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Can you see my friend taking his afternoon swim in the water,taken a while back and used as a "Low Country Boil" invitation for a wedding shower for my youngest daughter-this was the perfect image depicting the "Low Country" as its called here..yes that is an alligator in the water!

All images copyright © Rebecca D. Higgins. All Rights Reserved.

Please do NOT copy, print, download, display, alter, blog, stream or otherwise use this photo without the written consent of the copyright holder.

 

Each fall the central Kentucky town of Wilmore experiences the dramatic golden display put on by two giant gingko trees that flank the entrance of the Asbury Theological Seminary on Lexington Avenue. Because the leaves tend to reach their peak in November, they also run the risk of frost. In 2006, I missed the opportunity to photograph their golden beauty because a heavy frost hit that brought the leaves down, seemingly overnight.

 

In 2007, I was determined to capture their beauty. Just about the time that I thought they had reached their peak, I awoke one morning to see frost on the ground. As I approached the seminary by car on my way to work, I could see that the leaves were falling steadily from the tree. Risking being late to work, I jumped out of the car to snap some shots--afraid that if I didn't, all of the leaves would be on the ground by the end of the day.

 

There's something about this autumn gold that draws enthusiasts, but for various reasons. Some, like myself, are there with cameras in hand, while others enjoy the opportunity to play in the leaves; still others, enjoy observing their beauty with quiet appreciation.

 

As I approached the trees on this particular morning, I discovered a seminary student had already arrived ahead of me to stand in quiet contemplation of the leaf shower around him. I snapped several photos and hurried off to work. I was thankful that the frost had not been heavy enough to bring down all of the leaves, and by the time Saturday rolled around there were still enough leaves on the tree and on the ground to attract even more attention. I returned for some more photos. Another photographer was there at the same time and demonstrated his willingness to put himself in whatever position needed to get just the right shot.

 

The parents of a young child were sifting through the leaves, and I learned that in the process of throwing leaves in play, a loose wedding ring had fallen off. While the parents searched, their little boy continued to enjoy the leaves, oblivious of his parents' concern. (Good news! I ran into them a few weeks later and learned that they actually had found the wedding ring!)

 

At those moments we all shared something in common as we took time to appreciate the autumn beauty--each in our own way.

The revenge upon her would be sweet, even though it was purely theoretical.

She was the very epitome of every stuck up girl who ever passed judgment on those she refused to view as an equal. And I? I possessed the subtle skill to knock her smirking ego down a few pegs.

  

**********************************************************************

  

In late spring of the year 1952, a, bank rented safety deposit lockbox, dusty from many years gone by, was opened. The box had laid unclaimed, the banks records having been destroyed during the Nazi blitzes of World War Two. When its existence became known, an attempt was made to contact the owner, whose family surname was well known in the county. The name turned out to be an alias, no such person ever existed.

 

Please read the account below to learn more about the person who was believed to have rented the strongbox, as well as what he had placed inside……….

 

**********

  

Case Study 84 :

 

Warning, these are the raw, bare unusual facts as originally recorded. Some names, times, places and some facts have been altered for obvious reasons.

Exerted from the private letters of Mr. Harley Q. circa early 1900’s.

 

Name: Harly Q. circa 19 …

 

Subject: Seemingly a rather dexterous scoundrel

 

Place: A large coastal metropolis

 

Time: A period of time in late autumn

  

**************

 

Harly’s story as related:

  

The following affair occurred during my younger days when my youth and its’ raw passions were still a strong pull on my reactions! Now, how do I start?

  

The Blonde dancing in front of me was was dressed up like a movie star on a red carpet. Only about nineteen, her slinky gown created the impression of having been poured along her curvy, voluptuous figure, like shimmering liquid satin, fluidly swishing as she swirled about the massive chamber! It all made her appear far older and mature than she obviously thought she was. For some, her looks and personality may have been seen as charming and fun. “But for me personally, the only thing charming about her was the way her abundant sparkling jewellery played with the lights from the large chandeliers which held my upmost command!

  

But wait, I may be placing the carriage before the steed…….

 

Allow me to restart:

  

I had taken a long train into town with the intention of spending a few days relaxing from my previous month of hectic “professional” affairs. Rewarding myself, I located my lodging in a fancy upscale hotel situated across the street from a cavernous Ballroom, checking in for a fortnight. Since my social calendar was unusually light, with only the one high society event, a wedding that I was planning to attend the following Sabbath, at a “chapel” located in one of the cities sprawling suburbs. I spent the first day perusing the cultural calendar of the local papers, and ended up circling one or two events of interest that would be taking place later that month. I than took care of my remaining personal business, locating a reputable bank and renting out one of their lockboxes, before allowing myself some time off from my endeavors.

  

I than spent the first portion of my week taking in moving picture shows, visiting stores and hanging out at the local museums and antique shoppes. It felt great not worrying about work, although I will did admit that my mind scoped out a few prospects as I was out and about, walking amongst the great masses..

  

It was mid-week during my stay, while making my way back to the hotel suite, that I decided on a whim to pop into the Ballroom to see what it was all about. I walked into the massive lobby full of activity and wandered about, looking into the massive main ballroom, meeting rooms and various party rooms. As I was leaving I discovered a wall containing posters for all the upcoming events. One poster caught my eye. It advertised the occurrence of a Halloween Ball to take place that very weekend, Tickets still available. The Ball seemed to be the very type of party I was partial to, combining all of my favorite types of affairs, a large gathering frequented by the rich, and everyone attending would be in costume.

  

Purchasing a pair of tickets (less questions asked) I went out the very next morning scouting various shops in search of my own costume. I finally settled on a highwayman’s attire. It seemed appropriate, and the ribbon style “ masque” over my eyes set off the vacation beard that had been growing quite nicely since my last outing. On my way out to pay for the costume I spied a half off bin. On top of the pile was a phantom of the opera mask. On impulse I added it to my bundle and went to the checkout.

  

Although I really didn’t have the feeling that this concern would lead to anything, I mean, who wears good jewellery with a costume ? But a little bored by the inactivity, I was none the less growing excited about the venture. I still decided to play it cautious by setting up my usual safe guards, just in case.

  

A few blocks away from the Ballroom and my hotel suite I found a small chain style motel. Going to the desk I purchased rent for a room for the night, paying in advance. Going into the small room I laid down my purchases and headed back out to the street via a back stairwell, bypassing the registrars chambers. I headed back to my hotel suite to prepare for the evening.

  

After showering, I changed into a suit, shirt and tie. I then headed out onto the street a couple of hours before the ball was set to begin. Regaining my small quarters in the chain motel I changed into my new persona for the evening’s festivities and left via the same back door I had used earlier. I walked back to the Ballroom, getting my share of looks until I reached my destination, where I blended right in with the other arriving costumed guests.

  

I followed the stream to the ballroom proper. The main doors leading inside were large, made of a fancy scrolled oak, held open, and guarded by a pair of burly security types.

Apparently which, I soon gathered, was appearing to be the only security present for the evening’s festivities. Capital, I thought, smirking to myself as I joined my fellow guests.

  

I walk onto a landing, immediately in front of a long bannister guarding a set of wide stairs ascended downwards. I went off to one side, and paused at the railing, starting to survey with eager anticipation, the crowded room below.

  

All was quite glittering, as large chandeliers set off a spectrum of colors with any crystal or glass it touched. It especially created shimmers as it played off the colorful jewelry the lavishly costumed ladies present were wearing. Several dozen couples were dancing in front of a 17 piece orchestra, a slow dance, and many were dancing almost too close. Many more people were mingling around tables of appetizers. A large, chattering crowd was also gathered at the long oak bar that took up one whole side of the huge room. It was to the bar that I headed, to observe the merry proceedings.

  

But the Ball, as it turned out, was a bust, so to speak. Although several attempts were made to ask a number of charming (to me) ladies to add me to their dance cards, they all were, unfortunately, full. I should have suspected it would turn out this way, but I still harbored an all too familiar nagging feeling in the back of my head that something was still going to happen, call it intuition if you need to label it. So I nursed my drink, reminiscing about how I had reached this point in my then still young life…..

  

Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of my favorite poets, once said” Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Long before the the time I discovered this quote I found that my life’s path had already been heading that way.

  

Without boring anyone with far too many details of my rather complicated youth, I discovered while quite young that I had a certain knack for adeptness at being able to nimbly pick pockets. When I was eighteen ( having graduated high school at seventeen) and out on my own in the world, I found this skill quite useful. But it was at a wedding reception in my early twenties where I became of age, so to speak.

  

She was older than me, resplendent in a sleek black satin gown with bright white frills, long white satin gloves upon which graced a pair of diamond bracelets. She was very tipsy and would not take no for an answer when asking for a dance partner. She cornered me and before I could catch my wits, we were in a close embrace on the dance floor. I was totally mesmerized by the feel of her warm figure emitting through the sensuous satin gown. My eyes feasted upon the dazzling show put on by her flashy twin bracelets. When the exquisitely long dance ended and she moved on: I was left with a lot of pleasantly mixed feelings, I was also left with my first trophy, the Lady’s appealing necklace of pearl that I had ever so delicately sipped off her throat, using the sleekness of her satin gown to its fullest advantage.

  

I found myself enthralled with my new “hobby”, and over the course of the next couple of years sought out fancy dress affairs to better learn how to master the art of attracting and dancing with any lady I chose. Along the way I managed to accumulate quite a few trophies for my efforts. I stayed under everyone’s radar by picking out only those females who had been enthusiastically imbibing and by allowing myself to acquire only one trophy per gathering, two if the function was large enough.

  

During this period I made two discoveries: One was that most women would rather assume their jewel had been merely lost long before ever considering that they had been robbed of it. The second was that most of my collection of pretty trophies carried an equally pretty price, and could quite acceptably be turned into ready cash.

  

So, by the tender age of twenty two, my life started to lead where there had ever been but few tracks. And thus we finally come to this particular branch of my rather unique, lengthily crooked trail….

  

So, there I was, on a bar stool, alone and growing more bored by the minute, wishing something interesting would happen. I can remember thinking, as I looked over my fellow partiers about a saying that I had always found to be amusingly true. “If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.” I don’t know who first said it, but brother, the person was right on the money. As I had witnessed for myself time and time again. So I just settled in and watched the amusing antics of the wealthy among the crowd, especially those of …“the girl!’

The girl was a stunning young blonde who was probably just fresh out of high school, with the maturity level of a grade schooler!

  

I kept catching my eye on her all evening, and once or twice, was sure she caught mine looking. But I was not watching her for the reasons she would think were mine. To her I was just some male face in the crowd, exhibiting his lust. But, the reason my eyes kept traveling upon her was for an entirely different one. I just found nothing to be more annoying than a sulky, immature young whelp who believes she is the apple of everyone’s eye, making an absolute nuisance of herself. She was running around, making silly remarks about people, sometimes to their face. Hanging out with her group of friends whom seemed to be of the same mold as my blonde, one girlfriend was even dressed appropriately enough, as a willowy witch.

  

The Blonde was dressed up like a movie star on a red carpet. Only about nineteen, her slinky gown created the impression of having been poured along her curvy voluptuous figure, like shimmering liquid satin, fluidly swishing as she bounced about the massive chamber, slipping in and out amongst the guests! It all made her appear far older and mature than she obviously thought she was. For some, her looks and personality may have been seen as charming and fun. “But for me personally, the only thing charming about her was the way her abundant sparkling jewellery played with the lights from the large chandeliers which held my command! But I had decided, as far as I could tell, that she was wearing nothing but cheap rhinestones, which like her, appeared totally fake. But, as they say, appearances can sometimes be deceiving!

   

This girl was the epitome of every condescending stuck up high society girl that probably everyone has had the misfortune to be the victim of. The girl, who mainly because of her looks, was popular with everyone like her, and had no use for those who, forever what reason they deemed, was ostracized by those of her type. In high school I knew girls like this one, and was a witness, sometime victim, to many a scene of arrogance displayed by girls like her. This one was young, too young to be acting the way she was. Her mannerisms were just a beacon, reaching out out to be taught a lesson.

  

Wallowing in my boredom, a spark began to kindle into flame deep within my brain. Determined not to let the evening be a total loss, I decided act upon it. My plan being to theoretically get revenge on all those smirking girls who tormented me during high school, by knocking this cocky little scamp down a few pegs, using the best of my abilities..

  

Now, I’m not one normally to act as judge, jury, and executioner in most situations, in my selected line of work it would be hypocritical. But obviously old wounds’ had been opened, this long haired girl scampering about reminded me of ones whom had ridiculed me, another lifetime, one that I had left behind A long time ago. The opportunity for bittersweet revenge had presented itself for the taking, and the pull to obtain a little solace by using my unique talents was far too great to resist. Talk about mixing pleasure with business I though wickedly to myself, smiling with the inviting thought.

  

Believe me, this girl would be no innocent victim, and nothing I was about to attempt would leave her with any type of lasting impression, or harm. But if I could cause her at least some considerable discomfort to ruin the rest of her evening out, it would be reward in and of itself! I again eyed her sparkling jewels with all the seriousness I would have given any I was really interested in acquiring. Although she didn’t fit my favorite pre-requisite, she certainly was not drunk on alcohol, she was merely just intoxicated in her own questionable self-esteem, which can work just as well.

  

I waited until her friends had all apparently deserted her for the evening and leaving her, quite vulnerably, alone. I walked up behind her and tapped her shoulder. She whirled facing me, her eyes going from happy expectations to a glare! “What do you want!? she snipped disdainfully”. Calmly I held her gaze, “I was hoping you would help me win a bet” I asked in what I hoped was my most wily voice. She was curious, but wary of me, “as you should be my pretty miss”, I remember thinking to myself. Her eyes sized me up and down, and I seized the moment to take in her jewels, not at all disappointed in them, but my curiosity was aroused about her necklace, I definitely needed to get a closer look to appraise them! “Why should I help you,” she practically spitted out he words like daggers.

  

“It’s this way miss, a couple of boys over at the bar bet me 50 quid that I could not get a dance with the prettiest girl here.” “Me?” she asked primping, no I confessed, I picked you, they had wanted me to dance with someone far less pretty, in my opinion.

I don’t think so; she said with a slight hint of hesitation, my card is full. Just for fifteen minutes I implored. That’s all I need (which was the truth), and Ill split my winnings with you on top of it. She finally bought it, hook line, sinker and pound signs in her adorable violet coloured eyes. Fifteen minutes she specified, before, be-grudgingly, allowing me to lead her to the dance floor.

  

Now, as I took her stiff body in my arms, I was able to satisfy my curiosity about the girl’s necklace, and it caused a dilemma to rear its thought provoking head. While she was busy looking around to make sure none of her friends saw her dancing with me, I allowed myself a couple of precious minutes to think. Her long rhinestone earrings were clip held, and an easy pick. I wanted to try for them both,( I knew how I would do it), and losing a pair of earrings would send a message that they had not just fallen away. Also, I would be suspected by her, which suited me just fine. However, my dilemma was caused by the vixen’s pretty necklace. While the rest of her plentiful jewels were cheap rhinestones as I had suspected the row of diamonds that rippled blazingly around her throat were in fact, the real McCoy. So, which should I go for? The necklace would be profitable and easy but she may just suspect its clasp had broken. The earrings would be just for a sporty trophy, not worth anything but for the knowledge that she would know she had been a victim. Ah, life’s precious little quandaries!

  

So, I continued with the dance, my partner still rigid, so very true to her character. Then, with five minutes left, I made up my mind on what she would not be leaving the ball still wearing. She was a charmer, this disdainful one. Her stiff figure was warm to the touch, underneath the scintillating slippery gown. The show her sparkling jewels produced was most pleasing to the eye. All in all quite a pretty portrait, a shame it was that I was not allowed to appreciate it. Which was fine by me! I was able to concentrate freely on the task at hand. I looked around, the coast was still clear. Then eyeing for one last time her mesmerizingly swaying long earrings and the flickering diamonds that graced her pretty little throat, I executed my move..

  

By the time the final five minutes were up I had the selected jewelry in my pocket without even the slightest notice from my unwilling dance partner. Then, fifteen minutes to the second (good thing I had been keeping track of the time) she broke it off. “Thank you”, I said, to which she mumbled, “my money, sir!” I told her I had to collect it, and would meet her by the ladies powder room. I left her waiting, smiling inwardly to myself at the empty space from which the missing jewelry was glaringly gone from her.

  

She had no doubt that I would be back with her money, was I not merely like one of her household servants, who routinely, without question or error, existed to do her bidding. It would be a major jolt to her system when she realized I was not coming obediently back to her. I had no doubt she would spend some time searching me out for her money once she realized I was not coming back forthwith, with the intention of lecturing me on how I should act around my betters. So I knew that her immediate attention would be elsewhere upon realizing I was tardy, and that it would take quite a bit of time before she recieved a second shock of an altogether different sort.

  

I left with my prize, walking past the two guards with such a carefree air that even they would never have suspected that I could possibly have been up to any mischief. I made good time getting back to the dingy motel room. Changed out of my costume and back into the shirt and tie I had worn. The highwayman costume, which had served me well, I rolled in a bundle under my arm, I again left by the back stairwell and retraced my earlier steps, whistling, back to the suite in the hotel. Along the way the costume was stuffed unceremoniously into a handy trash bin. My little operation had been a complete success. The evening was after all, not going to be a total loss.

  

Back in my suite I stowed the newly acquired jewels the girl had worn into one of my many secret hiding spots. There they would be safe until I could convey it to my banks lockbox on Monday. As I finished I, spied the phantom of the opera mask lying discarded on top of a table. A shame it would not be used….

 

A thought washed over me that would not be denied! Risky, but it would make my evening complete. I quickly shaved off the thin beard, and restyled my hair. I changed from my suit into my tux and tails. Scooping up the phantom mask I headed back to the costume ball. Placing the mask on before entering, I presented my second ticket( not very often did the opportunity arise to use both of the pair of tickets I customarily purchased!) I walked past the two security types without a second glance from them, they absolutely did not recognize me, which meant I had passed that test. My objective now was to try and catch the second half of the show; namely the shimmering liquid satin gowned brats squawking reaction when she first discovered her jewels were gone.

  

I regained a bar seat just in time.

  

She did not disappoint!

  

************************************************************************

 

Epilogue

 

When, in the presence of both bank and county officials, the strong box was opened, it was found to contain a fairly large collection of the Kings currency, equaling roughly £500 , and a selection unmatched jewelry, rings, single earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, worth a almost £3.000. Also inside was small a bundle of papers. The papers, old and yellowed, appeared to contain the partial handwritten journals of a certain Mr. Harly Q___ , esq. The papers were examined, but gave no clues to who Harley was, or to his current whereabouts. But the journals presented clues as to Harly’s nature, and as a consequence the money and jewels were considered stolen goods and handed over to the authorities. No one knows what became of them, as for the papers, they were handed over to a relative of one of the government officials, and also, for a period of time, lost.

 

The journal was rediscovered amongst the personal files of the late Professor Sedwig Dermitt phd, llc.a dex,

Recovered, restored, and now kept in the human behavioral archives of the criminology dept, Chatwick U.

  

Courtesy of Chatwick University Archives

 

************************************************************************

 

All rights and copyrights observed by Chatwick University, Its contributors, associates and Agents

 

The purpose of these chronological photos and accompanying stories, articles is to educate, teach, instruct, and generally increase the awareness level of the general public as to the nature and intent of the underlying criminal elements that have historically plagued humankind.

 

No Part of this can reprinted, duplicated, or copied be without the express written permission and approval of Chatwick University.

These photos and stories are works of fiction. Any resemblance to people, living or deceased, is purely coincidental.

As with any work of fiction or fantasy the purpose is for entertainment and/or educational purposes only, and should never be attempted in real life.

We accept no responsibility for any events occurring outside this website.

 

************************************************************************

  

The revenge upon her would be sweet, even though it was purely theoretical.

She was the very epitome of every stuck up girl who ever passed judgment on those she refused to view as an equal. And I? I possessed the subtle skill to knock her smirking ego down a few pegs.

  

**********************************************************************

  

In late spring of the year 1952, a, bank rented safety deposit lockbox, dusty from many years gone by, was opened. The box had laid unclaimed, the banks records having been destroyed during the Nazi blitzes of World War Two. When its existence became known, an attempt was made to contact the owner, whose family surname was well known in the county. The name turned out to be an alias, no such person ever existed.

 

Please read the account below to learn more about the person who was believed to have rented the strongbox, as well as what he had placed inside……….

 

**********

  

Case Study 84 :

 

Warning, these are the raw, bare unusual facts as originally recorded. Some names, times, places and some facts have been altered for obvious reasons.

Exerted from the private letters of Mr. Harley Q. circa early 1900’s.

 

Name: Harly Q. circa 19 …

 

Subject: Seemingly a rather dexterous scoundrel

 

Place: A large coastal metropolis

 

Time: A period of time in late autumn

  

**************

 

Harly’s story as related:

  

The following affair occurred during my younger days when my youth and its’ raw passions were still a strong pull on my reactions! Now, how do I start?

  

The Blonde dancing in front of me was was dressed up like a movie star on a red carpet. Only about nineteen, her slinky gown created the impression of having been poured along her curvy, voluptuous figure, like shimmering liquid satin, fluidly swishing as she swirled about the massive chamber! It all made her appear far older and mature than she obviously thought she was. For some, her looks and personality may have been seen as charming and fun. “But for me personally, the only thing charming about her was the way her abundant sparkling jewellery played with the lights from the large chandeliers which held my upmost command!

  

But wait, I may be placing the carriage before the steed…….

 

Allow me to restart:

  

I had taken a long train into town with the intention of spending a few days relaxing from my previous month of hectic “professional” affairs. Rewarding myself, I located my lodging in a fancy upscale hotel situated across the street from a cavernous Ballroom, checking in for a fortnight. Since my social calendar was unusually light, with only the one high society event, a wedding that I was planning to attend the following Sabbath, at a “chapel” located in one of the cities sprawling suburbs. I spent the first day perusing the cultural calendar of the local papers, and ended up circling one or two events of interest that would be taking place later that month. I than took care of my remaining personal business, locating a reputable bank and renting out one of their lockboxes, before allowing myself some time off from my endeavors.

  

I than spent the first portion of my week taking in moving picture shows, visiting stores and hanging out at the local museums and antique shoppes. It felt great not worrying about work, although I will did admit that my mind scoped out a few prospects as I was out and about, walking amongst the great masses..

  

It was mid-week during my stay, while making my way back to the hotel suite, that I decided on a whim to pop into the Ballroom to see what it was all about. I walked into the massive lobby full of activity and wandered about, looking into the massive main ballroom, meeting rooms and various party rooms. As I was leaving I discovered a wall containing posters for all the upcoming events. One poster caught my eye. It advertised the occurrence of a Halloween Ball to take place that very weekend, Tickets still available. The Ball seemed to be the very type of party I was partial to, combining all of my favorite types of affairs, a large gathering frequented by the rich, and everyone attending would be in costume.

  

Purchasing a pair of tickets (less questions asked) I went out the very next morning scouting various shops in search of my own costume. I finally settled on a highwayman’s attire. It seemed appropriate, and the ribbon style “ masque” over my eyes set off the vacation beard that had been growing quite nicely since my last outing. On my way out to pay for the costume I spied a half off bin. On top of the pile was a phantom of the opera mask. On impulse I added it to my bundle and went to the checkout.

  

Although I really didn’t have the feeling that this concern would lead to anything, I mean, who wears good jewellery with a costume ? But a little bored by the inactivity, I was none the less growing excited about the venture. I still decided to play it cautious by setting up my usual safe guards, just in case.

  

A few blocks away from the Ballroom and my hotel suite I found a small chain style motel. Going to the desk I purchased rent for a room for the night, paying in advance. Going into the small room I laid down my purchases and headed back out to the street via a back stairwell, bypassing the registrars chambers. I headed back to my hotel suite to prepare for the evening.

  

After showering, I changed into a suit, shirt and tie. I then headed out onto the street a couple of hours before the ball was set to begin. Regaining my small quarters in the chain motel I changed into my new persona for the evening’s festivities and left via the same back door I had used earlier. I walked back to the Ballroom, getting my share of looks until I reached my destination, where I blended right in with the other arriving costumed guests.

  

I followed the stream to the ballroom proper. The main doors leading inside were large, made of a fancy scrolled oak, held open, and guarded by a pair of burly security types.

Apparently which, I soon gathered, was appearing to be the only security present for the evening’s festivities. Capital, I thought, smirking to myself as I joined my fellow guests.

  

I walk onto a landing, immediately in front of a long bannister guarding a set of wide stairs ascended downwards. I went off to one side, and paused at the railing, starting to survey with eager anticipation, the crowded room below.

  

All was quite glittering, as large chandeliers set off a spectrum of colors with any crystal or glass it touched. It especially created shimmers as it played off the colorful jewelry the lavishly costumed ladies present were wearing. Several dozen couples were dancing in front of a 17 piece orchestra, a slow dance, and many were dancing almost too close. Many more people were mingling around tables of appetizers. A large, chattering crowd was also gathered at the long oak bar that took up one whole side of the huge room. It was to the bar that I headed, to observe the merry proceedings.

  

But the Ball, as it turned out, was a bust, so to speak. Although several attempts were made to ask a number of charming (to me) ladies to add me to their dance cards, they all were, unfortunately, full. I should have suspected it would turn out this way, but I still harbored an all too familiar nagging feeling in the back of my head that something was still going to happen, call it intuition if you need to label it. So I nursed my drink, reminiscing about how I had reached this point in my then still young life…..

  

Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of my favorite poets, once said” Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Long before the the time I discovered this quote I found that my life’s path had already been heading that way.

  

Without boring anyone with far too many details of my rather complicated youth, I discovered while quite young that I had a certain knack for adeptness at being able to nimbly pick pockets. When I was eighteen ( having graduated high school at seventeen) and out on my own in the world, I found this skill quite useful. But it was at a wedding reception in my early twenties where I became of age, so to speak.

  

She was older than me, resplendent in a sleek black satin gown with bright white frills, long white satin gloves upon which graced a pair of diamond bracelets. She was very tipsy and would not take no for an answer when asking for a dance partner. She cornered me and before I could catch my wits, we were in a close embrace on the dance floor. I was totally mesmerized by the feel of her warm figure emitting through the sensuous satin gown. My eyes feasted upon the dazzling show put on by her flashy twin bracelets. When the exquisitely long dance ended and she moved on: I was left with a lot of pleasantly mixed feelings, I was also left with my first trophy, the Lady’s appealing necklace of pearl that I had ever so delicately sipped off her throat, using the sleekness of her satin gown to its fullest advantage.

  

I found myself enthralled with my new “hobby”, and over the course of the next couple of years sought out fancy dress affairs to better learn how to master the art of attracting and dancing with any lady I chose. Along the way I managed to accumulate quite a few trophies for my efforts. I stayed under everyone’s radar by picking out only those females who had been enthusiastically imbibing and by allowing myself to acquire only one trophy per gathering, two if the function was large enough.

  

During this period I made two discoveries: One was that most women would rather assume their jewel had been merely lost long before ever considering that they had been robbed of it. The second was that most of my collection of pretty trophies carried an equally pretty price, and could quite acceptably be turned into ready cash.

  

So, by the tender age of twenty two, my life started to lead where there had ever been but few tracks. And thus we finally come to this particular branch of my rather unique, lengthily crooked trail….

  

So, there I was, on a bar stool, alone and growing more bored by the minute, wishing something interesting would happen. I can remember thinking, as I looked over my fellow partiers about a saying that I had always found to be amusingly true. “If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.” I don’t know who first said it, but brother, the person was right on the money. As I had witnessed for myself time and time again. So I just settled in and watched the amusing antics of the wealthy among the crowd, especially those of …“the girl!’

The girl was a stunning young blonde who was probably just fresh out of high school, with the maturity level of a grade schooler!

  

I kept catching my eye on her all evening, and once or twice, was sure she caught mine looking. But I was not watching her for the reasons she would think were mine. To her I was just some male face in the crowd, exhibiting his lust. But, the reason my eyes kept traveling upon her was for an entirely different one. I just found nothing to be more annoying than a sulky, immature young whelp who believes she is the apple of everyone’s eye, making an absolute nuisance of herself. She was running around, making silly remarks about people, sometimes to their face. Hanging out with her group of friends whom seemed to be of the same mold as my blonde, one girlfriend was even dressed appropriately enough, as a willowy witch.

  

The Blonde was dressed up like a movie star on a red carpet. Only about nineteen, her slinky gown created the impression of having been poured along her curvy voluptuous figure, like shimmering liquid satin, fluidly swishing as she bounced about the massive chamber, slipping in and out amongst the guests! It all made her appear far older and mature than she obviously thought she was. For some, her looks and personality may have been seen as charming and fun. “But for me personally, the only thing charming about her was the way her abundant sparkling jewellery played with the lights from the large chandeliers which held my command! But I had decided, as far as I could tell, that she was wearing nothing but cheap rhinestones, which like her, appeared totally fake. But, as they say, appearances can sometimes be deceiving!

   

This girl was the epitome of every condescending stuck up high society girl that probably everyone has had the misfortune to be the victim of. The girl, who mainly because of her looks, was popular with everyone like her, and had no use for those who, forever what reason they deemed, was ostracized by those of her type. In high school I knew girls like this one, and was a witness, sometime victim, to many a scene of arrogance displayed by girls like her. This one was young, too young to be acting the way she was. Her mannerisms were just a beacon, reaching out out to be taught a lesson.

  

Wallowing in my boredom, a spark began to kindle into flame deep within my brain. Determined not to let the evening be a total loss, I decided act upon it. My plan being to theoretically get revenge on all those smirking girls who tormented me during high school, by knocking this cocky little scamp down a few pegs, using the best of my abilities..

  

Now, I’m not one normally to act as judge, jury, and executioner in most situations, in my selected line of work it would be hypocritical. But obviously old wounds’ had been opened, this long haired girl scampering about reminded me of ones whom had ridiculed me, another lifetime, one that I had left behind A long time ago. The opportunity for bittersweet revenge had presented itself for the taking, and the pull to obtain a little solace by using my unique talents was far too great to resist. Talk about mixing pleasure with business I though wickedly to myself, smiling with the inviting thought.

  

Believe me, this girl would be no innocent victim, and nothing I was about to attempt would leave her with any type of lasting impression, or harm. But if I could cause her at least some considerable discomfort to ruin the rest of her evening out, it would be reward in and of itself! I again eyed her sparkling jewels with all the seriousness I would have given any I was really interested in acquiring. Although she didn’t fit my favorite pre-requisite, she certainly was not drunk on alcohol, she was merely just intoxicated in her own questionable self-esteem, which can work just as well.

  

I waited until her friends had all apparently deserted her for the evening and leaving her, quite vulnerably, alone. I walked up behind her and tapped her shoulder. She whirled facing me, her eyes going from happy expectations to a glare! “What do you want!? she snipped disdainfully”. Calmly I held her gaze, “I was hoping you would help me win a bet” I asked in what I hoped was my most wily voice. She was curious, but wary of me, “as you should be my pretty miss”, I remember thinking to myself. Her eyes sized me up and down, and I seized the moment to take in her jewels, not at all disappointed in them, but my curiosity was aroused about her necklace, I definitely needed to get a closer look to appraise them! “Why should I help you,” she practically spitted out he words like daggers.

  

“It’s this way miss, a couple of boys over at the bar bet me 50 quid that I could not get a dance with the prettiest girl here.” “Me?” she asked primping, no I confessed, I picked you, they had wanted me to dance with someone far less pretty, in my opinion.

I don’t think so; she said with a slight hint of hesitation, my card is full. Just for fifteen minutes I implored. That’s all I need (which was the truth), and Ill split my winnings with you on top of it. She finally bought it, hook line, sinker and pound signs in her adorable violet coloured eyes. Fifteen minutes she specified, before, be-grudgingly, allowing me to lead her to the dance floor.

  

Now, as I took her stiff body in my arms, I was able to satisfy my curiosity about the girl’s necklace, and it caused a dilemma to rear its thought provoking head. While she was busy looking around to make sure none of her friends saw her dancing with me, I allowed myself a couple of precious minutes to think. Her long rhinestone earrings were clip held, and an easy pick. I wanted to try for them both,( I knew how I would do it), and losing a pair of earrings would send a message that they had not just fallen away. Also, I would be suspected by her, which suited me just fine. However, my dilemma was caused by the vixen’s pretty necklace. While the rest of her plentiful jewels were cheap rhinestones as I had suspected the row of diamonds that rippled blazingly around her throat were in fact, the real McCoy. So, which should I go for? The necklace would be profitable and easy but she may just suspect its clasp had broken. The earrings would be just for a sporty trophy, not worth anything but for the knowledge that she would know she had been a victim. Ah, life’s precious little quandaries!

