James Ford and Pebbles wandered down the park’s path. They quickly spotted Clementine and Bam sitting on a bench.

“Takin’ a break?” Ford asked, as they walked up.

“Oh, hi!” Clementine replied, “yeah! Bam said, after a kinda shaky start, that I’m really catching on! Right, Bam?!”

“Absolutely,” Bam replied.

“That’s great!” Pebbles said, “now that we’re all here, lets take the next step! We’ll have a full dress rehearsal of an actual operation! Bam, you be the Mark. Clementine, you’re the Stall. Your dad’ll be the Canon, and I’ll be the Drop, okay?”

Clementine nodded.

“We’ll go over to the other side of the park,” Pebbles said, “where they’ll be less people and will give us more room and privacy!”

So they all went. And they all practiced.

Clementine would get out in front of Bam and “accidentally bump” into him! Ford would casually walk up and ‘dip’ into Bam’s pocket, as Clementine apologized to Bam. Ford would pull out the wallet, then keep walking. Just a step or two away, coming from the other direction, would be Pebbles, carrying a folded newspaper with the fold opened from the top.

Ford would gracefully drop the wallet into the fold of the newspaper and continue on. Pebbles would quickly take out the cash and walk over to a trash can and feign dropping the wallet in.

They would repeat this same procedure over and over and over again!

They practiced, then practiced some more! When they thought they had it perfected. They practiced more!

Finally, as the sun began to set, Pebbles called it a day.

“This was a good day” she said, “now lets go back to the Suite and talk over what we’ve learned!”

They headed back. Ford, Pebbles, and Bam, still seemed energetic.

Clementine was exhausted.

As they entered the Suite, Pebbles asked if anyone wanted something to drink.

“I’ll have a whiskey. Straight!” Ford replied.

“I’ll join you in one of those!” Pebbles answered.

“I’ll have an iced tea,” Bam requested.

“I’ll have a beer!” Clementine tried.

“She’ll have an iced tea, as well!” Ford said.

Clementine frowned, but she was just too tired to put up much of a protest.

As Pebbles fixed the drinks, she critiqued the day.

“It went very well,” she cheerily said, “very well, indeed. Clementine, you were fantastic!”

“Thank you,” Clementine tiredly smiled.

“Didn’t she do good today, James?” Pebbles asked.

“Yeah, not bad!” Ford grumbled.

“She’s a natural, just like her father!” Pebbles boasted.

Ford glanced at his watch. “Son of a bitch!!” he suddenly said.

Everyone in the room perked up!

Turning to Clementine, Ford quickly stated, “its half past six. Your mom has got to be home by now and you’re not back from your “field trip!” We gotta go! You shoulda been home an hour ago!”

Clementine nodded tiredly and slowly walked to the door.

“Wait! Wait!” Pebbles called out, “hold it! I’ve got an idea!”

“Look, we don’t have time!” Ford said, opening the door.

“Think this over,” Pebbles began, “if her mom is home, she is obviously worried about her. She’s probably watching out the window for her to return, or she may even be out in the neighborhood scouting around. Either way, you stand a good chance of being seen James, bringing Clementine home! And you, well we all, don’t want that, do we?!”

Ford and Clementine both nodded no.

“So,” Pebbles explained, “lets have Bam take her home! He could be just some kid she knows from class, or something like that. You can come up with something, right Bam?”

“Absolutely!” Bam answered.

“So, you just stay here and relax and have that drink, James,” Pebbles continued, “and Bam will take care of everything. Then in the morning, you can pick Clementine up. Okay?”

“Yeah,” Clementine said, “that sounds like a plan!”

Ford nodded.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right!” he said, then turning to Clementine, “I’ll be by first thing in the mornin’, okay? We’ll meet at the same spot!”

“‘kay!“ Clementine exhaustedly replied, as she and Bam started to leave.

“And I’m timing you, Mr. Bam!” Ford called out, as Clementine rolled her eyes and Bam just smiled.

Next: Chap. 16 “Meeting Mom”

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