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   Chapter 17 No.17

The Time Saving Agency By Christina Engela Characters: 5632

Updated: 2018-06-29 12:02

The mall was large and spacious and had a multilevel layout with shops overlooking the interior of the building with its walkways and green spaces. It was pleasant and cool and roomy. Noise dampers allowed people to have intimate conversations in public places without fear of being overheard too easily. Potted plants lined the picturesque walkways suspended along the elevated shop fronts, their green branches reaching for the filtered sunlight streaming down from the transparent dome at the top of the tapering courtyard. People roamed the walkways, wandering in and out of shops, carrying parcels. Some of the wealthier and lazier patrons were followed around by more up-market versions of her traveling trunk cruising silently behind, carrying the shoppers' booty for the day. Nice looking, friendly young men greeted her as she moved through the crowd. "You wish!" She muttered dismissively under her breath as she passed by.

There were enticing displays in the windows, soft music created an atmosphere of quiet serenity, opulence and tranquility. Down below, in the courtyard in the center of the manicured lawn, small trees and shrubs grew in peace and tranquility.

Suddenly, from somewhere in the middle of the throng of shoppers, a woman screamed. A man came running toward the square, weaving his way through them, clutching a handbag tightly under his arm. Mei paused to watch. Unless that was the latest in men's styles, and unless he was also late for a very, very important meeting – he was a purse snatcher! Jumping over a park bench at the edge of the lawn below her, he dashed across the grass towards a clump of bushes. Beyond that, was the ground-level walkway

m picked up a woman's purse lying among the splinters and passed it to a security guard who went looking for its owner. Someone in the gathering crowd was heard to mutter "At least he missed the tip of the umbrella, lucky bugger."

"Nice one, thanks Fred!" Said the guard sarcastically, swinging his handcuffs round his index finger and shaking his head as he turned to walk off.

"Oh, damn." Said Fred, looking down at his empty branches and realizing with dismay. "Sorry Mike."

"That's okay – anyway, clearly the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

"So." Mei smiled at him. "You a security guard now?"

Fred used some lower branches to walk, carrying his suspended pot with him as he did so.

"Just helping out a bit." Said Fred. "Tried the outdoors a while, but it was a bit dull. The locals – by that I mean plants, aren't very talky. So I ended up here. The music's not bad and there's enough quiet with the noise dampers and I get to see people without having to actually listen to most of them. The guards are nice, they let me stay as long as I help them keep a look-out and help nab shoplifters."

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