  

So, I continued with the dance, my partner still rigid, so very true to her character. Then, with five minutes left, I made up my mind on what she would not be leaving the ball still wearing. She was a charmer, this disdainful one. Her stiff figure was warm to the touch, underneath the scintillating slippery gown. The show her sparkling jewels produced was most pleasing to the eye. All in all quite a pretty portrait, a shame it was that I was not allowed to appreciate it. Which was fine by me! I was able to concentrate freely on the task at hand. I looked around, the coast was still clear. Then eyeing for one last time her mesmerizingly swaying long earrings and the flickering diamonds that graced her pretty little throat, I executed my move..

  

By the time the final five minutes were up I had the selected jewelry in my pocket without even the slightest notice from my unwilling dance partner. Then, fifteen minutes to the second (good thing I had been keeping track of the time) she broke it off. “Thank you”, I said, to which she mumbled, “my money, sir!” I told her I had to collect it, and would meet her by the ladies powder room. I left her waiting, smiling inwardly to myself at the empty space from which the missing jewelry was glaringly gone from her.

  

She had no doubt that I would be back with her money, was I not merely like one of her household servants, who routinely, without question or error, existed to do her bidding. It would be a major jolt to her system when she realized I was not coming obediently back to her. I had no doubt she would spend some time searching me out for her money once she realized I was not coming back forthwith, with the intention of lecturing me on how I should act around my betters. So I knew that her immediate attention would be elsewhere upon realizing I was tardy, and that it would take quite a bit of time before she recieved a second shock of an altogether different sort.

  

I left with my prize, walking past the two guards with such a carefree air that even they would never have suspected that I could possibly have been up to any mischief. I made good time getting back to the dingy motel room. Changed out of my costume and back into the shirt and tie I had worn. The highwayman costume, which had served me well, I rolled in a bundle under my arm, I again left by the back stairwell and retraced my earlier steps, whistling, back to the suite in the hotel. Along the way the costume was stuffed unceremoniously into a handy trash bin. My little operation had been a complete success. The evening was after all, not going to be a total loss.

  

Back in my suite I stowed the newly acquired jewels the girl had worn into one of my many secret hiding spots. There they would be safe until I could convey it to my banks lockbox on Monday. As I finished I, spied the phantom of the opera mask lying discarded on top of a table. A shame it would not be used….

 

A thought washed over me that would not be denied! Risky, but it would make my evening complete. I quickly shaved off the thin beard, and restyled my hair. I changed from my suit into my tux and tails. Scooping up the phantom mask I headed back to the costume ball. Placing the mask on before entering, I presented my second ticket( not very often did the opportunity arise to use both of the pair of tickets I customarily purchased!) I walked past the two security types without a second glance from them, they absolutely did not recognize me, which meant I had passed that test. My objective now was to try and catch the second half of the show; namely the shimmering liquid satin gowned brats squawking reaction when she first discovered her jewels were gone.

  

I regained a bar seat just in time.

  

She did not disappoint!

  

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Epilogue

 

When, in the presence of both bank and county officials, the strong box was opened, it was found to contain a fairly large collection of the Kings currency, equaling roughly £500 , and a selection unmatched jewelry, rings, single earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, worth a almost £3.000. Also inside was small a bundle of papers. The papers, old and yellowed, appeared to contain the partial handwritten journals of a certain Mr. Harly Q___ , esq. The papers were examined, but gave no clues to who Harley was, or to his current whereabouts. But the journals presented clues as to Harly’s nature, and as a consequence the money and jewels were considered stolen goods and handed over to the authorities. No one knows what became of them, as for the papers, they were handed over to a relative of one of the government officials, and also, for a period of time, lost.

 

The journal was rediscovered amongst the personal files of the late Professor Sedwig Dermitt phd, llc.a dex,

Recovered, restored, and now kept in the human behavioral archives of the criminology dept, Chatwick U.

  

Courtesy of Chatwick University Archives

 

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Love heart sign over rain under umbrella protection. Two hearts in love icon isolated over white background. Valentine's day greeting card design

Slinking away, still smirking over how rewardingly gullible the bejeweled wealthy girls in silky dresses had proven, Angie unexpectedly came across fresh, opulently inviting, prey.

 

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Angelique D. at play

 

Angie D

 

Circa 1915

 

Case study 113 subset b

 

Early development: “Pickpocket” of worn Jewelry

 

Sub title:

 

What is it about rich girls that make them so lucratively gullible?

Quoted by Subject: log 1959

 

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What:

 

Along a path just outside where a departing congregation of a small church still gathered.

 

Where

 

The outskirts of Chestermere:

 

When:

 

An early fall day, in the year of our Lord 1915

 

Who:

 

An appealing lady wearing a secret smile, clad expensively in a silky top and flowing satiny ruffled skirt, a pair of gold earrings flashing merrily as she strolls.

 

Excerpted from Diary:

 

A lady in a cream silk blouse and long blue skirt was walking happily along a path on the outskirts of Chestermere. She was coming from the early Sabbath service of a local chapel, filled with the rousing words of the Parson’s homily. As Angie walked, she hummed a cheerful tune, her conscious, as always, free of any guilty feelings.

 

Angie was very pleased with herself, and the main source of the pleasure was now bouncing against her thigh as she briskly walked along. For deep in a small pocket hidden well below the waistline of her flowing sleek skirt, was a pretty jeweled pendent on a delicate gold chain.

 

Only just 15 minutes ago that jeweled pendent was still being worn by a member of a rather wealthy looking family whom had been in attendance at the same Sabbath service. Angie had scoped them out as the family had waltzed in just after the mass had started. The mother was dressed in a pretty white frock with ruffles of lace falling from her throat and wrists, along with a rather nice set of pearls. The rather formal and severe father was in a “monkey suit”, a gold pocket watch and fob stretched across his rather bulging waist. The pair had their hands full with two rambunctious , pre-adolescent twin boys, who had continually distracted them during and after the lengthy service. Which was good, from Angie’s point of view anyway, for it left the parents totally ignoring their seventeen year old daughter , at the end of the pew, standing with a sultry air about her.

 

The daughter was wearing a rather fancy party dress of thick red silk. Dangling down the front of the sheer red silk bodice, on a thin gold chain, was an attention grabbing deep green emerald starburst pendent that fell swaying from her dress’s high neckline. It had been the sleek dress that had whetted Angie’s interest, but it was the pendent that kept that interest focused during the entire service, delightedly eyeing the pendant’s shimmeriness in the low candle lit church. During the communion procession she had managed to slip in behind her in order to closer scrutinize the prospect, soaking in the expectations of acquiring it from the unsuspecting proper acting young lady..

 

As the service ended, the family joined in the stream of the departing congregation. Angie followed closely, looking for her chance. It came when the Parson stopped the father to ask a question, a group soon huddled around the mother and the twins. As everyone bent over to focus attention on the twins, including their sister, Angie circled her prey and slipped in close, hovering briefly over her back before darting in. In one fluid motion, Angie lifted with one practiced hand the chain and flicked open the thin clasp, nimbly catching the swaying pendent in her other hand as it fell, whisking the sparkling emeralds and chain away and palming it from sight. Absolutely no one noticed the flashy necklace as it vanished from the front of the sister’s silky dress. Angie had continued on her way, clutching the pendent, and headed straight out the door without looking back. Instead of heading back the short 3 miles to her hotel in the city, she decided to head out towards the woods, where she planned to lay low until dusk.

   

Angie now turned her head to have a look behind her at the distant chapel and the people milling about, her gold plated earrings flashing as she did so. Good, she thought, no one was following her, and she, in total security that she was out of danger, crossed off the path and went on the road.

  

Angie strolled along the country lane, trees lining it turning red and yellow in their autumn gowns, for quite some time, before she became aware of a band playing off in the distance.. Then turning a bend in the lane, through the thin wall of woods, she spied a wedding reception up on a hill by a white stone Church. From her vantage point she could see a multitude of colourful , richly shimmering gowns and the occasional sparkle of , she hoped , opulent jewelry.

  

As good luck would have it, she decides to crash the party. She was dressed for it, she was hungry, and who knows what pickings she may find inside to increase her earthly riches ,as the Parson had been saying! She walked around, skirting the woods and came across a hillside garden with rose covered arbors and bright flower lined paths. Two grubby boys of about ten and twelve were playing in the woods on the opposite side, by a small pond surrounded thickly with Rhododendron s. She entered the Garden and made her way up the winding path, coming out onto a small field with benches that lay on the opposite side of the church and the auditorium entrance to the reception.

 

Angie entered the crowded auditorium underneath the Church. She helped herself to the food buffet and sat outside enjoying her meal, as she watched the richly dressed crowd. A young man came up and asked her to dance, which she did happily, and just as happily lifted his gold watch and fob. And, too boot, after a few dances with him, she had become a part of his circle, happily mingling, and rubbing elbows with the obviously wealthy guests he presented her to. Including an introduction to his pretty faced teenage sister, who was sporting a pretty diamond ring on all too slender finger, that she kept waving in Angie’s face as she played with her long silky hair.

  

Angie soon left them and started to stalk about for a bit, noting that most of the guests were older, more mature specimens. There seemed to be a lack of young, well dressed children around, whose shiny offerings had been Angie’s main bread and butter for almost two years.. She had just come to the conclusion that she would have to settle for picking a few pockets or purses before leaving. She started to look around for the bloke with the fancy gold pocket watch who had first asked her to dance….

 

Then she saw her.

 

The lady was moving through the crowd, on the arms of a man half her age, giggling, not paying attention to anything else around her. She wore a long gown of a shimmery purple silk. But it was not the gown that had caught Angie’s eye, but the jeweled brooch that hung from the gowns cleavage, shadowed by its mistress’s ample bosom. Like the figurehead in a seagoing schooner it came, shimmering in the dazzling light of at least a hundred diamond chips, surrounded by an oval of blazing sapphires. Angie’s fingers tingled. It was time.

 

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Now, it had been better than three years ago when Angie had run across an ancient, toothless Gypsy in a long black dress with a faded shawl around her shoulders, who had spoken Angie’s fortune. When she had read Angie’s palm, she looked Angie dead in the eyes, a most knowing kind of look. Then she had risen, motioning Angie to stay and came back with a rather battered old pamphlet she wanted Angie to look over. Entitled the Cutpurse: skilles, artes and Secretes of the Dip by “Gaston Monescu, 1826”, it covered the various tactics and moves used by master pickpockets. Including whole chapters on successful “Methodes” of relieving a wealthe lady of her” jeweles”.

 

The Gypsy Woman, who had hovering over Angie as she had read deeply into the pamphlet moved and sat back down across from her.

 

Angie ,who by this time in her quite young life, was already an accomplished cutpurse and picker of pockets, looked up at the gypsy, grinned, and asked if it was worth her while. The Gypsy just smiled, reached up and opened her dirty laced shawl, revealing the silvery necklace that Angie had been wearing when she had come in. Amazed she traded the necklace for the pamphlet on the spot and quickly began putting its teachings into play.

 

Angie soon mastered this new level of her chosen craft.

 

She had started on mannequins: clothing them in long silky dresses and jewelry. She had practiced for months, first in a rented studio apartment, then in a secret basement located in an isolated, deserted old barn and then its surrounding woods. Soon she felt confident enough to go out and try it in the crowded streets amongst shopping women. She met with great success, but her gains were only a pittance. Still she practiced, and had gotten so adept that she soon was moved onto more affluent hunting grounds.

 

She reasonably started out with weddings. For the phamplett had suggested starting out at formal parties where there would be an abundance of youngsters dressed in their best by parents wanting to show their off female issues to an adoring public( in the minds of the wealthy parents, anyway). So she went, seeking out young, easily distracted young girls who were not used to wearing the array of enticing jewels placed on them by overly enthusiastic parents.

 

Angie’s first time out was met with some rather sweet success. A large day time wedding reception in Nova Scotia, held in a public park by a majestic sweeping waterfall.

 

Late at the reception, as she was still prowling without making any formal attempts, she soon noticed that the adults at the gathering were becoming quite gay with drink, and noticeably paying less attention to their children. Said children began to wonder off in groups, exploring and starting to run about playing games, their gowns and dresses whispering a Pied Piperish tune to Angie’s ears, their shiny jewels luring her ever closer.

 

Angie soon started to follow a pair of young ladies who had scampered off to explore.

One was an impish girl with long black hair flowing down, drawing ones attention to the frilly white dress she was wearing. Gold chain earrings dancing merrily from her ears, as a longish gold herringbone chain shimmering brightly in the sun as it lay hanging from her silk dresses’’ high neckline.

Her partner in crime was a most fascinating subject. A charmingly bright green eyed proper young imp, a couple of years older than white dress, with a rather pronounced Welsh accent, much like Agie’s remembered her parents having. Her silken red hair lay down her back in a neat long French braid. A long thin satin gown of emerald green swished as she ran with the awkwardness of youth to keep up with her new friend. A matching satin bow was tied just below her throat, its ends trailing down to her svelte waistline. At the bows center was fastened a glittering rhinestone pin. She also was wearing a small rhinestone necklace that encircled her throat just above the bow. Her ears were home to a pretty pair of clasped rhinestone earrings that matched the pattern of her necklace. Around one short shiny green satin gloved wrist was a brite rhinestone bracelet.

 

The duo found the waterfall, by which a photographer had set up a camera. Angie approached the lovely pair, and easily started up a conversation, helped by the fact that as an adult, she was not scolding them for walking off. They seemed pleased that Angie was actually doing the exact opposite, like a favored auntie, she was encouraging them to explore.

 

Angie led them around a bend for a different view of the cascading waterfall, out of earshot of the reception. She helped the black haired lass, Basil, up to sit on a small stone wall for a better look, also helping to slip off the shiny gold herringbone necklace from her throat with an almost effortless ease in the process. As, with itching fingers, she contemplated what to do about Basil’s gold earrings, Angie started to watch Lydia.

 

Oblivious to what was going on around her, the red head, Lydia, was standing next to Angie, looking over the fence which just reached her shoulders. Here dear, Angie said, after pocketing the purloined gold necklace, you’re messing up your pretty dress. Angie turned the girl towards her, reached over and said, here, let my fix your bow, darling. Lydia allowed Angie to retie it, as Basil, her back to them, happily was watching, enraptured, the splashing water. Angie finished undoing and retying Lydia’s satin bow, neatly removing the pretty rhinestone pin in the process, then as she straightened the girl’s color, Angie had her turn around. As Lydia obediently did so, Angie flicked open the rhinestone necklaces clasp, and peeled off the flashy necklace from around Lydia’s throat as she turned round. Just like that, Lydia’s rhinestone necklace went the same way of er pin, both ending up with the gold chain in a secret pocket hidden in the folds of Angie’s skirt.

 

Angie stood behind Lydia, placing her hands on Lydia’s slick silken covered shoulders, all three watching the waterfall. Angie’s left hand caressingly, ever so lithely inched down along Lydia’s side, reaching the girls wrist. As Angie engaged them in conversation, she slowly worked off the bracelet, leaving only the pretty earrings as her last challenge.

 

Angie lifted her right hand and slowly moved it up to one of the girl’s dangling earrings, sparkling in the waterfalls’ reflection.. With her left hand she pointed upstream. As both girls turned their heads to look, off came a rhinestone earring. Angie than playfully lifted Lydia’s long French braid and laid it over Lydia’s shoulder, below her now bare ear. She turned to look down, giggling, and as she did so, Angie plucked away the remaining earring; it easily came off and joined its companion with the rest of the collection of jewelry in Angie’s secret pocket. Amazed that the process of removing young Lydia’s jewels had gone off so easily, Angie almost wished Lydia had been wearing bells like one of her sleekly gowned practice mannequins. Her reasoning being that she would know if it was because her skill level was that good, or just the fact that Lydia was just an unworldly youth easily distracted. Whatever the reason, Angie, feeling fresh inspiration, looked over at the chirpy basil, and her shiny gold earrings.

 

Angie moved behind Basil, placing her hands upon the slippery waistline of her silk dress, then leaned forward, whispering in the girls ear, tickling it with her breath. As Basil giggled Angie reached up gently lifted the gold chain earring up from the lobe of the girl’s opposite ear lobe. Then nimbly with her thumb and index finger, flicked open the hinge clasp and neatly removed the earring, watching for any reaction from her victim. Basil never felt a thing, Lydia was still watching the waterfall, equally as oblivious. Angie kept her chin close to Basil’s ear, and the remaining earring. Cautiously she moved her fingers up, and then darting in with them, successfully repeated the maneuver. As the earring joined the rest of her collection, Angie could not help thinking that if all her future endeavors were as successful, she could end up living quite a comfortable lifestyle.

 

Angie stayed a few more minutes, keeping the pair distracted the whole time before she cautiously moved off, leaving the two of them there by stream. Basil happily perched on the stone wall, and Lydia bent down, busily plucking at the moss growing on the old stones. Both girls still quite fetching in their pretty gowns, both a bit less weighted down by any added trimmings.

 

For the next year, fueled by her early success, she started focusing entirely on wedding receptions. Honing her skills until it became almost mundane for her nimble fingers to lift a jewel, no matter where is was being worn by a squirming young lady upon her fancy dressed person. And, actually, some of her acquisitions where worth a surprising bit of dough when pawned.

  

Favored Case in Point:

 

It was in New Hampshire, on her 24th outing late during the wedding season of the following year when she came upon a rather prim young miss of about 13, clad in a long sleeved thick yellow satin blouse, a black velvet vest and matching gold and black vertical striped satin skirt. A young raven haired bumble bee with no stinger, but with pearls, black pearls in a long string dangling down along the front of her shiny back buttoned blouse. She was also wearing matched black pearled earrings, and a small, daintily jeweled pin in the shape of a humming bird on her velvet vest. She was sitting alone at a table, playing with some crayons and a book. Angie, who had been watching her for some time from a bar stool, had come up and caught the pretty little things full attention, easily capturing her interest, then, finally, suggesting they go and watch the activity on the ballroom floor from a small alcove in a corner. Liking the adventurous way Angie had suggested it, the bumble bee had eagerly followed Angie away from the table.

 

Angie continued making small talk as the pretty thing was watching the exquisitely gown guests on the dance floor, including the girls’ parents. She was met with youthful exuberance by the youth, who was so enthralled with the activity on the dance floor that she was as unaware of what was going on around her , much like one of Angie’s practice Mannequins. After quite easily removing the dainty jeweled pin, Angie’s subtle fingers were able to lift up and flick open the rhinestone clasp of the child’s pearled necklace. Angie than coolly waited for a prime moment before whisking away the wholly distracted young miss’s gleaming black strand of pearls from around the high ruffled collar of her yellow satin blouse.

 

And also, like one of her gowned and jeweled practice Mannequins, the young girl never noticed anything amiss as Angie continued on with her conversation for quite some time afterwards. It was daring, but exciting as Angie kept stealing looks at the bare front of the glossy yellow blouse where the pearls had hung down so deliciously, knowing they were in her own pocket, so close, but for the young lady, so far.. Finally she decided she was pressing her luck, and she wished the child a goodnight, before beating a hasty exit,( but not before circling back to the now deserted table and heartlessly lifted the fat, expensively made purses, of both the young girl, and her mother!)

 

The jeweled hummingbird pin, and string of matched black pearls, dainty and long, fetched a pawned price that left whetted Angie’s appetite for more!

 

So, it was after this that Angie, looking for fresher, richer challenges, decided to seek out slightly older prey in their natural habitats, proms and social teenage dances. Where real gems, usually borrowed from their mothers or Grandmothers, would be replacing rhinestones.

 

Still very youthful looking despite her twenty something age, Angie’s first attempt was an upscale dance she had come across while out about in a neighboring city. It was held in an old ballroom for a local boy’s prep school and their dates. Figuring the girls attending would be ripe for the picking in tight gowns and loose fitting jewels, Angie stole inside for a closer look. The only obstacle was getting one of the begowned girls away from her group long enough to make a play for something of value that she was wearing.

  

But, Angie came away with nothing but valuable experience on that first attempt.

 

And it was actually her third try before she met with success in the form of a gold bracelet. It was at a formal dance being held in a large room of a rather posh hotel called the Red Lion Inn. She had gone in for a peek, and spying a pretty young thing heading for the ladies room, fell in step behind her. She was a long brown haired girl, wearing a short silk dress, blue, forming the perfect backdrop for her mouthwatering selection of shimmering gold jewellery. Waiting in a small alcove, Angie made her move as the young lady came back out the door. Bumping against her, Angie’s right hand held onto the youngster by the waist, drawing her close, as she steadied herself, apologizing. At the same time, Angie placed her left hand on the unsuspecting mark’s left wrist, easily flicking open the clasp of the thick gold etched bracelet and slipping it off and away. The young lady, accepting Angie’s apology, went on her way, and Angie, swiftly darted for the nearest exit, securing the rather overly brite bracelet in her bosum.

 

Over the spring and early summer dance seasons Angie practiced, acquiring bracelets and rings down pat using her skillfully developing fingers. She soon also was having some success with necklaces, including one with a long gold chain and a flower pendent set with a diamond carpel surrounded by ruby petals that had turned a quite tidy profit.

 

Then there had been the night of her first big haul, at a private girl’s school homecoming in Connecticut

 

She had started out by finally selecting and shadowing a young lady clad a slinky black dress, draped in her mother’s diamonds. Angie was drooling over a flashy wide glittering gemmed silver bracelet that hung loosely from the young vixen’s limp wrist. She was sure it was made up of real diamond chips. As the girl squirmed past Angie heading to the dance floor, her bracelet was easily plucked off the wrist of her black elbow length satin glove and secured deep in the bosom of Angie’s dress.

 

It was now becoming all too easy, smirked Angie as she unflappably headed out of the exit with her trophy. But, as she crossed the street, she was stopped by a hard looking Italian thug who emerged from the shadows. Angie at first thought wanted to mug her for her earrings, but it turned out he just wanted to see a girl who was inside attending the dance . He described her, and Angie, her interest growing, agreed to locate her and give her his message to meet him outside.

 

Angie went inside and soon found the girl. All her wishes had been answered. The unsuspecting lass was both richly gowned and even more richly jeweled, combined with zero common sense. This fidgeting girl had been seeing the young Italian on the sly, away from her disapproving family and friends. Angie led her out the back way, the opposite side of the Dance Parlor where the Italian was waiting in an alley.

 

Angie pointed across the street towards an entirely different Alleyway, offering to wait with her when the girl balked about going down it. As they waited, Angie fawned over the poor, beautifully adorned young innocent. Helping her straighten her luxurious gown, and helping her primp her long hair, so she would look just right for her east end Romeo. After waiting ten minutes, Angie instructed the girl to wait, while she went out and peeked down the street to see what was keeping her lover.

 

As she left, Angie stole a look back at the still primping young lass, eyeing her slinky gown, and remaining jewels, before heading off down the street, looking into her palm at the pair of long Garnet and diamond earrings that lay nestled, glittering fire there. She then placed them into a secret pocket, joining them with the girl’s small, expensive matching pendent, liberated as Angie had helped her negotiate a curb with her stiletto heels. Both pieces of the lass’s jewelry shared the same pocket with the wide silver bracelet encrusted with diamond chips that Angie had taken earlier..

 

More than once since then, Angie wondered if the ditzy, well jeweled girl ever had made it back out of that alleyway unscathed.

 

The experience had even more so whetted Angie’s appetite. So, even though she was still practicing on younger females, she was now dying to ply her trade upon mature women displaying the real McCoy.

 

***********************************************************

 

So it was with that in mind that Angie now watched, with itching fingers, the beckoning brooch. Though Angie was still unsure enough of trying her abilities on wealthy ladies who would not be as easily distracted as young girls, the timing felt right. As the lady recklessly displaying the brooch passed, her attention lost in the arms of her lover, Angie turned and followed, getting a close look first at the brooch and its pin, noting that it was not tightly clasped onto the gowns thin material.

 

As the couple headed to a table they passed two wealthy dames arguing vigorously with each other. Pricey rings flashing as they pointed fingers emphatically in each other’s face. On the side of table away from the pair, but near to Angie as she was passing by, lay a small, fat silvery clutch purse . Figuring that any dames loaded down with that many gems should be carrying a healthy wad of dosh in it, Angie, on the fly, took action.

 

As she passed she snatched it, and slipping it under her arm turned and headed towards the ladies powder room. Just before entering Angie looked back watching as the two still argued, gemmed rings flashing she had gotten away with it! Going into a stall she scrutinized the clutch for its valuables; disappointed to find only a fiver, some loose change, and a silky laced handkerchief. How cheap can you get she thought ruefully over the wasted effort? Hiding the clutch in the folds of her satin skirt, she left the stall, passing a lady applying makeup in a mirror. She was very pretty in a fluid teal gown, wearing dazzling white pearls upon her ears, neck and wrists. Something about this lady seemed familiar, and Angie’s senses started to sound an alarm. Catching each other’s eye, Angie nodded, but the lady appeared not to recognize Angie, nor Angie her, but the feeling still lingered. Angie left ,guardedly perplexed.

 

Angie went to the bar to have a drink while she thought about who the lady may have been. She was in a position to see the dance floor and she soon spotted the purple clad lady with the brooch Angie had her eye on, again in a deep embrace with her lover. The Brooch would be profitable, but risky as along as she stuck close with the Boyfriend. Angie needed a way to get him out of the picture for a while. It was as she considered several options to carry out the challenge that Angie again spotted the lady in teal , dancing with a tall red headed man. . Cold prickles like ice ran down her spine, It was the pearls! She suddenly remembered who the lady, and her dance partner were!

 

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Only 5 days ago she had been starting her third week operating in Calgary. She had been following a rather attractive, obviously wealthy woman, wearing an eye catching purple silk dress, carrying a dress bag and some smaller parcels. Close at her side was an unheeded calfskin purse. Alongside the lady was a smaller version, obviously her daughter, a girl of about 14. She was wearing a white shiny turtleneck with an equally shiny long tiered skirt. Both of her hands were occupied with department store bags also. When the ladies darted into a swanky hotel ,Angie had followed, she always had had luck in these types of establishments. They had entered a crowded lift and Angie had worked her way in behind the pair, riding up with them in the rickety contraption. Mother and Daughter got off on 12 and Angie stayed on until 15, exiting with not only the fat wallet from the calfskin purse, but also the shiny gold herringbone necklace that had been flashing from the daughter’s throat, securely in her pocket.

 

Angie decided to call it a day. She had already made about 30 dollars from wallets lifted at the department store she had been working over when she had spotted the mother and daughter at the checkout. The mother was paying from a thick wad of cash, and judging from the jewelry of both were an indication of how wealthy the family was. She had followed them out onto the street and it had paid off in spades. Now, all she had to do was find an exit. She saw a stairwell next to a slightly open door with a maids cart outside. She stopped and hovered over the cart to peer inside the room. It was at that moment a door opened on the opposite side of the hallway.

 

A red headed man in an open tux shirt came out of a room, looking at the cart, and Angie standing next to it. Seizing the opportunity, Angie quickly asked if he needed something. I was looking for a maid; I spilled some wine on the cashmere carpet. Seeing the name Bannister above the bell, she said sweetly, certainly Mr. Bannister, I can have someone take care of that for you.. I was just coming up to let you know there is an urgent message down at the desk for you. (Quick improvisation was a special talent of Angie’s.) Why didn’t you bring it, he started to snap, than , never mind, just get a maid, and he headed towards the elevator.

 

Angie picked up the towels and headed cautiously into the massive suite. From the bedroom off one side she heard running water. She looked around quickly, seeing many valuable articles, but nothing small enough to quickly conceal. She took the towels into the bedroom.

 

Angie went into the bedroom, expertly taking everything in. A long silver lamee gown lay out on the bed. On the vanity lay a silvery purse, a pair of long silver satin gloves , a silver watch, silver necklace, a pair of long dangling silver earrings, and a small blue velvet pouch. On a side dresser laid a man’s thick gold watch and a money clip with a wad of bills, a tenner showing on top. In less than a minute after entering the room she had scooped up the money clip, watches, silver jewelry and gloves stuffing them into the purse and lifting up her long skirt hid it in one of its secret pockets. She lifted up the pouch and found it was empty. A picture on the vanity showed an attractive lady in a black dress and pearls. She briefly wondered where the pearls were, did not see any likely spot, and so had turned to make a hasty exit, when a feminine voice called out from the bathroom where a shower could be heard running. Steam was coming out from the slightly ajar door.

 

Dear, a refined voice stated, I have soap in my eyes and cannot find the washcloth. Angie, smelling an opportunity, peaked her head around the corner into the steamy bathroom. There was a shower stall with glass doors at the end of the long room with a double sink running along the side. From the hook by the shower hung a peach negligee and matching long robe. The door was open slightly and a very soapy femine hand was reaching out trying to feel along a towel bar, just missing a hanging washcloth.

 

A soapy hand from which glittered a pretty gold pinky ring set with small diamonds. Angie went over and pulling off the washcloth, rapped on the glass door , receiving a thank you dear in return as the hand reached out for it. Angie wiped off the protruding hand, and a dry voice said, no, not my hand dear, as the washcloth was plucked playfully from Angie’s grasp , and the door closed. Angie bent down and picked up the diamond pinky ring that had been slipped from the showering woman’s finger by the wash cloth, from the carpeted floor underneath the shower door. she than turned ran a hand along the satin rode, looking around. Bingo, on the counter lay a pair of sparkly long diamond earrings. Dumbstruck at her luck she grabbed them off the sink. , she was jolted back to realty when the voice again called out, are you still there dear? She scurried out of the bathroom, closing the door behind her.

 

She was at the apartment door in a flash, opening it a crack to make sure the coast was clear, it was. In the hallway Angie headed for the stairs because she knew that Bannister was far too important a man to take a stairway. She had been in the apartment less than 4 minutes, and had probably looted it of enough valuables to more than double her take so far of the last three weeks since arriving in Calgary. Leaving by a back exit she came out of a small alley. Looking over she spotted the young lady whose necklace she had lifted in the elevator kneeling down and looking in some bushes. Her shiny skirt pleasantly splayed out upon the ground around her. Angie briskly walked past her and off down the street. She made it without incident to the dingy apartment she was renting by the day. Collecting her meager belongings Angie checked out immediately. Leaving by bus for Chestermere, where at a small bank she rented a safety deposit box to stash all her ill-gotten gains for safe keeping until the heat wore down a bit.

 

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Now Back to the Present

 

Angie now knew how lucky she had been. The red headed man, Bannister, may have recognized her. Calgary was too close to Chestermere , she should have been more cautious when scoping out the receptions guests. Angie turned and headed to the bar to think the situation over.

 

She saw the young man whose watch she had lifted, talking to an older, pretty lady laden with pearls. Behind them stood his sister, her diamond ring sparkling as she twirled her hair. Angie circled wide, coming up behind the lad, she grabbed his shoulder, why hello there. He smiled, introducing her to his Aunt, whose jeweled fingers she took into her hand in a gracious shake. He continued talking to his Aunt, it seems that they were discussing a family matter of some importance .Angie, finding the rings were tight on the Aunt’s chubby fingers, let go of her hand and moved over to the sister, and engaged her in conversation, moving a little off so that the sister turned her back to her brother and aunt.

 

The sister twittered, curling her hair impishly as Angie asked her why she wasn’t dancing. No ones asked, she giggled nervously. What about the boy who has been watching you all eyeing, Angie nodded her head outwards, the girl turned , her hair flying, as she lowered her hand, which Angie took up, petting it in a conspiratorial fashion, go over and ask him, Angie suggested. Go an ask him? I don’t see him she said, but I couldn’t, and she turned back to Angie, flashing her baby blues innocently. That’s okay deary, Angie patted the girl’s hand, keeping her eyes in contact, not allowing her to break the gaze, and perhaps looking down and noticing her loose ring was now gone from her slender finger. Angie took her leave of the sister, and of girl’s annoying nervously twittering giggle. Angie, slipping the diamond ring securely away, continued on until she reached a small alcove from where she could see most of the reception hall.

 

She lit a cigarette, purple silk and her desirably take able brooch was still safely out of reach on the dance floor, and Bannister’s attention was all on his wife. She thought it over, weighing her options, and the risks that were now in play. The song ended, and the dancers started to head off the floor. Angie’s eyes darted, Red headed Bannister and his wife were heading off to the far side of the room, Purple silk and her partner were heading to the bar. Angie’s heart stopped, no, Purple silk was heading to the bar, her lover was off to the men’s rest room. Angie snubbed out her cigarette, rising to the bait, it was now or never. Like a feral feline, Angie began to slowly stalk her prey.

