Jim turned to his partner and pointed to the television. "What the hell was that?"

"Most shocking videos?" Blair stated the obvious, cringing slightly.


"Okay, I'll tell you the whole story."

Blair hurried out of the Very-Cheap market and headed for his car. The sky was getting darker by the moment and he wanted to get home before the rain started.

He had to get back to the seedy motel where he'd been living for the last four weeks. He'd been awarded a small grant to study the group dynamic among the Coast Salish Totem carvers. He had just enough money to pay for the motel, gas and some very cheap groceries. The motel had a mini fridge and microwave so he could eat in his room.

The woven cloth bags in his cart held store brand chicken soup, a large box of old-fashioned oat meal, canned milk, tea bags and a few other -- very cheap -- items.

"Help!" There was a scream from the store front.

A large young man was trying to tear the purse from an older woman's arms.

"Let her go!" Blair turned away from his car and ran toward the store.

The man knocked the the woman down and turned on Blair. "What you want, Hero?"

Blair looked at the hunting knife in the man's fist and stopped. "Look. Just split. I'm not looking to play hero."

"I think you are." The man lumbered forward.

Blair reached into his bag and grabbed a can of soup. He had always been a great pitcher and it didn't fail him now. The can bounced off the man's forehead. It slowed him down for a moment.

This is bad, Blair thought. This guy's eyes looked wild and unfocused. He was stoned or something.

A second can was batted away and a third -- the filled milk -- caught the bridge of the man's nose. He went down on his knees and shook his head like an angry bear. When he started to lunge, Blair pelted him with the last two cans of soup.

Two young women in store aprons ran from the store and crouched over the semi-conscious woman. The mugger stood and turned on them with a growl.

Blair was fresh out of cans so he took the canvas bag out of the cart and swung it by it's sturdy handles. The force of the blow was enough to drive the mugger into the block wall and knock him out.

With-in minutes the police showed up Blair did his best to fade into the background. There were lots of witnesses and a video tape and they sure didn't need him. He rounded up most of his groceries and gave the officer his name and number. Then he went home.

"The guy pleaded out and I left after a couple weeks. Story over. Who knew that tape would turn up after all these years." Blair finished with a shrug.

"I won't even go into taking on a perp armed with a knife when you only have groceries." Jim stood up and faced Blair. "So you threw all the cans in your bag, right?"


"What the heck was left in there. You knocked that jerk six feet.

"Centrifugal force." Blair shrugged again. "Oatmeal and stuff."



Jim looked down at him with a grin. "What was it, Sandburg?

"Well, it was the week after Easter."


"They had some stuff ninety percent off."

"Solid chocolate bunnies?"

"Well... yeah... but mostly spice jelly beans." Blair got up and went to the kitchen. "You got to understand I was really, really short on cash. And they were almost giving the stuff away."

"Jelly beans."

"Seven pounds."

"Seven! Mr. You-can't-eat-that-doughnut Sandburg bought seven pounds of jelly beans?"

"Spice jelly beans." Blair sighed theatrically. "Everyone has a weakness."

"Yours is rushing into situations. At least I'm glad to see that it didn't begin when you started riding with me."

The end

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