The Case

A small boy spent about three hours going through the different airport terminals. He had a backpack equipped and tried a hefty amount of chocolate from the international shops. Then he read magazines. He watched the planes take off and land in the distance behind the wide clear glass panes. 

“Is that boy by himself,” Angela, a shop clerk from a from a newsstand, asked.

“It happens,” Carl, a janitor, said. “If they show a ticket, they’re good.”

“Carl, my son has the attention span of a gnat. That boy could’ve missed his flight hours ago.” 

“When do you expect him to learn,” Carl asked. “Serious question. Because his parents or guardian took him here. I guarantee you he’s fine.” 

“We have to protect the kids, Carl. What if a stranger tries to take advantage of him?”

“What if a stranger takes advantage of you? Or me?” Angela turned to him and gave him a look. “What,” Carl asked.

“I’m not talking to you right now, Carl,” Angela said, rolling his eyes. 

“Ten bucks says he’s fine when I ask him,” Carl said, watching the boy carefully. 

“I will not engage in betting activities,” Angela said, slapping Carl on the shoulder. “You better go ask him.”

“Fine,” he replied, shaking his head. 

The boy looked at his watch and looked at the end of the hall: gate 23. His feet swung back and forth impatiently as he looked the opposite way for someone to come. 

“Hey, little man,” Carl said with a forced joyous tone. 

“Hey,” the little boy said quietly, staring only down the hallway opposite gate 23. 

“You okay,” Carl asked, plopping his hefty weight on the seat next to the boy. “Are you lost?”

“No.” The boy looked at his watch again. 

“You waiting for someone?”

The boy got up and walked in a moderate pace to gate 23. 

“Hey, kid,” Carl called out. “You sure you okay?”

“Yes,” the boy said after turning around. 

He continued walking to his gate, showed his ticket and disappeared from Carl’s sight. 

Carl and Angela focused on Carl should’ve abandoned his post and followed the boy or stay and do nothin.

Carl elected to do nothing and the boy safely landed in LaGuardia airport. The same looks of concern continued to bore into the boy as he walked past. 

Two men who sat on the head of the chairs with dark sunglasses watched as the boy walked by. The taller, scruffier man slapped the other, clean shaven man while he was snoring. 

“Hey, we got one,” the scruffy man said under his breath. The clean one scanned the crowd until his eyes set on the child. 

“There we go.” 

The boy walked to baggage claim and waited patiently with the other passengers until the boy claimed one large black briefcase. The men looked at each other and nodded as they followed the boy into the restroom. 

The men entered and searched for the boy, but couldn’t find him. 

“Hello boys. Are you lost,” the child asked the strangers. The men spun around and saw the kid was standing there with his briefcase being set down in the tile floor. 

“Oh there you are,” the scruffy man said with relief, smoothing his hair back. “We thought you were lost. Do you need help?”

“Yes.” 

“What is it,” the clean shaven one asked.

“Leave me alone,” the boy said. 

“Oh… yeah,” the scruffy man started. “We will, but let’s do an exchange. A trade. You give us this briefcase and we’ll leave you alone.”

The boy paused. “You want my father’s briefcase?”

The two men looked at each other and nodded.

“You can have my father’s briefcase, if you can take it from me.”

The scruffy man gawked. “That’s it,” he asked with a scoff.

“Yeah,” the child giggled. “Are you ready?”

The boy started to trot and ran with a big smile on his face towards the two.

“Look, Dan, ” the scruffy man said, chuckling. “He wants to play,” he said with arms open wide.

The kid ran faster and tackled him and a searing jolt of electricity shot through the scruffy man’s body. He convulsed uncontrollably as he lost all motor functions and fell to the floor, shaking. A loud bang echoed through the space as the scruffy man’s head hit the metal stall.

The boy hopped up and punched the clean shaven man in the groin and grabbed his navel and forced him down to his knees.

“Touch me and you start bleeding,” the boy said. The clean shaven man raised his hands up high, praying for relief the boy was causing. Another passerby walked in and saw the boy and the two helpless men.

“What are you staring at,” the boy asked. The bald passerby shrugged and walked back outside. “Dan, right,” the boy asked, returning his attention to him. “You wanted my father’s case? His last gift to me?”

“Please,” Dan begged. His face wrought with pain and terror. “I didn’t know,” he cried.

“I just told you it was my father’s,” the boy said, raising his voice. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, calming hisself. “I don’t think you could handle what was in the case. Do you, Dan?”

“No,” Dan screamed. “I don’t!”

“I didn’t think so either.” The boy released his grip and Dan fell to the floor, sobbing. “Take your friend home with you.”

Dan picked up his drooling friend and lugged him out of the bathroom. The boy took the briefcase and laid his hand on it. “I’m sorry father. My anger got the best of me. It’s not what you taught me. I just wish you were able to finish what you started. The mission… The plans…”

The boy looked at the latch: a key code combination lock. His tiny fingers moved across the surface to unlock it and the boy swung open the case, observing the contents inside.

“Father…”

“Son…”

The boy slammed the case shut and spun around. Before him stood a police officer with his hand on his holster.

“Son, are you in trouble,” the officer asked.

“No,” the boy said, locking the case.

“Someone said two men were trying to hurt you.”

“Trying doesn’t mean they did,” the boy said, leaving with the briefcase in tow.

“Wait,” the officer said. The boy stopped in his track.

“Where are your parents?”

“I don’t have any,” the boy said.

“All right, come with me,” the officer said, walking to the exit.

“No.”

“What’d you say,” I don’t have to come with you anywhere. I’m a minor. I don’t have parents and I don’t have to listen to what you say unless I’ve broken any laws. Have I broken any laws?” The officer froze in disbelief. “I’m gonna go home. You can process that as long as you’d like.”

The boy left the bathroom and pushed through a small crowd that had gathered around the entrance. The boy made it to the pickup station and a black suited driver in front of a Cadillac SUV waited with an open door.

The boy climbed in and the driver closed the door shut. The driver climbed in the driver’s seat and sighed as he put the key in the ignition.

“Sean,” the driver said. “I’m sorry for your loss.”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

The driver turned around to face the boy. “You don’t have to. Your father meant the world to me. I would do anything for him. I cannot begin to imagine what you are feeling, but I’m here if you want anything.”

“Just take me home, Reggie.” the boy said solemnly. “I want to go home.”

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