 

But then Angie saw her chance slip through her fingers and evaporate into nothingness, like the smoke from her crushed cigarette. For at that moment an older man bumped into the lady Angie was tailing, spilling his drink down the front of her purple silk gown. Angie retreated and watched from a distance. As the man profusely apologized he produced a silk handkerchief and help wipe down the pretty lady. As he did so, the beautiful diamond broach vanished from her bosom. He had been slicker, slicker than Angie was ( for the time being) able to be. Angie felt her heart sink. Not only had she been deprived of the broach, but the existence of another member of her trade meant that she had better scram, not wishing to cross him. She could tell by the look in the man’s eyes that this was one not to be tangled with

 

Giving up on any plans she had been harboring, she got up, turned her back to the dance floor, headed as quickly as she could to the far exit, keeping her gains, and cutting her (presumed) losses.

 

Angie reached the door without challenge, opening it, she found stairs leading into the Church above. But first she stole a look back. She observed the man suavely talking to the now brooch less lady wearing purple silk. In that second a long haired (ginger) young lady passed by him, wearing a slinking green satin dress. Angie saw the man watching her walk on bye, and then immediately took his leave of purple silk, and began following the perky girl in green satin, with her savory collection of loosely dangling silver jewelry, heavily encrusted with flickering emeralds.

 

Angie turned away, and while wondering how she had failed to have spotted that prime prey in green earlier, went to the stairs.

 

She went up the stairs, coming out into a small chapel in back of the church. A door led to the outside, which Angie took, pouting inwardly, feeling all the world like a child who had been deprived of a desirable toy. She found herself on the side leading down to the Garden from which she had entered. The Church was now in between Angie and the reception, so she felt free to move unobserved. She crossed over to the gardens entrance and headed down the hill.

 

In front of her was a hedgerow, on the other side, Angie knew, was the small field with benches that lay at the entrance to the gardens proper. It was coming from there that she head the voices of children playing, on the other side, but she paid no heed, her mind was on leaving the area.

 

As she hurried along the hedgerow she saw something sparkle expensively in the sunlight through one of the gaps in the hedges. She stopped and curiously looked through a small opening. That’s were all the young darlings have been hiding she remarked to herself, her interest peaking. Forgetting all about leaving and lost opportunity of the brooch, she now focused on the new “toy” now dangling its enticement to her. It belonged to a girl in a slithering silvery gown, with her long hair done up in a long plait. Angie eyed the girl’s sparklers, which Angie first took as all rhinestones.. But, as Angie took inventory, her eye focused on a ring that she was wearing on one of her petite fingers. It held a fiery display, diamonds and rubies. There was no way the ring was rhinestone. Looking around to access the situation, Angie decided that by hook or crook, she needed to get a better look.

 

Watching the colourfully gowned young ladies innocently at play, Angie mused over the golden opportunity just waiting for someone unscrupulous to acquire the jewelry they were wearing. Someone should make them aware Angie decided, surprised that no one older than 16 was watching over them. Knowing that the scene before her was too fertile an opportunity to pass up without at least a long glance, Angie looked around, making sure no adults were about unseen in the woods, or any other nook and cranny of the play area.

 

Angie had found she had a knack for capturing young, well dressed lady’s interest, much to her amusement, and profit! It was with this in mind that Angie decided to allow herself a few precious minutes to watch from her hidden opening to see what may transpire. There were six children, four young ladies who were obviously dressed for a wedding, and the two urchin boys of about 12 and 10 she had spotted earlier. They were dressed as the local poor farm boys they obviously were. Angie quickly overheard the names of the girls as they called out to one another. .

 

The group were playing, appropriately enough for Angie’s point of view, a children’s standard game of cops and robbers. All Angie could think about, as she watched the boys with exuberance chasing and holding the giggling, squirming girls, was that there would hopefully be no actual robbing of jewelry as the game was played out. As each girl, Angie quickly memorizing their names, was ”captured” and taken to “prison”, Angie was able to scope them out at leisure.

 

The youngest Cecilia, about six, was wearing a long smooth gown of deep cream, with a midnight black bolero style jacket of velvet. From her neck was happily swaying a long silver chain with a jeweled winged beetle pendent, her jacket was home to a matching pin.

 

Cecilia’s older sister, 10 year old Claire, was wearing a puffy blue satin blouse with a long bow dancing down the front. Her long skirt of glistening black flowed in ripples as she ran. Also moving in ripples were the long gold herringbone chains she wore dangling from her neck, as were also her matching earrings and bracelet. A thick, expensively shiny gold ring encircled her middle finger.

 

Claire’s friend, Abbey, of about the same age, was wearing a longish gown of sunset pink satin, with a white satin sash encircling her waist. At the center of the sash glistened a gold pin set with pearls. Around her throat, dangling from her ears, were glimmering white pearls.

 

The oldest girl, the one in charge, was a fourteen year old named Amanda. Young and flighty, she kept looking up into the voluminous white clouds in the sky as if trying to see what they were forming. She was dressed in a longish slithering silver princess style gown, the style one may see flowing along the shapely figure of an actress at the moving picture awards ceremony. A fancy necklace with large garnet stones and small diamonds was flapping against her chest as she ran. The necklace matched her long earrings, bracelet, along with her pretty ring. She was wearing a flashy red jeweled head band , with strings of gold and rhinestones interwoven into her long plait of naturally wavy chestnut hair. The head band was all rhinestone, as were the garnets in the rest of her jewels. But what from a distance appeared to be small diamonds in her matching set that separated the garnets, were actually ¼ caret diamonds. Angie, upon realizing this, felt her heart burning with desire at acquiring a piece of the set being so vulnerably dangling from Amanda’s slickly attired person. But a couple of ripping gold herringbone chains, or even a jeweled beetle pendent flicked from a velvet jacket would be nice to acquire also, if only for the practice benefits.

 

To Angie’s secret joy, Amanda was the last girl to be captured, only because a stone lodged itself in her shoe brining her up lame. She was held by one of the boys, and lead, limping, to the other two girls. As a new game was started, she sat out. She hobbled to a nearby stone bench, brushed herself off , watching the group play before removing her shoe to find the annoying stone.

 

Angie started to make her move even before Amanda had made it to the stone bench. She reached her as she was shaking her shoe, slipping up alongside her on the cool bench. The girl jumped, but Angie’s special (practiced!) smile soon won her over. Angie soon enticed the young thing into casual conversation, extracting useful information as Angie, feigning a cheerful interest on the outside, while studying the girls expensive gown and drooling over the glistening garnet and diamonds that adorned it on the inside.

 

Angie tried to direct Amanda’s attention to her young charges, commenting about their pretty baubles, then asking who the boys were, and how well they knew them, about who suggested the game they were playing, how robbers were attracted to pretty things you know, and, were the boys playing the robbers next? Surreptitiously trying to plant seeds of distrust in the immature girls mind, and Angie could see that those seeds had found rich soil. Her intention was to keep the girl distracted long enough for a go at acquiring her necklace.

 

Angie, not unlike a feral cat, waited patiently for her opportunity to take the necklace from the unassuming Amanda to arise. But the girl was not cooperating; her attention on the playing girls lasting for mere seconds before focusing it back on Angie. Angie decided to use a different tactic. Angie placed an arm around girl’s silken shoulder and pointed up into the fluffy white clouds, asking her if she could see what Angie saw.

 

In the clouds, Amanda asked? As she leaned back into Angie who drew her close, relishing in the silky , quite scintillating feel of the child’s slick gown. No, Angie thought unkindly, you silly rich twit, the clasp of your necklace is what I see ( her fingers snaked up the backside of the sleek silver gown towards the tantalizingly easy open able clasp). The one you are about to lose to me, she continued thinking before answering the girl.

 

But seconds later, when Angie did answer, it was with a sweet motherly tone that dripped honey. Yes dear, in the clouds, doesn’t that one look like a soldier, or perhaps a highway man on a horse she inquired to Amanda? No, I think it’s a prince answered Amanda, and Angie thought , not for the first time, about the power of suggestion, for the mass of clouds looking like absolutely nothing but a mass of clouds to her!

 

But, it was an opportunity opened, and as the guileless girl was happily lost in her thoughts, Angie began to lift the clasp into position. As the necklace move up the girls chest, Angie could see its jewels, all sparkly, as the sun came back, peeking through the clouds. But Angie was not the only one who noticed, for the oldest lad who had been stalking up on the youngest sister’s hiding spot, was attracted by the sparklers now flashing around the distracted girl’s throat.

  

The boy headed towards them, and Angie’s fingers retreated. As the girl noticed the boy approaching, she gave a nervous giggle, and placed a hand to her throat. Angie began to rise from the bench, feeling the opportunity was slipping away, for the second time that day. But she hesitated a minute, and she was glad she did.

  

The boy came up and asked Amanda if she was going to play again. He was openly gawking at the necklace Amanda was nervously fiddling as he spoke, and Angie drooled to herself, you dear sweet child. For She could feel Amanda pressing hard into Angie as if seeking protection from his eyes. Angie took action, pointing out the sister the boy had been stalking. Successful diverting the boy’s attention, she sent him after the girl.

  

Maybe it was the things Angie had been feeding the girl about strangers and playing robbers, or pointing out the highway man in the clouds, but the attention to her necklace by the lad had had an obvious effect on Amanda. Angie, seizing the opportunity, exploited it to the fullest. With an Epiphany like thought, she knew what to say, and do next. And if it worked, then Amanda’s necklace would not be the only bauble acquired by old Angie girl.

  

Angie shooed the lad away, and he left, reluctantly to rejoin the game in progress. Then, in an inspired bit of deceitful storytelling, Angie related to Amanda a sad tale about an incident in her childhood, one she made up on the spot. The girl listened, still cuddling for whatever reason, as Angie stroked her enticingly attired figure down, relishing in the softness of her gown, along with admiring jewels she was so intent on acquiring. It was not often in Angie’s line of work that she was able to really check out one of her victims in this manner, and she relished every minute of it.

  

As Angie went full bore into her tale of woe ,she lifted up the attractive necklace from pretty girl’s chest, as she chokingly told the youngster that when she was her age she had been playing dress up in one of her mother’s gowns and had put on some of her mother’s jewelry without her permission.

  

Angie than took up the girl’s slender hand into hers, fingering gently the pleasingly expensive ring , seeing tin the young ladies eyes that she had struck a chord, and Amanda was totally held captivated with her story. Angie continued on… She had gone outside and over to the playground where a group of older children had convinced her to play a game of cops and robbers. When they had been done playing and Angie had gone home, she discovered some of her mother’s pretty jewelry was missing.

  

Angie noticed with satisfaction that as she was reaching the end of her story Amanda had stiffened, her heart started beating faster, and she started to check over her own jewelry. Your mother’s than, Angie drooled to herself, she had nailed it on the head. Carpe Diem Angie said to herself, throwing all caution to the wind.

  

Cops and robbers? That’s the game the boys are having us play, Amanda questioned with visible concern. As she was making this statement, Angie saw with satisfaction Amanda’s open mouth gasping as her eyes went to the boys who were now high in a tree, innocently unaware of what they were underhandedly being accused of eventually attempting to do ( steal the young girls jewelry)!

  

The two Boys had spotted a bird’s nest and where trying to see if it had eggs as the sisters watched them, backs to the bench where Amanda and Angie sat. Seeing the coast was clear, Angie quickly acted, before her story lost its effect over Amanda. Angie produced the purloined silver purse and pulled out the silky handkerchief. She spread the handkerchief out on Amanda’s silken covered lap, setting the purloined purse down upon her own.

  

I really think you should put your jewelry somewhere for safekeeping. Why don’t you wrap it up in this handkerchief, you can keep it in my purse. I’ll lend it too you if you promise to bring it back to me when you get back to the reception. Amanda nodded wisely (those earrings were very pretty Angie told herself) , Angie’s heart went to her throat, the young innocent, abroad from the reception, had swallowed Angie’s deviously luring tactic. Here, Angie promised, I’ll start, and she took of her gilded earrings and laid them gently out upon the shiny white surface of the silk handkerchief. This way I won’t lose mine either, she confided in Amanda, who looked back at Angie with her innocently wide blue eyes.

  

Amanda now showed no inhibitions while reaching up and removing her glittery necklace, laying it gently out upon the handkerchief. It was soon followed by rings and bracelet. Removing the headband and rhinestones chains, undoing her plait in the process, her long hair flowed down her back in curls. It curled up as she laid it upon the ever growing, sweetly glimmering, pile. Then she flung back her long hair and undid the screw backs of her flashy earrings, placing them on top of the heap. Angie’s heart began beating faster as she realized she was going to get away with this! Aw, she thought, as the last of Amanda’s expensively glittering jewels was added to the already glistening pile, wealthy children are so adorably cute when they are being gullible.

  

When Amanda finished, Angie looked down upon the glittering mound, unbelieving her luck. But then the unimaginable happened. Amanda, laying the handkerchief with its precious cargo on the bench next to her, stood and called back the two sisters and their young friend to the bench.

  

Angie held her breath as the girls, turned and dutifully ran up to her, the boys still high in the tree, paid no attention to them. Angie watched, almost salivating as the pretty darlings in their fluttering frocks came bouncing back, necklaces flinging in and out, obediently to Amanda’s call.

  

As they reached Amanda, she told them that they had better remove their jewelry for safe keeping. Why, Challenged Cecilia, with childish accusation? Amanda looked back at the boys in the tree, because I think you may lose them while you play, she scolded. We’re careful Cecilia retorted obstinately, as she looked from Amanda to her sister Claire. Amada looked at Claire, and lifting the girls gold necklace pointed her chin at the tree containing the two boys, and said, they will be the robber’s next game. Claire went wide eyed, and told Cecilia and Abby that they had better do as they were told.

  

Claire was closest, and with a nod from Amanda, unfastened her necklace and laid it out on the silky handkerchief. They were soon followed by her gold drop earrings, bracelet and ring. She started to back away still wearing her rhinestone hairclips. Don’t forget them… Angie started to say, but was cut off as Amanda told Claire to remove them, which she did promptly. Angie was glad she had been able to hold her tongue.

  

Cecilia was next. She approached Angie and Amanda, her long dress swishing richly as she came. She politely asked Amanda for help. Turning her back to Amanda she lifted up her long hair, Amanda remover her necklace and pin, laying them upon the growing shimmery pile. Cecilia removed her earrings and ring, happily placing them with the rest. Very pretty Angie said, admiring the dress, she lifted up the sleeve, admiring it, no bracelets, she whispered to herself, as she pulled the silky sleeve back ever so slightly.

  

Abby than approached, and quietly, obediently, unfastened her pearled necklace, and then removed her glistening matching earrings, and placed them all delicately upon the pile. Momma said to be careful with them, their Grand mama’s, she bleated sweetly, and Angie felt her heart skip several beats, suppressing an evil grin upon hearing those delicious words. Claire then helped Abby remove the pearled brooch from her satin sash.

  

Angie stood back, her heart had been pounding with cutting swords of mixed delicious pleasure and anticipation as, there on that sunlit church playground, the girls in swishy gowns, removed their valuables for “safe” keeping. She knew she now had to work fast, for there was an ever growing chance that an adult would show up from the reception and ruin Angie’s fun.

  

Angie than folded up the silk handkerchief, and in a classic bit of misdirection that would have made Gaston Monescu proud, appeared to place it inside the purse she was going to leave in the children’s safe keeping. But she actually palmed it, and slipped the bundle deep into her skirts pocket as she handed the purse over with her free hand. All three sets of eyes watching the purse, not what Angie’s other hand was doing.

  

Now go and have fun, Angie encouraged the girls as she handed the purse to Amanda. The youngsters seemed thrilled that they had an adult’s permission to keep on playing, and knowing that they would not be in danger of now being yelled at for possibly losing some of their pretty jewelry, they scurried off happily, in waves of whispery satin. Amanda stopped and gave Angie a hug before following the two sisters and their friend. The kind of hug that would have sealed the fate of any jewelry she may have still been wearing, and for which Angie did a double check for. Angie then watched Amanda run off, long gown fluttering out from behind her.

  

As the four girls rejoined the two boys, Angie slowly slinked away, melting into the woods. She allowed herself to smirk over how rewardingly gullible rich young girl’s in silky dresses ,wearing ripe for the plucking jewelry ,always proved to be.

  

Folle est l’agneau de la prune qui dans le loup avoue! She whispered to herself as she disappeared from the frolicking children’s sight.

  

She stopped suddenly as she reached a small clearing with the path leading to the rose covered arbor crossed. Not believing her eyes, as she unexpectedly saw below her fresh, opulently attired, prey.

  

A young couple was busily snogging in the garden the garden just ahead of Angie. As she looked over the pair of richly dressed pretty young things, she could not help but wonder if this couple had been in charge of watching over the children and had snuck away to be by themselves. She quickly ducked behind some bushes as the girl broke away, and with a come hither look, led her boyfriend through a rose covered arbor. Not a moment too soon, for the couple looked behind them, before crossing over the path and disappearing into the woods.

  

Angie cautiously snuck forward, and reaching the spot where they had disappeared into the woods, hears the girl giggling along with the unmistakable sounds of kissing. As the couple is otherwise occupied, Angie carefully moves into the woods. She spies the lad’s suit lying over some branches, and sees the shrubs moving underneath as the couple obviously have progressed now beyond kissing.

  

Angie spies something bright and shiny laying on the ground just in front of the shrub. She inches forward. It is the girls gown, laying spread out like a slick wet fluid purple pond , and there, in a nice neat pile, is the diamond jewelry she was wearing. Angie wonders what would have happened if some miscreant, or unscrupulous hobo were to stumble upon this scene. In her mind she reasoned that they would probably steal the jewels. So, why shouldn’t ole Angie be the one to acquire this one’s jewels also? Since she would probably be losing them anyway!

  

Angie reaches down and quietly pulls away the fluidly glossy gown, the silky material whispering along the grass as it moves. Angie keeps one ear on the couple just out of sight, the other listens for any noise on the path behind her that may betray her as she melts away back into the woods. Then, when she is a safe distance away, happily scoops up the girls small fiery diamonds. Picking up the gown she carried it back, hanging it from a limb just before leaving the path, she ran a hand along its enticing length, before leaving, snickering to herself the whole way.

  

Coup-Fourré, Angie thinks too herself as she regains the path, after carefully making sure no one else was about. Off in the distance she can just barely hear the children still at play. The purse where they innocently believed held their jewelry safe, she imagines still sitting on the bench. She thinks for a second about going back and lifting that purse, but decides not to push her luck, now that she had finally found some.

  

She once again pictured the beaming faces of the three young girls as they were being complimented on their shiny dresses by the pretty lady with the nice smile and gentle fingers as she carefully looked them over for anything missed that those nasty boys may try to take. Naively unaware that they had, in reality, been robbed of the precious gems that they had been convinced to remove for “safe keeping.”

  

Angie, for the first time, but not the last, imagined in her mind, what the children’s wide eyed astonishment would be like, they opened that sleek little purse , only to find the handkerchief had vanished! . And what the couple snogging about in the woods would make of the missing gown and jewels.

  

Editors notes:

 

Even though Angie related this story as having occurred on the same afternoon ,the chronicler felt she was keeping something back. It was never discover what, if anything had been. The answer may lie in the events unfolded above. It may be worth re-reading the story to see if anyone can pick up on it.

 

Folle est l’agneau de la prune qui dans le loup avoue!

 

Silly is the plump lamb to whom in the wolf confesses

 

Our Thanks to Mr Gardner for pointing out the existence of Mr. Monescu’s 1826 guide

 

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Courtesy of Chatwick University Archives

 

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The purpose of these chronological photos and accompanying stories, articles is to educate, teach, instruct, and generally increase the awareness level of the general public as to the nature and intent of the underlying criminal elements that have historically plagued humankind.

 

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Slinking away, still smirking over how rewardingly gullible the bejeweled wealthy girls in silky dresses had proven, Angie unexpectedly came across fresh, opulently inviting, prey.

 

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Angelique D. at play

 

Angie D

 

Circa 1915

 

Case study 113 subset b

 

Early development: “Pickpocket” of worn Jewelry

 

Sub title:

 

What is it about rich girls that make them so lucratively gullible?

Quoted by Subject: log 1959

 

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What:

 

Along a path just outside where a departing congregation of a small church still gathered.

 

Where

 

The outskirts of Chestermere:

 

When:

 

An early fall day, in the year of our Lord 1915

 

Who:

 

An appealing lady wearing a secret smile, clad expensively in a silky top and flowing satiny ruffled skirt, a pair of gold earrings flashing merrily as she strolls.

 

Excerpted from Diary:

 

A lady in a cream silk blouse and long blue skirt was walking happily along a path on the outskirts of Chestermere. She was coming from the early Sabbath service of a local chapel, filled with the rousing words of the Parson’s homily. As Angie walked, she hummed a cheerful tune, her conscious, as always, free of any guilty feelings.

 

Angie was very pleased with herself, and the main source of the pleasure was now bouncing against her thigh as she briskly walked along. For deep in a small pocket hidden well below the waistline of her flowing sleek skirt, was a pretty jeweled pendent on a delicate gold chain.

 

Only just 15 minutes ago that jeweled pendent was still being worn by a member of a rather wealthy looking family whom had been in attendance at the same Sabbath service. Angie had scoped them out as the family had waltzed in just after the mass had started. The mother was dressed in a pretty white frock with ruffles of lace falling from her throat and wrists, along with a rather nice set of pearls. The rather formal and severe father was in a “monkey suit”, a gold pocket watch and fob stretched across his rather bulging waist. The pair had their hands full with two rambunctious , pre-adolescent twin boys, who had continually distracted them during and after the lengthy service. Which was good, from Angie’s point of view anyway, for it left the parents totally ignoring their seventeen year old daughter , at the end of the pew, standing with a sultry air about her.

 

The daughter was wearing a rather fancy party dress of thick red silk. Dangling down the front of the sheer red silk bodice, on a thin gold chain, was an attention grabbing deep green emerald starburst pendent that fell swaying from her dress’s high neckline. It had been the sleek dress that had whetted Angie’s interest, but it was the pendent that kept that interest focused during the entire service, delightedly eyeing the pendant’s shimmeriness in the low candle lit church. During the communion procession she had managed to slip in behind her in order to closer scrutinize the prospect, soaking in the expectations of acquiring it from the unsuspecting proper acting young lady..

 

As the service ended, the family joined in the stream of the departing congregation. Angie followed closely, looking for her chance. It came when the Parson stopped the father to ask a question, a group soon huddled around the mother and the twins. As everyone bent over to focus attention on the twins, including their sister, Angie circled her prey and slipped in close, hovering briefly over her back before darting in. In one fluid motion, Angie lifted with one practiced hand the chain and flicked open the thin clasp, nimbly catching the swaying pendent in her other hand as it fell, whisking the sparkling emeralds and chain away and palming it from sight. Absolutely no one noticed the flashy necklace as it vanished from the front of the sister’s silky dress. Angie had continued on her way, clutching the pendent, and headed straight out the door without looking back. Instead of heading back the short 3 miles to her hotel in the city, she decided to head out towards the woods, where she planned to lay low until dusk.

   

Angie now turned her head to have a look behind her at the distant chapel and the people milling about, her gold plated earrings flashing as she did so. Good, she thought, no one was following her, and she, in total security that she was out of danger, crossed off the path and went on the road.

  

Angie strolled along the country lane, trees lining it turning red and yellow in their autumn gowns, for quite some time, before she became aware of a band playing off in the distance.. Then turning a bend in the lane, through the thin wall of woods, she spied a wedding reception up on a hill by a white stone Church. From her vantage point she could see a multitude of colourful , richly shimmering gowns and the occasional sparkle of , she hoped , opulent jewelry.

  

As good luck would have it, she decides to crash the party. She was dressed for it, she was hungry, and who knows what pickings she may find inside to increase her earthly riches ,as the Parson had been saying! She walked around, skirting the woods and came across a hillside garden with rose covered arbors and bright flower lined paths. Two grubby boys of about ten and twelve were playing in the woods on the opposite side, by a small pond surrounded thickly with Rhododendron s. She entered the Garden and made her way up the winding path, coming out onto a small field with benches that lay on the opposite side of the church and the auditorium entrance to the reception.

 

Angie entered the crowded auditorium underneath the Church. She helped herself to the food buffet and sat outside enjoying her meal, as she watched the richly dressed crowd. A young man came up and asked her to dance, which she did happily, and just as happily lifted his gold watch and fob. And, too boot, after a few dances with him, she had become a part of his circle, happily mingling, and rubbing elbows with the obviously wealthy guests he presented her to. Including an introduction to his pretty faced teenage sister, who was sporting a pretty diamond ring on all too slender finger, that she kept waving in Angie’s face as she played with her long silky hair.

  

Angie soon left them and started to stalk about for a bit, noting that most of the guests were older, more mature specimens. There seemed to be a lack of young, well dressed children around, whose shiny offerings had been Angie’s main bread and butter for almost two years.. She had just come to the conclusion that she would have to settle for picking a few pockets or purses before leaving. She started to look around for the bloke with the fancy gold pocket watch who had first asked her to dance….

 

Then she saw her.

 

The lady was moving through the crowd, on the arms of a man half her age, giggling, not paying attention to anything else around her. She wore a long gown of a shimmery purple silk. But it was not the gown that had caught Angie’s eye, but the jeweled brooch that hung from the gowns cleavage, shadowed by its mistress’s ample bosom. Like the figurehead in a seagoing schooner it came, shimmering in the dazzling light of at least a hundred diamond chips, surrounded by an oval of blazing sapphires. Angie’s fingers tingled. It was time.

 

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Now, it had been better than three years ago when Angie had run across an ancient, toothless Gypsy in a long black dress with a faded shawl around her shoulders, who had spoken Angie’s fortune. When she had read Angie’s palm, she looked Angie dead in the eyes, a most knowing kind of look. Then she had risen, motioning Angie to stay and came back with a rather battered old pamphlet she wanted Angie to look over. Entitled the Cutpurse: skilles, artes and Secretes of the Dip by “Gaston Monescu, 1826”, it covered the various tactics and moves used by master pickpockets. Including whole chapters on successful “Methodes” of relieving a wealthe lady of her” jeweles”.

 

The Gypsy Woman, who had hovering over Angie as she had read deeply into the pamphlet moved and sat back down across from her.

 

Angie ,who by this time in her quite young life, was already an accomplished cutpurse and picker of pockets, looked up at the gypsy, grinned, and asked if it was worth her while. The Gypsy just smiled, reached up and opened her dirty laced shawl, revealing the silvery necklace that Angie had been wearing when she had come in. Amazed she traded the necklace for the pamphlet on the spot and quickly began putting its teachings into play.

 

Angie soon mastered this new level of her chosen craft.

 

She had started on mannequins: clothing them in long silky dresses and jewelry. She had practiced for months, first in a rented studio apartment, then in a secret basement located in an isolated, deserted old barn and then its surrounding woods. Soon she felt confident enough to go out and try it in the crowded streets amongst shopping women. She met with great success, but her gains were only a pittance. Still she practiced, and had gotten so adept that she soon was moved onto more affluent hunting grounds.

 

She reasonably started out with weddings. For the phamplett had suggested starting out at formal parties where there would be an abundance of youngsters dressed in their best by parents wanting to show their off female issues to an adoring public( in the minds of the wealthy parents, anyway). So she went, seeking out young, easily distracted young girls who were not used to wearing the array of enticing jewels placed on them by overly enthusiastic parents.

 

Angie’s first time out was met with some rather sweet success. A large day time wedding reception in Nova Scotia, held in a public park by a majestic sweeping waterfall.

 

Late at the reception, as she was still prowling without making any formal attempts, she soon noticed that the adults at the gathering were becoming quite gay with drink, and noticeably paying less attention to their children. Said children began to wonder off in groups, exploring and starting to run about playing games, their gowns and dresses whispering a Pied Piperish tune to Angie’s ears, their shiny jewels luring her ever closer.

 

Angie soon started to follow a pair of young ladies who had scampered off to explore.

One was an impish girl with long black hair flowing down, drawing ones attention to the frilly white dress she was wearing. Gold chain earrings dancing merrily from her ears, as a longish gold herringbone chain shimmering brightly in the sun as it lay hanging from her silk dresses’’ high neckline.

Her partner in crime was a most fascinating subject. A charmingly bright green eyed proper young imp, a couple of years older than white dress, with a rather pronounced Welsh accent, much like Agie’s remembered her parents having. Her silken red hair lay down her back in a neat long French braid. A long thin satin gown of emerald green swished as she ran with the awkwardness of youth to keep up with her new friend. A matching satin bow was tied just below her throat, its ends trailing down to her svelte waistline. At the bows center was fastened a glittering rhinestone pin. She also was wearing a small rhinestone necklace that encircled her throat just above the bow. Her ears were home to a pretty pair of clasped rhinestone earrings that matched the pattern of her necklace. Around one short shiny green satin gloved wrist was a brite rhinestone bracelet.

 

The duo found the waterfall, by which a photographer had set up a camera. Angie approached the lovely pair, and easily started up a conversation, helped by the fact that as an adult, she was not scolding them for walking off. They seemed pleased that Angie was actually doing the exact opposite, like a favored auntie, she was encouraging them to explore.

 

Angie led them around a bend for a different view of the cascading waterfall, out of earshot of the reception. She helped the black haired lass, Basil, up to sit on a small stone wall for a better look, also helping to slip off the shiny gold herringbone necklace from her throat with an almost effortless ease in the process. As, with itching fingers, she contemplated what to do about Basil’s gold earrings, Angie started to watch Lydia.

 

Oblivious to what was going on around her, the red head, Lydia, was standing next to Angie, looking over the fence which just reached her shoulders. Here dear, Angie said, after pocketing the purloined gold necklace, you’re messing up your pretty dress. Angie turned the girl towards her, reached over and said, here, let my fix your bow, darling. Lydia allowed Angie to retie it, as Basil, her back to them, happily was watching, enraptured, the splashing water. Angie finished undoing and retying Lydia’s satin bow, neatly removing the pretty rhinestone pin in the process, then as she straightened the girl’s color, Angie had her turn around. As Lydia obediently did so, Angie flicked open the rhinestone necklaces clasp, and peeled off the flashy necklace from around Lydia’s throat as she turned round. Just like that, Lydia’s rhinestone necklace went the same way of er pin, both ending up with the gold chain in a secret pocket hidden in the folds of Angie’s skirt.

 

Angie stood behind Lydia, placing her hands on Lydia’s slick silken covered shoulders, all three watching the waterfall. Angie’s left hand caressingly, ever so lithely inched down along Lydia’s side, reaching the girls wrist. As Angie engaged them in conversation, she slowly worked off the bracelet, leaving only the pretty earrings as her last challenge.

 

Angie lifted her right hand and slowly moved it up to one of the girl’s dangling earrings, sparkling in the waterfalls’ reflection.. With her left hand she pointed upstream. As both girls turned their heads to look, off came a rhinestone earring. Angie than playfully lifted Lydia’s long French braid and laid it over Lydia’s shoulder, below her now bare ear. She turned to look down, giggling, and as she did so, Angie plucked away the remaining earring; it easily came off and joined its companion with the rest of the collection of jewelry in Angie’s secret pocket. Amazed that the process of removing young Lydia’s jewels had gone off so easily, Angie almost wished Lydia had been wearing bells like one of her sleekly gowned practice mannequins. Her reasoning being that she would know if it was because her skill level was that good, or just the fact that Lydia was just an unworldly youth easily distracted. Whatever the reason, Angie, feeling fresh inspiration, looked over at the chirpy basil, and her shiny gold earrings.

 

Angie moved behind Basil, placing her hands upon the slippery waistline of her silk dress, then leaned forward, whispering in the girls ear, tickling it with her breath. As Basil giggled Angie reached up gently lifted the gold chain earring up from the lobe of the girl’s opposite ear lobe. Then nimbly with her thumb and index finger, flicked open the hinge clasp and neatly removed the earring, watching for any reaction from her victim. Basil never felt a thing, Lydia was still watching the waterfall, equally as oblivious. Angie kept her chin close to Basil’s ear, and the remaining earring. Cautiously she moved her fingers up, and then darting in with them, successfully repeated the maneuver. As the earring joined the rest of her collection, Angie could not help thinking that if all her future endeavors were as successful, she could end up living quite a comfortable lifestyle.

 

Angie stayed a few more minutes, keeping the pair distracted the whole time before she cautiously moved off, leaving the two of them there by stream. Basil happily perched on the stone wall, and Lydia bent down, busily plucking at the moss growing on the old stones. Both girls still quite fetching in their pretty gowns, both a bit less weighted down by any added trimmings.

 

For the next year, fueled by her early success, she started focusing entirely on wedding receptions. Honing her skills until it became almost mundane for her nimble fingers to lift a jewel, no matter where is was being worn by a squirming young lady upon her fancy dressed person. And, actually, some of her acquisitions where worth a surprising bit of dough when pawned.

