! Fucking knee.” Probably from eating shit in the skateboarding years or a spill off of his mountain bike, his left knee is now delicate. One sudden twist while carrying weight and it’s fucked for days. “Whatever” he adjusts his steps to avoid the pain. A few steps later he taps his bus pass and strolls to the next flight of steps. Twenty minutes until the next train so he rides the escalator down pulls out his phone and hits skip until he finds a proper song. In his ears now, a recent discovery, a tune he shared with his girlfriend.
After leaning on a pillar for ten minutes the train shows up. Doors open and he finds a window seat. He takes a look around and once his surroundings are registered in his mind he rests an elbow on the window sill and his hand then supports his head and his backpack now sits on his lap. “I almost fucked it all up” he thinks with his eyes closed and an ambient track flowing into his ears. Two days prior he provoked a fight that nearly ended the best thing that’s happened to him in a long time. As he dwells on the thought there is a sudden tug on his bag. The two fingers hooked around a small strap not enough to keep his pack against his person.
Eyes wide open now, mind on full alert and now standing the tug-of-war is on. The backpack now a link between both guys pulling away from each other. The thief is younger and strong enough to pull Peter away from his seat. Peter lets him lead for the door. One of the thief’s hands slips off of the pack so now he’s facing the door tugging with one arm as the train comes to a stop. People are silent just watching. A couple of kids recording on their phones. More than half of the passengers leave the train car. “Doors are now closing” over the intercom, Peter waits and then takes a few quick steps forward releasing tension on the war. The thief loses his balance falling onto the platform but never lets go of Peter’s bag. The doors close and clamp onto his arm. The train starts to roll and finally the backpack again belongs to it’s owner. The thief screams “OPEN THE DOOR! OPEN THE FUCKING DOOR!” Peter now standing on the culprit’s forearm looks down at him through the window and gives him the finger.
A few people shout “OPEN THE DOOR HE’S GOING TO GET HURT!” An older man lunges for the emergency door release but Peter pulls out his box cutter and fends him off. The train car is almost at the tunnel, the thief’s yelling turns into a screech, a loud thump and it fades away. Peter kicks the arm away from the door and sits back down. “He’ll never steal again.”