To Catch a Thief


koshka_icon.gif marcie_icon.gif

Scene Title To Catch a Thief
Synopsis Marcie gets her package stolen by a little thief named Koshka, while on route to a delivery.
Date February 17, 2011


Lit by a swarming sea of headlights, street lamps, neon signs and interior lighting, the bustling Canal Street Market is packed shoulder to shoulder and moves to an urban pulse. Amidst the tight crowds of residents and visitors, it would be hard to see that New York had collapsed in on itself in this cross-section. Spared as much as it could be after the explosion, Chinatown had endured as a pillar of New York City, and its refusal to succumb to the collapse of the other burroughs around it only contributed to the surge of population and interest here after the rebuilding began.

It is within all of this play of lights on the dark streets where that strong facade begins to show its structural cracks. A district so small can hardly sustain the some two-hundred and fifty-thousand residents, piled upon with transients seeking shelter, the unaccounted for displaced housed in local homeless shelters, and the thousands of visitors that pass through each and every day. There simply isn't enough Chinatown to go around, and in the face of more pressing reconstruction, the condition of this portion of the city has begun to continue a slow decline in the years following the bomb. Potholes line the market's street, pieces of broken sidewalk litter the curbsides, and the facades of so many buildings have begun to take on the look of post-bomb New York that so many other regions had assumed. No place in new York was truly spared, some just didn't know they were wounded yet.

It's winter in New York City, but you probably wouldn't believe it. The weather has warmed considerably, the snow clinging to the deepest shadows and making a mess of the streets elsewhere with slush and water. People hustle hither and yon, always rushing on the errands crammed in during the lunch hour or tourists trying to get as much shopping in as possible before curfew sets in.

The press of people is thick, even in these darker days. Enough that many are lost amongst the sea of bodies. Like a fish going through a forest of kelp. Koshka fits that bill perfectly, her small, too skinny form slipping amongst the pedestrians with practiced ease. Almost too easy to just move around unnoticed though nothing hides her average teenage appearance.

The girl doesn't pause at the shops with wares laid out on display. She's not even looking to those, instead moving in and amongst those who have chosen to stop when the passing crowd brings her closer. Eyes always moving, always watching this person then that, however she keeps casual and to herself.

Marcie knows from experience that Chinatown on an early weekday afternoon is not the best place to ride her bike. Today she's on foot. She's got a delivery to make, and she's almost to her destination. She would much prefer it if the crowds thinned, the press of people making her a bit nervous. At least they're not all Evolved.

She feels her purse covertly, to make sure the small package is still tucked in there. It is. It doesn't look like much, but she strongly suspects that the wrapped package contains drugs. Her only job is to see it reaches its destination. She walks confidently, remaining relatively inconspicuous in the crowd with the ease of long practice.

The funny thing about being nervous is it shows. Koshka knows this, having been that person, wary of crowds and afraid of new people. It's a give away that could go one of two ways, good or bad, and often it ends up good. For her. So when her eyes pass over Marcie's approaching form, she takes note of the woman, the purse, and then the woman again.

Purses sometimes pose a problem, shoulder straps making a lift more difficult. Easier than wallets but not by much. The teenager hasn't been the best at pickpocketing either, necessity rather than desire having driven her to it before, and now it's turned the other way around. She might need to consider better friends one of these days. However this day, Koshka keeps her eyes locked on Marcie, remaining casual as she walks toward the woman.

It isn't for a collision course, however. Koshka is looking to pass and keep right on walking. Of course once she's at that point, nearly shoulder to shoulder with Marcie, the girl slips a hand out to hook on the purse strap and lightly slip it along to her own shoulder.

If the girl hadn't been Evolved, she might have gotten away with it. With the jostle of people, Marcie didn't feel the purse get lifted. But when Koshka got within 100 feet, Marcie noticed. When she got within 30 feet, Marcie focused on her. And when you're focused on someone already, you tend to notice when they do things like steal your purse full of important and illegal contraband.

Marcie turns and begins walking after the girl, trying to catch up to her without making a scene.

Koshka, for her part, keeps walking. It isn't until she's moved a good hundred feet from the scene of the incident that she looks back. Through a part in the throng, the girl notices Marcie. More appropriately, she notices that Marcie is following her. "Shit," she mutters, eyes rolling. Tightening her grip on the purse, she heads for the thicker part of the crowd, ducking beneath arms and sidling into spaces most would care to avoid. She's not giving up the catch that easily, even if she was caught.

Marcie continues to follow, speeding up and doing her best to stay within 30 feet of the girl. She doesn't follow Koshka's exact path, but instead focuses on the feel of the girl's ability to know her location.

Another look behind shows that Koshka hasn't managed to shake the woman. "That's some kinda weird," she says to herself, earning a look or two in question. Not that the teenager notices. She shoulders past a man in a long coat and splashes through a puddle, hitting someone in pink stretch pants and a leopard print waistcoat in slushy muddy water. Hitting a clearing, she jogs to the next patch of milling crowd, trying to get lost once again in the sea of bodies.

Marcie stays on her, not letting Koshka out of range, but also not able to fully catch the girl due to the crowds. She looks around, but there doesn't seem to be a good way of looping around to catch the pickpocket from another direction. So she just keeps following.

Too many people block a good view behind her, but Koshka feels safe that she's gotten away. Splashing across the street, she heads for an alley, appearing again at the mouth. The crowd thins there, but the teenager doesn't look back. She jogs down the alley, tucking the purse into her jacket. She caught it, no sense in risking losing it to someone else. And it frees her hands.