  

Favored Case in Point:

 

It was in New Hampshire, on her 24th outing late during the wedding season of the following year when she came upon a rather prim young miss of about 13, clad in a long sleeved thick yellow satin blouse, a black velvet vest and matching gold and black vertical striped satin skirt. A young raven haired bumble bee with no stinger, but with pearls, black pearls in a long string dangling down along the front of her shiny back buttoned blouse. She was also wearing matched black pearled earrings, and a small, daintily jeweled pin in the shape of a humming bird on her velvet vest. She was sitting alone at a table, playing with some crayons and a book. Angie, who had been watching her for some time from a bar stool, had come up and caught the pretty little things full attention, easily capturing her interest, then, finally, suggesting they go and watch the activity on the ballroom floor from a small alcove in a corner. Liking the adventurous way Angie had suggested it, the bumble bee had eagerly followed Angie away from the table.

 

Angie continued making small talk as the pretty thing was watching the exquisitely gown guests on the dance floor, including the girls’ parents. She was met with youthful exuberance by the youth, who was so enthralled with the activity on the dance floor that she was as unaware of what was going on around her , much like one of Angie’s practice Mannequins. After quite easily removing the dainty jeweled pin, Angie’s subtle fingers were able to lift up and flick open the rhinestone clasp of the child’s pearled necklace. Angie than coolly waited for a prime moment before whisking away the wholly distracted young miss’s gleaming black strand of pearls from around the high ruffled collar of her yellow satin blouse.

 

And also, like one of her gowned and jeweled practice Mannequins, the young girl never noticed anything amiss as Angie continued on with her conversation for quite some time afterwards. It was daring, but exciting as Angie kept stealing looks at the bare front of the glossy yellow blouse where the pearls had hung down so deliciously, knowing they were in her own pocket, so close, but for the young lady, so far.. Finally she decided she was pressing her luck, and she wished the child a goodnight, before beating a hasty exit,( but not before circling back to the now deserted table and heartlessly lifted the fat, expensively made purses, of both the young girl, and her mother!)

 

The jeweled hummingbird pin, and string of matched black pearls, dainty and long, fetched a pawned price that left whetted Angie’s appetite for more!

 

So, it was after this that Angie, looking for fresher, richer challenges, decided to seek out slightly older prey in their natural habitats, proms and social teenage dances. Where real gems, usually borrowed from their mothers or Grandmothers, would be replacing rhinestones.

 

Still very youthful looking despite her twenty something age, Angie’s first attempt was an upscale dance she had come across while out about in a neighboring city. It was held in an old ballroom for a local boy’s prep school and their dates. Figuring the girls attending would be ripe for the picking in tight gowns and loose fitting jewels, Angie stole inside for a closer look. The only obstacle was getting one of the begowned girls away from her group long enough to make a play for something of value that she was wearing.

  

But, Angie came away with nothing but valuable experience on that first attempt.

 

And it was actually her third try before she met with success in the form of a gold bracelet. It was at a formal dance being held in a large room of a rather posh hotel called the Red Lion Inn. She had gone in for a peek, and spying a pretty young thing heading for the ladies room, fell in step behind her. She was a long brown haired girl, wearing a short silk dress, blue, forming the perfect backdrop for her mouthwatering selection of shimmering gold jewellery. Waiting in a small alcove, Angie made her move as the young lady came back out the door. Bumping against her, Angie’s right hand held onto the youngster by the waist, drawing her close, as she steadied herself, apologizing. At the same time, Angie placed her left hand on the unsuspecting mark’s left wrist, easily flicking open the clasp of the thick gold etched bracelet and slipping it off and away. The young lady, accepting Angie’s apology, went on her way, and Angie, swiftly darted for the nearest exit, securing the rather overly brite bracelet in her bosum.

 

Over the spring and early summer dance seasons Angie practiced, acquiring bracelets and rings down pat using her skillfully developing fingers. She soon also was having some success with necklaces, including one with a long gold chain and a flower pendent set with a diamond carpel surrounded by ruby petals that had turned a quite tidy profit.

 

Then there had been the night of her first big haul, at a private girl’s school homecoming in Connecticut

 

She had started out by finally selecting and shadowing a young lady clad a slinky black dress, draped in her mother’s diamonds. Angie was drooling over a flashy wide glittering gemmed silver bracelet that hung loosely from the young vixen’s limp wrist. She was sure it was made up of real diamond chips. As the girl squirmed past Angie heading to the dance floor, her bracelet was easily plucked off the wrist of her black elbow length satin glove and secured deep in the bosom of Angie’s dress.

 

It was now becoming all too easy, smirked Angie as she unflappably headed out of the exit with her trophy. But, as she crossed the street, she was stopped by a hard looking Italian thug who emerged from the shadows. Angie at first thought wanted to mug her for her earrings, but it turned out he just wanted to see a girl who was inside attending the dance . He described her, and Angie, her interest growing, agreed to locate her and give her his message to meet him outside.

 

Angie went inside and soon found the girl. All her wishes had been answered. The unsuspecting lass was both richly gowned and even more richly jeweled, combined with zero common sense. This fidgeting girl had been seeing the young Italian on the sly, away from her disapproving family and friends. Angie led her out the back way, the opposite side of the Dance Parlor where the Italian was waiting in an alley.

 

Angie pointed across the street towards an entirely different Alleyway, offering to wait with her when the girl balked about going down it. As they waited, Angie fawned over the poor, beautifully adorned young innocent. Helping her straighten her luxurious gown, and helping her primp her long hair, so she would look just right for her east end Romeo. After waiting ten minutes, Angie instructed the girl to wait, while she went out and peeked down the street to see what was keeping her lover.

 

As she left, Angie stole a look back at the still primping young lass, eyeing her slinky gown, and remaining jewels, before heading off down the street, looking into her palm at the pair of long Garnet and diamond earrings that lay nestled, glittering fire there. She then placed them into a secret pocket, joining them with the girl’s small, expensive matching pendent, liberated as Angie had helped her negotiate a curb with her stiletto heels. Both pieces of the lass’s jewelry shared the same pocket with the wide silver bracelet encrusted with diamond chips that Angie had taken earlier..

 

More than once since then, Angie wondered if the ditzy, well jeweled girl ever had made it back out of that alleyway unscathed.

 

The experience had even more so whetted Angie’s appetite. So, even though she was still practicing on younger females, she was now dying to ply her trade upon mature women displaying the real McCoy.

 

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So it was with that in mind that Angie now watched, with itching fingers, the beckoning brooch. Though Angie was still unsure enough of trying her abilities on wealthy ladies who would not be as easily distracted as young girls, the timing felt right. As the lady recklessly displaying the brooch passed, her attention lost in the arms of her lover, Angie turned and followed, getting a close look first at the brooch and its pin, noting that it was not tightly clasped onto the gowns thin material.

 

As the couple headed to a table they passed two wealthy dames arguing vigorously with each other. Pricey rings flashing as they pointed fingers emphatically in each other’s face. On the side of table away from the pair, but near to Angie as she was passing by, lay a small, fat silvery clutch purse . Figuring that any dames loaded down with that many gems should be carrying a healthy wad of dosh in it, Angie, on the fly, took action.

 

As she passed she snatched it, and slipping it under her arm turned and headed towards the ladies powder room. Just before entering Angie looked back watching as the two still argued, gemmed rings flashing she had gotten away with it! Going into a stall she scrutinized the clutch for its valuables; disappointed to find only a fiver, some loose change, and a silky laced handkerchief. How cheap can you get she thought ruefully over the wasted effort? Hiding the clutch in the folds of her satin skirt, she left the stall, passing a lady applying makeup in a mirror. She was very pretty in a fluid teal gown, wearing dazzling white pearls upon her ears, neck and wrists. Something about this lady seemed familiar, and Angie’s senses started to sound an alarm. Catching each other’s eye, Angie nodded, but the lady appeared not to recognize Angie, nor Angie her, but the feeling still lingered. Angie left ,guardedly perplexed.

 

Angie went to the bar to have a drink while she thought about who the lady may have been. She was in a position to see the dance floor and she soon spotted the purple clad lady with the brooch Angie had her eye on, again in a deep embrace with her lover. The Brooch would be profitable, but risky as along as she stuck close with the Boyfriend. Angie needed a way to get him out of the picture for a while. It was as she considered several options to carry out the challenge that Angie again spotted the lady in teal , dancing with a tall red headed man. . Cold prickles like ice ran down her spine, It was the pearls! She suddenly remembered who the lady, and her dance partner were!

 

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Only 5 days ago she had been starting her third week operating in Calgary. She had been following a rather attractive, obviously wealthy woman, wearing an eye catching purple silk dress, carrying a dress bag and some smaller parcels. Close at her side was an unheeded calfskin purse. Alongside the lady was a smaller version, obviously her daughter, a girl of about 14. She was wearing a white shiny turtleneck with an equally shiny long tiered skirt. Both of her hands were occupied with department store bags also. When the ladies darted into a swanky hotel ,Angie had followed, she always had had luck in these types of establishments. They had entered a crowded lift and Angie had worked her way in behind the pair, riding up with them in the rickety contraption. Mother and Daughter got off on 12 and Angie stayed on until 15, exiting with not only the fat wallet from the calfskin purse, but also the shiny gold herringbone necklace that had been flashing from the daughter’s throat, securely in her pocket.

 

Angie decided to call it a day. She had already made about 30 dollars from wallets lifted at the department store she had been working over when she had spotted the mother and daughter at the checkout. The mother was paying from a thick wad of cash, and judging from the jewelry of both were an indication of how wealthy the family was. She had followed them out onto the street and it had paid off in spades. Now, all she had to do was find an exit. She saw a stairwell next to a slightly open door with a maids cart outside. She stopped and hovered over the cart to peer inside the room. It was at that moment a door opened on the opposite side of the hallway.

 

A red headed man in an open tux shirt came out of a room, looking at the cart, and Angie standing next to it. Seizing the opportunity, Angie quickly asked if he needed something. I was looking for a maid; I spilled some wine on the cashmere carpet. Seeing the name Bannister above the bell, she said sweetly, certainly Mr. Bannister, I can have someone take care of that for you.. I was just coming up to let you know there is an urgent message down at the desk for you. (Quick improvisation was a special talent of Angie’s.) Why didn’t you bring it, he started to snap, than , never mind, just get a maid, and he headed towards the elevator.

 

Angie picked up the towels and headed cautiously into the massive suite. From the bedroom off one side she heard running water. She looked around quickly, seeing many valuable articles, but nothing small enough to quickly conceal. She took the towels into the bedroom.

 

Angie went into the bedroom, expertly taking everything in. A long silver lamee gown lay out on the bed. On the vanity lay a silvery purse, a pair of long silver satin gloves , a silver watch, silver necklace, a pair of long dangling silver earrings, and a small blue velvet pouch. On a side dresser laid a man’s thick gold watch and a money clip with a wad of bills, a tenner showing on top. In less than a minute after entering the room she had scooped up the money clip, watches, silver jewelry and gloves stuffing them into the purse and lifting up her long skirt hid it in one of its secret pockets. She lifted up the pouch and found it was empty. A picture on the vanity showed an attractive lady in a black dress and pearls. She briefly wondered where the pearls were, did not see any likely spot, and so had turned to make a hasty exit, when a feminine voice called out from the bathroom where a shower could be heard running. Steam was coming out from the slightly ajar door.

 

Dear, a refined voice stated, I have soap in my eyes and cannot find the washcloth. Angie, smelling an opportunity, peaked her head around the corner into the steamy bathroom. There was a shower stall with glass doors at the end of the long room with a double sink running along the side. From the hook by the shower hung a peach negligee and matching long robe. The door was open slightly and a very soapy femine hand was reaching out trying to feel along a towel bar, just missing a hanging washcloth.

 

A soapy hand from which glittered a pretty gold pinky ring set with small diamonds. Angie went over and pulling off the washcloth, rapped on the glass door , receiving a thank you dear in return as the hand reached out for it. Angie wiped off the protruding hand, and a dry voice said, no, not my hand dear, as the washcloth was plucked playfully from Angie’s grasp , and the door closed. Angie bent down and picked up the diamond pinky ring that had been slipped from the showering woman’s finger by the wash cloth, from the carpeted floor underneath the shower door. she than turned ran a hand along the satin rode, looking around. Bingo, on the counter lay a pair of sparkly long diamond earrings. Dumbstruck at her luck she grabbed them off the sink. , she was jolted back to realty when the voice again called out, are you still there dear? She scurried out of the bathroom, closing the door behind her.

 

She was at the apartment door in a flash, opening it a crack to make sure the coast was clear, it was. In the hallway Angie headed for the stairs because she knew that Bannister was far too important a man to take a stairway. She had been in the apartment less than 4 minutes, and had probably looted it of enough valuables to more than double her take so far of the last three weeks since arriving in Calgary. Leaving by a back exit she came out of a small alley. Looking over she spotted the young lady whose necklace she had lifted in the elevator kneeling down and looking in some bushes. Her shiny skirt pleasantly splayed out upon the ground around her. Angie briskly walked past her and off down the street. She made it without incident to the dingy apartment she was renting by the day. Collecting her meager belongings Angie checked out immediately. Leaving by bus for Chestermere, where at a small bank she rented a safety deposit box to stash all her ill-gotten gains for safe keeping until the heat wore down a bit.

 

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Now Back to the Present

 

Angie now knew how lucky she had been. The red headed man, Bannister, may have recognized her. Calgary was too close to Chestermere , she should have been more cautious when scoping out the receptions guests. Angie turned and headed to the bar to think the situation over.

 

She saw the young man whose watch she had lifted, talking to an older, pretty lady laden with pearls. Behind them stood his sister, her diamond ring sparkling as she twirled her hair. Angie circled wide, coming up behind the lad, she grabbed his shoulder, why hello there. He smiled, introducing her to his Aunt, whose jeweled fingers she took into her hand in a gracious shake. He continued talking to his Aunt, it seems that they were discussing a family matter of some importance .Angie, finding the rings were tight on the Aunt’s chubby fingers, let go of her hand and moved over to the sister, and engaged her in conversation, moving a little off so that the sister turned her back to her brother and aunt.

 

The sister twittered, curling her hair impishly as Angie asked her why she wasn’t dancing. No ones asked, she giggled nervously. What about the boy who has been watching you all eyeing, Angie nodded her head outwards, the girl turned , her hair flying, as she lowered her hand, which Angie took up, petting it in a conspiratorial fashion, go over and ask him, Angie suggested. Go an ask him? I don’t see him she said, but I couldn’t, and she turned back to Angie, flashing her baby blues innocently. That’s okay deary, Angie patted the girl’s hand, keeping her eyes in contact, not allowing her to break the gaze, and perhaps looking down and noticing her loose ring was now gone from her slender finger. Angie took her leave of the sister, and of girl’s annoying nervously twittering giggle. Angie, slipping the diamond ring securely away, continued on until she reached a small alcove from where she could see most of the reception hall.

 

She lit a cigarette, purple silk and her desirably take able brooch was still safely out of reach on the dance floor, and Bannister’s attention was all on his wife. She thought it over, weighing her options, and the risks that were now in play. The song ended, and the dancers started to head off the floor. Angie’s eyes darted, Red headed Bannister and his wife were heading off to the far side of the room, Purple silk and her partner were heading to the bar. Angie’s heart stopped, no, Purple silk was heading to the bar, her lover was off to the men’s rest room. Angie snubbed out her cigarette, rising to the bait, it was now or never. Like a feral feline, Angie began to slowly stalk her prey.

 

But then Angie saw her chance slip through her fingers and evaporate into nothingness, like the smoke from her crushed cigarette. For at that moment an older man bumped into the lady Angie was tailing, spilling his drink down the front of her purple silk gown. Angie retreated and watched from a distance. As the man profusely apologized he produced a silk handkerchief and help wipe down the pretty lady. As he did so, the beautiful diamond broach vanished from her bosom. He had been slicker, slicker than Angie was ( for the time being) able to be. Angie felt her heart sink. Not only had she been deprived of the broach, but the existence of another member of her trade meant that she had better scram, not wishing to cross him. She could tell by the look in the man’s eyes that this was one not to be tangled with

 

Giving up on any plans she had been harboring, she got up, turned her back to the dance floor, headed as quickly as she could to the far exit, keeping her gains, and cutting her (presumed) losses.

 

Angie reached the door without challenge, opening it, she found stairs leading into the Church above. But first she stole a look back. She observed the man suavely talking to the now brooch less lady wearing purple silk. In that second a long haired (ginger) young lady passed by him, wearing a slinking green satin dress. Angie saw the man watching her walk on bye, and then immediately took his leave of purple silk, and began following the perky girl in green satin, with her savory collection of loosely dangling silver jewelry, heavily encrusted with flickering emeralds.

 

Angie turned away, and while wondering how she had failed to have spotted that prime prey in green earlier, went to the stairs.

 

She went up the stairs, coming out into a small chapel in back of the church. A door led to the outside, which Angie took, pouting inwardly, feeling all the world like a child who had been deprived of a desirable toy. She found herself on the side leading down to the Garden from which she had entered. The Church was now in between Angie and the reception, so she felt free to move unobserved. She crossed over to the gardens entrance and headed down the hill.

 

In front of her was a hedgerow, on the other side, Angie knew, was the small field with benches that lay at the entrance to the gardens proper. It was coming from there that she head the voices of children playing, on the other side, but she paid no heed, her mind was on leaving the area.

 

As she hurried along the hedgerow she saw something sparkle expensively in the sunlight through one of the gaps in the hedges. She stopped and curiously looked through a small opening. That’s were all the young darlings have been hiding she remarked to herself, her interest peaking. Forgetting all about leaving and lost opportunity of the brooch, she now focused on the new “toy” now dangling its enticement to her. It belonged to a girl in a slithering silvery gown, with her long hair done up in a long plait. Angie eyed the girl’s sparklers, which Angie first took as all rhinestones.. But, as Angie took inventory, her eye focused on a ring that she was wearing on one of her petite fingers. It held a fiery display, diamonds and rubies. There was no way the ring was rhinestone. Looking around to access the situation, Angie decided that by hook or crook, she needed to get a better look.

 

Watching the colourfully gowned young ladies innocently at play, Angie mused over the golden opportunity just waiting for someone unscrupulous to acquire the jewelry they were wearing. Someone should make them aware Angie decided, surprised that no one older than 16 was watching over them. Knowing that the scene before her was too fertile an opportunity to pass up without at least a long glance, Angie looked around, making sure no adults were about unseen in the woods, or any other nook and cranny of the play area.

 

Angie had found she had a knack for capturing young, well dressed lady’s interest, much to her amusement, and profit! It was with this in mind that Angie decided to allow herself a few precious minutes to watch from her hidden opening to see what may transpire. There were six children, four young ladies who were obviously dressed for a wedding, and the two urchin boys of about 12 and 10 she had spotted earlier. They were dressed as the local poor farm boys they obviously were. Angie quickly overheard the names of the girls as they called out to one another. .

 

The group were playing, appropriately enough for Angie’s point of view, a children’s standard game of cops and robbers. All Angie could think about, as she watched the boys with exuberance chasing and holding the giggling, squirming girls, was that there would hopefully be no actual robbing of jewelry as the game was played out. As each girl, Angie quickly memorizing their names, was ”captured” and taken to “prison”, Angie was able to scope them out at leisure.

 

The youngest Cecilia, about six, was wearing a long smooth gown of deep cream, with a midnight black bolero style jacket of velvet. From her neck was happily swaying a long silver chain with a jeweled winged beetle pendent, her jacket was home to a matching pin.

 

Cecilia’s older sister, 10 year old Claire, was wearing a puffy blue satin blouse with a long bow dancing down the front. Her long skirt of glistening black flowed in ripples as she ran. Also moving in ripples were the long gold herringbone chains she wore dangling from her neck, as were also her matching earrings and bracelet. A thick, expensively shiny gold ring encircled her middle finger.

 

Claire’s friend, Abbey, of about the same age, was wearing a longish gown of sunset pink satin, with a white satin sash encircling her waist. At the center of the sash glistened a gold pin set with pearls. Around her throat, dangling from her ears, were glimmering white pearls.

 

The oldest girl, the one in charge, was a fourteen year old named Amanda. Young and flighty, she kept looking up into the voluminous white clouds in the sky as if trying to see what they were forming. She was dressed in a longish slithering silver princess style gown, the style one may see flowing along the shapely figure of an actress at the moving picture awards ceremony. A fancy necklace with large garnet stones and small diamonds was flapping against her chest as she ran. The necklace matched her long earrings, bracelet, along with her pretty ring. She was wearing a flashy red jeweled head band , with strings of gold and rhinestones interwoven into her long plait of naturally wavy chestnut hair. The head band was all rhinestone, as were the garnets in the rest of her jewels. But what from a distance appeared to be small diamonds in her matching set that separated the garnets, were actually ¼ caret diamonds. Angie, upon realizing this, felt her heart burning with desire at acquiring a piece of the set being so vulnerably dangling from Amanda’s slickly attired person. But a couple of ripping gold herringbone chains, or even a jeweled beetle pendent flicked from a velvet jacket would be nice to acquire also, if only for the practice benefits.

 

To Angie’s secret joy, Amanda was the last girl to be captured, only because a stone lodged itself in her shoe brining her up lame. She was held by one of the boys, and lead, limping, to the other two girls. As a new game was started, she sat out. She hobbled to a nearby stone bench, brushed herself off , watching the group play before removing her shoe to find the annoying stone.

 

Angie started to make her move even before Amanda had made it to the stone bench. She reached her as she was shaking her shoe, slipping up alongside her on the cool bench. The girl jumped, but Angie’s special (practiced!) smile soon won her over. Angie soon enticed the young thing into casual conversation, extracting useful information as Angie, feigning a cheerful interest on the outside, while studying the girls expensive gown and drooling over the glistening garnet and diamonds that adorned it on the inside.

 

Angie tried to direct Amanda’s attention to her young charges, commenting about their pretty baubles, then asking who the boys were, and how well they knew them, about who suggested the game they were playing, how robbers were attracted to pretty things you know, and, were the boys playing the robbers next? Surreptitiously trying to plant seeds of distrust in the immature girls mind, and Angie could see that those seeds had found rich soil. Her intention was to keep the girl distracted long enough for a go at acquiring her necklace.

 

Angie, not unlike a feral cat, waited patiently for her opportunity to take the necklace from the unassuming Amanda to arise. But the girl was not cooperating; her attention on the playing girls lasting for mere seconds before focusing it back on Angie. Angie decided to use a different tactic. Angie placed an arm around girl’s silken shoulder and pointed up into the fluffy white clouds, asking her if she could see what Angie saw.

 

In the clouds, Amanda asked? As she leaned back into Angie who drew her close, relishing in the silky , quite scintillating feel of the child’s slick gown. No, Angie thought unkindly, you silly rich twit, the clasp of your necklace is what I see ( her fingers snaked up the backside of the sleek silver gown towards the tantalizingly easy open able clasp). The one you are about to lose to me, she continued thinking before answering the girl.

 

But seconds later, when Angie did answer, it was with a sweet motherly tone that dripped honey. Yes dear, in the clouds, doesn’t that one look like a soldier, or perhaps a highway man on a horse she inquired to Amanda? No, I think it’s a prince answered Amanda, and Angie thought , not for the first time, about the power of suggestion, for the mass of clouds looking like absolutely nothing but a mass of clouds to her!

 

But, it was an opportunity opened, and as the guileless girl was happily lost in her thoughts, Angie began to lift the clasp into position. As the necklace move up the girls chest, Angie could see its jewels, all sparkly, as the sun came back, peeking through the clouds. But Angie was not the only one who noticed, for the oldest lad who had been stalking up on the youngest sister’s hiding spot, was attracted by the sparklers now flashing around the distracted girl’s throat.

  

The boy headed towards them, and Angie’s fingers retreated. As the girl noticed the boy approaching, she gave a nervous giggle, and placed a hand to her throat. Angie began to rise from the bench, feeling the opportunity was slipping away, for the second time that day. But she hesitated a minute, and she was glad she did.

  

The boy came up and asked Amanda if she was going to play again. He was openly gawking at the necklace Amanda was nervously fiddling as he spoke, and Angie drooled to herself, you dear sweet child. For She could feel Amanda pressing hard into Angie as if seeking protection from his eyes. Angie took action, pointing out the sister the boy had been stalking. Successful diverting the boy’s attention, she sent him after the girl.

  

Maybe it was the things Angie had been feeding the girl about strangers and playing robbers, or pointing out the highway man in the clouds, but the attention to her necklace by the lad had had an obvious effect on Amanda. Angie, seizing the opportunity, exploited it to the fullest. With an Epiphany like thought, she knew what to say, and do next. And if it worked, then Amanda’s necklace would not be the only bauble acquired by old Angie girl.

  

Angie shooed the lad away, and he left, reluctantly to rejoin the game in progress. Then, in an inspired bit of deceitful storytelling, Angie related to Amanda a sad tale about an incident in her childhood, one she made up on the spot. The girl listened, still cuddling for whatever reason, as Angie stroked her enticingly attired figure down, relishing in the softness of her gown, along with admiring jewels she was so intent on acquiring. It was not often in Angie’s line of work that she was able to really check out one of her victims in this manner, and she relished every minute of it.

  

As Angie went full bore into her tale of woe ,she lifted up the attractive necklace from pretty girl’s chest, as she chokingly told the youngster that when she was her age she had been playing dress up in one of her mother’s gowns and had put on some of her mother’s jewelry without her permission.

  

Angie than took up the girl’s slender hand into hers, fingering gently the pleasingly expensive ring , seeing tin the young ladies eyes that she had struck a chord, and Amanda was totally held captivated with her story. Angie continued on… She had gone outside and over to the playground where a group of older children had convinced her to play a game of cops and robbers. When they had been done playing and Angie had gone home, she discovered some of her mother’s pretty jewelry was missing.

  

Angie noticed with satisfaction that as she was reaching the end of her story Amanda had stiffened, her heart started beating faster, and she started to check over her own jewelry. Your mother’s than, Angie drooled to herself, she had nailed it on the head. Carpe Diem Angie said to herself, throwing all caution to the wind.

  

Cops and robbers? That’s the game the boys are having us play, Amanda questioned with visible concern. As she was making this statement, Angie saw with satisfaction Amanda’s open mouth gasping as her eyes went to the boys who were now high in a tree, innocently unaware of what they were underhandedly being accused of eventually attempting to do ( steal the young girls jewelry)!

  

The two Boys had spotted a bird’s nest and where trying to see if it had eggs as the sisters watched them, backs to the bench where Amanda and Angie sat. Seeing the coast was clear, Angie quickly acted, before her story lost its effect over Amanda. Angie produced the purloined silver purse and pulled out the silky handkerchief. She spread the handkerchief out on Amanda’s silken covered lap, setting the purloined purse down upon her own.

  

I really think you should put your jewelry somewhere for safekeeping. Why don’t you wrap it up in this handkerchief, you can keep it in my purse. I’ll lend it too you if you promise to bring it back to me when you get back to the reception. Amanda nodded wisely (those earrings were very pretty Angie told herself) , Angie’s heart went to her throat, the young innocent, abroad from the reception, had swallowed Angie’s deviously luring tactic. Here, Angie promised, I’ll start, and she took of her gilded earrings and laid them gently out upon the shiny white surface of the silk handkerchief. This way I won’t lose mine either, she confided in Amanda, who looked back at Angie with her innocently wide blue eyes.

  

Amanda now showed no inhibitions while reaching up and removing her glittery necklace, laying it gently out upon the handkerchief. It was soon followed by rings and bracelet. Removing the headband and rhinestones chains, undoing her plait in the process, her long hair flowed down her back in curls. It curled up as she laid it upon the ever growing, sweetly glimmering, pile. Then she flung back her long hair and undid the screw backs of her flashy earrings, placing them on top of the heap. Angie’s heart began beating faster as she realized she was going to get away with this! Aw, she thought, as the last of Amanda’s expensively glittering jewels was added to the already glistening pile, wealthy children are so adorably cute when they are being gullible.

  

When Amanda finished, Angie looked down upon the glittering mound, unbelieving her luck. But then the unimaginable happened. Amanda, laying the handkerchief with its precious cargo on the bench next to her, stood and called back the two sisters and their young friend to the bench.

  

Angie held her breath as the girls, turned and dutifully ran up to her, the boys still high in the tree, paid no attention to them. Angie watched, almost salivating as the pretty darlings in their fluttering frocks came bouncing back, necklaces flinging in and out, obediently to Amanda’s call.

  

As they reached Amanda, she told them that they had better remove their jewelry for safe keeping. Why, Challenged Cecilia, with childish accusation? Amanda looked back at the boys in the tree, because I think you may lose them while you play, she scolded. We’re careful Cecilia retorted obstinately, as she looked from Amanda to her sister Claire. Amada looked at Claire, and lifting the girls gold necklace pointed her chin at the tree containing the two boys, and said, they will be the robber’s next game. Claire went wide eyed, and told Cecilia and Abby that they had better do as they were told.

  

Claire was closest, and with a nod from Amanda, unfastened her necklace and laid it out on the silky handkerchief. They were soon followed by her gold drop earrings, bracelet and ring. She started to back away still wearing her rhinestone hairclips. Don’t forget them… Angie started to say, but was cut off as Amanda told Claire to remove them, which she did promptly. Angie was glad she had been able to hold her tongue.

  

Cecilia was next. She approached Angie and Amanda, her long dress swishing richly as she came. She politely asked Amanda for help. Turning her back to Amanda she lifted up her long hair, Amanda remover her necklace and pin, laying them upon the growing shimmery pile. Cecilia removed her earrings and ring, happily placing them with the rest. Very pretty Angie said, admiring the dress, she lifted up the sleeve, admiring it, no bracelets, she whispered to herself, as she pulled the silky sleeve back ever so slightly.

  

Abby than approached, and quietly, obediently, unfastened her pearled necklace, and then removed her glistening matching earrings, and placed them all delicately upon the pile. Momma said to be careful with them, their Grand mama’s, she bleated sweetly, and Angie felt her heart skip several beats, suppressing an evil grin upon hearing those delicious words. Claire then helped Abby remove the pearled brooch from her satin sash.

  

Angie stood back, her heart had been pounding with cutting swords of mixed delicious pleasure and anticipation as, there on that sunlit church playground, the girls in swishy gowns, removed their valuables for “safe” keeping. She knew she now had to work fast, for there was an ever growing chance that an adult would show up from the reception and ruin Angie’s fun.

  

Angie than folded up the silk handkerchief, and in a classic bit of misdirection that would have made Gaston Monescu proud, appeared to place it inside the purse she was going to leave in the children’s safe keeping. But she actually palmed it, and slipped the bundle deep into her skirts pocket as she handed the purse over with her free hand. All three sets of eyes watching the purse, not what Angie’s other hand was doing.

  

Now go and have fun, Angie encouraged the girls as she handed the purse to Amanda. The youngsters seemed thrilled that they had an adult’s permission to keep on playing, and knowing that they would not be in danger of now being yelled at for possibly losing some of their pretty jewelry, they scurried off happily, in waves of whispery satin. Amanda stopped and gave Angie a hug before following the two sisters and their friend. The kind of hug that would have sealed the fate of any jewelry she may have still been wearing, and for which Angie did a double check for. Angie then watched Amanda run off, long gown fluttering out from behind her.

  

As the four girls rejoined the two boys, Angie slowly slinked away, melting into the woods. She allowed herself to smirk over how rewardingly gullible rich young girl’s in silky dresses ,wearing ripe for the plucking jewelry ,always proved to be.

  

Folle est l’agneau de la prune qui dans le loup avoue! She whispered to herself as she disappeared from the frolicking children’s sight.

  

She stopped suddenly as she reached a small clearing with the path leading to the rose covered arbor crossed. Not believing her eyes, as she unexpectedly saw below her fresh, opulently attired, prey.

  

A young couple was busily snogging in the garden the garden just ahead of Angie. As she looked over the pair of richly dressed pretty young things, she could not help but wonder if this couple had been in charge of watching over the children and had snuck away to be by themselves. She quickly ducked behind some bushes as the girl broke away, and with a come hither look, led her boyfriend through a rose covered arbor. Not a moment too soon, for the couple looked behind them, before crossing over the path and disappearing into the woods.

  

Angie cautiously snuck forward, and reaching the spot where they had disappeared into the woods, hears the girl giggling along with the unmistakable sounds of kissing. As the couple is otherwise occupied, Angie carefully moves into the woods. She spies the lad’s suit lying over some branches, and sees the shrubs moving underneath as the couple obviously have progressed now beyond kissing.

  

Angie spies something bright and shiny laying on the ground just in front of the shrub. She inches forward. It is the girls gown, laying spread out like a slick wet fluid purple pond , and there, in a nice neat pile, is the diamond jewelry she was wearing. Angie wonders what would have happened if some miscreant, or unscrupulous hobo were to stumble upon this scene. In her mind she reasoned that they would probably steal the jewels. So, why shouldn’t ole Angie be the one to acquire this one’s jewels also? Since she would probably be losing them anyway!

