|Paradise story universe|
Allen Fields, (BraveHoss, or just "Hoss" to the online world, but still depressingly human otherwise) had been having a great day, he was home for the week of Thanksgiving, straight from a midwest furcon. Only a holiday can cure post-con depression for him at least, that or a transformation, but there were no such cases outside of a certain day in August so far, so it aint' happening on demand for him.
Several days into the visit, Hoss needed some supplies and ended up going to the local Wallyworld with a list of other things from his Mom to pick up. There's always "One last thing.." at Thanksgiving it seems. Hoss hmmed pleasantly as he browsed the jewelry section looking for a replacement watchband, when he smelled musty fur. He looked around as inconspicuously as possible and spotted a.. Well it was some kind of monkey. Spider monkey maybe? Long and lean like a scarecrow, the bagginess of the pants and starter jacket made all the more extreme by the physique.
He would normally have said hello and slipped him a card for the websites, but something seemed wrong as the monkey nonchalantly leaned back against the counter, arms crossed before him, looking up at the cameras.
When he moved farther down the counter, several of the bracelets on the countertop display were now missing from their boxes. Hoss moved around like he was still looking at the displays, but keeping an eye on the monkey. *Ooooh that damn dirty ape!* he thought as several watches disappeared. The primate turned a bit and he could see the missing articles threaded on the tail like beads, then swung deftly up under the jacket to help bear the weight.
He groaned inwardly, thinking fast *Oh Sweet Epona! He's not even looking at the people! He knows the mundanes cant' see an invisible tail! -And anything on it either, thanks to the RDF. Looks like I'm the only one who can do anything at all too. Looks like I finally have a use for this human body after all. I guess Chim-Chim hasnt' met any of the other changed or been to the websites either, otherwise he would know there are a bare handfull of us normal looking folk who could suddenly see him this year. Too bad for HIM!* he chuckled inwardly.
He sighed as he examined his options. Telling security was out as they couldnt' see the loot, would even think he was crazy, and if it turned out the monkey was a minority, possibly get him in trouble for racisim and "false" accusations. No, got to catch him red handed and in the act of leaving with the loot. *Sometimes I hate being the responsible citizen. Okay you crazy aliens, Why didnt' you save every loser and oxygen thief for the last round of changes, huh?* Not expecting an answer to his thoughts, he went on with the plan.
Cautiously, Hoss shadowed the monkey, which was being made easier than he imagined by the overconfident thief. "Chim-Chim" nonchalauntly watched the camera domes above, but no one around him. He continued for several minutes, picking up small objects on his tailtip and sliding up under the jacket to push them further up the tail. At last, he unfolded his scrawny arms and picked up a 20 oz. cola at the checkout, paying for it as cover.
Hoss moved down to a closed register and went through, walking on into the game room by the entrance.
Here he waited and watched... Finally the monkey came around to the exit and stopped near the RFID* tag detectors and read the display signs for the new videos and games covering them up. *Uh oh... I've heard of this move...*
Sure enough, along came a lady with an overloaded cart. Hoss was already on the move in his blind spot when the monkey took a step through the tag detector just as the lady went through...
The automated alarm blared out, making everyone else freeze a moment as the automated voice told everyone to return to the store to be checked over. The greeter went right to the lady with the overloaded cart, already turning with a foot-long recept tape in hand. Hoss barely noticed though as he caught up to the monkey, walking casually to the outer door. Hoss grabbed the tail root poking up into the jacket with his right hand and yanked HARD!
*Perfect! To the camera angle, it looks like I just grabbed the jacket itself!*
The monkey shrieked in pain and the loot went scattering over the floor of the vestibule in a gleaming clatter. Hoss grabbed the jacket with his other hand, whispering "I... see ... you!" as the greeter and a guard came rushing over.
As the words sunk in through the shock and pain, the monkey went berserk, backhanding Hoss across the nose and sending his glasses flying! The monkey shrieked and squealed, jumping up to use the doorframe as a swingbar to get above the guard and greeter as they tried to sandwich the monkey. His vision flashing in spots, Hoss jumped forward over the falling duo as the monkey released. Grasping hands grabbed a handfull of pantsleg, sending the monkey to the cement facefirst!
The dazed monkey was still trying to kick Hoss in the face and wriggle out of the pants when the guard pounced on top. The primate ooofed as the wind was knocked out of him, then again when the greeter landed on top of the pile. Hoss blinked then laughed as he found he was holding the pants down around the ankle, exposing that "he" was really a "she". "Ohh, if this is what I think, you are going to be soooo poplular where you are going..."
The guard laughed, seeing something only the RDF could show "Yeah, with that dong, he'll be the belle of the ball!"
It took several minutes for Hoss to stop laughing hysterically, spurred on each time the dazed thief squeaked out "Stop laughing at meee!"
Later, when he was giving his statement while his bloody nose was being tended to, Hoss was asked "..So, why didnt' you contact security when you saw the thief stuffing things under his jacket?" Hoss took a deep breath, ready at last. At least he had seen a mugshot earlier, taken pre-change, on the monitor of the police cruser while they asked the inital questions. "In this litiginous day and age? All he had to do was drop it behind a display, make it a "he said-she said" thing, and make me out to be the ogre picking on him for looking shifty and grungy. This way I had him red-handed, and no guards or greeters would be fired for taking the intitiative on shoplifters... as has happened so much this past year at other Wallyworld stores in the news. Win-Win for the forces of good over bean-counters and evil!"
Several days later, the store manager called him at his parents. "I wanted to thank you personally. It turns out this perp was "Freddy the Finger", from out-of-state. We've been trying to stop this shoplift leak for far too long now, but didnt' know who the perp was exactly. He was bad before when he came up from Louisiana, but he really ramped up over a year ago since.. oh, August of last year. They just found thousands of dollars of merchandise in his apartment, and we're looking for a female accomplace too, considering all the stolen feminine hygene products in his bathroom. A tag-team approach could be how we missed him all year."
"Anyway, I heard your glasses were damaged. Corporate be dammned, you are getting a reward. Come down to the store and you'll get a couple new pair from our optometry lab, and I'll even give you a fully loaded gift/cash card for the store, all on my dime. Thank you so very much, Mr. Fields!"
Hoss sat down on his mom's couch, stunned. Sure, there would be several grueling months of statements, questions, and being grilled on a witness stand by a shady lawyer. But the reward was proof that sometimes, someone does the right thing and the good deed goes unpunished. The excitement and reward was a very good cure for post-con depression.
Almost as good as a transformation would be.
(and just so there's no confusion by some international readers) * RFID tag, small disposable chips that emit a radio pulse when hit with the right frequency of microwaves or radio. Used extensively in retail stores to stop shoplifters.