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Taming the Muse

Prompt #1 - Pickpocket - Dance with the Devil

Taming the Muse


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Prompt #1 - Pickpocket - Dance with the Devil

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Title: Dance with the Devil
Fandom: Original Fiction
Prompt: Pickpocket
Warnings: Mild Language, Sexual Suggestion
Rating: PG-13
Summary: An unusual game of pickpocketing leads to more than the wee devil bargained for.
Word Count: 1,737

“That one,” Joanie said, pointing to a guy at the end of the bar waiting for his drink.

“Too easy.”

I sipped at my own drink and grimaced. Why did the girls always insisted on these fruity concoctions with only enough alcohol to buzz a fly? I wanted a real drink. Whiskey neat. Or maybe just a beer. Not this frou-frou crap they thought made them sound worldly and sophisticated when they ordered. Pulling my tongue off the roof of my mouth, I pushed the drink back on the bar and shook my head at the bartender.

“Can I just get a Michelob please?”

Beside me, Joanie pouted a little before turning slowly on her stool, one fishnet-encased leg crossed over the other delicately. “All right,” she sighed, “what about that one?”

My eyes followed the imaginary line her finger drew in the air even while my hand reached for the bottle of beer.

“I don’t need a glass,” I said over my shoulder.

The beer was cold, and the glass started sweating in my hand almost immediately. On my other side, Miranda gave a dreamy giggle.

“Oh, he’s perfect. I bet you can’t do him, Gwen.”

She hadn’t meant it, of course, but a challenge was a challenge. I took a long pull of the beer, looked at the bottle with longing, and handed it to Joanie.

“Take care of this for me?”

Sliding off the stool, I slipped through the crowd of strangers vying for position near the bar, all thirsty and wanting to replenish themselves or their dates, or some of them maybe just wanting those dates drunk enough to forget to say no later. Didn’t matter to me. The game was on.

Dance with the Devil the girls called it, but there wasn’t any harm in it. I had trouble remembering how it had started or when. It was always just in fun. A little ruse that sometimes led to a little more fun for me when the bar closed… if the guy was a good sport, if the drinks hadn’t been too frou-frou, if a lot of things went right. If not, well, that was okay, too.

The mark still stood fifteen feet away, a couple buddies hanging around with their own beers in hand. No girls in sight. Good. Wouldn’t have made it impossible, but dates tended to complicate things. Wives. Well, wives I tended to stay away from. At ten feet, I looked down and made sure my red peasant skirt hung neatly and the white top flowed just right around my waist. The top three buttons were undone. Evocative without being offensive. A hand at the back of my head assured me the single clip still held most of my dark hair in place. Check, check, check. All systems go.

At five feet, he and his buddies noticed me. I smiled, never taking my eyes off the mark.


A slow smile spread across his handsome face. He was a pretty boy. Once-upon-a-time-fraternity-now-I’m-a-salesman type. Damn. They were always harder.

“Hello.” His left hand, the one holding the beer, slapped one friend blindly in the chest. “Hey, Rob, hold this for me.” Then holding out his right hand to me, he said sweetly, “Would you like to dance?”

“I thought you’d never ask.”

The music was hot. Something vaguely Latin. We hit the floor and were immediately crushed between the other couples and trios and singles gyrating and, in some cases, damned near fornicating, on the scuffed wood surface. The mark stayed close, pulsing out the beat in a dance style that was uncomfortably familiar. Reminding myself this was my game, I fixed a suitably seductive smile in place and draped one arm casually across his shoulders.

“What’s your name?” he screamed into my ear over the drums.

“Gwen!” I screamed back.

Smiling, he nodded he’d heard and ground a little against me.

Gritting my teeth, I let him. I waited through three more grinds. With each, I let my free hand drift around his torso, touching abs, hips, ass. On the fifth grind, I freed his wallet just as his ass clinched and he moved against me. The chinos he wore were fairly loose, and getting the wallet out was no real difficulty. Dropping it into the deep pocket of my skirt, I went back to roving across his chest and side with my free hand and smile wickedly into his eyes.

Now for Act II.

The song ended, and I started to make my way through the crowd to leave the dance floor. The mark grabbed my hand and tried to pull me back.

“I need to use the ladies room,” I whispered into his ear. “Why don’t you finish your beer with your friends? I’ll meet you back at your table?”

He nodded and shrugged over the rapidly rising music and headed back to where Rob and the other one waited. I held my breath as he went. This was always the dangerous part. If he decided he wanted a fresh beer… but he didn’t. Flashing a quick smile and wink at Joanie and Miranda, I pushed rudely to the restroom and locked myself in a stall before pulling out the wallet.

Driver’s license first. James Edwin Keegan. January fifteen birthday. Thirty-one years old. No more information there. Business cards? Nope. Photographs. A little boy and a little girl, studio shots a couple years old, the kids about two and four years old respectively when the shots were taken. More recent shots were candids, unevenly cut to fit the holder in the wallet. No more portraits after the first. Interesting. Maybe something there. Checked all the little secret compartments. No love notes, no phone numbers. One folded twenty dollar bill in one of them. One credit card, Visa gold. One Durex Her Pleasure condom. Sensitive guy.

I went back to the pictures, pulled out the portraits. On the back were the names. Bobby and Ellen. The month and year were handwritten, June two years back. So, either Mom was dead, or James Edwin and Mom were splitsville. I was betting on the latter. It wasn’t the greatest take in Dance with the Devil history, but they couldn’t all be as good as the guy with the velvet pouch of miniature syringes or the one with ten grand hidden in a rough-cut hidey hole. I’d make do.

