As they continued wandering around the convention, waiting for Bam to identify their next mark, Pebbles had noticed someone who seemed to be trailing them. Keeping pace. Shadowing their every move.
At first, she thought this person was just another vendor representative looking for the right opportunity to approach anyone of them with some “save the universe” pitch. Or maybe he was just some lonely guy looking for the courage to approach either her or Clementine and try to ask them out on a date.
‘Hell,’ Pebbles thought, ‘maybe he was even some amateur pickpocket, looking at one of us as his mark. Now, wouldn’t that be interesting?!’
But still, she couldn’t shake the feeling that there was just something suspicious about this guy and that could only mean one thing. He was either a con or a cop!
Pebbles thought about calling off the entire operation and telling Ford. But if she told him about her suspicions, and that’s all they were right now, suspicions, he would say she was still spooked after seeing that vice cop yesterday. She figured Ford also wouldn’t want to cut short the operation once again, especially since they were really rock and rolling right now. She decided she didn’t want to spoil the take, so she said nothing.
Bam hooked the next mark. He indicated that the wallet was in the rear left cargo pants pocket on some guy dressed like Crocodile Dundee.
Clementine nodded and moved in. Ford got into position. As Pebbles stood by, she glanced back and saw that the mystery guy was still hanging around!
Suddenly, Clementine made her move. She quickly turned into Crocodile Dundee and did her ’bump’!
“Oh, I’m so sorry!” Clementine said.
“Hey! No problem!” Crocodile smiled, “I don’t mind running into a pretty lady, anyway I can!”
Clementine smiled back at Crocodile, as Ford brushed by.
Now with Crocodile’s wallet safely in his hands, Ford stepped away, waiting for Pebbles.
As Pebbles approached, with newspaper in hand, she noticed that Ford suddenly seemed to sense something. Pebbles again glanced back.
She saw that the suspicious guy was now with two other guys. She noticed they had that “look” on their faces and that they were approaching very rapidly! She realized, right then and there, Ford had just been made!
Ford spotted the men. He remembered the promise he had made to Pebbles and hoped she would keep the one she had made to him!
So, instead of handing off the wallet to Pebbles, Ford immediately veered off course and moved away from the team at a rapid pace! He headed for an exit just ahead.
Pebbles knew it was all officially over, when Ford passed her by without the drop! She kept on walking, then slowed and turned around. Bam also knew something was up.
Clementine had walked away from the mark but hadn’t yet noticed what was going on and had assumed Pebbles now had the wallet.
As Ford reached the exit and prepared to escape into the stairwell, he felt someone suddenly grab his arms!
“James Ford!” he heard a voice say, “Federal agents! You’re under arrest!”
The men immediately cuffed Ford, taking the wallet from his hand.
Clementine now saw it all happening but before she could react, she felt someone grab a hold of both her arms and start pulling her in the opposite direction away from her father!
Pebbles and Bam were on both sides of her and were almost literally carrying her along, heading for the nearest exit!
“What going on?!” Clementine cried, “what happened?!”
“No time to explain now, sweetie!” Pebbles replied, “we’re getting you outta here!”
They dragged a confused and crying Clementine out the exit and toward the parking lot, where Pebbles car was parked.
Meanwhile, James Ford, handcuffed and being read his rights, was taken out through another exit to a waiting car.
As Ford stood by the unmarked car, waiting to be placed into the backseat, he glanced up towards the street and saw Pebbles’s car slowly drive by. Looking out the rear window was Clementine.
Ford smiled and nodded at her. Clementine sadly smiled back and Ford could see the tears flowing down her cheeks. He watched her until the car turned the corner and disappeared.
Next: Chap. 25 “A Slight Change in Plans”