Rice field

Latest update: May 2019

Small Hero, by Hana Aianhanma, May 2019.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

This story is made up. Any resemblances to real people or locations are coincidental.

The author of this story does not endorse the protagonist's actions.

Small Hero

The life of a true hero is not easy, and that is without mentioning the search for a proper cape. Why, look no further than Darryl Dorthensworth for a hero which exemplifies this.

Like any real hero, there was very little special about Darryl. He was so pedestrian that no one who had met him could remember any distinguishing features. He could be so unobtrusive that most people either would not recall he had been present, or had not noticed him in the first place.

Daryll was perfectly fine with that. The true hero has little interest in recognition. Even better, not getting noticed was a huge advantage in the hero business. Indeed, it was his being unnoticed that threw the first Good Deed in his lap.

At the time he was completely unaware of his calling. He was quietly studying in a coffee shop in his home town when a group of youngsters sat at a table nearby. His worn-out laptop was in front of him and a big size cappuccino, essential fuel for his brains, lied within easy reach. There was just a thin wall between him and that gang. They were discussing the jeweller next door.

“They have no security.”

“Are you sure?”

“No cameras and no hidden alarm buttons. They rely on the honesty of the neighbourhood and their safe.”

“I don’t believe it.”

“It’s true.”

There were four of them and they were not being very careful.

“So, we hit them tonight?”

“Yes. We leave the loot at the stash in Percy Park.”

Not only were they careless but also way too trusting. Daryll waited until the criminal youths left before packing up and leaving too. Time to inform the police.

It was then that the idea hit Daryll. Why bother the police when he could handle this by himself? Why even stop there? He could become a hero, a small artisanal one who would go after little guys like these. In the process, the police would be freed from catching those small-time criminals. His contribution against crime would, in its own modest way, help to solve the bigger problems. Yes, that seemed like an excellent idea. He would need some sort of costume and a nomme de guerre, but that could wait until later. Time to stop daydreaming and prepare for his first Good Deed.

Daryll was very good at waiting, but this night was testing his patience. He had “borrowed” his father’s car and parked it in front of the intended crime scene. Unfortunately, the criminals were conspicuously absent. He had kept a close watch on the front entrance, but …

Front entrance?

Oops.

There went his plan to confront the perpetrators with a citizen’s arrest. On second thought, that might not have been his brightest idea anyway. He could handle himself fine, but four against one might have been a bit, let us say, overambitious. Must have watched a few films too many. This was turning out to be harder than expected.

Maybe he was not cut out for this after all. Still, better check if they did go to Percy Park to hide the spoils. He could inform the police when he found them.

Daryll parked the car a few blocks early and walked the rest. The park was tiny, more of a playground really. He carefully approached it, keeping his ears open. Yes, that was the sound of digging. He got close enough to see which tree they were hiding their loot under. Back to waiting again. Only this time he knew that it was not in vain.

The four trusting souls left the scene. He’d better check if they did, in fact, bury anything of value. No point in embarrassing himself by directing the police to an empty cache. Luckily, an attendant had left a shovel at the park’s entrance. Convenient.

It is not easy being a hero. Hard work, in fact. Daryll had drenched himself digging. Finally he had found a suitcase. The lock was easily smashed with the shovel. He sat down and opened it.

Gold!

Silver!

Platinum!

Cash!

It was then that the second idea hit Daryll. Heroes, when all was said and done, can not live off thin air. They also need to make a living and they had operating costs too. Hourly wages, over-time, night hours, living expenses, fuel cost and a cape. It was only fair that a percentage of the criminals’ ill-gotten gains changed pockets to those of the hero that hindered them. A small tax, as it were. Governments did it all the time, so why not he?

An excellent idea, even if he did say so himself. He was reading the local newspaper in the coffee shop. It was the first time in his life reading a paper on actual paper. The four trusting souls had been arrested when they had a disagreement in broad daylight. Apparently they suspected one another of taking all the spoils. Daryll had not even considered that outcome.

He put aside the paper to get back to studying on his gleaming new laptop. It had hardly made a dent in the fortune. Neither had the new suit, phone, television, bike, game console, and second hand car. He would post what was left anonymously to the police right after he bought a new cape. The life of a hero, after all, is not easy. All that digging had been hard work.

Yes, Daryll would return what remained of the treasure right after he bought some more necessities.

*****

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