by Alexis Kypridemos
Makis was about to take the first bite of his bagel when someone behind him shoved him and it fell out of his hands.
"Thief!" shouted a female voice.
Makis turned around and saw the person that had to be the thief, a man running like crazy holding a woman's hand bag. He must have been the one who'd pushed Makis. Makis followed the man.
The thief darted across the street. Cars slammed on their brakes to avoid him. On the opposite pavement, three men stood in his way, blocking him. The thief panicked. He pulled a pistol out of his pocket and grabbed a woman who hadn't had time to get away. He pressed the pistol against her throat.
"Nobody take a step closer, or she gets it!" he screamed.
Makis tapped him on the shoulder. The thief turned around.
"You want to die, man?" he yelled at Makis, his voice high-pitched with fear.
"You owe me sixty cents," Makis said. "And an apology." He kept his voice perfectly calm, hiding his rage.
"What are you talking about, man?" the thief said, confused.
"Friend, you're not making this situation any easier."
"Situation?" the thief retorted. "I've got a gun, man! Can't you see it? What are you, blind?" The thief let the woman go. She ran off. The thief aimed the pistol at Makis. Makis stuck his finger in the barrel.
"Go ahead, pull the trigger," Makis said.
"I'll blow your finger off!" the thief cried, convincing no one.
"Maybe," Makis said. "Maybe not. Either way, the moment you shoot, the slide will fly back and nail you straight between the eyes."
"I'll shoot you!" the thief persisted.
Makis tired of the game. He grabbed the gun from the thief's hand and threw it into the street. The thief's eyes popped open and his jaw dropped.
"What are you doing?" he yelped. "Are you serious? That was my granddaddy's gun!"
"Too late," Makis said, and grabbed the thief by the lapels. The thief squirmed. Makis slapped him in the face a couple of times.
The dazed thief crumpled to the pavement. Makis reached down and took the thief's wallet from his back pocket. He opened it. It was empty.
"You don't even have sixty cents?" Makis asked.
"Why do you think I steal, because I'm rich?"
Makis threw the wallet into the gutter.
"Wha- No! No! I had my unemployment card in there!" the thief protested. Shaking his head, Makis picked up the lady's bag to return it to her and walked back to the bagel stand to buy another bagel at his own expense.
The thief crawled on his belly across the pavement. He stuck his hand into the opening above the gutter, but couldn't reach the wallet.
He felt a finger tap him on the shoulder. Not that guy again.
"Go away!" he said and pushed the hand away.
The finger tapped him again.
"Listen, man, what-"
The thief turned around and came face to face with a policeman.
"What's the matter?" the policeman asked. "Somebody stole our wallet?"
Author Notes: "Chinese Whispers" is part of "Fiction Fix," a collection of 46 short, funny stories, plus 196 bonus micro fiction budget stories, available at http://www.fiction-fix.com.