Will I Be Rich? Say The Bells of Shoredich
by Jeff Baker
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The draws for the April 2022 Flash Fiction Draw Challenge were A sports story, set in a piano factory involving a pair of handcuffs. I write too many stories using song titles as titles, and I apologize to all those who know London if I didn’t get it right!——jeff
Padraig Denny huffed and puffed as he ran through the barricaded London streets. He was in the back of the pack of the marathon, but that was where he wanted to be. Less people watching.
Being a runner in a marathon was a perfect alibi. And nobody was going to look for stolen gold certificates hidden in a runner’s shorts. All he had to do was follow the marked route and get into the car after blending in with all the people who didn’t cross the finish line first.
Good thing he’d run track in school. At least he’d stayed fit.
He kept jogging. The rhythm of his shoes hitting the pavement made him think of a song or a poem.
“Will-I-be-rich? Say-the-bells-of-Shore-dich…” His Grandmother used to recite that to him.
He jogged on.
“Will-I-be-rich? Will-I be-rich? Yes-I’ll-be-rich. Yes-I’ll-be-rich…”
Padraig smiled as he jogged along.
Up ahead, one of the arrows pointed down a side street. Padraig was probably in last place. He wasn’t trying to win. He turned down the street. Up ahead, another arrow pointed to the big, open garage door of an old brick building. He jogged in and saw upright pianos in various stages of assembly but no people around. The room was like a big garage with a clear path leading to another open doorway on the other side.
Several policemen jumped up from behind the pianos, guns drawn yelling for him to stop and put his hands up.
As they bent Padraig over one of the pianos and snapped the handcuffs on his wrists behind him they explained that one of his confederates had talked too much and they had nabbed the rest. It was just a matter of getting him off the main road and into the factory they had evacuated, where there would be nowhere to run.
They’d gotten the idea for turning the sign “from an old cartoon, one of those about that cheeky road runner…”
As the cops led him out to the police car, one of them said “Look at it this way, Mate. You may not be the first one in the marathon to cross the finish line but you’re the first to finish the race in handcuffs.”