  

Angie reaches down and quietly pulls away the fluidly glossy gown, the silky material whispering along the grass as it moves. Angie keeps one ear on the couple just out of sight, the other listens for any noise on the path behind her that may betray her as she melts away back into the woods. Then, when she is a safe distance away, happily scoops up the girls small fiery diamonds. Picking up the gown she carried it back, hanging it from a limb just before leaving the path, she ran a hand along its enticing length, before leaving, snickering to herself the whole way.

  

Coup-Fourré, Angie thinks too herself as she regains the path, after carefully making sure no one else was about. Off in the distance she can just barely hear the children still at play. The purse where they innocently believed held their jewelry safe, she imagines still sitting on the bench. She thinks for a second about going back and lifting that purse, but decides not to push her luck, now that she had finally found some.

  

She once again pictured the beaming faces of the three young girls as they were being complimented on their shiny dresses by the pretty lady with the nice smile and gentle fingers as she carefully looked them over for anything missed that those nasty boys may try to take. Naively unaware that they had, in reality, been robbed of the precious gems that they had been convinced to remove for “safe keeping.”

  

Angie, for the first time, but not the last, imagined in her mind, what the children’s wide eyed astonishment would be like, they opened that sleek little purse , only to find the handkerchief had vanished! . And what the couple snogging about in the woods would make of the missing gown and jewels.

  

Editors notes:

 

Even though Angie related this story as having occurred on the same afternoon ,the chronicler felt she was keeping something back. It was never discover what, if anything had been. The answer may lie in the events unfolded above. It may be worth re-reading the story to see if anyone can pick up on it.

 

Folle est l’agneau de la prune qui dans le loup avoue!

 

Silly is the plump lamb to whom in the wolf confesses

 

Our Thanks to Mr Gardner for pointing out the existence of Mr. Monescu’s 1826 guide

 

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Courtesy of Chatwick University Archives

 

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The purpose of these chronological photos and accompanying stories, articles is to educate, teach, instruct, and generally increase the awareness level of the general public as to the nature and intent of the underlying criminal elements that have historically plagued humankind.

 

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Third in a series of stories written by past research programmes students in our Criminology Department…

These stories are based on journals and other letters kept on file in the departments’ archives.

Students have been encouraged to complete stories as a method to relive stress and to also acquire a better understanding of their source material as an aid to their future field work…

They have been reprinted here with the understanding and approval of the student.

Several of these storied were used as data collected for the published Doctoral dissertation:

Light to the shadows of their mind:

Criminal tactics and strategies

Criminology Department .

Chatwick University

 

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Mr. The Honourable Shelby A.K. Mc_ MA

March 09, 2015

 

From the files of Chatwick University Criminology Department.

 

C.B. Case Study 13 , File B

 

Subset Source: Journal

 

Subject “Harley Q” -- Real name?

  

The revenge upon her would be sweet, even though it was purely theoretical.

She was the very epitome of every stuck up girl who ever passed judgment on those she refused to view as an equal. And I? I possessed the subtle skill to knock her smirking ego down a few pegs.

**********************************************************************

In late spring of the year 1952, a, bank rented safety deposit lockbox, dusty from many years gone by, was opened. The box had laid unclaimed, the banks records having been destroyed during the Nazi blitzes of World War Two. When its existence became known, an attempt was made to contact the owner, whose family surname was well known in the county. The name turned out to be an alias, no such person ever existed.

 

Please read the account below to learn more about the person who was believed to have rented the strongbox, as well as what he had placed inside……….

 

**********

  

Case Study 84 :

 

Warning, these are the raw, bare unusual facts as originally recorded. Some names, times, places and some facts have been altered for obvious reasons.

Exerted from the private letters of Mr. Harley Q. circa early 1900’s.

 

Name: Harly Q. circa 19 …

 

Subject: Seemingly a rather dexterous scoundrel

 

Place: A large coastal metropolis in Britian

 

Time: A period of time in late autumn

  

**************

 

Harly’s story as related:

  

The following affair occurred during my younger days when my youth and its’ raw passions were still a strong pull on my reactions! Now, how do I start?

  

The Blonde dancing in front of me was dressed up like a movie star on a red carpet. Only about nineteen, her slinky gown created the impression of having been poured along her curvy, voluptuous figure, like shimmering liquid satin, fluidly swishing as she swirled about the massive chamber! It all made her appear far older and mature than she obviously thought she was. For some, her looks and personality may have been seen as charming and fun. “But for me personally, the only thing charming about her was the way her abundant sparkling jewellery played with the lights from the large chandeliers which held my upmost command!

  

But wait, I may be placing the carriage before the steed…….

 

Allow me to restart:

  

I had taken a long train into town with the intention of spending a few days relaxing from my previous month of hectic “professional” affairs. Rewarding myself, I located my lodging in a fancy upscale hotel situated across the street from a cavernous Ballroom, checking in for a fortnight. Since my social calendar was unusually light, with only the one high society event, a wedding that I was planning to attend the following Sabbath, at a “chapel” located in one of the cities sprawling suburbs. I spent the first day perusing the cultural calendar of the local papers, and ended up circling one or two events of interest that would be taking place later that month. I than took care of my remaining personal business, locating a reputable bank and renting out one of their lockboxes, before allowing myself some time off from my endeavors.

  

I than spent the first portion of my week taking in moving picture shows, visiting stores and hanging out at the local museums and antique shoppes. It felt great not worrying about work, although I will did admit that my mind scoped out a few prospects as I was out and about, walking amongst the great masses..

  

It was mid-week during my stay, while making my way back to the hotel suite, that I decided on a whim to pop into the Ballroom to see what it was all about. I walked into the massive lobby full of activity and wandered about, looking into the massive main ballroom, meeting rooms and various party rooms. As I was leaving I discovered a wall containing posters for all the upcoming events. One poster caught my eye. It advertised the occurrence of a Halloween Ball to take place that very weekend, Tickets still available. The Ball seemed to be the very type of party I was partial to, combining all of my favorite types of affairs, a large gathering frequented by the rich, and everyone attending would be in costume.

  

Purchasing a pair of tickets (less questions asked) I went out the very next morning scouting various shops in search of my own costume. I finally settled on a highwayman’s attire. It seemed appropriate, and the ribbon style “ masque” over my eyes set off the vacation beard that had been growing quite nicely since my last outing. On my way out to pay for the costume I spied a half off bin. On top of the pile was a phantom of the opera mask. On impulse I added it to my bundle and went to the checkout.

  

Although I really didn’t have the feeling that this concern would lead to anything, I mean, who wears good jewellery with a costume ? But a little bored by the inactivity, I was none the less growing excited about the venture. I still decided to play it cautious by setting up my usual safe guards, just in case.

  

A few blocks away from the Ballroom and my hotel suite I found a small chain style motel. Going to the desk I purchased rent for a room for the night, paying in advance. Going into the small room I laid down my purchases and headed back out to the street via a back stairwell, bypassing the registrars chambers. I headed back to my hotel suite to prepare for the evening.

  

After showering, I changed into a suit, shirt and tie. I then headed out onto the street a couple of hours before the ball was set to begin. Regaining my small quarters in the chain motel I changed into my new persona for the evening’s festivities and left via the same back door I had used earlier. I walked back to the Ballroom, getting my share of looks until I reached my destination, where I blended right in with the other arriving costumed guests.

  

I followed the stream to the ballroom proper. The main doors leading inside were large, made of a fancy scrolled oak, held open, and guarded by a pair of burly security types.

Apparently which, I soon gathered, was appearing to be the only security present for the evening’s festivities. Capital, I thought, smirking to myself as I joined my fellow guests.

  

I walk onto a landing, immediately in front of a long bannister guarding a set of wide stairs ascended downwards. I went off to one side, and paused at the railing, starting to survey with eager anticipation, the crowded room below.

  

All was quite glittering, as large chandeliers set off a spectrum of colors with any crystal or glass it touched. It especially created shimmers as it played off the colorful jewelry the lavishly costumed ladies present were wearing. Several dozen couples were dancing in front of a 17 piece orchestra, a slow dance, and many were dancing almost too close. Many more people were mingling around tables of appetizers. A large, chattering crowd was also gathered at the long oak bar that took up one whole side of the huge room. It was to the bar that I headed, to observe the merry proceedings.

  

But the Ball, as it turned out, was a bust, so to speak. Although several attempts were made to ask a number of charming (to me) ladies to add me to their dance cards, they all were, unfortunately, full. I should have suspected it would turn out this way, but I still harbored an all too familiar nagging feeling in the back of my head that something was still going to happen, call it intuition if you need to label it. So I nursed my drink, reminiscing about how I had reached this point in my then still young life…..

  

Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of my favorite poets, once said” Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Long before the the time I discovered this quote I found that my life’s path had already been heading that way.

  

Without boring anyone with far too many details of my rather complicated youth, I discovered while quite young that I had a certain knack for adeptness at being able to nimbly pick pockets. When I was eighteen ( having graduated high school at seventeen) and out on my own in the world, I found this skill quite useful. But it was at a wedding reception in my early twenties where I became of age, so to speak.

  

She was older than me, resplendent in a sleek black satin gown with bright white frills, long white satin gloves upon which graced a pair of diamond bracelets. She was very tipsy and would not take no for an answer when asking for a dance partner. She cornered me and before I could catch my wits, we were in a close embrace on the dance floor. I was totally mesmerized by the feel of her warm figure emitting through the sensuous satin gown. My eyes feasted upon the dazzling show put on by her flashy twin bracelets. When the exquisitely long dance ended and she moved on: I was left with a lot of pleasantly mixed feelings, I was also left with my first trophy, the Lady’s appealing necklace of pearl that I had ever so delicately sipped off her throat, using the sleekness of her satin gown to its fullest advantage.

  

I found myself enthralled with my new “hobby”, and over the course of the next couple of years sought out fancy dress affairs to better learn how to master the art of attracting and dancing with any lady I chose. Along the way I managed to accumulate quite a few trophies for my efforts. I stayed under everyone’s radar by picking out only those females who had been enthusiastically imbibing and by allowing myself to acquire only one trophy per gathering, two if the function was large enough.

  

During this period I made two discoveries: One was that most women would rather assume their jewel had been merely lost long before ever considering that they had been robbed of it. The second was that most of my collection of pretty trophies carried an equally pretty price, and could quite acceptably be turned into ready cash.

  

So, by the tender age of twenty two, my life started to lead where there had ever been but few tracks. And thus we finally come to this particular branch of my rather unique, lengthily crooked trail….

  

So, there I was, on a bar stool, alone and growing more bored by the minute, wishing something interesting would happen. I can remember thinking, as I looked over my fellow partiers about a saying that I had always found to be amusingly true. “If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.” I don’t know who first said it, but brother, the person was right on the money. As I had witnessed for myself time and time again. So I just settled in and watched the amusing antics of the wealthy among the crowd, especially those of …“the girl!’

The girl was a stunning young blonde who was probably just fresh out of high school, with the maturity level of a grade schooler!

  

I kept catching my eye on her all evening, and once or twice, was sure she caught mine looking. But I was not watching her for the reasons she would think were mine. To her I was just some male face in the crowd, exhibiting his lust. But, the reason my eyes kept traveling upon her was for an entirely different one. I just found nothing to be more annoying than a sulky, immature young whelp who believes she is the apple of everyone’s eye, making an absolute nuisance of herself. She was running around, making silly remarks about people, sometimes to their face. Hanging out with her group of friends whom seemed to be of the same mold as my blonde, one girlfriend was even dressed appropriately enough, as a willowy witch.

  

The Blonde was dressed up like a movie star on a red carpet. Only about nineteen, her slinky gown created the impression of having been poured along her curvy voluptuous figure, like shimmering liquid satin, fluidly swishing as she bounced about the massive chamber, slipping in and out amongst the guests! It all made her appear far older and mature than she obviously thought she was. For some, her looks and personality may have been seen as charming and fun. “But for me personally, the only thing charming about her was the way her abundant sparkling jewellery played with the lights from the large chandeliers which held my command! But I had decided, as far as I could tell, that she was wearing nothing but cheap rhinestones, which like her, appeared totally fake. But, as they say, appearances can sometimes be deceiving!

   

This girl was the epitome of every condescending stuck up high society girl that probably everyone has had the misfortune to be the victim of. The girl, who mainly because of her looks, was popular with everyone like her, and had no use for those who, forever what reason they deemed, was ostracized by those of her type. In high school I knew girls like this one, and was a witness, sometime victim, to many a scene of arrogance displayed by girls like her. This one was young, too young to be acting the way she was. Her mannerisms were just a beacon, reaching out out to be taught a lesson.

  

Wallowing in my boredom, a spark began to kindle into flame deep within my brain. Determined not to let the evening be a total loss, I decided act upon it. My plan being to theoretically get revenge on all those smirking girls who tormented me during high school, by knocking this cocky little scamp down a few pegs, using the best of my abilities..

  

Now, I’m not one normally to act as judge, jury, and executioner in most situations, in my selected line of work it would be hypocritical. But obviously old wounds’ had been opened, this long haired girl scampering about reminded me of ones whom had ridiculed me, another lifetime, one that I had left behind A long time ago. The opportunity for bittersweet revenge had presented itself for the taking, and the pull to obtain a little solace by using my unique talents was far too great to resist. Talk about mixing pleasure with business I though wickedly to myself, smiling with the inviting thought.

  

Believe me, this girl would be no innocent victim, and nothing I was about to attempt would leave her with any type of lasting impression, or harm. But if I could cause her at least some considerable discomfort to ruin the rest of her evening out, it would be reward in and of itself! I again eyed her sparkling jewels with all the seriousness I would have given any I was really interested in acquiring. Although she didn’t fit my favorite pre-requisite, she certainly was not drunk on alcohol, she was merely just intoxicated in her own questionable self-esteem, which can work just as well.

  

I waited until her friends had all apparently deserted her for the evening and leaving her, quite vulnerably, alone. I walked up behind her and tapped her shoulder. She whirled facing me, her eyes going from happy expectations to a glare! “What do you want!? she snipped disdainfully”. Calmly I held her gaze, “I was hoping you would help me win a bet” I asked in what I hoped was my most wily voice. She was curious, but wary of me, “as you should be my pretty miss”, I remember thinking to myself. Her eyes sized me up and down, and I seized the moment to take in her jewels, not at all disappointed in them, but my curiosity was aroused about her necklace, I definitely needed to get a closer look to appraise them! “Why should I help you,” she practically spitted out he words like daggers.

  

“It’s this way miss, a couple of boys over at the bar bet me 50 quid that I could not get a dance with the prettiest girl here.” “Me?” she asked primping, no I confessed, I picked you, they had wanted me to dance with someone far less pretty, in my opinion.

I don’t think so; she said with a slight hint of hesitation, my card is full. Just for fifteen minutes I implored. That’s all I need (which was the truth), and Ill split my winnings with you on top of it. She finally bought it, hook line, sinker and pound signs in her adorable violet coloured eyes. Fifteen minutes she specified, before, be-grudgingly, allowing me to lead her to the dance floor.

  

Now, as I took her stiff body in my arms, I was able to satisfy my curiosity about the girl’s necklace, and it caused a dilemma to rear its thought provoking head. While she was busy looking around to make sure none of her friends saw her dancing with me, I allowed myself a couple of precious minutes to think. Her long rhinestone earrings were clip held, and an easy pick. I wanted to try for them both,( I knew how I would do it), and losing a pair of earrings would send a message that they had not just fallen away. Also, I would be suspected by her, which suited me just fine. However, my dilemma was caused by the vixen’s pretty necklace. While the rest of her plentiful jewels were cheap rhinestones as I had suspected the row of diamonds that rippled blazingly around her throat were in fact, the real McCoy. So, which should I go for? The necklace would be profitable and easy but she may just suspect its clasp had broken. The earrings would be just for a sporty trophy, not worth anything but for the knowledge that she would know she had been a victim. Ah, life’s precious little quandaries!

  

So, I continued with the dance, my partner still rigid, so very true to her character. Then, with five minutes left, I made up my mind on what she would not be leaving the ball still wearing. She was a charmer, this disdainful one. Her stiff figure was warm to the touch, underneath the scintillating slippery gown. The show her sparkling jewels produced was most pleasing to the eye. All in all quite a pretty portrait, a shame it was that I was not allowed to appreciate it. Which was fine by me! I was able to concentrate freely on the task at hand. I looked around, the coast was still clear. Then eyeing for one last time her mesmerizingly swaying long earrings and the flickering diamonds that graced her pretty little throat, I executed my move..

  

By the time the final five minutes were up I had the selected jewelry in my pocket without even the slightest notice from my unwilling dance partner. Then, fifteen minutes to the second (good thing I had been keeping track of the time) she broke it off. “Thank you”, I said, to which she mumbled, “my money, sir!” I told her I had to collect it, and would meet her by the ladies powder room. I left her waiting, smiling inwardly to myself at the empty space from which the missing jewelry was glaringly gone from her.

  

She had no doubt that I would be back with her money, was I not merely like one of her household servants, who routinely, without question or error, existed to do her bidding. It would be a major jolt to her system when she realized I was not coming obediently back to her. I had no doubt she would spend some time searching me out for her money once she realized I was not coming back forthwith, with the intention of lecturing me on how I should act around my betters. So I knew that her immediate attention would be elsewhere upon realizing I was tardy, and that it would take quite a bit of time before she recieved a second shock of an altogether different sort.

  

I left with my prize, walking past the two guards with such a carefree air that even they would never have suspected that I could possibly have been up to any mischief. I made good time getting back to the dingy motel room. Changed out of my costume and back into the shirt and tie I had worn. The highwayman costume, which had served me well, I rolled in a bundle under my arm, I again left by the back stairwell and retraced my earlier steps, whistling, back to the suite in the hotel. Along the way the costume was stuffed unceremoniously into a handy trash bin. My little operation had been a complete success. The evening was after all, not going to be a total loss.

  

Back in my suite I stowed the newly acquired jewels the girl had worn into one of my many secret hiding spots. There they would be safe until I could convey it to my banks lockbox on Monday. As I finished I, spied the phantom of the opera mask lying discarded on top of a table. A shame it would not be used….

 

A thought washed over me that would not be denied! Risky, but it would make my evening complete. I quickly shaved off the thin beard, and restyled my hair. I changed from my suit into my tux and tails. Scooping up the phantom mask I headed back to the costume ball. Placing the mask on before entering, I presented my second ticket( not very often did the opportunity arise to use both of the pair of tickets I customarily purchased!) I walked past the two security types without a second glance from them, they absolutely did not recognize me, which meant I had passed that test. My objective now was to try and catch the second half of the show; namely the shimmering liquid satin gowned brats squawking reaction when she first discovered her jewels were gone.

  

I regained a bar seat just in time.

  

She did not disappoint!

  

************************************************************************

 

Epilogue

 

When, in the presence of both bank and county officials, the strong box was opened, it was found to contain a fairly large collection of the Kings currency, equaling roughly £500 , and a selection unmatched jewelry, rings, single earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, worth a almost £3.000. Also inside was small a bundle of papers. The papers, old and yellowed, appeared to contain the partial handwritten journals of a certain Mr. Harly Q___ , esq. The papers were examined, but gave no clues to who Harley was, or to his current whereabouts. But the journals presented clues as to Harly’s nature, and as a consequence the money and jewels were considered stolen goods and handed over to the authorities. No one knows what became of them, as for the papers, they were handed over to a relative of one of the government officials, and also, for a period of time, lost.

 

The journal was rediscovered amongst the personal files of the late Professor Sedwig Dermitt phd, llc.a dex,

Recovered, restored, and now kept in the human behavioral archives of the criminology dept, Chatwick U.

  

Courtesy of Chatwick University Archives

 

************************************************************************

 

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The revenge upon her would be sweet, even though it was purely theoretical.

She was the very epitome of every stuck up girl who ever passed judgment on those she refused to view as an equal. And I? I possessed the subtle skill to knock her smirking ego down a few pegs.

  

**********************************************************************

  

In late spring of the year 1952, a, bank rented safety deposit lockbox, dusty from many years gone by, was opened. The box had laid unclaimed, the banks records having been destroyed during the Nazi blitzes of World War Two. When its existence became known, an attempt was made to contact the owner, whose family surname was well known in the county. The name turned out to be an alias, no such person ever existed.

 

Please read the account below to learn more about the person who was believed to have rented the strongbox, as well as what he had placed inside……….

 

**********

  

Case Study 84 :

 

Warning, these are the raw, bare unusual facts as originally recorded. Some names, times, places and some facts have been altered for obvious reasons.

Exerted from the private letters of Mr. Harley Q. circa early 1900’s.

 

Name: Harly Q. circa 19 …

 

Subject: Seemingly a rather dexterous scoundrel

 

Place: A large coastal metropolis

 

Time: A period of time in late autumn

  

**************

 

Harly’s story as related:

  

The following affair occurred during my younger days when my youth and its’ raw passions were still a strong pull on my reactions! Now, how do I start?

  

The Blonde dancing in front of me was was dressed up like a movie star on a red carpet. Only about nineteen, her slinky gown created the impression of having been poured along her curvy, voluptuous figure, like shimmering liquid satin, fluidly swishing as she swirled about the massive chamber! It all made her appear far older and mature than she obviously thought she was. For some, her looks and personality may have been seen as charming and fun. “But for me personally, the only thing charming about her was the way her abundant sparkling jewellery played with the lights from the large chandeliers which held my upmost command!

  

But wait, I may be placing the carriage before the steed…….

 

Allow me to restart:

  

I had taken a long train into town with the intention of spending a few days relaxing from my previous month of hectic “professional” affairs. Rewarding myself, I located my lodging in a fancy upscale hotel situated across the street from a cavernous Ballroom, checking in for a fortnight. Since my social calendar was unusually light, with only the one high society event, a wedding that I was planning to attend the following Sabbath, at a “chapel” located in one of the cities sprawling suburbs. I spent the first day perusing the cultural calendar of the local papers, and ended up circling one or two events of interest that would be taking place later that month. I than took care of my remaining personal business, locating a reputable bank and renting out one of their lockboxes, before allowing myself some time off from my endeavors.

  

I than spent the first portion of my week taking in moving picture shows, visiting stores and hanging out at the local museums and antique shoppes. It felt great not worrying about work, although I will did admit that my mind scoped out a few prospects as I was out and about, walking amongst the great masses..

  

It was mid-week during my stay, while making my way back to the hotel suite, that I decided on a whim to pop into the Ballroom to see what it was all about. I walked into the massive lobby full of activity and wandered about, looking into the massive main ballroom, meeting rooms and various party rooms. As I was leaving I discovered a wall containing posters for all the upcoming events. One poster caught my eye. It advertised the occurrence of a Halloween Ball to take place that very weekend, Tickets still available. The Ball seemed to be the very type of party I was partial to, combining all of my favorite types of affairs, a large gathering frequented by the rich, and everyone attending would be in costume.

  

Purchasing a pair of tickets (less questions asked) I went out the very next morning scouting various shops in search of my own costume. I finally settled on a highwayman’s attire. It seemed appropriate, and the ribbon style “ masque” over my eyes set off the vacation beard that had been growing quite nicely since my last outing. On my way out to pay for the costume I spied a half off bin. On top of the pile was a phantom of the opera mask. On impulse I added it to my bundle and went to the checkout.

  

Although I really didn’t have the feeling that this concern would lead to anything, I mean, who wears good jewellery with a costume ? But a little bored by the inactivity, I was none the less growing excited about the venture. I still decided to play it cautious by setting up my usual safe guards, just in case.

  

A few blocks away from the Ballroom and my hotel suite I found a small chain style motel. Going to the desk I purchased rent for a room for the night, paying in advance. Going into the small room I laid down my purchases and headed back out to the street via a back stairwell, bypassing the registrars chambers. I headed back to my hotel suite to prepare for the evening.

  

After showering, I changed into a suit, shirt and tie. I then headed out onto the street a couple of hours before the ball was set to begin. Regaining my small quarters in the chain motel I changed into my new persona for the evening’s festivities and left via the same back door I had used earlier. I walked back to the Ballroom, getting my share of looks until I reached my destination, where I blended right in with the other arriving costumed guests.

  

I followed the stream to the ballroom proper. The main doors leading inside were large, made of a fancy scrolled oak, held open, and guarded by a pair of burly security types.

Apparently which, I soon gathered, was appearing to be the only security present for the evening’s festivities. Capital, I thought, smirking to myself as I joined my fellow guests.

  

I walk onto a landing, immediately in front of a long bannister guarding a set of wide stairs ascended downwards. I went off to one side, and paused at the railing, starting to survey with eager anticipation, the crowded room below.

  

All was quite glittering, as large chandeliers set off a spectrum of colors with any crystal or glass it touched. It especially created shimmers as it played off the colorful jewelry the lavishly costumed ladies present were wearing. Several dozen couples were dancing in front of a 17 piece orchestra, a slow dance, and many were dancing almost too close. Many more people were mingling around tables of appetizers. A large, chattering crowd was also gathered at the long oak bar that took up one whole side of the huge room. It was to the bar that I headed, to observe the merry proceedings.

  

But the Ball, as it turned out, was a bust, so to speak. Although several attempts were made to ask a number of charming (to me) ladies to add me to their dance cards, they all were, unfortunately, full. I should have suspected it would turn out this way, but I still harbored an all too familiar nagging feeling in the back of my head that something was still going to happen, call it intuition if you need to label it. So I nursed my drink, reminiscing about how I had reached this point in my then still young life…..

  

Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of my favorite poets, once said” Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Long before the the time I discovered this quote I found that my life’s path had already been heading that way.

  

Without boring anyone with far too many details of my rather complicated youth, I discovered while quite young that I had a certain knack for adeptness at being able to nimbly pick pockets. When I was eighteen ( having graduated high school at seventeen) and out on my own in the world, I found this skill quite useful. But it was at a wedding reception in my early twenties where I became of age, so to speak.

  

She was older than me, resplendent in a sleek black satin gown with bright white frills, long white satin gloves upon which graced a pair of diamond bracelets. She was very tipsy and would not take no for an answer when asking for a dance partner. She cornered me and before I could catch my wits, we were in a close embrace on the dance floor. I was totally mesmerized by the feel of her warm figure emitting through the sensuous satin gown. My eyes feasted upon the dazzling show put on by her flashy twin bracelets. When the exquisitely long dance ended and she moved on: I was left with a lot of pleasantly mixed feelings, I was also left with my first trophy, the Lady’s appealing necklace of pearl that I had ever so delicately sipped off her throat, using the sleekness of her satin gown to its fullest advantage.

  

I found myself enthralled with my new “hobby”, and over the course of the next couple of years sought out fancy dress affairs to better learn how to master the art of attracting and dancing with any lady I chose. Along the way I managed to accumulate quite a few trophies for my efforts. I stayed under everyone’s radar by picking out only those females who had been enthusiastically imbibing and by allowing myself to acquire only one trophy per gathering, two if the function was large enough.

  

During this period I made two discoveries: One was that most women would rather assume their jewel had been merely lost long before ever considering that they had been robbed of it. The second was that most of my collection of pretty trophies carried an equally pretty price, and could quite acceptably be turned into ready cash.

  

So, by the tender age of twenty two, my life started to lead where there had ever been but few tracks. And thus we finally come to this particular branch of my rather unique, lengthily crooked trail….

  

So, there I was, on a bar stool, alone and growing more bored by the minute, wishing something interesting would happen. I can remember thinking, as I looked over my fellow partiers about a saying that I had always found to be amusingly true. “If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.” I don’t know who first said it, but brother, the person was right on the money. As I had witnessed for myself time and time again. So I just settled in and watched the amusing antics of the wealthy among the crowd, especially those of …“the girl!’

The girl was a stunning young blonde who was probably just fresh out of high school, with the maturity level of a grade schooler!

  

I kept catching my eye on her all evening, and once or twice, was sure she caught mine looking. But I was not watching her for the reasons she would think were mine. To her I was just some male face in the crowd, exhibiting his lust. But, the reason my eyes kept traveling upon her was for an entirely different one. I just found nothing to be more annoying than a sulky, immature young whelp who believes she is the apple of everyone’s eye, making an absolute nuisance of herself. She was running around, making silly remarks about people, sometimes to their face. Hanging out with her group of friends whom seemed to be of the same mold as my blonde, one girlfriend was even dressed appropriately enough, as a willowy witch.

  

The Blonde was dressed up like a movie star on a red carpet. Only about nineteen, her slinky gown created the impression of having been poured along her curvy voluptuous figure, like shimmering liquid satin, fluidly swishing as she bounced about the massive chamber, slipping in and out amongst the guests! It all made her appear far older and mature than she obviously thought she was. For some, her looks and personality may have been seen as charming and fun. “But for me personally, the only thing charming about her was the way her abundant sparkling jewellery played with the lights from the large chandeliers which held my command! But I had decided, as far as I could tell, that she was wearing nothing but cheap rhinestones, which like her, appeared totally fake. But, as they say, appearances can sometimes be deceiving!

   

This girl was the epitome of every condescending stuck up high society girl that probably everyone has had the misfortune to be the victim of. The girl, who mainly because of her looks, was popular with everyone like her, and had no use for those who, forever what reason they deemed, was ostracized by those of her type. In high school I knew girls like this one, and was a witness, sometime victim, to many a scene of arrogance displayed by girls like her. This one was young, too young to be acting the way she was. Her mannerisms were just a beacon, reaching out out to be taught a lesson.

  

Wallowing in my boredom, a spark began to kindle into flame deep within my brain. Determined not to let the evening be a total loss, I decided act upon it. My plan being to theoretically get revenge on all those smirking girls who tormented me during high school, by knocking this cocky little scamp down a few pegs, using the best of my abilities..

  

Now, I’m not one normally to act as judge, jury, and executioner in most situations, in my selected line of work it would be hypocritical. But obviously old wounds’ had been opened, this long haired girl scampering about reminded me of ones whom had ridiculed me, another lifetime, one that I had left behind A long time ago. The opportunity for bittersweet revenge had presented itself for the taking, and the pull to obtain a little solace by using my unique talents was far too great to resist. Talk about mixing pleasure with business I though wickedly to myself, smiling with the inviting thought.

  

Believe me, this girl would be no innocent victim, and nothing I was about to attempt would leave her with any type of lasting impression, or harm. But if I could cause her at least some considerable discomfort to ruin the rest of her evening out, it would be reward in and of itself! I again eyed her sparkling jewels with all the seriousness I would have given any I was really interested in acquiring. Although she didn’t fit my favorite pre-requisite, she certainly was not drunk on alcohol, she was merely just intoxicated in her own questionable self-esteem, which can work just as well.

  

I waited until her friends had all apparently deserted her for the evening and leaving her, quite vulnerably, alone. I walked up behind her and tapped her shoulder. She whirled facing me, her eyes going from happy expectations to a glare! “What do you want!? she snipped disdainfully”. Calmly I held her gaze, “I was hoping you would help me win a bet” I asked in what I hoped was my most wily voice. She was curious, but wary of me, “as you should be my pretty miss”, I remember thinking to myself. Her eyes sized me up and down, and I seized the moment to take in her jewels, not at all disappointed in them, but my curiosity was aroused about her necklace, I definitely needed to get a closer look to appraise them! “Why should I help you,” she practically spitted out he words like daggers.

  

“It’s this way miss, a couple of boys over at the bar bet me 50 quid that I could not get a dance with the prettiest girl here.” “Me?” she asked primping, no I confessed, I picked you, they had wanted me to dance with someone far less pretty, in my opinion.

I don’t think so; she said with a slight hint of hesitation, my card is full. Just for fifteen minutes I implored. That’s all I need (which was the truth), and Ill split my winnings with you on top of it. She finally bought it, hook line, sinker and pound signs in her adorable violet coloured eyes. Fifteen minutes she specified, before, be-grudgingly, allowing me to lead her to the dance floor.

  

Now, as I took her stiff body in my arms, I was able to satisfy my curiosity about the girl’s necklace, and it caused a dilemma to rear its thought provoking head. While she was busy looking around to make sure none of her friends saw her dancing with me, I allowed myself a couple of precious minutes to think. Her long rhinestone earrings were clip held, and an easy pick. I wanted to try for them both,( I knew how I would do it), and losing a pair of earrings would send a message that they had not just fallen away. Also, I would be suspected by her, which suited me just fine. However, my dilemma was caused by the vixen’s pretty necklace. While the rest of her plentiful jewels were cheap rhinestones as I had suspected the row of diamonds that rippled blazingly around her throat were in fact, the real McCoy. So, which should I go for? The necklace would be profitable and easy but she may just suspect its clasp had broken. The earrings would be just for a sporty trophy, not worth anything but for the knowledge that she would know she had been a victim. Ah, life’s precious little quandaries!

