Here’s the latest for the Monday Flash Fiction page for August 15, 2016.
The Cutesy Bear Caper
By Jeff Baker
“Faster!” Donna said. “He’s getting away!”
“I’m pushing as fast as I can!” Shawn said. “If his foot wasn’t stuck in that pumpkin he’d be gone by now!”
How had they gotten into this mess?
Shawn and Donna Reidel had been hired by the Eldrad’s chain of stores to supplant their usual security. Things had been disappearing and there was a funny feel to the thefts. If it was random shoplifters they had been successful dodging the security cameras. Most private detectives wouldn’t touch something like this, but the Reidels were eclectic. And broke.
Dressing up as toy bears the store was promoting was definitely not the Reidel’s idea.
“Little girls love them,” the store manager had said. “Right up until they discover boy bands.”
Donna didn’t know whether to laugh or gag as they got into their costumes that matched the Cutesy Bear toys; pink for her, panda black-and-white for him. Ironically, the costumes made them inconspicuous unless some preschooler saw them and started pointing and shrilling that they wanted one.
“We’ve probably cost parents a collective fortune,” Donna muttered to Shawn.
“At least Nick and Nora Charles could drink,” Shawn muttered back.
Donna kept a running count of how many toy bears had been sold; ten pink, eight panda on the second day. But around two in the afternoon, she grabbed Shawn’s arm and pointed.
“Look! There should be only 32 bears in the display. I just counted 36!”
“What?” Shawn said.
“And that man was standing there; he must’ve put the bears in the display!”
“Grab him!” Shawn said pointing.
Donna had lunged for the man who had shoved a shopping cart in her way. Like the ex-gymnast she was she had vaulted over it and landed in it with a crash just as the man had stepped into a big plastic jack o’lantern (it was August, after all.)
“I’m stuck!” Donna yelled.
“I got him!” Shawn said pushing the cart at top speed after the man who was hobbling with a leg stuck in the pumpkin.
“Never mind me, just get…whoa!” The cart Donna was in hit a speed bump and raced down the drive towards the lower level slamming into the pumpkin-encumbered man. He, Donna and the cart spilled into the ditch, a tumble of cart, broken plastic pumpkin and cutesy bears that fell from the man’s jacket.
“Hey!” Donna said. “I’m out of the cart!”
The whole thing had been outlandish. The earlier thefts were done to see if they could conceal them from the security cameras. Then, carefully altered bears were placed in the display, to be picked up by special customers. Bears containing black market diamonds.
Donna and Shawn weren’t paid in diamonds, just their regular fee. They were offered their own pair of Cutesy Bears, but they politely declined.