It landed on the tracks and echoed in the way that only a rock train tracks will. I looked away and waited, wanting to cry, but refusing to let myself. I asked. “What do you want?” 

“Straight to the point. I like that. I want to make you a business proposition.”

“That’s stupid,” I spat out. “I am only a kid.”

Mr. King laughed.

“Only a kid,” he repeated. “We are all only children a short while, but grownups most of our life. Think of this as an early recruitment.”

“Are you a gangster?”

“A gangster?” Mr. King mused. “Of sorts I guess. But I am not here to recruit you for your abilities as a thief, although they are advanced for your age.”

I felt the trembling in my legs spread into my stomach. I didn’t know how much longer I could hold off the tears. I saw no way out. My mind had already calculated my chances of running: the proximity, the poor terrain, and the man’s athletic appearance all made escape an impossibility. I felt odd, almost as if I might float out of my body.

 

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