Sunday, September 11, 2016

Vignettes by Me, on Themes Picked Randomly: Day 11

Theme 222: Chess

On the far western edge of the town square, which is an empty expanse of sixty-four by sixty-four meters paved with travertine blocks, Detective Sergeant Elsa König of the Petty Larceny Squad has perched herself at the top of a curved amphitheater, dead center. Opposite her, on the far eastern edge of the square, the portly, middle-aged Lawrence Sovrano, wearing a black silk shirt and a diamond pinky ring, sits at the central table of an outdoor café, sipping a frullato di frutta and fiddling with the handle of a curious valise at his side. After a rash of pickpocketing incidents in the town square, König has made it her mission to catch Sovrano in the act of spiriting away stolen goods in that valise of his, as Sovrano is the suspected majordomo of the young pickpockets responsible for the thefts. Sovrano, for his part, wishes to embarrass König by pinning her with another spate of unsolved pickpocketing incidents, this time occurring right under her proverbial nose.

The subjects of prospective thefts whom König has vowed to protect, and whom Sovrano is set on victimizing, are the shoppers, tourists, and other patrons of the town’s establishments. They take congenial strolls in straight, plodding lines through the square, looking directly before themselves to the left or right, but otherwise remaining oblivious to surrounding threats. Mixed among these well-heeled folk are tatterdemalions and other misfits who also move in plodding lines, and whom Sovrano depends on as obstructions to the eagle eye of his opponent.

At König’s disposal in her task are: in the far northwest and southwest corners of the square, two patrol officers mounted on bicycles poised to race down orthogonal lines; two more patrol officers on foot who move along sweeping diagonal routes through the square; and König’s partner, an athletic junior detective who is able to sprint in any direction to pounce on culprits he or König spots.

Sovrano, on the other hand, has his own assets to command. First, his two statuesque younger brothers, Bruno and Castello, act as body guards by waiting, respectively, at the café bar on the northeast corner of the square and the barber shop on the southeast corner, ready to switch places with Sovrano at his signal, which will enable him to escape from the square through their protection. Then there is Sovrano’s mistress, a shapely redhead whose long legs take her swiftly to any location in the square, so as to intercept and bewitch male officers before they can discharge their duties. Finally, there are the two teenage expert pickpockets Sovrano has groomed while acting as a go-between with fences (for a large percentage of course). These pickpockets have learned to move in the most devious manner of all the players in the square today, darting forward in short bursts, seemingly toward clear targets, but then swerving away at the last instant to the left or the right in order to stealthily pilfer carelessly dangling chains or loose wallets before it can be determined where they have disappeared to.

Will this be the day D.S. König finally outmaneuvers Sovrano and catches him in the act of placing hot items from the hands of one his pickpockets into his valise? Or will Sovrano escape her again by switching places with one his brothers and leaving the square unseen? Or may it perhaps end in a stalemate when one of the pickpockets under Sovrano’s command is apprehended in the commission of a grab?

Explanatory Postscript: When I say “picked randomly,” I mean picked from a Master List that I’ve compiled of 999 themes intended to serve as creative writing prompts (from the following sources: 501 Writing Prompts; 25 Creative Writing Prompts; Examples of Themes; List of Themes; 365 Creative Writing Prompts; 100 Themes Challenge Writing Prompts; List of Journal Ideas; and Top 10 Types of Story Themes). To pick a theme at random, I roll three ten-sided dice (the first for the hundreds place digit, the second for the tens, and the third for the singles) and find the theme under the number I have rolled. If I hit a theme I have already written on, I roll again. If I ever roll 000, I make up a theme. The Master List is a secret, so don’t ask for it.

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