  

So, I continued with the dance, my partner still rigid, so very true to her character. Then, with five minutes left, I made up my mind on what she would not be leaving the ball still wearing. She was a charmer, this disdainful one. Her stiff figure was warm to the touch, underneath the scintillating slippery gown. The show her sparkling jewels produced was most pleasing to the eye. All in all quite a pretty portrait, a shame it was that I was not allowed to appreciate it. Which was fine by me! I was able to concentrate freely on the task at hand. I looked around, the coast was still clear. Then eyeing for one last time her mesmerizingly swaying long earrings and the flickering diamonds that graced her pretty little throat, I executed my move..

  

By the time the final five minutes were up I had the selected jewelry in my pocket without even the slightest notice from my unwilling dance partner. Then, fifteen minutes to the second (good thing I had been keeping track of the time) she broke it off. “Thank you”, I said, to which she mumbled, “my money, sir!” I told her I had to collect it, and would meet her by the ladies powder room. I left her waiting, smiling inwardly to myself at the empty space from which the missing jewelry was glaringly gone from her.

  

She had no doubt that I would be back with her money, was I not merely like one of her household servants, who routinely, without question or error, existed to do her bidding. It would be a major jolt to her system when she realized I was not coming obediently back to her. I had no doubt she would spend some time searching me out for her money once she realized I was not coming back forthwith, with the intention of lecturing me on how I should act around my betters. So I knew that her immediate attention would be elsewhere upon realizing I was tardy, and that it would take quite a bit of time before she recieved a second shock of an altogether different sort.

  

I left with my prize, walking past the two guards with such a carefree air that even they would never have suspected that I could possibly have been up to any mischief. I made good time getting back to the dingy motel room. Changed out of my costume and back into the shirt and tie I had worn. The highwayman costume, which had served me well, I rolled in a bundle under my arm, I again left by the back stairwell and retraced my earlier steps, whistling, back to the suite in the hotel. Along the way the costume was stuffed unceremoniously into a handy trash bin. My little operation had been a complete success. The evening was after all, not going to be a total loss.

  

Back in my suite I stowed the newly acquired jewels the girl had worn into one of my many secret hiding spots. There they would be safe until I could convey it to my banks lockbox on Monday. As I finished I, spied the phantom of the opera mask lying discarded on top of a table. A shame it would not be used….

 

A thought washed over me that would not be denied! Risky, but it would make my evening complete. I quickly shaved off the thin beard, and restyled my hair. I changed from my suit into my tux and tails. Scooping up the phantom mask I headed back to the costume ball. Placing the mask on before entering, I presented my second ticket( not very often did the opportunity arise to use both of the pair of tickets I customarily purchased!) I walked past the two security types without a second glance from them, they absolutely did not recognize me, which meant I had passed that test. My objective now was to try and catch the second half of the show; namely the shimmering liquid satin gowned brats squawking reaction when she first discovered her jewels were gone.

  

I regained a bar seat just in time.

  

She did not disappoint!

  

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Epilogue

 

When, in the presence of both bank and county officials, the strong box was opened, it was found to contain a fairly large collection of the Kings currency, equaling roughly £500 , and a selection unmatched jewelry, rings, single earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, worth a almost £3.000. Also inside was small a bundle of papers. The papers, old and yellowed, appeared to contain the partial handwritten journals of a certain Mr. Harly Q___ , esq. The papers were examined, but gave no clues to who Harley was, or to his current whereabouts. But the journals presented clues as to Harly’s nature, and as a consequence the money and jewels were considered stolen goods and handed over to the authorities. No one knows what became of them, as for the papers, they were handed over to a relative of one of the government officials, and also, for a period of time, lost.

 

The journal was rediscovered amongst the personal files of the late Professor Sedwig Dermitt phd, llc.a dex,

Recovered, restored, and now kept in the human behavioral archives of the criminology dept, Chatwick U.

  

Courtesy of Chatwick University Archives

 

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The purpose of these chronological photos and accompanying stories, articles is to educate, teach, instruct, and generally increase the awareness level of the general public as to the nature and intent of the underlying criminal elements that have historically plagued humankind.

 

No Part of this can reprinted, duplicated, or copied be without the express written permission and approval of Chatwick University.

These photos and stories are works of fiction. Any resemblance to people, living or deceased, is purely coincidental.

As with any work of fiction or fantasy the purpose is for entertainment and/or educational purposes only, and should never be attempted in real life.

We accept no responsibility for any events occurring outside this website.

 

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Each fall the central Kentucky town of Wilmore experiences the dramatic golden display put on by two giant gingko trees that flank the entrance of the Asbury Theological Seminary on Lexington Avenue. Because the leaves tend to reach their peak in November, they also run the risk of frost. In 2006, I missed the opportunity to photograph their golden beauty because a heavy frost hit that brought the leaves down, seemingly overnight.

 

In 2007, I was determined to capture their beauty. Just about the time that I thought they had reached their peak, I awoke one morning to see frost on the ground. As I approached the seminary by car on my way to work, I could see that the leaves were falling steadily from the tree. Risking being late to work, I jumped out of the car to snap some shots--afraid that if I didn't, all of the leaves would be on the ground by the end of the day.

 

There's something about this autumn gold that draws enthusiasts, but for various reasons. Some, like myself, are there with cameras in hand, while others enjoy the opportunity to play in the leaves; still others, enjoy observing their beauty with quiet appreciation.

 

As I approached the trees on this particular morning, I discovered a seminary student had already arrived ahead of me to stand in quiet contemplation of the leaf shower around him. I snapped several photos and hurried off to work. I was thankful that the frost had not been heavy enough to bring down all of the leaves, and by the time Saturday rolled around there were still enough leaves on the tree and on the ground to attract even more attention. I returned for some more photos. Another photographer was there at the same time and demonstrated his willingness to put himself in whatever position needed to get just the right shot.

 

The parents of a young child were sifting through the leaves, and I learned that in the process of throwing leaves in play, a loose wedding ring had fallen off. While the parents searched, their little boy continued to enjoy the leaves, oblivious of his parents' concern. (Good news! I ran into them a few weeks later and learned that they actually had found the wedding ring!)

 

At those moments we all shared something in common as we took time to appreciate the autumn beauty--each in our own way.

Tizian (circa 1488-1576), active in Venice

Danae, after 1554

Akrisios, king of Argos, had his daughter locked in a tower because an oracle saying had prophesied him that a grandson would kill him. Jupiter, nevertheless, became aware of Danae, fell in love with her, and eventually unified with her in the form of a gold shower. The common son Perseus later will actually kill his grandfather inadvertently with a discus. There are two earlier versions on this painting in Naples and Madrid with varied auxiliary figures.

 

Tizian (um 1488-1576), tätig in Venedig

Danae, nach 1554

Akrisios, König von Argos, ließ seine Tochter in einen Turm sperren, weil ihm ein Orakelspruch prophezeit hatte, dass ein Enkelsohn ihn töten werde. Jupiter wurde dennoch auf Danae aufmerksam, verliebte sich in sie und vereinigte sich schließlich in Form eines Goldregens mit ihr. Der gemeinsame Sohn Perseus wird seinen Großvater später tatsächlich versehentlich mit einem Diskus töten, Es existieren zu diesem Bild zwei frühere Fassungen in Neapel und Madrid mit variierten Assistenzfiguren.

 

Austria Kunsthistorisches Museum

Federal Museum

Logo KHM

Regulatory authority (ies)/organs to the Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture

Founded 17 October 1891

Headquartered Castle Ring (Burgring), Vienna 1, Austria

Management Sabine Haag

www.khm.at website

Main building of the Kunsthistorisches Museum at Maria-Theresa-Square

The Kunsthistorisches Museum (KHM abbreviated) is an art museum in Vienna. It is one of the largest and most important museums in the world. It was opened in 1891 and 2012 visited of 1.351.940 million people.

The museum

The Kunsthistorisches Museum is with its opposite sister building, the Natural History Museum (Naturhistorisches Museum), the most important historicist large buildings of the Ringstrasse time. Together they stand around the Maria Theresa square, on which also the Maria Theresa monument stands. This course spans the former glacis between today's ring road and 2-line, and is forming a historical landmark that also belongs to World Heritage Site Historic Centre of Vienna.

History

Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in his Gallery

The Museum came from the collections of the Habsburgs, especially from the portrait and armor collections of Ferdinand of Tyrol, the collection of Emperor Rudolf II (most of which, however scattered) and the art collection of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm into existence. Already In 1833 asked Joseph Arneth, curator (and later director) of the Imperial Coins and Antiquities Cabinet, bringing together all the imperial collections in a single building .

Architectural History

The contract to build the museum in the city had been given in 1858 by Emperor Franz Joseph. Subsequently, many designs were submitted for the ring road zone. Plans by August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Null planned to build two museum buildings in the immediate aftermath of the Imperial Palace on the left and right of the Heroes' Square (Heldenplatz). The architect Ludwig Förster planned museum buildings between the Schwarzenberg Square and the City Park, Martin Ritter von Kink favored buildings at the corner Währingerstraße/ Scots ring (Schottenring), Peter Joseph, the area Bellariastraße, Moritz von Loehr the south side of the opera ring, and Ludwig Zettl the southeast side of the grain market (Getreidemarkt).

From 1867, a competition was announced for the museums, and thereby set their current position - at the request of the Emperor, the museum should not be too close to the Imperial Palace, but arise beyond the ring road. The architect Carl von Hasenauer participated in this competition and was able the at that time in Zürich operating Gottfried Semper to encourage to work together. The two museum buildings should be built here in the sense of the style of the Italian Renaissance. The plans got the benevolence of the imperial family. In April 1869, there was an audience with of Joseph Semper at the Emperor Franz Joseph and an oral contract was concluded, in July 1870 was issued the written order to Semper and Hasenauer.

Crucial for the success of Semper and Hasenauer against the projects of other architects were among others Semper's vision of a large building complex called "Imperial Forum", in which the museums would have been a part of. Not least by the death of Semper in 1879 came the Imperial Forum not as planned for execution, the two museums were built, however.

Construction of the two museums began without ceremony on 27 November 1871 instead. Semper moved to Vienna in the sequence. From the beginning, there were considerable personal differences between him and Hasenauer, who finally in 1877 took over sole construction management. 1874, the scaffolds were placed up to the attic and the first floor completed, built in 1878, the first windows installed in 1879, the Attica and the balustrade from 1880 to 1881 and built the dome and the Tabernacle. The dome is topped with a bronze statue of Pallas Athena by Johannes Benk.

The lighting and air conditioning concept with double glazing of the ceilings made ​​the renunciation of artificial light (especially at that time, as gas light) possible, but this resulted due to seasonal variations depending on daylight to different opening times .

Kuppelhalle

Entrance (by clicking the link at the end of the side you can see all the pictures here indicated!)

Grand staircase

Hall

Empire

The Kunsthistorisches Museum was on 17 October 1891 officially opened by Emperor Franz Joseph I. Since 22 October 1891 , the museum is accessible to the public. Two years earlier, on 3 November 1889, the collection of arms, Arms and Armour today, had their doors open. On 1 January 1890 the library service resumed its operations. The merger and listing of other collections of the Highest Imperial Family from the Upper and Lower Belvedere, the Hofburg Palace and Ambras in Tyrol will need another two years.

189, the farm museum was organized in seven collections with three directorates:

Directorate of coins, medals and antiquities collection

The Egyptian Collection

The Antique Collection

The coins and medals collection

Management of the collection of weapons, art and industrial objects

Weapons collection

Collection of industrial art objects

Directorate of Art Gallery and Restaurieranstalt (Restoration Office)

Collection of watercolors, drawings, sketches, etc.

Restoration Office

Library

Very soon the room the Court Museum (Hofmuseum) for the imperial collections was offering became too narrow. To provide temporary help, an exhibition of ancient artifacts from Ephesus in the Theseus Temple was designed. However, additional space had to be rented in the Lower Belvedere.

1914, after the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne, his " Estonian Forensic Collection " passed to the administration of the Court Museum. This collection, which emerged from the art collection of the house of d' Este and world travel collection of Franz Ferdinand, was placed in the New Imperial Palace since 1908. For these stocks, the present collection of old musical instruments and the Museum of Ethnology emerged.

The First World War went by, apart from the oppressive economic situation without loss. The farm museum remained during the five years of war regularly open to the public.

Until 1919 the K.K. Art Historical Court Museum was under the authority of the Oberstkämmereramt (head chamberlain office) and belonged to the House of Habsburg-Lorraine. The officials and employees were part of the royal household.

First Republic

The transition from monarchy to republic, in the museum took place in complete tranquility. On 19 November 1918 the two imperial museums on Maria Theresa Square were placed under the state protection of the young Republic of German Austria. Threatening to the stocks of the museum were the claims raised in the following weeks and months of the "successor states" of the monarchy as well as Italy and Belgium on Austrian art collection. In fact, it came on 12th February 1919 to the violent removal of 62 paintings by armed Italian units. This "art theft" left a long time trauma among curators and art historians.

It was not until the Treaty of Saint-Germain of 10 September 1919, providing in Article 195 and 196 the settlement of rights in the cultural field by negotiations. The claims of Belgium, Czechoslovakia, and Italy again could mostly being averted in this way. Only Hungary, which presented the greatest demands by far, was met by more than ten years of negotiation in 147 cases.

On 3 April 1919 was the expropriation of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine by law and the acquisition of its property, including the "Collections of the Imperial House" , by the Republic. Of 18 June 1920 the then provisional administration of the former imperial museums and collections of Este and the secular and clergy treasury passed to the State Office of Internal Affairs and Education, since 10 November 1920, the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Education. A few days later it was renamed the Art History Court Museum in the "Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna State", 1921 "Kunsthistorisches Museum" . Of 1st January 1921 the employees of the museum staff passed to the state of the Republic.

Through the acquisition of the former imperial collections owned by the state, the museum found itself in a complete new situation. In order to meet the changed circumstances in the museum area, designed Hans Tietze in 1919 the "Vienna Museum program". It provided a close cooperation between the individual museums to focus at different houses on main collections. So dominated exchange, sales and equalizing the acquisition policy in the interwar period. Thus resulting until today still valid collection trends. Also pointing the way was the relocation of the weapons collection from 1934 in its present premises in the New Castle, where since 1916 the collection of ancient musical instruments was placed.

With the change of the imperial collections in the ownership of the Republic the reorganization of the internal organization went hand in hand, too. Thus the museum was divided in 1919 into the

Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection (with the Oriental coins)

Collection of Classical Antiquities

Collection of ancient coins

Collection of modern coins and medals

Weapons collection

Collection of sculptures and crafts with the Collection of Ancient Musical Instruments

Picture Gallery

The Museum 1938-1945

Count Philipp Ludwig Wenzel Sinzendorf according to Rigaud. Clarisse 1948 by Baroness de Rothschildt "dedicated" to the memory of Baron Alphonse de Rothschildt; restituted to the Rothschilds in 1999, and in 1999 donated by Bettina Looram Rothschild, the last Austrian heiress.

With the "Anschluss" of Austria to the German Reich all Jewish art collections such as the Rothschilds were forcibly "Aryanised". Collections were either "paid" or simply distributed by the Gestapo at the museums. This resulted in a significant increase in stocks. But the KHM was not the only museum that benefited from the linearization. Systematically looted Jewish property was sold to museums, collections or in pawnshops throughout the empire.

After the war, the museum struggled to reimburse the "Aryanised" art to the owners or their heirs. They forced the Rothschild family to leave the most important part of their own collection to the museum and called this "dedications", or "donations". As a reason, was the export law stated, which does not allow owners to perform certain works of art out of the country. Similar methods were used with other former owners. Only on the basis of international diplomatic and media pressure, to a large extent from the United States, the Austrian government decided to make a change in the law (Art Restitution Act of 1998, the so-called Lex Rothschild). The art objects were the Rothschild family refunded only in the 1990s.

The Kunsthistorisches Museum operates on the basis of the federal law on the restitution of art objects from the 4th December 1998 (Federal Law Gazette I, 181 /1998) extensive provenance research. Even before this decree was carried out in-house provenance research at the initiative of the then archive director Herbert Haupt. This was submitted in 1998 by him in collaboration with Lydia Grobl a comprehensive presentation of the facts about the changes in the inventory levels of the Kunsthistorisches Museum during the Nazi era and in the years leading up to the State Treaty of 1955, an important basis for further research provenance.

The two historians Susanne Hehenberger and Monika Löscher are since 1st April 2009 as provenance researchers at the Kunsthistorisches Museum on behalf of the Commission for Provenance Research operating and they deal with the investigation period from 1933 to the recent past.

The museum today

Today the museum is as a federal museum, with 1st January 1999 released to the full legal capacity - it was thus the first of the state museums of Austria, implementing the far-reaching self-financing. It is by far the most visited museum in Austria with 1.3 million visitors (2007).

The Kunsthistorisches Museum is under the name Kunsthistorisches Museum and Museum of Ethnology and the Austrian Theatre Museum with company number 182081t since 11 June 1999 as a research institution under public law of the Federal virtue of the Federal Museums Act, Federal Law Gazette I/115/1998 and the Museum of Procedure of the Kunsthistorisches Museum and Museum of Ethnology and the Austrian Theatre Museum, 3 January 2001, BGBl II 2/ 2001, in force since 1 January 2001, registered.

In fiscal 2008, the turnover was 37.185 million EUR and total assets amounted to EUR 22.204 million. In 2008 an average of 410 workers were employed.

Management

1919-1923: Gustav Glück as the first chairman of the College of science officials

1924-1933: Hermann Julius Hermann 1924-1925 as the first chairman of the College of the scientific officers in 1925 as first director

1933: Arpad Weixlgärtner first director

1934-1938: Alfred Stix first director

1938-1945: Fritz Dworschak 1938 as acting head, from 1938 as a chief in 1941 as first director

1945-1949: August von Loehr 1945-1948 as executive director of the State Art Collections in 1949 as general director of the historical collections of the Federation

1945-1949: Alfred Stix 1945-1948 as executive director of the State Art Collections in 1949 as general director of art historical collections of the Federation

1949-1950: Hans Demel as administrative director

1950: Karl Wisoko-Meytsky as general director of art and historical collections of the Federation

1951-1952: Fritz Eichler as administrative director

1953-1954: Ernst H. Buschbeck as administrative director

1955-1966: Vincent Oberhammer 1955-1959 as administrative director, from 1959 as first director

1967: Edward Holzmair as managing director

1968-1972: Erwin Auer first director

1973-1981: Friderike Klauner first director

1982-1990: Hermann Fillitz first director

1990: George Kugler as interim first director

1990-2008: Wilfried Seipel as general director

Since 2009: Sabine Haag as general director

Collections

To the Kunsthistorisches Museum are also belonging the collections of the New Castle, the Austrian Theatre Museum in Palais Lobkowitz, the Museum of Ethnology and the Wagenburg (wagon fortress) in an outbuilding of Schönbrunn Palace. A branch office is also Ambras in Innsbruck.

Kunsthistorisches Museum (main building)

Picture Gallery

Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection

Collection of Classical Antiquities

Vienna Chamber of Art

Numismatic Collection

Library

New Castle

Ephesus Museum

Collection of Ancient Musical Instruments

Arms and Armour

Archive

Hofburg

The imperial crown in the Treasury

Imperial Treasury of Vienna

Insignia of the Austrian Hereditary Homage

Insignia of imperial Austria

Insignia of the Holy Roman Empire

Burgundian Inheritance and the Order of the Golden Fleece

Habsburg-Lorraine Household Treasure

Ecclesiastical Treasury

Schönbrunn Palace

Imperial Carriage Museum Vienna

Armory in Ambras Castle

Ambras Castle

Collections of Ambras Castle

Major exhibits

Among the most important exhibits of the Art Gallery rank inter alia:

Jan van Eyck: Cardinal Niccolò Albergati, 1438

Martin Schongauer: Holy Family, 1475-80

Albrecht Dürer : Trinity Altar, 1509-16

Portrait Johann Kleeberger, 1526

Parmigianino: Self Portrait in Convex Mirror, 1523/24

Giuseppe Arcimboldo: Summer 1563

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio: Madonna of the Rosary 1606/ 07

Caravaggio: Madonna of the Rosary (1606-1607)

Titian: Nymph and Shepherd to 1570-75

Portrait of Jacopo de Strada, 1567/68

Raffaello Santi: Madonna of the Meadow, 1505 /06

Lorenzo Lotto: Portrait of a young man against white curtain, 1508

Peter Paul Rubens: The altar of St. Ildefonso, 1630-32

The Little Fur, about 1638

Jan Vermeer: The Art of Painting, 1665/66

Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Fight between Carnival and Lent, 1559

Kids, 1560

Tower of Babel, 1563

Christ Carrying the Cross, 1564

Gloomy Day (Early Spring), 1565

Return of the Herd (Autumn), 1565

Hunters in the Snow (Winter) 1565

Bauer and bird thief, 1568

Peasant Wedding, 1568/69

Peasant Dance, 1568/69

Paul's conversion (Conversion of St Paul), 1567

Cabinet of Curiosities:

Saliera from Benvenuto Cellini 1539-1543

Egyptian-Oriental Collection:

Mastaba of Ka Ni Nisut

Collection of Classical Antiquities:

Gemma Augustea

Treasure of Nagyszentmiklós

Gallery: Major exhibits

de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kunsthistorisches_Museum

Slinking away, still smirking over how rewardingly gullible the bejeweled wealthy girls in silky dresses had proven, Angie unexpectedly came across fresh, opulently inviting, prey.

 

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Angelique D. at play

 

Angie D

 

Circa 1915

 

Case study 113 subset b

 

Early development: “Pickpocket” of worn Jewelry

 

Sub title:

 

What is it about rich girls that make them so lucratively gullible?

Quoted by Subject: log 1959

 

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What:

 

Along a path just outside where a departing congregation of a small church still gathered.

 

Where

 

The outskirts of Chestermere:

 

When:

 

An early fall day, in the year of our Lord 1915

 

Who:

 

An appealing lady wearing a secret smile, clad expensively in a silky top and flowing satiny ruffled skirt, a pair of gold earrings flashing merrily as she strolls.

 

Excerpted from Diary:

 

A lady in a cream silk blouse and long blue skirt was walking happily along a path on the outskirts of Chestermere. She was coming from the early Sabbath service of a local chapel, filled with the rousing words of the Parson’s homily. As Angie walked, she hummed a cheerful tune, her conscious, as always, free of any guilty feelings.

 

Angie was very pleased with herself, and the main source of the pleasure was now bouncing against her thigh as she briskly walked along. For deep in a small pocket hidden well below the waistline of her flowing sleek skirt, was a pretty jeweled pendent on a delicate gold chain.

 

Only just 15 minutes ago that jeweled pendent was still being worn by a member of a rather wealthy looking family whom had been in attendance at the same Sabbath service. Angie had scoped them out as the family had waltzed in just after the mass had started. The mother was dressed in a pretty white frock with ruffles of lace falling from her throat and wrists, along with a rather nice set of pearls. The rather formal and severe father was in a “monkey suit”, a gold pocket watch and fob stretched across his rather bulging waist. The pair had their hands full with two rambunctious , pre-adolescent twin boys, who had continually distracted them during and after the lengthy service. Which was good, from Angie’s point of view anyway, for it left the parents totally ignoring their seventeen year old daughter , at the end of the pew, standing with a sultry air about her.

 

The daughter was wearing a rather fancy party dress of thick red silk. Dangling down the front of the sheer red silk bodice, on a thin gold chain, was an attention grabbing deep green emerald starburst pendent that fell swaying from her dress’s high neckline. It had been the sleek dress that had whetted Angie’s interest, but it was the pendent that kept that interest focused during the entire service, delightedly eyeing the pendant’s shimmeriness in the low candle lit church. During the communion procession she had managed to slip in behind her in order to closer scrutinize the prospect, soaking in the expectations of acquiring it from the unsuspecting proper acting young lady..

 

As the service ended, the family joined in the stream of the departing congregation. Angie followed closely, looking for her chance. It came when the Parson stopped the father to ask a question, a group soon huddled around the mother and the twins. As everyone bent over to focus attention on the twins, including their sister, Angie circled her prey and slipped in close, hovering briefly over her back before darting in. In one fluid motion, Angie lifted with one practiced hand the chain and flicked open the thin clasp, nimbly catching the swaying pendent in her other hand as it fell, whisking the sparkling emeralds and chain away and palming it from sight. Absolutely no one noticed the flashy necklace as it vanished from the front of the sister’s silky dress. Angie had continued on her way, clutching the pendent, and headed straight out the door without looking back. Instead of heading back the short 3 miles to her hotel in the city, she decided to head out towards the woods, where she planned to lay low until dusk.

   

Angie now turned her head to have a look behind her at the distant chapel and the people milling about, her gold plated earrings flashing as she did so. Good, she thought, no one was following her, and she, in total security that she was out of danger, crossed off the path and went on the road.

  

Angie strolled along the country lane, trees lining it turning red and yellow in their autumn gowns, for quite some time, before she became aware of a band playing off in the distance.. Then turning a bend in the lane, through the thin wall of woods, she spied a wedding reception up on a hill by a white stone Church. From her vantage point she could see a multitude of colourful , richly shimmering gowns and the occasional sparkle of , she hoped , opulent jewelry.

  

As good luck would have it, she decides to crash the party. She was dressed for it, she was hungry, and who knows what pickings she may find inside to increase her earthly riches ,as the Parson had been saying! She walked around, skirting the woods and came across a hillside garden with rose covered arbors and bright flower lined paths. Two grubby boys of about ten and twelve were playing in the woods on the opposite side, by a small pond surrounded thickly with Rhododendron s. She entered the Garden and made her way up the winding path, coming out onto a small field with benches that lay on the opposite side of the church and the auditorium entrance to the reception.

 

Angie entered the crowded auditorium underneath the Church. She helped herself to the food buffet and sat outside enjoying her meal, as she watched the richly dressed crowd. A young man came up and asked her to dance, which she did happily, and just as happily lifted his gold watch and fob. And, too boot, after a few dances with him, she had become a part of his circle, happily mingling, and rubbing elbows with the obviously wealthy guests he presented her to. Including an introduction to his pretty faced teenage sister, who was sporting a pretty diamond ring on all too slender finger, that she kept waving in Angie’s face as she played with her long silky hair.

  

Angie soon left them and started to stalk about for a bit, noting that most of the guests were older, more mature specimens. There seemed to be a lack of young, well dressed children around, whose shiny offerings had been Angie’s main bread and butter for almost two years.. She had just come to the conclusion that she would have to settle for picking a few pockets or purses before leaving. She started to look around for the bloke with the fancy gold pocket watch who had first asked her to dance….

 

Then she saw her.

 

The lady was moving through the crowd, on the arms of a man half her age, giggling, not paying attention to anything else around her. She wore a long gown of a shimmery purple silk. But it was not the gown that had caught Angie’s eye, but the jeweled brooch that hung from the gowns cleavage, shadowed by its mistress’s ample bosom. Like the figurehead in a seagoing schooner it came, shimmering in the dazzling light of at least a hundred diamond chips, surrounded by an oval of blazing sapphires. Angie’s fingers tingled. It was time.

 

****************************************************

Now, it had been better than three years ago when Angie had run across an ancient, toothless Gypsy in a long black dress with a faded shawl around her shoulders, who had spoken Angie’s fortune. When she had read Angie’s palm, she looked Angie dead in the eyes, a most knowing kind of look. Then she had risen, motioning Angie to stay and came back with a rather battered old pamphlet she wanted Angie to look over. Entitled the Cutpurse: skilles, artes and Secretes of the Dip by “Gaston Monescu, 1826”, it covered the various tactics and moves used by master pickpockets. Including whole chapters on successful “Methodes” of relieving a wealthe lady of her” jeweles”.

 

The Gypsy Woman, who had hovering over Angie as she had read deeply into the pamphlet moved and sat back down across from her.

 

Angie ,who by this time in her quite young life, was already an accomplished cutpurse and picker of pockets, looked up at the gypsy, grinned, and asked if it was worth her while. The Gypsy just smiled, reached up and opened her dirty laced shawl, revealing the silvery necklace that Angie had been wearing when she had come in. Amazed she traded the necklace for the pamphlet on the spot and quickly began putting its teachings into play.

 

Angie soon mastered this new level of her chosen craft.

 

She had started on mannequins: clothing them in long silky dresses and jewelry. She had practiced for months, first in a rented studio apartment, then in a secret basement located in an isolated, deserted old barn and then its surrounding woods. Soon she felt confident enough to go out and try it in the crowded streets amongst shopping women. She met with great success, but her gains were only a pittance. Still she practiced, and had gotten so adept that she soon was moved onto more affluent hunting grounds.

 

She reasonably started out with weddings. For the phamplett had suggested starting out at formal parties where there would be an abundance of youngsters dressed in their best by parents wanting to show their off female issues to an adoring public( in the minds of the wealthy parents, anyway). So she went, seeking out young, easily distracted young girls who were not used to wearing the array of enticing jewels placed on them by overly enthusiastic parents.

 

Angie’s first time out was met with some rather sweet success. A large day time wedding reception in Nova Scotia, held in a public park by a majestic sweeping waterfall.

 

Late at the reception, as she was still prowling without making any formal attempts, she soon noticed that the adults at the gathering were becoming quite gay with drink, and noticeably paying less attention to their children. Said children began to wonder off in groups, exploring and starting to run about playing games, their gowns and dresses whispering a Pied Piperish tune to Angie’s ears, their shiny jewels luring her ever closer.

 

Angie soon started to follow a pair of young ladies who had scampered off to explore.

One was an impish girl with long black hair flowing down, drawing ones attention to the frilly white dress she was wearing. Gold chain earrings dancing merrily from her ears, as a longish gold herringbone chain shimmering brightly in the sun as it lay hanging from her silk dresses’’ high neckline.

Her partner in crime was a most fascinating subject. A charmingly bright green eyed proper young imp, a couple of years older than white dress, with a rather pronounced Welsh accent, much like Agie’s remembered her parents having. Her silken red hair lay down her back in a neat long French braid. A long thin satin gown of emerald green swished as she ran with the awkwardness of youth to keep up with her new friend. A matching satin bow was tied just below her throat, its ends trailing down to her svelte waistline. At the bows center was fastened a glittering rhinestone pin. She also was wearing a small rhinestone necklace that encircled her throat just above the bow. Her ears were home to a pretty pair of clasped rhinestone earrings that matched the pattern of her necklace. Around one short shiny green satin gloved wrist was a brite rhinestone bracelet.

 

The duo found the waterfall, by which a photographer had set up a camera. Angie approached the lovely pair, and easily started up a conversation, helped by the fact that as an adult, she was not scolding them for walking off. They seemed pleased that Angie was actually doing the exact opposite, like a favored auntie, she was encouraging them to explore.

 

Angie led them around a bend for a different view of the cascading waterfall, out of earshot of the reception. She helped the black haired lass, Basil, up to sit on a small stone wall for a better look, also helping to slip off the shiny gold herringbone necklace from her throat with an almost effortless ease in the process. As, with itching fingers, she contemplated what to do about Basil’s gold earrings, Angie started to watch Lydia.

 

Oblivious to what was going on around her, the red head, Lydia, was standing next to Angie, looking over the fence which just reached her shoulders. Here dear, Angie said, after pocketing the purloined gold necklace, you’re messing up your pretty dress. Angie turned the girl towards her, reached over and said, here, let my fix your bow, darling. Lydia allowed Angie to retie it, as Basil, her back to them, happily was watching, enraptured, the splashing water. Angie finished undoing and retying Lydia’s satin bow, neatly removing the pretty rhinestone pin in the process, then as she straightened the girl’s color, Angie had her turn around. As Lydia obediently did so, Angie flicked open the rhinestone necklaces clasp, and peeled off the flashy necklace from around Lydia’s throat as she turned round. Just like that, Lydia’s rhinestone necklace went the same way of er pin, both ending up with the gold chain in a secret pocket hidden in the folds of Angie’s skirt.

 

Angie stood behind Lydia, placing her hands on Lydia’s slick silken covered shoulders, all three watching the waterfall. Angie’s left hand caressingly, ever so lithely inched down along Lydia’s side, reaching the girls wrist. As Angie engaged them in conversation, she slowly worked off the bracelet, leaving only the pretty earrings as her last challenge.

 

Angie lifted her right hand and slowly moved it up to one of the girl’s dangling earrings, sparkling in the waterfalls’ reflection.. With her left hand she pointed upstream. As both girls turned their heads to look, off came a rhinestone earring. Angie than playfully lifted Lydia’s long French braid and laid it over Lydia’s shoulder, below her now bare ear. She turned to look down, giggling, and as she did so, Angie plucked away the remaining earring; it easily came off and joined its companion with the rest of the collection of jewelry in Angie’s secret pocket. Amazed that the process of removing young Lydia’s jewels had gone off so easily, Angie almost wished Lydia had been wearing bells like one of her sleekly gowned practice mannequins. Her reasoning being that she would know if it was because her skill level was that good, or just the fact that Lydia was just an unworldly youth easily distracted. Whatever the reason, Angie, feeling fresh inspiration, looked over at the chirpy basil, and her shiny gold earrings.

