The sun shined bright on this clear, beautiful day. The park was packed with little kids swinging on swings and parents setting up picnics. A softball game was being played, as joggers jogged and young lovers walked, hand in hand, along a park path.

Clementine and Bam walked, side by side, along that very same path.

“So, how old are you?” Clementine asked Bam.

“I’ll be twenty next month,” Bam answered.

“How long you been a Grifter?” Clementine inquired.

“A Grifter?” Bam replied, “where’d you pick up that word?”

“Oh, in some movie I once saw,” Clementine grinned.

“Well, to answer your question,” Bam said, “all my life. I was born into it!”

“Born into it?” Clementine asked.

“Yeah,” Bam answered, “my father picked pockets, my grandfather picked pockets, and his father before him picked pockets. In fact, I was told that my great great-grandfather worked the boat that he came over on!”

“Wow, that’s pretty cool!” Clementine commented.

“Yeah, picking pockets was how my mom and dad met!” Bam continued.

“Was your mom always a pick pocket too?” Clementine wondered.

“No,” Bam chuckled, “she was my dad’s mark!”

“Your dad’s mark?!” Clementine exclaimed.

“Yeah,” Bam explained, “my dad was working a bus station. My mom was waiting for a bus. He wandered over and snatched her watch right off her wrist!”

“What happened then?” Clementine asked, fascinated.

“Well,” Bam continued, “he worked the dip too fast!”

“What’s the ‘dip’?” Clementine interrupted.

“That’s the name for the actual act of physically removing the item from the mark’s pocket,” Bam explained, “anyway, he worked too fast and my mom felt him snatch the watch!”

“Oh my God!” Clementine excitedly replied, “what happened next?!”

“She grabbed my dad’s wrist,” Bam replied, “and politely asked him to give back her watch!”

“Did he?” Clementine asked.

“Yeah,” Bam answered, “but in his haste, he had broken the watch’s band. So, needless to say, my mom wasn’t too happy about the whole situation!”

“Obviously!” Clementine replied.

“Well, anyway,” Bam continued, “my dad apologized, offered her another watch he had stolen earlier and well, one thing led to another, and he took her out to dinner that very evening!”

“Did they dine and dash?” Clementine asked.

“I don’t know,” Bam answered, “but they eventually got married. Dad always claimed later, however, that he purposely let mom feel her watch being snatched, so he could start a conversation with her!”

“Oh, that’s so romantic!” Clementine sighed, “what happened to your dad?”

“He died, years ago,” Bam answered.

“I’m sorry,” Clementine consoled. She wanted to ask how his dad had died. Like, did he die in a big shootout with police? Was he executed in the electric chair or something? However, Bam didn’t seem to want to talk about his dad any further, so she let it go.

“So anyway,” Bam continued, “I’ve worked with my mom ever since. Helping her organize wire mobs here and there.”

“Why is it called a ‘wire mob’?” Clementine asked.

“Many many years ago,” Bam answered, “they used to use thin wires to hook onto the chain of a pocket watch or a money clip, and so forth. As time passed, it became more and more refined until the ‘wires’ were eventually replaced with more manual skills!”

“Well, all of this just sounds so cool!” Clementine cooed.

“Yeah, and you do get to travel all around the world,” Bam replied, “of course, you’re sometimes only one step ahead of the police!”

“It just seems so intense!” Clementine said, “just like Thelma and Louise, except its you and your mom!”

Bam nodded, “Yeah, well lets get started on your training!”

“Awesome!” Clementine replied, “let’s rock!”

Next: Chap. 13 “A Love Never to Be”

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