As part of my participation in My 500 words, I am posting what I write each day. For the past 3 days, I have been sharing details of a character’s backstory from my novel in the works, Sidewinder. The previous entry is here.
Mundy’s past was playing for him like a dream as he narrated it to the voices in the dark. The bliss that penetrated him like sunlight, along with the feeling of wellbeing by talking about himself was all he wanted to think about. But still, there was a place in his mind becoming more awake that wondered where he was and who were these people he was talking to.
He had been born on a core world. He had shared about growing up in the shelter, but learning to steal out on the streets, falling in with the most powerful crime lord on the planet, and the man’s brutal justice to anyone who crossed him. After a few years, Mundy moved to the inner circle.
By Mundy’s 18th birthday, he was picking marks out of crowds. He participated in shell games and card games, scams and robberies. He was still one of the best pickpockets in any of Dean Handler’s crews.
Then came the day Dean called Mundy into his office personally. He had a special job for him. There was a major religious personality visiting the core world. Dean Handler had been called out too many times by this preacher, so he wanted some items planted on this man, drugs that he preached against. Mundy had the deft ability to pick pockets, could he to a reverse job? Mundy was sure he could. He had put back wallets and other items before, into pockets and purses after taking cash or credits out.
Dean Handler walked up and put his hands on Mundy’s shoulders. “If you get caught, they’re going to suspect you’re working for me,” he said. “And the penalty for holding Zee can land you away for a lot of years.”
Mundy nodded. He knew.
“If you keep your mouth shut,” Dean went on. “Your time locked up will be okay. No-one will mess with you, even the turn-keys. But if you talk about me, well, Mundy. You won’t get killed while you’re locked up, but you may wish for it, you know?”
Mundy glanced into Dean’s face and the man put on a warm smile. “But you won’t talk if you’re caught,” he said. “I know you won’t. You’re a good kid.”
Days later, Mundy was in the huge crowd pressing for a chance to see The Reverend Todd. Mundy had studied up on the man and the religion he’d taught. The shelter he’d lived in as a kid had talked about Jesus and sin and that sort of stuff.
Reverend Todd was surrounded by bodyguards. But he was letting people come up and shake his hand, some people hugged him. Mundy made his way through the people, some so emotional they were crying. He picked up on the tone and put on a star struck smile, letting his breath be shallow so that tears came.
The crowd was making its way toward passport control, where they would all have to stop except for the reverend and his entourage. Passing through the gate is where people were searched. Mundy had to get to him before that.
Pushing around some older folks, Mundy slipped the small package up his sleeve where it fastened to a catch, in moments, he was face to face with the famous preacher who had both hands extended, people shaking both of them. Mundy let his face show awe, sadness, and hope. Here was someone who needed a reassuring hug. Reverend Todd caught his eye and his smile became more subtle. He put both arms around Mundy, and Mundy hugged him back. As soon as the expected, pats on the back came from the reverend, Mundy moved his arm past the man’s pocket and dropped the package.
“God bless you, son,” Reverend Todd said as he let go. Mundy nodded. The relieved look he had didn’t have to be faked. He started off away from the direction of the crowds. He had done it, now to get to a place to lay low for a day.
Moving against the motion of the crowd was slow going. Mundy could see the apartments across the far street where there was a basement he knew he could duck into. The hole in the people was almost there. The crowd had stopped moving.
And a hand fell on his shoulder. Mundy’s feet broke into a run, but he went nowhere. The hands turned him around to see the reverend looking at him, along with several bodyguards and most of the crowd, that was quieting down.
The reverend’s hand was in his pocket and the look on his face was like a man who had been sold spoiled food. He nodded to the man holding Mundy, and the man pushed up both of Mundy’s sleeves. On his right wrist, there was the empty catch.
“Bring him to my car,” Reverend Todd said. We can delay take off for a spell. I want to talk to that poor young man.”