"School of Crime" - Part 2

by Derek Martin

Happy, in his everyday guise of street maintenance man, Jackson Spratt, stood sweeping the sidewalk in front of Sam and Nellie's general store, located in the heart of the little section of town known as the "Splinter."
"I heard they tried to break into a store just down the street from us." There was amazement in Nellie's voice as she conveyed the story to her husband, Sam.
"Well," began the husband, "you know…it's these times of ours. Just be glad that Happy was close by to break it up."
Spratt kept sweeping but smiled inwardly as he was within earshot of the grateful comments.
"What do you think, Jackson?" The voice came from the right of Spratt.
"Oh I guess I'm just grateful like you that Happy's around."
Just then a large, bald, husky man brushed by Spratt and walked between both Sam and Nellie, stopping only to ask a simple question.
"Do you sell crowbars?" The man's face held a blank stare.
"Certainly," replied Sam. "Let me get one for you." The pair disappeared into the store.
Spratt instantly recognized the burly man as one of the "would be" thieves from last night's excursion. He continued sweeping aimlessly around the front of the store chatting with Nellie as he cleaned. Within minutes, the bald man reappeared from the store front holding a bag. As he walked down the sidewalk, Jackson made his apologies to the kindly couple.
"I've got other places to clean. I'll see the pair of you later." He waved over his shoulder as he kept the thug in sight.
Several blocks away Spratt saw the bald man turn into a doorway. Jackson slipped down the alley next to the building and peered through one of the windows.
Inside he saw the thug walk into a room where many unsavory looking men were practicing, boxing moves, picking each other's pockets, breaking doors and picking locks.
"Is this a school for crime?" He spoke aloud to no one as his words gently echoed down the alley.
Just then he saw another figure enter the room. He was a man, stooped as he walked, covered in dark, satin robes, a graduation cap perched high on his pointed head. The tassle atop the cap bounced from side to side as he made his way into the center of the room. He wore thick spectacles that rested under a pair of thick eyebrows that seemed to arch out like the wings of a great bird taking flight. Underneath the glasses, a hawkish beak like nose overlooked the slash of a frown set into the bottom half of the man's face. Wiry like strands of whiskers sprang out along his cheeks like a set of mutton chop style sideburns that had been placed there only to die of malnutrition.
The arms of the satin robe rose into the air as thin arms protruded from beneath, as knobby like hands grasped a thin, metal rod. He waved his arms back and forth before shouting… "Now class, pay attention!"
Next- The Headmaster of Hate, Dean Mean!

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