Some people have a knack for finding strange things; strange things always seem to find Zane Legends. Some days he found himself in strange places, other days strange things happen to him. This day, the strange thing appeared in the form of a young boy in the middle of an average sized town. It really wasn’t that the boy was strange, what was strange was the chase that followed.
Zane happened to be walking carelessly through the streets of the town. It was his lunch break, and he was on his way to his favorite restaurant. Already he was imagining the smell of the place, and his mouth watered at the thought of tasting the food. There was nothing better than lunch at Robbie’s Steakhouse.
The sweet sound of Bryan Adams singing Everything I Do, I Do it For You blared through the headphones of his iPod. He stepped to the beat of the song, and he was rather enjoying himself. Suddenly a small boy, no older than twelve, ran up to him and stole his iPod right out of his hands, then took off before he could say, “Smoked sausages!” He said it anyway.
He regretted turning from his path – he really wanted that delicious lunch – but he also really wanted his iPod back. So, he put his back to his destination and took off in pursuit of the boy. He ran to the end of the block, where the boy had make a right turn, but the only person he saw was an old homeless man sitting in front of a coffee shop. The man wore a simple jacket that he probably found in a dumpster somewhere, and there were large holes worn in the knees of his corduroy pants.
“Did you see a young boy run by here just a few moments ago?” Zane asked the old man.
“A boy, you say? ‘Bout eleven, stands about this high?” he asked, holding his hand a few feet above the sidewalk.
“Yes, that’s him!” Zane responded.
“He ran that way as though he’d done something terrible and his father were after him,” he said, indicating the direction with a finger.
“Thank you, sir,” Zane said. He tossed the man a coin and continued in pursuit of the young thief.
When he reached the next corner, he still did not see any sign of the boy. Oddly, there was another homeless man sitting on the side of the road, this one in front of a small record store.
“Excuse me, sir, did you see a small boy run past here just moments ago?”
The man looked up into Zane’s face and asked, “And who might you be, young man? Odd scar you’ve got there on your forehead, looks almost like a sign of peace, it does.”
“Yes, well, it’s an odd story actually. A few years ago, I was –“
“A boy, did you say?” the man interrupted.
“Yes, did you see him?”
“Indeed I did. Seems to me he ran off in that direction, toward the elementary school.”
“Thank you, kind sir,” Zane replied. “I’ll –“
“Where did you say you got that scar again?” the man asked.
“Perhaps I’ll tell you the story another day,” Zane replied, then continued toward the school.
He sprinted the last few blocks, and when the school came in sight, he almost lost hope. Apparently, it was recess, and there were hundreds of children in the school’s playground enjoying their moments of precious freedom between torturing classes. He didn’t think he’d be able to find one child among so many.
He was about to give up the chase when he noticed yet another homeless man leaning against the building across the street, smoking a cigarette. He decided he might as well go ask him.
“Did you see a young boy run into that school just a few moments ago?”
The man pulled the cigarette from his mouth and breathed smoke into Zane’s face. “I sure did,” he said. “I seen lotsa little boys run into that school.”
Zane coughed and attempted to wave the smoke away. “Yes, but this one came from that way, and could not have passed by this spot more than a minute ago,” he said.
The man drew again from his cigarette, exhaled, and said, “Yes, I do seem to recall a boy running past here. He ran right through the gate and into the building. Sure was in a hurry.”
Zane thanked him and as he walked away, added, “You know, smoking’s bad for your health. You might consider quitting.”
Zane determined to walk into the school and report the little thief to the principal. He had a fairly good description of the boy, he had hopes that perhaps he might get his iPod back. He passed through the gate and jogged up to the stairs leading to the entrance. He stopped at the bottom and thought Stairs. I hate stairs. He laid himself down over one of the hand rails and, hand over hand, pulled himself up it to the stop of the stairs. He received a few odd looks from the nearby students, and some called to their friends and began laughing at him. They won’t laugh when one day they trip and break their head open, he thought to himself.
He soon reached the top and entered the school. He approached the front desk and explained his problem to the secretary there.
“A few minutes ago a boy stole my iPod, and I followed him to this school. I was hoping maybe you could help me get it back.”
“I doubt it, but maybe,” the secretary replied. “What did the boy look like?”
Zane held out his hand and said, “He was about this tall, probably twelve or so. He had dark brown hair and wore a Spiderman backpack.”
The secretary thought for a moment and said, “That sounds like Jimmy. I’ll call him to the office.” She pulled up an intercom and spoke into it. “Jimmy Greenman, come to the office please. Jimmy Greenman, to the office.”
Zane only had to wait a few moments before he saw the boy walking toward him. When the boy realized who was there waiting for him, his eyes grew wide and it looked like he was about to run again.
“Jimmy!” shouted the secretary. “Come over here!”
Jimmy reluctantly walked to the desk.
“Jimmy, did you steal this man’s iPod?”
He frowned but answered honestly. “Yes.”
“Jimmy, give it back to him now.”
The boy extracted the iPod from his backpack and gave it back to Zane, if a bit forcefully. “Here, take it. You have crappy songs on it anyway.” He then ran off again before Zane could say anything.
The secretary shook her head and said, “Sorry about that. I’ll have to report him to his parents.”
“Ah, don’t worry about it. People make stupid mistakes all the time.”
Zane stepped outside, put Bryan Adams back on, slid down the handrail, and made his way to Robbies Steakhouse, where he planned to spend rather more than he normally would have. After all, he saved money by not having to buy himself a new iPod.