Lex took a sip of tea as he watched the newest arrival maneuvering into dock. It was a laden clipper flying a family crest he was not familiar with. Of course his interest was not with the ship or even its cargo but with the three individuals that had been casing the docks the last few days. They were skilled changing positions regularly and communication via subtle gestures as to not arouse suspicion. On occasion one would disappear only to return soon after with a change of clothing or a makeshift disguise. They were vigilant, but there lack of focus told Lex they were uncertain of their mark. Shifting attention between ships, freight, & individuals it was clear they were looking for a score but hadn’t found it yet.
Lex had decided to make contact with the band of onlookers. He had identified which of the three seemed to be the leader, a middle aged balding man. What little hair he had remaining held more grey than men twice his age. He seemed to be fairly accomplished regularly holding conversations with passersby as he kept his wits attuned to his surroundings. He had even conversed with Jabari briefly regarding his newly named vessel, but upon learning the ship was recently “purchased” must have assumed its hold held no valuables and moved on.
Lex took advantage of the momentary distraction the clipper provided to approach the doc guard. Jabari had made several friends with the gifting of an entire barrel of rum and Lex planned to make good use of it. He gave a couple of the guards a few silver to help “play a prank on an old friend”.
Taking up position nearby it took Lex several attempts to signal the rouge leader before he acknowledged him. Thought he had not deciphered their entire cant he had identified the gesture for a position change. It was this gesture Lex had been subtly repeating much to the surprise of the balding one. At the realization he had been identified he did not panic nor react in any way as to arouse suspicion. Even as the dock guard approached he kept composure and calmly turned to walk away. It was only the approach of the second guard from behind did he then realize escape was not an option.
“What is your bushness on the docksh” asked the first patrolman. Rum influencing not only the tone but clarity of his orders. “Let me shee your badge” or I will hall you in for sushpicious behavior.
“I am just waiting for my brother” said the balding man gesturing to the clipper as it was completing its approach. “He is a sailor; his ship is arriving just there”. He said while handing over a badge to the interrogating guard.
“You fit the description of a person of interest” the second guard spoke up taking control of the interrogation. His tone clear and stern indicated he had not started his off duty celebration early. “We are going to take you in for questioning” his said as he lay his hand on his prisoners shoulder.
“Good sir this is certainly a case of mistaken identity. I have just arrived in your fair city”. The confidence in his voice began to give way as he urgently looked for an escape.
As the guards moved him onto the street a billow of smoke erupted from a nearby cart. “Keep an eye on him” said the dock commander as he headed toward the smoke quickly enveloping the cart.
“yes shir” came the inebriated reply followed by a mocking salute. “I will keep both eyeshhhh”.
Lex pulled the prisoner into the wagon as he passed the drunken guardsmen. “Get under that tarp and don’t make a sound until we get some distance between us. That fake fire won’t fool the guards for long. I signaled you to move away from the docks, you should have listened. I am Lex what do they call you”?
“Paulie” came a whisper from the tarp.
“Well Paulie where should I take you”?