Ten Pounds

May 18, 2011
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London, 1897

David Faradell was at his desk, filing paperwork from his latest case, when someone knocked on the door. He looked up and, when he asked for this person to come in, a boy entered and placed a bill in front of him.
"What's this, then?" Mr Faradell asked the boy.
"A bill, for the money you owe to Mr Rain," He replied, "And he would like it now, if possible,"
David looked down, and saw that, indeed, the bill was for the ten pounds which he owed to Mr. Rain in return for tailoring him a jacket. He looked up.
"I'm sorry, but I don't have that money right now. Could you come back another time?" The boy solemnly nodded, turned and left, closing the door behind him.
Mr Faradell sighed. He did in fact have exactly ten pounds of change in his pocket, but he didn't like to be without money. What if something urgent happened? He picked up his pen and got back to work.
A couple of minutes later, be began to feel guilty. He had the money on him, and Mr. Rain needed it more than he did. Besides, he it wouldn't do to have this uncomfortable feeling of guilt hanging over him. He'd have to settle this now. Mr Faradell stood up, put on his hat and coat, and left.

The shop bell jingled as the boy entered. Mr Rain looked up from the young man sitting beside him, expectantly. "Any luck?" he asked.
The boy shook his head. "He said that he didn't have the money with him, and that I should come back another time. I'll try again tomorrow, shall I?"
Mr.Rain's face dropped, and he let out a deep sigh. "Yes, you do that," Then he turned back to the other man. "I'm sorry, Mr Knight, but it seems I can't pay you back today. Could I..." That was as far as he got before there was another chime of a bell, and the door opened again as Mr Faradell walked in.
"Sorry," he apologized, "I believe that this is yours." With that, he handed over the money, turned around, and left.
Mr Rain turned to face Mr Knight. "Looks like your lucky day!" and proceeded to pay out the five pounds in return for the painting of his house. Then he payed two pounds to the boy for carrying the message, and sent the remaining three in an envelope to renew his newspaper subscription. As the painter left his shop, Mr Rain sat back, content, as the other people left his shop and he waited for business to trickle in, as it always did in the afternoon when other people were returning from their work.

On the way back to his house, Mr Rain stopped at the grocers. The walls were lined with shelves covered in all different kinds of foods. He stopped and picked up a large beef pie, still oven hot, for his dinner, and payed for it with both the money he had just received and with some which he had already in his pocket and, upon leaving the shop, discovered he had just one pound left over. He was wandering what to do with it until he saw a young beggar at the side of the street. She couldn't be more than seven or eight, and she seemed to be alone. As he passed, Mr Rain dropped the coin into her outstretched hands. She looked up at him, gratefully, and scuttled off, down the street and around a corner. 

For the street girl, Kate, life was hard. She had a two younger brothers to take care of, and recently, the younger of them, Max, had recently fallen ill and needed medicine badly. They had tried asking the hospitals, but they had kept getting thrown out. Usually they saved all of the money they got for food, but she had managed to save up, little by little, until they had enough. She turned down the next street, and saw the show which she had been looking for- it had a sign outside of it which read "Poskitt's Pharmacy". She was nervous, and also very shy- she had been thrown out of so many places over the years- but she took a deep breath and opened the door.
Mr Poskitt turned out to be a kind, elderly man who was very helpful in finding the right medicine. He accepted her money, and when she left, she was happy and held a small bottle of pills. Max wouldn't be sick for long.

After the girl left, John Poskitt decided to close up early. As he locked the door to his shop, his mind was on the matter of selling the place. He was getting older, and he would soon have to think about retiring. He had pocketed one of the dollar coins he had been payed with, and set off down the street towards home.
He had forgotten how nice the town was in early afternoon, the scattered people who set about on their daily work, going this way and that. The wind picked up, and trees trembled as  a cloud passed in front of the sun, so that he was not blinded by it's glare.
He hadn't been paying attention to where he had been going, however, and managed to bump into someone else- A young boy with a red and yellow scarf. The boy muttered "Sorry", and ran off in the other direction.
John had already forgotten the coin, and he hadn't-and never would- notice that it was gone.

Anthony frowned at the coin he now held. He had expected that old man to he carrying around more than one coin- Hardly even worth robbing, he thought as he readjusted his scarf. "Oh well," he thought, "It's better than nothing. I'm hungry, so I may as well buy something to eat- much easier than stealing food." Then he crossed over to a fruit shop which was just packing up, and bought an apple from a half-friend of his; Mr Merchok. Even as he took the first bite, he was alert. Life as a thief wasn't easy, and he was on the lookout for more targets.

Mr Merchok had been pulling the metal grating down in front of his shop when Anthony had showed up, and he finished the job and locked up after he had left. Poor kid- it must be hard on the streets, homeless. Still, as long as the boy didn't steal from him, he had no reason to hand him to the police. As he began his walk home, fingering the pound coin, he remembered something- a letter in his pocket, the taxes he had been meaning to send off to the government that morning, when he had found himself a pound short. Now, he slid the coin into the envelope and posted it just as the postman was arriving. He nodded, and set off at a brisk pace.

"Here's the new taxes payments, sir." In the government accounting offices, Terry Brown looked up from the report he was filing at the servant who had just deposited a handful of brown, paper envelopes on his desk. He'd have to get some of the others to sort them out.
"Yes, yes, very well," he replied, and focused his attention back on the paper he had been reading. There, underlined in red, was a payment that the government owed, to a detective they had hired some time ago- a Mr D. Faradell. Terry picked up the first envelope, from a shop owner named Mr. Merchok, and split it open, counting out ten dollars of its contents to pay this debt.
"You," he called to the servant who had brought him the letters, "Take this to the address written here, right now." The man scurried off, and Terry was confident as he continued in his work.

David Faradell had been working late that night, so caught up on his investigation that he had forgotten the time, until he was jolted into alertness by a sharp rap on the door. "After I see who this is," he told himself, "I'll pack up for the night." Then, audibly this time, he called out, "Come in please."
The same boy entered as had earlier, and he deposited a personally addressed letter on his desk. Without a word, he turned around and left.
When David opened the letter, he realized what it was, and pocketed the ten pounds inside; He was no longer without money on his person. Then, he left his office for the night, whistling a merry tune which drifted down the empty, sprawling streets of London city, a point of light within an endless labyrinth of darkness. 





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