Two Cops and a Crazy Person
“He steals from the rich” said a scraggly tall cop named Pip.
“Like Robin Hood?” his partner, Reggie asked.
“What does he do? Take it for himself?”
“Not that either. It’s more complicated. I’ll show you.”
Pip opened the gate to a white, picket fence and stepped into a suburban backyard. There was a child’s swing and a fire pit adjacent. Pip and Reggie walked up to the fire pit.
“I don’t see what we’re looking at,” said Reggie.
“Look closer,” replied Pip.
“Oh…” Reggie finally realized, seeing the remains of hundred dollar bills burnt hastily. “He must have been in a hurry.”
“My thoughts exactly.”
“So what are your thoughts less exactly?”
“I think he robbed some people, got in over his head and tried to cover it up before skipping town.”
“It sounds pretty cut and dry. Why did you say it was complicated?”
“Well, that’s what would happen ninety-nine times out of a hundred. But something tells me there’s something much bigger going on. This is a small fire pit. He stole thousands of dollars. There’s no way he burned it all in here.”
“So, he wanted us think he burned it?”
“No, my hunch is, he wanted us to think he was planning to burn more.”
“That’s a bit idiotic, Pip.”
“Is it? Look at the facts. He’s stolen a huge sum of money, there’s not a trace of any funding or laundering. And as far as we know he hasn’t spent a dime of it.”
“So he’s going to burn it all?”
“Yes and he wants us to know it.”
“Let’s just get back to the station,” said Reggie. Pip followed him to the cruiser.
They poured over evidence at headquarters for the next three days. The criminal’s background was completely clean. He graduated in business, got a decent job and worked in finance before getting fired during the recession.
“I found something interesting,” Reggie said to Pip who had fallen asleep on his desk. “PIP! Wake up, for Christ sake! I’ve got something.”
“Oh… what?” he asked drowsily.
“It sounds like our culprit fell off the radar after they fired him.”
“Where’d he go?”
“That’s the thing. Nobody knows. Solomon Lester skipped town. He didn’t contact his parents, fiancé or anyone.”
“It sounds like a typical nervous breakdown.”
“Not if you look at his postings online. He was into some pretty radical philosophy.”
“Let me guess; wealth redistribution?”
“I won’t get into a political debate with you but yes. Only, this is a bit more extreme than what Fox News would have you believe on Obama. Solomon doesn’t believe in the monetary system at all. He wants to completely eradicate it.”
“So that’s why he’s burning it.”
“Exactly. And why you said he was planning to burn more.”
“He’s going to do this publicly.”
“Remember that barge they couldn’t locate on the news the other day?”
“Yeah, I remember hearing it.”
“We have to get to the docks.”
Reggie and Pip packed up in a hurry and left. A large crowd greeted them along the shore. They were watching a gigantic blaze.
A loud speaker rang out from the water. Solomon was about to address his audience.
“My people, hear me!” he shouted.
“Not one for modesty, is he?” whispered Reggie to Pip.
“You have toiled,” continued Solomon. “You have sacrificed. And for what? I will tell you! A failed system! Throw your wallets to the ground. They are useless.”
“This man is crazy delusional,” Reggie whispered again. “He thinks burning one barge of cash is going to change the entire balance of economics?”
The crowd’s sympathies were with Reggie as they laughed at Solomon’s remarks. He did not seem perturbed at the least as he continued speaking. “You doubt me,” he remarked. “But this is not the only barge!”
A hundred ships suddenly sailed into the horizon. Their stacks of cash were visible from hundreds of yards away.
“You are seeing the accumulated spoils of the true thieves! Euros, dollars, Yen, Yuan burning away! I ask you once more, throw your wallets to the ground! Liberate yourselves! We will never be rich together, but my brothers and sisters, we will all be poor!”
Reggie and Pip watched stunned as people began throwing their wallets and purses to the ground. They looked at each other for a moment and in unison began to do the same.
“He has a way with words, doesn’t he Pip?” Reggie asked.
“I suppose he does, Reg. I suppose he does…”