Jack Learns a Lesson

Saint Paul’s Day, Eighth year of the reign of King Richard

Jack Tucker. Your ginger hair gleams in the firelight. Your eyes are contantly moving, assessing. I watch you watching the flames while we pass the time at the Boar’s Tusk. Such a wily fellow, is Young Jack. But even wilier fellows have failed to deceive me.

Jack fancies himself an extraordinary cutpurse. And so I have seen the proof of it. He is skilled, if the matter must be said. But while he thinks I am in my cups, he has made sport of this room and its drunken occupants. For though my lids have drooped and my posture sometimes left me with head on arms, I have been sly enough to watch his doings. He picks here and there like a worker in a vineyard. One pouch he discards while another he covets and slick as any eel, he slips his knife in and snip! The prize is his.

He sits beside me now even as he tries to ease my bowl away from my fingers, thinking me asleep. His shirt bulges with his bounty. Yes, a wily fellow. And Brazen. To sit here calm as you please while his victims sit around him, oblivious. If I weren’t so angry I might be amused.

But he will know–very shortly–that the Tracker is above reproach and this sort of side business of his cannot be allowed. Each and every pouch shall be returned to its owner with an apology. I have no doubt I can keep him from the gallows and the sheriff’s clutches. It’s a shriving and bitter penance for my young cutpurse.

Well, just as soon as I am done with a quick nap. For the fire is warm and the wine pleasant and the boy has taken up my bowl and indulges himself. Neither of us are going anywhere for a good long while.