Shoving everything back in place, I pocketed the wallet and made my way back to where good ol’ James Edwin sat with Rob and the other one on the other side of the bar. He looked up with a half-drunk smile as I approached. Holding out my hand to him, I smiled back.

“Tell you what,” I said demurely, “give me one more dance, and then I’ll read your palm.”

Predictably, he laughed. They all did. Joanie and Miranda wandered up on cue, Joanie pretending outrage and offense.

“She will though! She’s really gifted!”

Suddenly, James Edwin looked like he might have stumbled into an episode of the Twilight Zone, although his buddies still appeared unconvinced.

“Come on,” I teased. “It won’t hurt.”

The music shifted to a slow song, and his libido won the contest. Sitting his empty bottle on the table, he rose and led me by the hand back onto the dance floor. With his arms wrapped around my waist, I had a difficult time maneuvering my own arms into a position where I could return the wallet to his pocket. Eventually, I had to settle on the wrong pocket, but that happened sometimes. The important thing was he never noticed its return, and within minutes, we were back at the table, his palm face up between us.

I bent over his hand, pretending to study the lines of his palm carefully, tracing one line and then another with the long nail of my right index finger.

James Edwin laughed nervously. “Is that my life line?” he asked once when I touched a noticeably short line.

“No, silly, that’s nothing important at all… old love relationship. First marriage perhaps?”

He sucked in a breath. “How can you know that?”

Beside me, Joanie laughed. “We told you. She’s gifted, dumbass.”

“Hush, Joanie.” I paused over a forked line on his palm. “See this one?” He nodded. “See how it first branches off the shorter one and then forks later?”


“You have children, don’t you? Two of them, I think.”

“I… yes, I do. A boy and a girl.”

“Bobby and Ellen.”

He jerked his hand away. “How in the hell did you know their names from the lines on my hand?” There was real alarm in his voice, and I rushed to reassure him.

“I didn’t, I didn’t! Sometimes… sometimes, I get other stuff. It just comes to me. Not from the palm reading. I just… get it sometimes.”

He looked at me suspiciously, and his buddies took noticeable steps away while Miranda and Joanie grinned madly. If any of the men had bothered to look at my friends, the gig would have been up as they say.

Tugging at his hand, I pulled the palm back into view. With a lighter touch, I traced a crooked line. “Ah,” I said appreciatively.

“What?” James Edwin sounded sullen and not a little scared.

“This is your love line… not your relationship line, mind you, but your, uh,” I coughed, trying to indicate indelicate matters without stating them baldly. He blushed a little, and I assumed I succeeded.


“It would appear that you are a man of some… sensitivity. That you care deeply for the pleasure of your partner. What a pity your wife didn’t appreciate that aspect of your character.”

This seemed to mollify him somewhat, and he huffed a little before grinning lopsidedly at me. For the first time in years, I really did feel like a little devil playing the game, and I found I liked James Edwin quite a lot. Enough, in fact, to close his fingers over the open palm and sigh.

“That’s it. I don’t really see anything else. Sorry.”

He shrugged in better humor. “That’s okay. I think you’ve ‘seen’ enough.”

Bored, Joanie and Miranda started to wander away. Rob and the other guy did, too. Across from me, James Edwin smiled genuinely for the first time in several minutes.

“Can I buy you a drink?”

“Sure. I’d like that.”

  • I have the urge to say "guh" and "wow" and "hee!" and "aww" all at once. So hopefully, that last sentence of mine will cover all of them for me. ^_^

    I absolutely loved it. You really get to know the characters, and the game she played was a smooth as you'd written it. You put me in the place with them, so double kudos to you. ^_^

    • thanks

      I'm so glad you liked it. Not part of a larger picture, I don't think, but it was fun to write. Thanks for the kind comments.
  • Hee! Aw, sweetie, I should have known you'd put an interesting spin on the prompt. Great job! I love the characters, and how you introduced them so easily in such a short piece.

    I really liked this!
    • As always... thanks for reading (and for enjoying). Maybe it'll be Declan's turn next week.

  • Heehee...that was great...excellent job...
  • LOL

    Oh, they really were having fun screwing with him. I just imagine that some nights this truly gets out of hand!

    I adored all the little touches that made this character real... her preference for the cold beer, her clothing--I could practically 'see' her, and that's hard to do in such a short amount of time. Wow.
    • Thanks, lit gal. Your comments are very kind and much appreciated! Thanks for reading.
  • nicely written, I enjoyed the interplay between the characters and the game the girls were playing.
  • Thats wonderful. You get a feel for all the characters, and its a spiffy little plot. A manipulative little game that ends with a 'aww' sort of feeling. It was beautifully done.
  • First of all, the title is just fabulous. It drew me right in.

    Eloquent and smart, this story has that sustaining of quality throughout. The more the story spun on the more interested in its events I became. So original, and I love the way it captures the prompt, and doesn't just stop at the pickpocketing, but enriches the reason for it. And even though I like where the story stops and ends itself, I would have read on and on.
    • Wow! It was a surprise to see a comment on this story after so long!

      Thank you so much for you lovely comments. It's always nice to see what works for people (as well as what doesn't *g*). This one was an awful lot of fun to write. Seeing your comments has really just made my morning.
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