The delivery cart came to a stop outside the delicatessen, ready for it’s next drop off. It was piled high with boxes and barrels, the latest imports from Europe to satisfy the Christmas needs of New Babbage. The owner of the store stood beaming as the carter and his assistant started to unload, soon his shop would be full of merchandise that would bring in a tidy profit.
Suddenly, the horse, an old nag well past it’s years, let out a startled whinny, reared up on it’s hind legs and shot off at a gallop down the street, crates spilling out from the rear of the cart. The cries of the shop owner and the carters, along with the rumble of the wheels on cobbles brought people from houses and shops. Urchins ran to help, gathering up spilled goods and bringing them back to the distraught merchant before running back to gather more. Some even clambered down to the very edge of the canal, fishing floating packages out before returning them to their owner.
The horse was old and tired, as it reached the end of the street it forgot what it was that had frightened it, and spying a young lad holding out a wonderful looking apple, it slowed to a trop, then a walk, and then stopped, mussel sniffing at the proffered treat. It munched down happily as the carters caught up, puffing and blowing at the hard chase.
Most of the goods being recovered, thankful that more had not been lost in the canal, a grateful shopman passed round humbugs to the helpful youngsters, then waved them goodbye, shutting his door tight – you could never be too careful with the urchins, temptation could make them light-fingered…..
“Still don’t see why we didn’t just run off will all we could pick up.” Snotty Charlie said, sniffing loudly.
“Look, i explained to yer before, we rescues the stuff, an they’s please with us, an if a couple of things go missin, well, that’s life…” the lad sitting on a barrel of chocolate covered German biscuits replied, “if we all runs in an grabs stuff, we gets chased all over, some of us gets caught, an Mr Tenk gets really huffy!”
“Hmmph….” Charlie responded, pulling back on his slingshot, checking the spring was still good after the shot he had taken at the horses hindquarters, then continued, “What were it Tich grabbed?”
Billy No-Toes prodded the crate at his feet with his boot.
“S’ somethin called sauerkraut, ain’t never heard of that..” he said.
“errr….. pickled cabbage, kinda salty, that’s what comes of believin a bloke when he says he can read…. still, some of the bunnies might like it, an it must be posh, they were takin it to that shop…”
They considered this for a few moments, then as if choreographed, they lifted their burdens and trotted off into the gloom…
The urchins need to provide a good Christmas for themselves, this is the first of those carefully planned and executed …. liberations! If any other urchins or groups of urchins want to add their skills to this enterprise, please feel free to post them on the blog, or play them out in-world. Remember, skill, cleverness and misdirection are the key, we don’t want to get caught!
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