This story was written in answer to the Ragtag Daily Prompt – Deceiving
Deceiving means: Deliberately cause (someone) to believe something that is not true, especially for personal gain. Or (of a thing) give (someone) a mistaken impression.
Here’s what I came up with …
Old Edgar looked like a content artist at his easel beneath the spire of the Cathedral. With his cloth cap on his head of white hair, a spattered apron covering his shirt and trousers, and a paintbrush in his hand; he looked the part. He’d positioned himself on the busy footpath earlier in the day. Now, he was adding a little detail here and there.
“That’s pretty good,” said a lady coming to a stop to admire his work.
“Thank ya, darlin’ Been painting a lot a years, I have.” Edgar dropped his eyes to her bag – open at the top – perfect.
“It shows. You get so much detail in your work.”
“You see, it’s a case a doing it in layers.” Edgar’s hand removed her purse from the bag. “I put the background in first an’ then I lay in the buildin’ like this …” he indicated his painting with his paintbrush while removing the ladies bank card. He swiped it over his pocket, put it back in the purse and returned it to her bag. “… Then I go back in an’ add the fine detail here and there with a liner brush to finish.”
“Remarkable. Thank you for explaining.”
“My pleasure, darlin’. You have a lovely day.” Edgar let her go and continued adding shades of grey to his stonework.
“Excuse me, mate, I’m guessing you know the area well?” said a man in a suit not ten minutes later.
“Sort a, yeah. Where ya tryin’ ta get to?” Edgar’s scanned his eyes over the gentleman and refocused on his painting.
“Train station. I know it around here somewhere.” The gentleman gazed about him and scratched his head.
“Ah, ya not far, sir. Be easier if I could show ya on a map.”
“Good idea. I got one on my phone.” The gentleman retrieved a new I-phone from his inside pocket.
Edgar watched him put the code in and smiled a toothy grinned. “That’s a smart-looking bit a new-fangled kit ya got there.”
“For eight hundred quid it better be good.” The man found the map and kicked the GPS in. Okay, says were here.”
Edgar pulled his glasses case from his pocket and spilt it on the floor. He scrambled to get them and tumbled off his seat. “Blast my old age!”
“Here, let me help you.” The gentleman offered a hand.
Edgar took the hand at the wrist, a quick twist as he stood up and he had the gentleman’s watch away. “So, sorry about that. Thank ya, for yer help.”
“Of course. Are you, okay?” the gentleman looked quite concerned as he gave Edgar his glasses.
“I’m fine. Now, then.” Edgar focused on the phone. “This is the train station, here. If ya go along the road that way and through the alleyway marked there. You come out on Prince a Wales road – it’s just down on your left then.”
“That’s great, thank you.” The gentleman slipped his phone in his outside pocket and reached to shake Edgar’s hand.
“My pleasure, now don’t forget …” Edgar shook the man’s hand and then pointed away down the road. His other hand going in the pocket and relieving him of his phone. “… Go along here and through the alley, it’s just beyond the building with the purple buddleia along there. Alright?”
“Thanks again, mate. Enjoy your painting.”
Edgar smiled. The second the gentleman turned to leave, he had the stolen phone out. He unlocked it and pressed a few keys. Happy he scanned a QR code on his easel and stood up. “Sir,”
“Something wrong?” said the gentleman coming back.
“I couldn’t do it. While we were talkin’, I took yer phone. Oh, and your watch. You helped me an’ so I can’t deceive you of them. Here ya go. I’m sorry.” Edgar returned the items.
“Huh, an honest thief, who’d have thought it.” The Gentleman gave a wistful smile and walked away shaking his head.
By dusk, Edgar had worked his larceny a good many times. He packed up his things and wandered away whistling to himself. He walked to the bank and put a card in the ATM. When it showed him the account balance, he grinned. The account had been empty this morning and now, after a day of scanning phones and triggering contactless payments on debit cards, it contained over three hundred pounds. He withdrew the lot and closed the account. He’d always make a new one each day at different banks and then simply create dummy cards to operate it.
Leaving the bank, Edgar walked to a large building not to far away and knocked on the door.
“Hallo, Edgar. The kids have been waiting on you.” said a kindly-looking lady answering the door.
“Nice ta see ya, Julie.” Edgar smiled at the ‘Bure Valley Orphanage’ sign as he entered. He left his painting things in the hall and entered a large room. It was set like a classroom. A group of thirty children were sat in a circle singing a pop song with a guardian Edgar knew to be called Tom.
Look, kids. Edgar came to see you,” announced Julie.
The kids cheered like he was Santa Claus. Some even ran to hug him.
“Hi, kids.” Edgar beamed, he loved this part of his day. He took his day’s money from his pocket and gave every child a fair share. “You all, put that away for when you really need it, okay?”
“Thank you, Mr Edgar.” They chimed.
“Are we having a story?” asked a little boy.
Edgar nodded and sat down cross-legged on the floor. He patted the floor beside him for the boy to join him. “Once upon a time …”
Have a great day!