 

Angie moved behind Basil, placing her hands upon the slippery waistline of her silk dress, then leaned forward, whispering in the girls ear, tickling it with her breath. As Basil giggled Angie reached up gently lifted the gold chain earring up from the lobe of the girl’s opposite ear lobe. Then nimbly with her thumb and index finger, flicked open the hinge clasp and neatly removed the earring, watching for any reaction from her victim. Basil never felt a thing, Lydia was still watching the waterfall, equally as oblivious. Angie kept her chin close to Basil’s ear, and the remaining earring. Cautiously she moved her fingers up, and then darting in with them, successfully repeated the maneuver. As the earring joined the rest of her collection, Angie could not help thinking that if all her future endeavors were as successful, she could end up living quite a comfortable lifestyle.

 

Angie stayed a few more minutes, keeping the pair distracted the whole time before she cautiously moved off, leaving the two of them there by stream. Basil happily perched on the stone wall, and Lydia bent down, busily plucking at the moss growing on the old stones. Both girls still quite fetching in their pretty gowns, both a bit less weighted down by any added trimmings.

 

For the next year, fueled by her early success, she started focusing entirely on wedding receptions. Honing her skills until it became almost mundane for her nimble fingers to lift a jewel, no matter where is was being worn by a squirming young lady upon her fancy dressed person. And, actually, some of her acquisitions where worth a surprising bit of dough when pawned.

  

Favored Case in Point:

 

It was in New Hampshire, on her 24th outing late during the wedding season of the following year when she came upon a rather prim young miss of about 13, clad in a long sleeved thick yellow satin blouse, a black velvet vest and matching gold and black vertical striped satin skirt. A young raven haired bumble bee with no stinger, but with pearls, black pearls in a long string dangling down along the front of her shiny back buttoned blouse. She was also wearing matched black pearled earrings, and a small, daintily jeweled pin in the shape of a humming bird on her velvet vest. She was sitting alone at a table, playing with some crayons and a book. Angie, who had been watching her for some time from a bar stool, had come up and caught the pretty little things full attention, easily capturing her interest, then, finally, suggesting they go and watch the activity on the ballroom floor from a small alcove in a corner. Liking the adventurous way Angie had suggested it, the bumble bee had eagerly followed Angie away from the table.

 

Angie continued making small talk as the pretty thing was watching the exquisitely gown guests on the dance floor, including the girls’ parents. She was met with youthful exuberance by the youth, who was so enthralled with the activity on the dance floor that she was as unaware of what was going on around her , much like one of Angie’s practice Mannequins. After quite easily removing the dainty jeweled pin, Angie’s subtle fingers were able to lift up and flick open the rhinestone clasp of the child’s pearled necklace. Angie than coolly waited for a prime moment before whisking away the wholly distracted young miss’s gleaming black strand of pearls from around the high ruffled collar of her yellow satin blouse.

 

And also, like one of her gowned and jeweled practice Mannequins, the young girl never noticed anything amiss as Angie continued on with her conversation for quite some time afterwards. It was daring, but exciting as Angie kept stealing looks at the bare front of the glossy yellow blouse where the pearls had hung down so deliciously, knowing they were in her own pocket, so close, but for the young lady, so far.. Finally she decided she was pressing her luck, and she wished the child a goodnight, before beating a hasty exit,( but not before circling back to the now deserted table and heartlessly lifted the fat, expensively made purses, of both the young girl, and her mother!)

 

The jeweled hummingbird pin, and string of matched black pearls, dainty and long, fetched a pawned price that left whetted Angie’s appetite for more!

 

So, it was after this that Angie, looking for fresher, richer challenges, decided to seek out slightly older prey in their natural habitats, proms and social teenage dances. Where real gems, usually borrowed from their mothers or Grandmothers, would be replacing rhinestones.

 

Still very youthful looking despite her twenty something age, Angie’s first attempt was an upscale dance she had come across while out about in a neighboring city. It was held in an old ballroom for a local boy’s prep school and their dates. Figuring the girls attending would be ripe for the picking in tight gowns and loose fitting jewels, Angie stole inside for a closer look. The only obstacle was getting one of the begowned girls away from her group long enough to make a play for something of value that she was wearing.

  

But, Angie came away with nothing but valuable experience on that first attempt.

 

And it was actually her third try before she met with success in the form of a gold bracelet. It was at a formal dance being held in a large room of a rather posh hotel called the Red Lion Inn. She had gone in for a peek, and spying a pretty young thing heading for the ladies room, fell in step behind her. She was a long brown haired girl, wearing a short silk dress, blue, forming the perfect backdrop for her mouthwatering selection of shimmering gold jewellery. Waiting in a small alcove, Angie made her move as the young lady came back out the door. Bumping against her, Angie’s right hand held onto the youngster by the waist, drawing her close, as she steadied herself, apologizing. At the same time, Angie placed her left hand on the unsuspecting mark’s left wrist, easily flicking open the clasp of the thick gold etched bracelet and slipping it off and away. The young lady, accepting Angie’s apology, went on her way, and Angie, swiftly darted for the nearest exit, securing the rather overly brite bracelet in her bosum.

 

Over the spring and early summer dance seasons Angie practiced, acquiring bracelets and rings down pat using her skillfully developing fingers. She soon also was having some success with necklaces, including one with a long gold chain and a flower pendent set with a diamond carpel surrounded by ruby petals that had turned a quite tidy profit.

 

Then there had been the night of her first big haul, at a private girl’s school homecoming in Connecticut

 

She had started out by finally selecting and shadowing a young lady clad a slinky black dress, draped in her mother’s diamonds. Angie was drooling over a flashy wide glittering gemmed silver bracelet that hung loosely from the young vixen’s limp wrist. She was sure it was made up of real diamond chips. As the girl squirmed past Angie heading to the dance floor, her bracelet was easily plucked off the wrist of her black elbow length satin glove and secured deep in the bosom of Angie’s dress.

 

It was now becoming all too easy, smirked Angie as she unflappably headed out of the exit with her trophy. But, as she crossed the street, she was stopped by a hard looking Italian thug who emerged from the shadows. Angie at first thought wanted to mug her for her earrings, but it turned out he just wanted to see a girl who was inside attending the dance . He described her, and Angie, her interest growing, agreed to locate her and give her his message to meet him outside.

 

Angie went inside and soon found the girl. All her wishes had been answered. The unsuspecting lass was both richly gowned and even more richly jeweled, combined with zero common sense. This fidgeting girl had been seeing the young Italian on the sly, away from her disapproving family and friends. Angie led her out the back way, the opposite side of the Dance Parlor where the Italian was waiting in an alley.

 

Angie pointed across the street towards an entirely different Alleyway, offering to wait with her when the girl balked about going down it. As they waited, Angie fawned over the poor, beautifully adorned young innocent. Helping her straighten her luxurious gown, and helping her primp her long hair, so she would look just right for her east end Romeo. After waiting ten minutes, Angie instructed the girl to wait, while she went out and peeked down the street to see what was keeping her lover.

 

As she left, Angie stole a look back at the still primping young lass, eyeing her slinky gown, and remaining jewels, before heading off down the street, looking into her palm at the pair of long Garnet and diamond earrings that lay nestled, glittering fire there. She then placed them into a secret pocket, joining them with the girl’s small, expensive matching pendent, liberated as Angie had helped her negotiate a curb with her stiletto heels. Both pieces of the lass’s jewelry shared the same pocket with the wide silver bracelet encrusted with diamond chips that Angie had taken earlier..

 

More than once since then, Angie wondered if the ditzy, well jeweled girl ever had made it back out of that alleyway unscathed.

 

The experience had even more so whetted Angie’s appetite. So, even though she was still practicing on younger females, she was now dying to ply her trade upon mature women displaying the real McCoy.

 

***********************************************************

 

So it was with that in mind that Angie now watched, with itching fingers, the beckoning brooch. Though Angie was still unsure enough of trying her abilities on wealthy ladies who would not be as easily distracted as young girls, the timing felt right. As the lady recklessly displaying the brooch passed, her attention lost in the arms of her lover, Angie turned and followed, getting a close look first at the brooch and its pin, noting that it was not tightly clasped onto the gowns thin material.

 

As the couple headed to a table they passed two wealthy dames arguing vigorously with each other. Pricey rings flashing as they pointed fingers emphatically in each other’s face. On the side of table away from the pair, but near to Angie as she was passing by, lay a small, fat silvery clutch purse . Figuring that any dames loaded down with that many gems should be carrying a healthy wad of dosh in it, Angie, on the fly, took action.

 

As she passed she snatched it, and slipping it under her arm turned and headed towards the ladies powder room. Just before entering Angie looked back watching as the two still argued, gemmed rings flashing she had gotten away with it! Going into a stall she scrutinized the clutch for its valuables; disappointed to find only a fiver, some loose change, and a silky laced handkerchief. How cheap can you get she thought ruefully over the wasted effort? Hiding the clutch in the folds of her satin skirt, she left the stall, passing a lady applying makeup in a mirror. She was very pretty in a fluid teal gown, wearing dazzling white pearls upon her ears, neck and wrists. Something about this lady seemed familiar, and Angie’s senses started to sound an alarm. Catching each other’s eye, Angie nodded, but the lady appeared not to recognize Angie, nor Angie her, but the feeling still lingered. Angie left ,guardedly perplexed.

 

Angie went to the bar to have a drink while she thought about who the lady may have been. She was in a position to see the dance floor and she soon spotted the purple clad lady with the brooch Angie had her eye on, again in a deep embrace with her lover. The Brooch would be profitable, but risky as along as she stuck close with the Boyfriend. Angie needed a way to get him out of the picture for a while. It was as she considered several options to carry out the challenge that Angie again spotted the lady in teal , dancing with a tall red headed man. . Cold prickles like ice ran down her spine, It was the pearls! She suddenly remembered who the lady, and her dance partner were!

 

************************

 

Only 5 days ago she had been starting her third week operating in Calgary. She had been following a rather attractive, obviously wealthy woman, wearing an eye catching purple silk dress, carrying a dress bag and some smaller parcels. Close at her side was an unheeded calfskin purse. Alongside the lady was a smaller version, obviously her daughter, a girl of about 14. She was wearing a white shiny turtleneck with an equally shiny long tiered skirt. Both of her hands were occupied with department store bags also. When the ladies darted into a swanky hotel ,Angie had followed, she always had had luck in these types of establishments. They had entered a crowded lift and Angie had worked her way in behind the pair, riding up with them in the rickety contraption. Mother and Daughter got off on 12 and Angie stayed on until 15, exiting with not only the fat wallet from the calfskin purse, but also the shiny gold herringbone necklace that had been flashing from the daughter’s throat, securely in her pocket.

 

Angie decided to call it a day. She had already made about 30 dollars from wallets lifted at the department store she had been working over when she had spotted the mother and daughter at the checkout. The mother was paying from a thick wad of cash, and judging from the jewelry of both were an indication of how wealthy the family was. She had followed them out onto the street and it had paid off in spades. Now, all she had to do was find an exit. She saw a stairwell next to a slightly open door with a maids cart outside. She stopped and hovered over the cart to peer inside the room. It was at that moment a door opened on the opposite side of the hallway.

 

A red headed man in an open tux shirt came out of a room, looking at the cart, and Angie standing next to it. Seizing the opportunity, Angie quickly asked if he needed something. I was looking for a maid; I spilled some wine on the cashmere carpet. Seeing the name Bannister above the bell, she said sweetly, certainly Mr. Bannister, I can have someone take care of that for you.. I was just coming up to let you know there is an urgent message down at the desk for you. (Quick improvisation was a special talent of Angie’s.) Why didn’t you bring it, he started to snap, than , never mind, just get a maid, and he headed towards the elevator.

 

Angie picked up the towels and headed cautiously into the massive suite. From the bedroom off one side she heard running water. She looked around quickly, seeing many valuable articles, but nothing small enough to quickly conceal. She took the towels into the bedroom.

 

Angie went into the bedroom, expertly taking everything in. A long silver lamee gown lay out on the bed. On the vanity lay a silvery purse, a pair of long silver satin gloves , a silver watch, silver necklace, a pair of long dangling silver earrings, and a small blue velvet pouch. On a side dresser laid a man’s thick gold watch and a money clip with a wad of bills, a tenner showing on top. In less than a minute after entering the room she had scooped up the money clip, watches, silver jewelry and gloves stuffing them into the purse and lifting up her long skirt hid it in one of its secret pockets. She lifted up the pouch and found it was empty. A picture on the vanity showed an attractive lady in a black dress and pearls. She briefly wondered where the pearls were, did not see any likely spot, and so had turned to make a hasty exit, when a feminine voice called out from the bathroom where a shower could be heard running. Steam was coming out from the slightly ajar door.

 

Dear, a refined voice stated, I have soap in my eyes and cannot find the washcloth. Angie, smelling an opportunity, peaked her head around the corner into the steamy bathroom. There was a shower stall with glass doors at the end of the long room with a double sink running along the side. From the hook by the shower hung a peach negligee and matching long robe. The door was open slightly and a very soapy femine hand was reaching out trying to feel along a towel bar, just missing a hanging washcloth.

 

A soapy hand from which glittered a pretty gold pinky ring set with small diamonds. Angie went over and pulling off the washcloth, rapped on the glass door , receiving a thank you dear in return as the hand reached out for it. Angie wiped off the protruding hand, and a dry voice said, no, not my hand dear, as the washcloth was plucked playfully from Angie’s grasp , and the door closed. Angie bent down and picked up the diamond pinky ring that had been slipped from the showering woman’s finger by the wash cloth, from the carpeted floor underneath the shower door. she than turned ran a hand along the satin rode, looking around. Bingo, on the counter lay a pair of sparkly long diamond earrings. Dumbstruck at her luck she grabbed them off the sink. , she was jolted back to realty when the voice again called out, are you still there dear? She scurried out of the bathroom, closing the door behind her.

 

She was at the apartment door in a flash, opening it a crack to make sure the coast was clear, it was. In the hallway Angie headed for the stairs because she knew that Bannister was far too important a man to take a stairway. She had been in the apartment less than 4 minutes, and had probably looted it of enough valuables to more than double her take so far of the last three weeks since arriving in Calgary. Leaving by a back exit she came out of a small alley. Looking over she spotted the young lady whose necklace she had lifted in the elevator kneeling down and looking in some bushes. Her shiny skirt pleasantly splayed out upon the ground around her. Angie briskly walked past her and off down the street. She made it without incident to the dingy apartment she was renting by the day. Collecting her meager belongings Angie checked out immediately. Leaving by bus for Chestermere, where at a small bank she rented a safety deposit box to stash all her ill-gotten gains for safe keeping until the heat wore down a bit.

 

****************************

 

Now Back to the Present

 

Angie now knew how lucky she had been. The red headed man, Bannister, may have recognized her. Calgary was too close to Chestermere , she should have been more cautious when scoping out the receptions guests. Angie turned and headed to the bar to think the situation over.

 

She saw the young man whose watch she had lifted, talking to an older, pretty lady laden with pearls. Behind them stood his sister, her diamond ring sparkling as she twirled her hair. Angie circled wide, coming up behind the lad, she grabbed his shoulder, why hello there. He smiled, introducing her to his Aunt, whose jeweled fingers she took into her hand in a gracious shake. He continued talking to his Aunt, it seems that they were discussing a family matter of some importance .Angie, finding the rings were tight on the Aunt’s chubby fingers, let go of her hand and moved over to the sister, and engaged her in conversation, moving a little off so that the sister turned her back to her brother and aunt.

 

The sister twittered, curling her hair impishly as Angie asked her why she wasn’t dancing. No ones asked, she giggled nervously. What about the boy who has been watching you all eyeing, Angie nodded her head outwards, the girl turned , her hair flying, as she lowered her hand, which Angie took up, petting it in a conspiratorial fashion, go over and ask him, Angie suggested. Go an ask him? I don’t see him she said, but I couldn’t, and she turned back to Angie, flashing her baby blues innocently. That’s okay deary, Angie patted the girl’s hand, keeping her eyes in contact, not allowing her to break the gaze, and perhaps looking down and noticing her loose ring was now gone from her slender finger. Angie took her leave of the sister, and of girl’s annoying nervously twittering giggle. Angie, slipping the diamond ring securely away, continued on until she reached a small alcove from where she could see most of the reception hall.

 

She lit a cigarette, purple silk and her desirably take able brooch was still safely out of reach on the dance floor, and Bannister’s attention was all on his wife. She thought it over, weighing her options, and the risks that were now in play. The song ended, and the dancers started to head off the floor. Angie’s eyes darted, Red headed Bannister and his wife were heading off to the far side of the room, Purple silk and her partner were heading to the bar. Angie’s heart stopped, no, Purple silk was heading to the bar, her lover was off to the men’s rest room. Angie snubbed out her cigarette, rising to the bait, it was now or never. Like a feral feline, Angie began to slowly stalk her prey.

 

But then Angie saw her chance slip through her fingers and evaporate into nothingness, like the smoke from her crushed cigarette. For at that moment an older man bumped into the lady Angie was tailing, spilling his drink down the front of her purple silk gown. Angie retreated and watched from a distance. As the man profusely apologized he produced a silk handkerchief and help wipe down the pretty lady. As he did so, the beautiful diamond broach vanished from her bosom. He had been slicker, slicker than Angie was ( for the time being) able to be. Angie felt her heart sink. Not only had she been deprived of the broach, but the existence of another member of her trade meant that she had better scram, not wishing to cross him. She could tell by the look in the man’s eyes that this was one not to be tangled with

 

Giving up on any plans she had been harboring, she got up, turned her back to the dance floor, headed as quickly as she could to the far exit, keeping her gains, and cutting her (presumed) losses.

 

Angie reached the door without challenge, opening it, she found stairs leading into the Church above. But first she stole a look back. She observed the man suavely talking to the now brooch less lady wearing purple silk. In that second a long haired (ginger) young lady passed by him, wearing a slinking green satin dress. Angie saw the man watching her walk on bye, and then immediately took his leave of purple silk, and began following the perky girl in green satin, with her savory collection of loosely dangling silver jewelry, heavily encrusted with flickering emeralds.

 

Angie turned away, and while wondering how she had failed to have spotted that prime prey in green earlier, went to the stairs.

 

She went up the stairs, coming out into a small chapel in back of the church. A door led to the outside, which Angie took, pouting inwardly, feeling all the world like a child who had been deprived of a desirable toy. She found herself on the side leading down to the Garden from which she had entered. The Church was now in between Angie and the reception, so she felt free to move unobserved. She crossed over to the gardens entrance and headed down the hill.

 

In front of her was a hedgerow, on the other side, Angie knew, was the small field with benches that lay at the entrance to the gardens proper. It was coming from there that she head the voices of children playing, on the other side, but she paid no heed, her mind was on leaving the area.

 

As she hurried along the hedgerow she saw something sparkle expensively in the sunlight through one of the gaps in the hedges. She stopped and curiously looked through a small opening. That’s were all the young darlings have been hiding she remarked to herself, her interest peaking. Forgetting all about leaving and lost opportunity of the brooch, she now focused on the new “toy” now dangling its enticement to her. It belonged to a girl in a slithering silvery gown, with her long hair done up in a long plait. Angie eyed the girl’s sparklers, which Angie first took as all rhinestones.. But, as Angie took inventory, her eye focused on a ring that she was wearing on one of her petite fingers. It held a fiery display, diamonds and rubies. There was no way the ring was rhinestone. Looking around to access the situation, Angie decided that by hook or crook, she needed to get a better look.

 

Watching the colourfully gowned young ladies innocently at play, Angie mused over the golden opportunity just waiting for someone unscrupulous to acquire the jewelry they were wearing. Someone should make them aware Angie decided, surprised that no one older than 16 was watching over them. Knowing that the scene before her was too fertile an opportunity to pass up without at least a long glance, Angie looked around, making sure no adults were about unseen in the woods, or any other nook and cranny of the play area.

 

Angie had found she had a knack for capturing young, well dressed lady’s interest, much to her amusement, and profit! It was with this in mind that Angie decided to allow herself a few precious minutes to watch from her hidden opening to see what may transpire. There were six children, four young ladies who were obviously dressed for a wedding, and the two urchin boys of about 12 and 10 she had spotted earlier. They were dressed as the local poor farm boys they obviously were. Angie quickly overheard the names of the girls as they called out to one another. .

 

The group were playing, appropriately enough for Angie’s point of view, a children’s standard game of cops and robbers. All Angie could think about, as she watched the boys with exuberance chasing and holding the giggling, squirming girls, was that there would hopefully be no actual robbing of jewelry as the game was played out. As each girl, Angie quickly memorizing their names, was ”captured” and taken to “prison”, Angie was able to scope them out at leisure.

 

The youngest Cecilia, about six, was wearing a long smooth gown of deep cream, with a midnight black bolero style jacket of velvet. From her neck was happily swaying a long silver chain with a jeweled winged beetle pendent, her jacket was home to a matching pin.

 

Cecilia’s older sister, 10 year old Claire, was wearing a puffy blue satin blouse with a long bow dancing down the front. Her long skirt of glistening black flowed in ripples as she ran. Also moving in ripples were the long gold herringbone chains she wore dangling from her neck, as were also her matching earrings and bracelet. A thick, expensively shiny gold ring encircled her middle finger.

 

Claire’s friend, Abbey, of about the same age, was wearing a longish gown of sunset pink satin, with a white satin sash encircling her waist. At the center of the sash glistened a gold pin set with pearls. Around her throat, dangling from her ears, were glimmering white pearls.

 

The oldest girl, the one in charge, was a fourteen year old named Amanda. Young and flighty, she kept looking up into the voluminous white clouds in the sky as if trying to see what they were forming. She was dressed in a longish slithering silver princess style gown, the style one may see flowing along the shapely figure of an actress at the moving picture awards ceremony. A fancy necklace with large garnet stones and small diamonds was flapping against her chest as she ran. The necklace matched her long earrings, bracelet, along with her pretty ring. She was wearing a flashy red jeweled head band , with strings of gold and rhinestones interwoven into her long plait of naturally wavy chestnut hair. The head band was all rhinestone, as were the garnets in the rest of her jewels. But what from a distance appeared to be small diamonds in her matching set that separated the garnets, were actually ¼ caret diamonds. Angie, upon realizing this, felt her heart burning with desire at acquiring a piece of the set being so vulnerably dangling from Amanda’s slickly attired person. But a couple of ripping gold herringbone chains, or even a jeweled beetle pendent flicked from a velvet jacket would be nice to acquire also, if only for the practice benefits.

 

To Angie’s secret joy, Amanda was the last girl to be captured, only because a stone lodged itself in her shoe brining her up lame. She was held by one of the boys, and lead, limping, to the other two girls. As a new game was started, she sat out. She hobbled to a nearby stone bench, brushed herself off , watching the group play before removing her shoe to find the annoying stone.

 

Angie started to make her move even before Amanda had made it to the stone bench. She reached her as she was shaking her shoe, slipping up alongside her on the cool bench. The girl jumped, but Angie’s special (practiced!) smile soon won her over. Angie soon enticed the young thing into casual conversation, extracting useful information as Angie, feigning a cheerful interest on the outside, while studying the girls expensive gown and drooling over the glistening garnet and diamonds that adorned it on the inside.

 

Angie tried to direct Amanda’s attention to her young charges, commenting about their pretty baubles, then asking who the boys were, and how well they knew them, about who suggested the game they were playing, how robbers were attracted to pretty things you know, and, were the boys playing the robbers next? Surreptitiously trying to plant seeds of distrust in the immature girls mind, and Angie could see that those seeds had found rich soil. Her intention was to keep the girl distracted long enough for a go at acquiring her necklace.

 

Angie, not unlike a feral cat, waited patiently for her opportunity to take the necklace from the unassuming Amanda to arise. But the girl was not cooperating; her attention on the playing girls lasting for mere seconds before focusing it back on Angie. Angie decided to use a different tactic. Angie placed an arm around girl’s silken shoulder and pointed up into the fluffy white clouds, asking her if she could see what Angie saw.

 

In the clouds, Amanda asked? As she leaned back into Angie who drew her close, relishing in the silky , quite scintillating feel of the child’s slick gown. No, Angie thought unkindly, you silly rich twit, the clasp of your necklace is what I see ( her fingers snaked up the backside of the sleek silver gown towards the tantalizingly easy open able clasp). The one you are about to lose to me, she continued thinking before answering the girl.

 

But seconds later, when Angie did answer, it was with a sweet motherly tone that dripped honey. Yes dear, in the clouds, doesn’t that one look like a soldier, or perhaps a highway man on a horse she inquired to Amanda? No, I think it’s a prince answered Amanda, and Angie thought , not for the first time, about the power of suggestion, for the mass of clouds looking like absolutely nothing but a mass of clouds to her!

 

But, it was an opportunity opened, and as the guileless girl was happily lost in her thoughts, Angie began to lift the clasp into position. As the necklace move up the girls chest, Angie could see its jewels, all sparkly, as the sun came back, peeking through the clouds. But Angie was not the only one who noticed, for the oldest lad who had been stalking up on the youngest sister’s hiding spot, was attracted by the sparklers now flashing around the distracted girl’s throat.

  

The boy headed towards them, and Angie’s fingers retreated. As the girl noticed the boy approaching, she gave a nervous giggle, and placed a hand to her throat. Angie began to rise from the bench, feeling the opportunity was slipping away, for the second time that day. But she hesitated a minute, and she was glad she did.

  

The boy came up and asked Amanda if she was going to play again. He was openly gawking at the necklace Amanda was nervously fiddling as he spoke, and Angie drooled to herself, you dear sweet child. For She could feel Amanda pressing hard into Angie as if seeking protection from his eyes. Angie took action, pointing out the sister the boy had been stalking. Successful diverting the boy’s attention, she sent him after the girl.

  

Maybe it was the things Angie had been feeding the girl about strangers and playing robbers, or pointing out the highway man in the clouds, but the attention to her necklace by the lad had had an obvious effect on Amanda. Angie, seizing the opportunity, exploited it to the fullest. With an Epiphany like thought, she knew what to say, and do next. And if it worked, then Amanda’s necklace would not be the only bauble acquired by old Angie girl.

  

Angie shooed the lad away, and he left, reluctantly to rejoin the game in progress. Then, in an inspired bit of deceitful storytelling, Angie related to Amanda a sad tale about an incident in her childhood, one she made up on the spot. The girl listened, still cuddling for whatever reason, as Angie stroked her enticingly attired figure down, relishing in the softness of her gown, along with admiring jewels she was so intent on acquiring. It was not often in Angie’s line of work that she was able to really check out one of her victims in this manner, and she relished every minute of it.

  

As Angie went full bore into her tale of woe ,she lifted up the attractive necklace from pretty girl’s chest, as she chokingly told the youngster that when she was her age she had been playing dress up in one of her mother’s gowns and had put on some of her mother’s jewelry without her permission.

  

Angie than took up the girl’s slender hand into hers, fingering gently the pleasingly expensive ring , seeing tin the young ladies eyes that she had struck a chord, and Amanda was totally held captivated with her story. Angie continued on… She had gone outside and over to the playground where a group of older children had convinced her to play a game of cops and robbers. When they had been done playing and Angie had gone home, she discovered some of her mother’s pretty jewelry was missing.

  

Angie noticed with satisfaction that as she was reaching the end of her story Amanda had stiffened, her heart started beating faster, and she started to check over her own jewelry. Your mother’s than, Angie drooled to herself, she had nailed it on the head. Carpe Diem Angie said to herself, throwing all caution to the wind.

  

Cops and robbers? That’s the game the boys are having us play, Amanda questioned with visible concern. As she was making this statement, Angie saw with satisfaction Amanda’s open mouth gasping as her eyes went to the boys who were now high in a tree, innocently unaware of what they were underhandedly being accused of eventually attempting to do ( steal the young girls jewelry)!

  

The two Boys had spotted a bird’s nest and where trying to see if it had eggs as the sisters watched them, backs to the bench where Amanda and Angie sat. Seeing the coast was clear, Angie quickly acted, before her story lost its effect over Amanda. Angie produced the purloined silver purse and pulled out the silky handkerchief. She spread the handkerchief out on Amanda’s silken covered lap, setting the purloined purse down upon her own.

  

I really think you should put your jewelry somewhere for safekeeping. Why don’t you wrap it up in this handkerchief, you can keep it in my purse. I’ll lend it too you if you promise to bring it back to me when you get back to the reception. Amanda nodded wisely (those earrings were very pretty Angie told herself) , Angie’s heart went to her throat, the young innocent, abroad from the reception, had swallowed Angie’s deviously luring tactic. Here, Angie promised, I’ll start, and she took of her gilded earrings and laid them gently out upon the shiny white surface of the silk handkerchief. This way I won’t lose mine either, she confided in Amanda, who looked back at Angie with her innocently wide blue eyes.

  

Amanda now showed no inhibitions while reaching up and removing her glittery necklace, laying it gently out upon the handkerchief. It was soon followed by rings and bracelet. Removing the headband and rhinestones chains, undoing her plait in the process, her long hair flowed down her back in curls. It curled up as she laid it upon the ever growing, sweetly glimmering, pile. Then she flung back her long hair and undid the screw backs of her flashy earrings, placing them on top of the heap. Angie’s heart began beating faster as she realized she was going to get away with this! Aw, she thought, as the last of Amanda’s expensively glittering jewels was added to the already glistening pile, wealthy children are so adorably cute when they are being gullible.

  

When Amanda finished, Angie looked down upon the glittering mound, unbelieving her luck. But then the unimaginable happened. Amanda, laying the handkerchief with its precious cargo on the bench next to her, stood and called back the two sisters and their young friend to the bench.

  

Angie held her breath as the girls, turned and dutifully ran up to her, the boys still high in the tree, paid no attention to them. Angie watched, almost salivating as the pretty darlings in their fluttering frocks came bouncing back, necklaces flinging in and out, obediently to Amanda’s call.

  

As they reached Amanda, she told them that they had better remove their jewelry for safe keeping. Why, Challenged Cecilia, with childish accusation? Amanda looked back at the boys in the tree, because I think you may lose them while you play, she scolded. We’re careful Cecilia retorted obstinately, as she looked from Amanda to her sister Claire. Amada looked at Claire, and lifting the girls gold necklace pointed her chin at the tree containing the two boys, and said, they will be the robber’s next game. Claire went wide eyed, and told Cecilia and Abby that they had better do as they were told.

  

Claire was closest, and with a nod from Amanda, unfastened her necklace and laid it out on the silky handkerchief. They were soon followed by her gold drop earrings, bracelet and ring. She started to back away still wearing her rhinestone hairclips. Don’t forget them… Angie started to say, but was cut off as Amanda told Claire to remove them, which she did promptly. Angie was glad she had been able to hold her tongue.

  

Cecilia was next. She approached Angie and Amanda, her long dress swishing richly as she came. She politely asked Amanda for help. Turning her back to Amanda she lifted up her long hair, Amanda remover her necklace and pin, laying them upon the growing shimmery pile. Cecilia removed her earrings and ring, happily placing them with the rest. Very pretty Angie said, admiring the dress, she lifted up the sleeve, admiring it, no bracelets, she whispered to herself, as she pulled the silky sleeve back ever so slightly.

  

Abby than approached, and quietly, obediently, unfastened her pearled necklace, and then removed her glistening matching earrings, and placed them all delicately upon the pile. Momma said to be careful with them, their Grand mama’s, she bleated sweetly, and Angie felt her heart skip several beats, suppressing an evil grin upon hearing those delicious words. Claire then helped Abby remove the pearled brooch from her satin sash.

  

Angie stood back, her heart had been pounding with cutting swords of mixed delicious pleasure and anticipation as, there on that sunlit church playground, the girls in swishy gowns, removed their valuables for “safe” keeping. She knew she now had to work fast, for there was an ever growing chance that an adult would show up from the reception and ruin Angie’s fun.

  

Angie than folded up the silk handkerchief, and in a classic bit of misdirection that would have made Gaston Monescu proud, appeared to place it inside the purse she was going to leave in the children’s safe keeping. But she actually palmed it, and slipped the bundle deep into her skirts pocket as she handed the purse over with her free hand. All three sets of eyes watching the purse, not what Angie’s other hand was doing.

  

Now go and have fun, Angie encouraged the girls as she handed the purse to Amanda. The youngsters seemed thrilled that they had an adult’s permission to keep on playing, and knowing that they would not be in danger of now being yelled at for possibly losing some of their pretty jewelry, they scurried off happily, in waves of whispery satin. Amanda stopped and gave Angie a hug before following the two sisters and their friend. The kind of hug that would have sealed the fate of any jewelry she may have still been wearing, and for which Angie did a double check for. Angie then watched Amanda run off, long gown fluttering out from behind her.

