It was almost time. Nicole checked her watch once again and went through the steps in her head. Walk around the block, wait for a hand in your pocket, grab the hand and the handcuffs, then handcuff the pickpocket. Ever since Nicole was little, Nicole dreamed of being a police officer and she was not going to blow her first chance on the job. Her chief had given her an easy part of town and Nicole had insisted for something harder. Chief Walls, after a lot of persuasion, gave Nicole the second easiest job, catch the pickpocket. Nicole glanced at her over-checked wrist watch and decided it was time. The timing was so crucial to the process because the pickpocket only stole at a certain time each day. Nicole drove to a parking space by the Empire State Building, and started walking. Her target street was only a few blocks away and she walked briskly, hoping to cause just a little attention to herself. She meant business, and she let people know. Despite how big the crowd was, Nicole knew that in the pickpocket’s eyes would be on her, she wasn’t going to realize a pickpocket has stolen her wallet, she was “too busy”. Nicole continued this charade around the corner of Charter Lane, the target, and tried not to tense her muscles too much as she waited for a hand to slip into her coat pocket.
Steven’s stomach growled once again as he realized how late it was getting. He looked for an easy targets. There was an old woman, a young boy, a kind looking businessman, and, oh, he spotted an all-too-important woman walking briskly down toward his lane. Steven had to be patient, he had to wait until the last second to grab her wallet. Steven stood up and blended into the crowd. Carefully slowing down, he placed himself right beside her. Slowly, his eyes wandered, as he glanced at pockets to see the wallet’s outline. Steven saw a flash, and he realized where the wallet was. In her sweatshirt pocket, he clearly saw the brown leather bulging, just slightly. Ever so slowly, Steven raised his hand and let it hover over her opposite shoulder. One, two, three, he tapped it lightly. She gave a startled gasp, and looked the opposite way as Steven slipped his hand under her hand in the pocket with the wallet. Her hand grabbed his with reflexes he would never thought possible. She turned to face him and, just as quick, had her handcuffs out, and on him. “ My name is Officer Walter, and you are under arrest for thievery,” she said with a charming, triumphant smile on her face.
She had won. Nicole had completed the task at hand. Nicole pulled the boy, for he could not be much older than she, towards her car and shoved him in. The thief had an astonished look on his face, Nicole smirked. Most people underestimated her, belittled her, and tried to discourage her dreams. It was nice for once to show someone that she was more than she seemed. Nicole’s grin widened as she drove to the nearest police station.
“Wow,” said Chief Walls, “I can’t believe you actually did it. That case was actually top five most dangerous’ in the state.”
“ Whoa!” exclaimed Nicole, “I didn’t sign up for life-threatening situations! I asked for something a little harder, not something for somebody with 10 times more experience than me!”
“Whoa yourself!” Chief Walls retorted, “You asked for my temper, I gave it. You did really well for a first-timer, but that attitude needs to leave.”
“Fine.” Nicole felt jipped. Betrayed. Hurt. One of the promises officers make is keep other officers out of dangerous situations that they may not be prepared for. Chief walls had violated the officer law. Disappointed, Nicole returned to the investigation room to find the pickpocket and Chief Walls.
“Chief, this is my job, get out,”Nicole coldly stated.
“All right, all right, don’t get your pride in a knot.” Chief Walls swiftly exited.
Nicole looked the pickpocket in the eyes for the first time. He was ragged-looking. Dark circles lined his eyes and his thin frame shivered with fear. When the victim of hunger spoke he had a quaver in his voice, “I only try to pickpocket to live.” Shocked, Nicole’s gaze pierced his own. Her brown eyes trying to figure out the story behind his denial.
“You don’t have to look at me like that to get an answer.” He chuckled to himself.
Nicole realized what he meant and asked, “Alright, so, what got you on the street?”
His eyes immediately sharpened, and he looked at Nicole with a hatred, not for her, but for his past. “I don’t speak about what my past is, I only look towards the future.”
“Wise words for a street rat.” Nicole teased, trying to lighten the mood and keep her culprit open for questions, “but you realize that you did steal from me.”
“Wrong.” He stated, a little bit too amused with himself, “I attempted to steal from you.”
“All right, smart-alec.” Nicole retorted, slowly heating up, “But the proof is undeniable. The verdict will go in favor of me.”
“Will it?!” The pickpocket said starting to show annoyance, “I don’t have a choice! It’s either die or steal, so what would you rather have me do?”
“Look for a job.” Nicole knew if she showed weakness in her emotions this thief to take it as an advantage. So she fought to keep her voice even.
“Oh, yeah? And who would hire me?”
“ What’s your name?” Nicole saw some mild surprise at the change of subject.
“What’s it to you?”
“I’m the officer, I ask the questions.”
“Fine, my name is…”
“What’s the problem?”
“It’s nothing, my name is… Steven, Steven Hoaratus.”
Nicole’s eyes got huge. “What did you say?”
“Steven Hoaratus, I know its a stupid…” But then the imbecile stopped, saw the look on Nicole’s face, and shut his mouth. Nicole’s eyes got shiny and she shook with rage.
“How dare you?”
“What do you mean?” Steven asked.
“What do you know of my childhood?”
“Nothing, I swear my name is…”
“STOP! Don’t say it again!” Nicole exclaimed.
“What?! I didn’t mean to! Check your computer for me, my face will match up!”
Trembling, Nicole left the room. Fear suddenly iced her whole body, it felt like a slap in the face. It was soon replaced by a burning of anger. “Steven Hoaratus, that idiot, he will be proved wrong once I check on my computer.”
“What the heck, what was she talking about?” Steven murmured under his breath. She had said childhood, had she known him before? Impossible. The only person his age he had known was Nicole Walter. Had she said her name? Yes, but her last name hadn’t been Walter, no, it was Wallace, definitely Wallace.
Officer Wallace came back in, she looked scared.
Nicole couldn’t believe what she was seeing. It couldn’t be real. Nicole backed away from the computer and slowly dragged her feet to Steven’s door. Her childhood friend, the one that moved away, the one she had liked a lot. Steven Hoaratus, the one who came to her house crying a lot. She found herself, forehead pressing gently against the investigation room door. So close, yet so far, her friend was changed. Maybe the same on the inside, but on the outside, a different person. Nicole opened the door without a sound and saw immediately the similarities she had missed in her joy of her success. The blonde hair, and hazel eyes. She had never forgotten those tearful eyes the day they moved. Nicole walked in, shut the door, and whispered, “My name is Nicole Walter, remember me?”
“My name is Nicole Walter, remember me?”
“No, you couldn’t be, I don’t believe it, no way!” Steven’s voice was barely perceptible.
“Do you want proof?” Nicole breathed, even softer than the last time.
“If you are really Nicole,” Steven challenged, finding his voice, “then you will know what happened the day I left.”
“You came to my house crying, and my mom told you she had already asked, and they said no.” Steven’s eyes rounded, “and your parents grabbed you and practically dragged you to the car…”
“Stop, I believe you. Please go out.”
“No, I need to stay here, finish my investigation.
“Okay Nicole, ask away.”
“Do you realize that by pick pocketing you have earned yourself a fine and three years in prison?”
“Yes.” Steven answered. Nicole thought it looked like he was deflating where he sat.
“Thank you for your time, Mr. Hoaratus.”
Nicole closed the door and surprised herself by going back to the computer room.
“What happened to you, Steven?” she quietly asked herself. The picture was of a handsome young man. The hair was the same color, the eyes were too, but they were different, somehow. It was only later that she realized the sadness that had stripped the eyes of their initially alive look.
By: Tessa Geigle
Photo Credits: https://www.partycity.com