Marcie has been following the girl mostly by feel, but she picks up a visual again as the girl enters the alley. Deciding that this is going to be her best chance, she begins to run. A few moments later, she grabs the pickpocket by the upper arm. They're far enough down the shadowed alleyway that they can't be easily seen from the street.

Koshka has been in this situation countless times. She spent five months on the streets, fending for herself and dodging the less desirables. She'd been caught, held, threatened. And every time it brought about the same reaction. Flinging a hand at Marcie, not intent to hit her, but meaning only to distract, the teenager pulls roughly at her captured arm. Normally at this point her trick would be a show of ability. However it doesn't seem to answer her call, thwarted by some means or another.

"Shit." is the resulting explicative. Koshka pulls at her arm again and takes a running lunge away from Marcie. "Let go, I didn't do nothing."

Marcie doesn't let go, her one focus on keeping hold of the pickpocket's arm. She doesn't dignify the 'I didn't do it' statement with a response. "My purse, give it back." She holds out the hand that isn't clutching Koshka's arm, expectantly.

"I don't have your purse," Koshka spits back. Slipping, feet more or less going out from under her, the girl slings a hand through wet snow up at the woman's face. If nothing else, hopefully it'll get her arm freed up. "Someone else took it."

Marcie bends down as the girl falls, and is rewarded with a facefull of disgusting snow. But she doesn't let go. She wipes her eyes with her free hand. "No, you have it. Give it back." She's losing her patience.

"I don't have it." Koshka flips over, unbothered by the snow and slush. She pushes with her feet, trying to catch Marcie on the arm or otherwise to pry herself free. Obviously the snow didn't work. "Let go of me! I don't have anything!"

Marcie lets out a frustrated sigh as the girl leaves muddy footprints on her pants. "Look, I'm not going to call the cops. Just give me back my purse, with everything in it, and you can go."

Still flailing, Koshka pulls and tugs to get her arm free. "I do not have anything," she says again, insistently. "Let go of me! —You let go of me and I'll go get it!"

This makes Marcie stop and think. She knows that this is the same girl that took her purse. She does not actually know that this girl has the purse on her person, currently. But what pickpocket drops their earnings in the middle of the New York City streets? She's fairly sure the girl didn't have time to hide anything. One thing she does know, however, is that she's not letting go of the girl.

"Let's make sure you don't have it on you, first," Marcie says. She sits on top of Koshka, a feat made easier by the fact that the girl is already laying on the ground. From this position, she attempts to search the girl's person. It shouldn't be too hard to find something as large and bulky as a purse.

Koshka slaps at the hands that come near her. "Don't touch me, you back off before I hit you." With her feet, she pushes against the ground, to slide away from the woman and her grabby hands. "I said I'd get it. Let go!"

Marcie is getting seriously annoyed by this point. She feels stupid sitting on top of a teenage girl, in the slush, in a New York City alley, shouting, 'You did it!', 'No, I didn't!', 'Yes, you did!', 'No!', 'Yes!'. Her clothes are a mess now. But getting back the contents of that package is worth more than her laundry bill and her pride put together.

"If you don't have it on you, you won't mind if I do a quick search." She makes another attempt to look inside the girl's jacket.

Again Koshka slaps at those hands, more serious on inflicting some form of damage this time. If she can, she'll sneak a few hits in about Marcie's head and shoulders, painful but not terribly harmful and not likely to bruise. The girl's only looking to distract so she can escape. "You don't touch me! Get off!" Gosh, some people just don't give up.

Now, Marcie is getting worried that a cop might come by, attracted by all the yelling, which could end far worse for her than for the young pickpocket. Ignoring the hits and slaps, mostly, Marcie manages to get a hand under the girl's jacket. She feels a bag and yanks it out into the open. "I guess this would be the purse you didn't steal from me? I must have had it all along." Her tone is full of sharp sarcasm.

"Someone else put that there," Koshka says. She pushes at Marcie, trying to prompt the woman to get off so she can get up and out of the slush. The air might be warm, but the wet is chilly. "You have no idea the people that live in Chinatown. One'll plant and the other'll take. It's dangerous crazy out there."

"I really don't care," Marcie says truthfully. She opens the purse and looks through it quickly, making sure the package, her wallet (including money), her cell phone, and all her other sundries are accounted for. she zips the bag closed again and gets off of the girl. "I can't say it was much of a pleasure doing business with you." She makes sure that the purse is tightly in her grasp. She doesn't want the girl to snatch it and run again.

"You should," Koshka says, standing. She sighs at the soaked state of her jeans and jacket, shrugging off the chill. "Rough neighborhood. Heard of a guy who got hustled then shot 'cause he argued about it." Thrusting her chin forward, the teenager looks up at Marcie. "Told you didn't take anything."

"Sure, whatever." Now that Marcie had her package back, she could afford to let the little thief say what she liked. "I've got somewhere to be. Better luck with your next mark."

"Yeah, whatever." Koshka kicks some of the slushy muck at Marcie before she turns away to retreat. Next time, running is in order. And next time, dig through the purse first. "So could've gone better. Need more practice."

Marcie looks down at herself. A total mess. But the pickpocket was right, this isn't a great neighborhood. And the people in it don't like when their stuff is stolen. Package in hand once more, Marcie exits the alleyway and continues to her delivery address. The guy at the other end won't care in what state the messenger's clothes are in, just so long as she has his stuff.

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