  

As the four girls rejoined the two boys, Angie slowly slinked away, melting into the woods. She allowed herself to smirk over how rewardingly gullible rich young girl’s in silky dresses ,wearing ripe for the plucking jewelry ,always proved to be.

  

Folle est l’agneau de la prune qui dans le loup avoue! She whispered to herself as she disappeared from the frolicking children’s sight.

  

She stopped suddenly as she reached a small clearing with the path leading to the rose covered arbor crossed. Not believing her eyes, as she unexpectedly saw below her fresh, opulently attired, prey.

  

A young couple was busily snogging in the garden the garden just ahead of Angie. As she looked over the pair of richly dressed pretty young things, she could not help but wonder if this couple had been in charge of watching over the children and had snuck away to be by themselves. She quickly ducked behind some bushes as the girl broke away, and with a come hither look, led her boyfriend through a rose covered arbor. Not a moment too soon, for the couple looked behind them, before crossing over the path and disappearing into the woods.

  

Angie cautiously snuck forward, and reaching the spot where they had disappeared into the woods, hears the girl giggling along with the unmistakable sounds of kissing. As the couple is otherwise occupied, Angie carefully moves into the woods. She spies the lad’s suit lying over some branches, and sees the shrubs moving underneath as the couple obviously have progressed now beyond kissing.

  

Angie spies something bright and shiny laying on the ground just in front of the shrub. She inches forward. It is the girls gown, laying spread out like a slick wet fluid purple pond , and there, in a nice neat pile, is the diamond jewelry she was wearing. Angie wonders what would have happened if some miscreant, or unscrupulous hobo were to stumble upon this scene. In her mind she reasoned that they would probably steal the jewels. So, why shouldn’t ole Angie be the one to acquire this one’s jewels also? Since she would probably be losing them anyway!

  

Angie reaches down and quietly pulls away the fluidly glossy gown, the silky material whispering along the grass as it moves. Angie keeps one ear on the couple just out of sight, the other listens for any noise on the path behind her that may betray her as she melts away back into the woods. Then, when she is a safe distance away, happily scoops up the girls small fiery diamonds. Picking up the gown she carried it back, hanging it from a limb just before leaving the path, she ran a hand along its enticing length, before leaving, snickering to herself the whole way.

  

Coup-Fourré, Angie thinks too herself as she regains the path, after carefully making sure no one else was about. Off in the distance she can just barely hear the children still at play. The purse where they innocently believed held their jewelry safe, she imagines still sitting on the bench. She thinks for a second about going back and lifting that purse, but decides not to push her luck, now that she had finally found some.

  

She once again pictured the beaming faces of the three young girls as they were being complimented on their shiny dresses by the pretty lady with the nice smile and gentle fingers as she carefully looked them over for anything missed that those nasty boys may try to take. Naively unaware that they had, in reality, been robbed of the precious gems that they had been convinced to remove for “safe keeping.”

  

Angie, for the first time, but not the last, imagined in her mind, what the children’s wide eyed astonishment would be like, they opened that sleek little purse , only to find the handkerchief had vanished! . And what the couple snogging about in the woods would make of the missing gown and jewels.

  

Editors notes:

 

Even though Angie related this story as having occurred on the same afternoon ,the chronicler felt she was keeping something back. It was never discover what, if anything had been. The answer may lie in the events unfolded above. It may be worth re-reading the story to see if anyone can pick up on it.

 

Folle est l’agneau de la prune qui dans le loup avoue!

 

Silly is the plump lamb to whom in the wolf confesses

 

Our Thanks to Mr Gardner for pointing out the existence of Mr. Monescu’s 1826 guide

 

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Courtesy of Chatwick University Archives

 

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The revenge upon her would be sweet, even though it was purely theoretical.

She was the very epitome of every stuck up girl who ever passed judgment on those she refused to view as an equal. And I? I possessed the subtle skill to knock her smirking ego down a few pegs.

  

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In late spring of the year 1952, a, bank rented safety deposit lockbox, dusty from many years gone by, was opened. The box had laid unclaimed, the banks records having been destroyed during the Nazi blitzes of World War Two. When its existence became known, an attempt was made to contact the owner, whose family surname was well known in the county. The name turned out to be an alias, no such person ever existed.

 

Please read the account below to learn more about the person who was believed to have rented the strongbox, as well as what he had placed inside……….

 

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Case Study 84 :

 

Warning, these are the raw, bare unusual facts as originally recorded. Some names, times, places and some facts have been altered for obvious reasons.

Exerted from the private letters of Mr. Harley Q. circa early 1900’s.

 

Name: Harly Q. circa 19 …

 

Subject: Seemingly a rather dexterous scoundrel

 

Place: A large coastal metropolis

 

Time: A period of time in late autumn

  

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Harly’s story as related:

  

The following affair occurred during my younger days when my youth and its’ raw passions were still a strong pull on my reactions! Now, how do I start?

  

The Blonde dancing in front of me was was dressed up like a movie star on a red carpet. Only about nineteen, her slinky gown created the impression of having been poured along her curvy, voluptuous figure, like shimmering liquid satin, fluidly swishing as she swirled about the massive chamber! It all made her appear far older and mature than she obviously thought she was. For some, her looks and personality may have been seen as charming and fun. “But for me personally, the only thing charming about her was the way her abundant sparkling jewellery played with the lights from the large chandeliers which held my upmost command!

  

But wait, I may be placing the carriage before the steed…….

 

Allow me to restart:

  

I had taken a long train into town with the intention of spending a few days relaxing from my previous month of hectic “professional” affairs. Rewarding myself, I located my lodging in a fancy upscale hotel situated across the street from a cavernous Ballroom, checking in for a fortnight. Since my social calendar was unusually light, with only the one high society event, a wedding that I was planning to attend the following Sabbath, at a “chapel” located in one of the cities sprawling suburbs. I spent the first day perusing the cultural calendar of the local papers, and ended up circling one or two events of interest that would be taking place later that month. I than took care of my remaining personal business, locating a reputable bank and renting out one of their lockboxes, before allowing myself some time off from my endeavors.

  

I than spent the first portion of my week taking in moving picture shows, visiting stores and hanging out at the local museums and antique shoppes. It felt great not worrying about work, although I will did admit that my mind scoped out a few prospects as I was out and about, walking amongst the great masses..

  

It was mid-week during my stay, while making my way back to the hotel suite, that I decided on a whim to pop into the Ballroom to see what it was all about. I walked into the massive lobby full of activity and wandered about, looking into the massive main ballroom, meeting rooms and various party rooms. As I was leaving I discovered a wall containing posters for all the upcoming events. One poster caught my eye. It advertised the occurrence of a Halloween Ball to take place that very weekend, Tickets still available. The Ball seemed to be the very type of party I was partial to, combining all of my favorite types of affairs, a large gathering frequented by the rich, and everyone attending would be in costume.

  

Purchasing a pair of tickets (less questions asked) I went out the very next morning scouting various shops in search of my own costume. I finally settled on a highwayman’s attire. It seemed appropriate, and the ribbon style “ masque” over my eyes set off the vacation beard that had been growing quite nicely since my last outing. On my way out to pay for the costume I spied a half off bin. On top of the pile was a phantom of the opera mask. On impulse I added it to my bundle and went to the checkout.

  

Although I really didn’t have the feeling that this concern would lead to anything, I mean, who wears good jewellery with a costume ? But a little bored by the inactivity, I was none the less growing excited about the venture. I still decided to play it cautious by setting up my usual safe guards, just in case.

  

A few blocks away from the Ballroom and my hotel suite I found a small chain style motel. Going to the desk I purchased rent for a room for the night, paying in advance. Going into the small room I laid down my purchases and headed back out to the street via a back stairwell, bypassing the registrars chambers. I headed back to my hotel suite to prepare for the evening.

  

After showering, I changed into a suit, shirt and tie. I then headed out onto the street a couple of hours before the ball was set to begin. Regaining my small quarters in the chain motel I changed into my new persona for the evening’s festivities and left via the same back door I had used earlier. I walked back to the Ballroom, getting my share of looks until I reached my destination, where I blended right in with the other arriving costumed guests.

  

I followed the stream to the ballroom proper. The main doors leading inside were large, made of a fancy scrolled oak, held open, and guarded by a pair of burly security types.

Apparently which, I soon gathered, was appearing to be the only security present for the evening’s festivities. Capital, I thought, smirking to myself as I joined my fellow guests.

  

I walk onto a landing, immediately in front of a long bannister guarding a set of wide stairs ascended downwards. I went off to one side, and paused at the railing, starting to survey with eager anticipation, the crowded room below.

  

All was quite glittering, as large chandeliers set off a spectrum of colors with any crystal or glass it touched. It especially created shimmers as it played off the colorful jewelry the lavishly costumed ladies present were wearing. Several dozen couples were dancing in front of a 17 piece orchestra, a slow dance, and many were dancing almost too close. Many more people were mingling around tables of appetizers. A large, chattering crowd was also gathered at the long oak bar that took up one whole side of the huge room. It was to the bar that I headed, to observe the merry proceedings.

  

But the Ball, as it turned out, was a bust, so to speak. Although several attempts were made to ask a number of charming (to me) ladies to add me to their dance cards, they all were, unfortunately, full. I should have suspected it would turn out this way, but I still harbored an all too familiar nagging feeling in the back of my head that something was still going to happen, call it intuition if you need to label it. So I nursed my drink, reminiscing about how I had reached this point in my then still young life…..

  

Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of my favorite poets, once said” Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Long before the the time I discovered this quote I found that my life’s path had already been heading that way.

  

Without boring anyone with far too many details of my rather complicated youth, I discovered while quite young that I had a certain knack for adeptness at being able to nimbly pick pockets. When I was eighteen ( having graduated high school at seventeen) and out on my own in the world, I found this skill quite useful. But it was at a wedding reception in my early twenties where I became of age, so to speak.

  

She was older than me, resplendent in a sleek black satin gown with bright white frills, long white satin gloves upon which graced a pair of diamond bracelets. She was very tipsy and would not take no for an answer when asking for a dance partner. She cornered me and before I could catch my wits, we were in a close embrace on the dance floor. I was totally mesmerized by the feel of her warm figure emitting through the sensuous satin gown. My eyes feasted upon the dazzling show put on by her flashy twin bracelets. When the exquisitely long dance ended and she moved on: I was left with a lot of pleasantly mixed feelings, I was also left with my first trophy, the Lady’s appealing necklace of pearl that I had ever so delicately sipped off her throat, using the sleekness of her satin gown to its fullest advantage.

  

I found myself enthralled with my new “hobby”, and over the course of the next couple of years sought out fancy dress affairs to better learn how to master the art of attracting and dancing with any lady I chose. Along the way I managed to accumulate quite a few trophies for my efforts. I stayed under everyone’s radar by picking out only those females who had been enthusiastically imbibing and by allowing myself to acquire only one trophy per gathering, two if the function was large enough.

  

During this period I made two discoveries: One was that most women would rather assume their jewel had been merely lost long before ever considering that they had been robbed of it. The second was that most of my collection of pretty trophies carried an equally pretty price, and could quite acceptably be turned into ready cash.

  

So, by the tender age of twenty two, my life started to lead where there had ever been but few tracks. And thus we finally come to this particular branch of my rather unique, lengthily crooked trail….

  

So, there I was, on a bar stool, alone and growing more bored by the minute, wishing something interesting would happen. I can remember thinking, as I looked over my fellow partiers about a saying that I had always found to be amusingly true. “If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.” I don’t know who first said it, but brother, the person was right on the money. As I had witnessed for myself time and time again. So I just settled in and watched the amusing antics of the wealthy among the crowd, especially those of …“the girl!’

The girl was a stunning young blonde who was probably just fresh out of high school, with the maturity level of a grade schooler!

  

I kept catching my eye on her all evening, and once or twice, was sure she caught mine looking. But I was not watching her for the reasons she would think were mine. To her I was just some male face in the crowd, exhibiting his lust. But, the reason my eyes kept traveling upon her was for an entirely different one. I just found nothing to be more annoying than a sulky, immature young whelp who believes she is the apple of everyone’s eye, making an absolute nuisance of herself. She was running around, making silly remarks about people, sometimes to their face. Hanging out with her group of friends whom seemed to be of the same mold as my blonde, one girlfriend was even dressed appropriately enough, as a willowy witch.

  

The Blonde was dressed up like a movie star on a red carpet. Only about nineteen, her slinky gown created the impression of having been poured along her curvy voluptuous figure, like shimmering liquid satin, fluidly swishing as she bounced about the massive chamber, slipping in and out amongst the guests! It all made her appear far older and mature than she obviously thought she was. For some, her looks and personality may have been seen as charming and fun. “But for me personally, the only thing charming about her was the way her abundant sparkling jewellery played with the lights from the large chandeliers which held my command! But I had decided, as far as I could tell, that she was wearing nothing but cheap rhinestones, which like her, appeared totally fake. But, as they say, appearances can sometimes be deceiving!

   

This girl was the epitome of every condescending stuck up high society girl that probably everyone has had the misfortune to be the victim of. The girl, who mainly because of her looks, was popular with everyone like her, and had no use for those who, forever what reason they deemed, was ostracized by those of her type. In high school I knew girls like this one, and was a witness, sometime victim, to many a scene of arrogance displayed by girls like her. This one was young, too young to be acting the way she was. Her mannerisms were just a beacon, reaching out out to be taught a lesson.

  

Wallowing in my boredom, a spark began to kindle into flame deep within my brain. Determined not to let the evening be a total loss, I decided act upon it. My plan being to theoretically get revenge on all those smirking girls who tormented me during high school, by knocking this cocky little scamp down a few pegs, using the best of my abilities..

  

Now, I’m not one normally to act as judge, jury, and executioner in most situations, in my selected line of work it would be hypocritical. But obviously old wounds’ had been opened, this long haired girl scampering about reminded me of ones whom had ridiculed me, another lifetime, one that I had left behind A long time ago. The opportunity for bittersweet revenge had presented itself for the taking, and the pull to obtain a little solace by using my unique talents was far too great to resist. Talk about mixing pleasure with business I though wickedly to myself, smiling with the inviting thought.

  

Believe me, this girl would be no innocent victim, and nothing I was about to attempt would leave her with any type of lasting impression, or harm. But if I could cause her at least some considerable discomfort to ruin the rest of her evening out, it would be reward in and of itself! I again eyed her sparkling jewels with all the seriousness I would have given any I was really interested in acquiring. Although she didn’t fit my favorite pre-requisite, she certainly was not drunk on alcohol, she was merely just intoxicated in her own questionable self-esteem, which can work just as well.

  

I waited until her friends had all apparently deserted her for the evening and leaving her, quite vulnerably, alone. I walked up behind her and tapped her shoulder. She whirled facing me, her eyes going from happy expectations to a glare! “What do you want!? she snipped disdainfully”. Calmly I held her gaze, “I was hoping you would help me win a bet” I asked in what I hoped was my most wily voice. She was curious, but wary of me, “as you should be my pretty miss”, I remember thinking to myself. Her eyes sized me up and down, and I seized the moment to take in her jewels, not at all disappointed in them, but my curiosity was aroused about her necklace, I definitely needed to get a closer look to appraise them! “Why should I help you,” she practically spitted out he words like daggers.

  

“It’s this way miss, a couple of boys over at the bar bet me 50 quid that I could not get a dance with the prettiest girl here.” “Me?” she asked primping, no I confessed, I picked you, they had wanted me to dance with someone far less pretty, in my opinion.

I don’t think so; she said with a slight hint of hesitation, my card is full. Just for fifteen minutes I implored. That’s all I need (which was the truth), and Ill split my winnings with you on top of it. She finally bought it, hook line, sinker and pound signs in her adorable violet coloured eyes. Fifteen minutes she specified, before, be-grudgingly, allowing me to lead her to the dance floor.

  

Now, as I took her stiff body in my arms, I was able to satisfy my curiosity about the girl’s necklace, and it caused a dilemma to rear its thought provoking head. While she was busy looking around to make sure none of her friends saw her dancing with me, I allowed myself a couple of precious minutes to think. Her long rhinestone earrings were clip held, and an easy pick. I wanted to try for them both,( I knew how I would do it), and losing a pair of earrings would send a message that they had not just fallen away. Also, I would be suspected by her, which suited me just fine. However, my dilemma was caused by the vixen’s pretty necklace. While the rest of her plentiful jewels were cheap rhinestones as I had suspected the row of diamonds that rippled blazingly around her throat were in fact, the real McCoy. So, which should I go for? The necklace would be profitable and easy but she may just suspect its clasp had broken. The earrings would be just for a sporty trophy, not worth anything but for the knowledge that she would know she had been a victim. Ah, life’s precious little quandaries!

  

So, I continued with the dance, my partner still rigid, so very true to her character. Then, with five minutes left, I made up my mind on what she would not be leaving the ball still wearing. She was a charmer, this disdainful one. Her stiff figure was warm to the touch, underneath the scintillating slippery gown. The show her sparkling jewels produced was most pleasing to the eye. All in all quite a pretty portrait, a shame it was that I was not allowed to appreciate it. Which was fine by me! I was able to concentrate freely on the task at hand. I looked around, the coast was still clear. Then eyeing for one last time her mesmerizingly swaying long earrings and the flickering diamonds that graced her pretty little throat, I executed my move..

  

By the time the final five minutes were up I had the selected jewelry in my pocket without even the slightest notice from my unwilling dance partner. Then, fifteen minutes to the second (good thing I had been keeping track of the time) she broke it off. “Thank you”, I said, to which she mumbled, “my money, sir!” I told her I had to collect it, and would meet her by the ladies powder room. I left her waiting, smiling inwardly to myself at the empty space from which the missing jewelry was glaringly gone from her.

  

She had no doubt that I would be back with her money, was I not merely like one of her household servants, who routinely, without question or error, existed to do her bidding. It would be a major jolt to her system when she realized I was not coming obediently back to her. I had no doubt she would spend some time searching me out for her money once she realized I was not coming back forthwith, with the intention of lecturing me on how I should act around my betters. So I knew that her immediate attention would be elsewhere upon realizing I was tardy, and that it would take quite a bit of time before she recieved a second shock of an altogether different sort.

  

I left with my prize, walking past the two guards with such a carefree air that even they would never have suspected that I could possibly have been up to any mischief. I made good time getting back to the dingy motel room. Changed out of my costume and back into the shirt and tie I had worn. The highwayman costume, which had served me well, I rolled in a bundle under my arm, I again left by the back stairwell and retraced my earlier steps, whistling, back to the suite in the hotel. Along the way the costume was stuffed unceremoniously into a handy trash bin. My little operation had been a complete success. The evening was after all, not going to be a total loss.

  

Back in my suite I stowed the newly acquired jewels the girl had worn into one of my many secret hiding spots. There they would be safe until I could convey it to my banks lockbox on Monday. As I finished I, spied the phantom of the opera mask lying discarded on top of a table. A shame it would not be used….

 

A thought washed over me that would not be denied! Risky, but it would make my evening complete. I quickly shaved off the thin beard, and restyled my hair. I changed from my suit into my tux and tails. Scooping up the phantom mask I headed back to the costume ball. Placing the mask on before entering, I presented my second ticket( not very often did the opportunity arise to use both of the pair of tickets I customarily purchased!) I walked past the two security types without a second glance from them, they absolutely did not recognize me, which meant I had passed that test. My objective now was to try and catch the second half of the show; namely the shimmering liquid satin gowned brats squawking reaction when she first discovered her jewels were gone.

  

I regained a bar seat just in time.

  

She did not disappoint!

  

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Epilogue

 

When, in the presence of both bank and county officials, the strong box was opened, it was found to contain a fairly large collection of the Kings currency, equaling roughly £500 , and a selection unmatched jewelry, rings, single earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, worth a almost £3.000. Also inside was small a bundle of papers. The papers, old and yellowed, appeared to contain the partial handwritten journals of a certain Mr. Harly Q___ , esq. The papers were examined, but gave no clues to who Harley was, or to his current whereabouts. But the journals presented clues as to Harly’s nature, and as a consequence the money and jewels were considered stolen goods and handed over to the authorities. No one knows what became of them, as for the papers, they were handed over to a relative of one of the government officials, and also, for a period of time, lost.

 

The journal was rediscovered amongst the personal files of the late Professor Sedwig Dermitt phd, llc.a dex,

Recovered, restored, and now kept in the human behavioral archives of the criminology dept, Chatwick U.

  

Courtesy of Chatwick University Archives

 

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I bought two Martha Stewart napkin sets of 4 each. The first set I embroidered green with the floss provided. The second set I embroidered in autumn colors choosing colors from my stash of leftover floss. These will be a wedding shower gift. (The napkins are of high quality and the kits would have been expensive, but I got them on sale at 75% off for $7 each set. Lucky me!)

(One photo from each month, starting top left. You can read more about these photos and each month of my 2015 below.)

 

Unlike 2014, with 4 vacations abroad and 4 road trip vacations in Norway, 2015 has been the first year in a long time I haven’t done any of this. But I’ve had SO many beautiful hikes and road trips in the area close to the town we were moving away from after 12 years.

 

1. (Top left) ۰ Yesterday's Dinner ۰

JANUARY: We experienced a hurricane in our part of Norway and a really high tide. Luckily we only experienced and heard of small damages. Of course I had to go out to get some pictures (but yes - I was carefulツ).

I turned 31, and celebrated with my family on my home island Bømlo for the first time in many years. Had a couple of nice hikes on Bømlo and on the beaches of Jæren where I lived at the time – making the year’s first outdoor dinner.

I have more outdoor dinner images here.

 

2. ⊙> Meeting Place <⊙

FEBRUARY: Had several beautiful hikes on the beaches and coast of Jæren. Most of them on new places I wanted to see before we moved back to my home island after 12 years on Jæren. We spent most of the winter holiday together with my family on that island, and I finally got several nice images of snowdrops in my parents’ neighbor’s gardenツ

My images from beautiful Jæren here.

 

3. Found what we looked for ツ

MARCH: Had a great release weekend of my gospel choir’s new CD (search for Faithful by SGCompany on iTunes if you’re interestedツ). Later my new friends Camilla and Øystein, who I met on Flickr, visited us and we showed them several nice places for photographing on the coast of Jæren. An unforgettable weekend! I finally got to photograph large flocks of oystercatchers in front of Feistein lighthouse, and a close up of the northern lapwing (“vipe” in Norwegian).

I also finally got to take nice photos of meadows of crocus this month. In the end of the month we drove the first moving boxes to my home island, and started the process of trying to sell our apartment (which ended in my little sister and her husband renting it).

My album of birds here.

 

4. (Top right) ~❀ I want to do with you what spring does to cherry trees ❀~

APRIL: Started with a nice Easter celebration together with our families and friends, and my dad’s 60th celebration. I had some nice walks this month, shot lots of nice spring images and macros, finally got to photograph beautiful cherry blossoms, and had my first confirmand photo shoot.

My album of spring flowers here.

 

5. (Middle left) ○☼○ Basking in the sun ○☼○

MAY: Entered the month by taking a long hike in a beautiful fairytale forest I had only heard of before. Nearly the whole forest floor, creek edges, and mossy stones were covered with beautiful wood anemones, primroses, lesser celandines and wood sorrels, and I got lots of nice macros. I went back two times ツ

I also had my second confirmand photo shoot, together with my first family shoot. They were really satisfied ツ We celebrated Norway’s National Day (on the 17th) in the town of Stavanger for the first time. It was fun seeing the large and colourful celebration. We had only celebrated on our small home places earlier. We also threw my sister a 50’s bachelorette party that month. Great fun!

Me and my dog Tessi caught up with an earlier colleague I hadn’t met for many years and her dog Toby, on several walks. We have become good friends and have been on many nice walks and visits later, together with our dogs and also Toby’s friend Emma ツ

Some cute images of Tessi, Toby and Emma here ツ

 

6. ♥ Safest Place ♥

JUNE: I got to photograph some cute chickens I hoped to find in a bird park, hiding under their mom’s wings. Adorable! My little sister got married the first weekend and I got to sing and photograph. A wonderful wedding!

I finally got to photograph the lupins I’ve longed to find this month, both by the beautiful beaches of Jæren during sunset and along an old railway I love. I also had my third confirmand photo shoot of a girl in a beautiful “bunad” (National costume), and I was really satisfied with the photos ツ

But this month also felt really sad. Since we were going to move in the end of summer, I had to quit the world’s best and irreplaceable job and my unique and irreplaceable gospel choir, say goodbye to many good colleagues and friends, and so on. After my last day at work, I finally got to meet Richard, who I had followed and admired the work of on Flickr for 6-7 years and talked to on facebook. I commented one of his photos on Facebook, and he invited me on a photo walk at the beach. At first I thought that I wouldn’t dare, since he is so much better photographing than me. But we agreed on doing most walking and talking. And that’s what happened ツ We only took a couple of photos each, and found out that we had lots in common and enjoyed each other’s company.

It was only the start of a friendship we were convinced would last for the rest of our lives, and we went on many more trips together, each week all summer. He also learned to love my dog and dogs in general, after telling me on our first meeting that he didn’t like dogs ; ) He has taught me so much about RAW photography, photo editing in Lightroom, and composing landscape images.

Nice images Richard has shot of me and my dog here.

 

7. ⋯ Gratitude for the bigger things ⋯

JULY: I started shooting RAW since Richard had tought me so much about it and Lightroom. I had SO many nice trips and hikes in the Jæren area this month, together with him, old colleagues I reconnected with, new photo friends (met Anne for the first time) and other friends. There were so many beautiful places I wanted to see for the first or maybe last time before we were moving. I had always spent summers on my home island or on road trips, so it was exciting seeing and photographing all the beautiful summer flowers in this area, especially on the beautiful beaches.

I also finally got to visit the beautiful Kvitsøy island in the same area, for a whole week together with my new choir. The lighthouse and sunsets there were beautiful!

My images from beautiful Kvitsøy here.

 

8. Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace..

AUGUST: I had several nice trips and hikes in the Jæren area in the start of this month too, and I got to visit Richard on his island Eigerøy for the first time and see where and how he shoots his amazing lighthouse images.

Later me and my then-husband moved to my home island to start a new life (but we soon agreed that this wasn’t what we really wanted or should do together anymore, and parted as friends after 15 years together - still appreciating all the great trips, journeys and experiences we’ve had together since we were teenagers). I started working a bit on a new place, and started in another new choir on my home island.

My images from beautiful Eigerøy here.

 

9. (Bottom left) Found the spot

SEPTEMBER: I got a second job on my home island, very much like the one I had in town, and got to know lots of great people and colleagues and also making new friends. The autumn started beautiful and I found this new place for wave photography, but I haven’t been home during windy weather for a revisit yet…=/

I also learned about- and started to take panorama images while visiting Richard, and got some nice autumn images and panoramas. I also went on two tours around Norway with two of my choirs ツ

My panorama images here.

 

10. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that.

OCTOBER: Started with a beautiful autumn holiday, and I got to join Richard on some beautiful photo road trips. This image of Lindesnes lighthouse (Norway’s southernmost), shot on a magical night, got chosen as no. 7 of the 25 top images on Flickr from Norway in 2015 ツ

We also celebrated my dear grandma’s 95th birthday this month, <3 and I brought Richard to visit Camilla and Øystein on their beautiful island Tysnes, not far from my island. We all got some nice autumn images that day.

Later I went to my previous hometown to work at my old job, since I didn’t get that much work at my home island at the time. I stayed with friends and colleagues in town until the start of December (!) Me and Richard captured lots of beautiful autumn landscapes right outside the town where I used to live.

My album of autumn landscapes here.

 

11. Dear Past, Thank You For All The Lessons. Dear Future, I Am Ready.

NOVEMBER: Lots of working in town and not that good weather for photographing, but for visiting friends and cafes, and shopping most of the Christmas presents ツ But we had two beautiful days for photography by the coast with nice sunsets, while visiting Richard.

My album of sunsets here.

 

12. Almost like angel's clothes

DECEMBER: Started with having three beautiful Christmas concerts in the town of Stavanger, together with the Norwegian artists Ingebjørg Bratland and Halvdan Sivertsen. Some days later we had two concerts together with several Norwegian- and local artists. But I only participated on the last one, after the break, since I didn’t get there before 9 hours later than I should (!) I visited Richard, and couldn’t leave his town because of closed roads and railways due to the largest flood in 200 years (!) One road opened nearly 12 hours after I was supposed to leave, but at least I got to sing some songs and wish everyone in my gospel choir a Merry Christmas ; )

Then I went back to Bømlo island, where I live now - to work again after nearly 8 weeks of working, singing, hanging with friends and fun in my old hometown.

The weather was mostly mild and wet this month, but we had a couple of nice and frosty days - and one night we had hours of shooting stars due to a meteor shower, and Northern lights. And finally I got to see and photograph it! The northern lights are rather rare here in the southern part of Norway, but it happens now and then. But until now I've either been asleep, not aware of it, haven't known how to spot it or had cloudy skies when we could have seen it.

I celebrated Christmas Eve (that’s when we have the main celebration in Norway) like we use to together with my siblings, brother-in-law, parents and their dog ツ We’re used to having a busy Christmas with early mornings, singing for the elderly and on Christmas meetings. But we like it that way ツ Then I went to visit Richard, and do the rest of the celebration together with him, his family and friends. There were mostly storms and rain during the holiday, but we got one nice road trip to the snow.

My album of Christmas images here.

  

As you can see 2015 has brought many beautiful Norwegian nature experiences and photographs as expected, and a new homeplace. But I also have got several new not presupposed experiences, several new long-lasting friendships, and new learning and development when it comes to photography and life in general.

I’ve experienced a closure of several relations, plans and traditions, and I've kind of had to restart life again. I’m glad for everyone I’ve met and had relations to in my “old” life and I will never completely lose touch with them. But things have changed and I’ve met many new people that will be an important part of my life now.

I will the start the New Year together with Richard on his home island, and in the town where I used to live on my old job for some weeks. Then I hope to experience a beautiful spring on my home island and nearby. I will move back to the town where I used to live some time in 2016. Little did I know that I already would be back in one year when I was crying over the “loss” of my job, colleagues, friends, my choir and the beautiful nature that surrounded me before the summer holiday of 2015 ; )

 

Thanks to Richard who have meant so much for me the last six months and who I hope and believe will be there for the rest of my life <3

 

Thanks to you who bothered reading this, and to all my Flickr followers and inspirators! I wish you all a:

 

☆¯`★´¯☆ ✿¸.•*¨★*☆*★`*•..¸✿ ☆¯`★´¯☆

★[̲̅̅H̲̅][̲̅̅A̲̅][̲̅̅P̲̅][̲̅̅P̲̅][̲̅̅Y̲̅]★[̲̅̅N̲̅][̲̅̅E̲̅][̲̅̅W̲̅]★[̲̅̅Y̲̅][̲̅̅E̲̅][̲̅̅A̲̅][̲̅̅R̲̅]★

♪ ღ ♪ •*•*¨¨*•.¸¸¸.•*• ♪ ღ ♪ •*•.¸¸¸.•*¨¨*• ♪ ღ ♪

 

...filled with good days and joy!

 

(To watch and read my Highlights of 2013, take a look here.

To watch and read my Highlights of 2014, take a look here.)

 

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Each fall the central Kentucky town of Wilmore experiences the dramatic golden display put on by two giant gingko trees that flank the entrance of the Asbury Theological Seminary on Lexington Avenue. Because the leaves tend to reach their peak in November, they also run the risk of frost. In 2006, I missed the opportunity to photograph their golden beauty because a heavy frost hit that brought the leaves down, seemingly overnight.

 

In 2007, I was determined to capture their beauty. Just about the time that I thought they had reached their peak, I awoke one morning to see frost on the ground. As I approached the seminary by car on my way to work, I could see that the leaves were falling steadily from the tree. Risking being late to work, I jumped out of the car to snap some shots--afraid that if I didn't, all of the leaves would be on the ground by the end of the day.

 

There's something about this autumn gold that draws enthusiasts, but for various reasons. Some, like myself, are there with cameras in hand, while others enjoy the opportunity to play in the leaves; still others, enjoy observing their beauty with quiet appreciation.

 

As I approached the trees on this particular morning, I discovered a seminary student had already arrived ahead of me to stand in quiet contemplation of the leaf shower around him. I snapped several photos and hurried off to work. I was thankful that the frost had not been heavy enough to bring down all of the leaves, and by the time Saturday rolled around there were still enough leaves on the tree and on the ground to attract even more attention. I returned for some more photos. Another photographer was there at the same time and demonstrated his willingness to put himself in whatever position needed to get just the right shot.

 

The parents of a young child were sifting through the leaves, and I learned that in the process of throwing leaves in play, a loose wedding ring had fallen off. While the parents searched, their little boy continued to enjoy the leaves, oblivious of his parents' concern. (Good news! I ran into them a few weeks later and learned that they actually had found the wedding ring!)

 

At those moments we all shared something in common as we took time to appreciate the autumn beauty--each in our own way.