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Counterproductive Criminal

posted Nov 6, 2016, 1:51 PM by Viktor Zólyomi   [ updated Nov 6, 2016, 1:51 PM ]
The following article by Jonathan Parker was originally published in the Con City Times, on page 9.

The Bright Rocks jewelery store in Downtown Con City remains closed after last week's brutal robbery which left the premises unfit for business. As previously reported, two armed men, one wearing a trench coat and a ski mask, the other dressed in a checkered suit with a white T-shirt and a tie, wearing no mask, entered the store in broad daylight and demanded that the store clerk hand over the entire stock. Despite cooperation from the store clerk, the robber in the checkered suit shot up the store with a shotgun before police arrived at the scene. The two made a bloody getaway after the man in the trench coat gunned down the two arriving police officers, who miraculously survived the shootout but were left in critical condition.

Police have issued a request to citizens to provide information on the two suspects. In the week passed since the robbery, only one man came forward: one of the robbers himself, the man in the checkered suit. He turned up at the office building of the Con City Times demanding to be interviewed at a private, secret location. Convinced by the man's eloquence and loaded shotgun, the staff of the Con City Times called on their most regular freelance journalist to honor the request.

The interview took place in the sewers underneath the Downtown, where the man in the checkered suit introduced himself as Randall Lee.

`My peers know me as Randall the Jerk,' he added, `and I wear the title proudly. Jealous fools labeled me as such, on account of fearing the inevitable, which is my impending rise to kingpin of the criminal underworld.'

Randall the Jerk proceeded to elaborate his grand plan to become the most feared criminal in Con City.

`That jewelery store was just the beginning,' he said. `Me and Jules went in there for the diamonds, but as soon as I was inside I knew we needed to do more than clear out the place. That's why I used up half my shotgun shells to redecorate the store. To send a message to the entire city that Randall the Jerk is the most dangerous man around here. And Jules did a fine job teaching the cops a lesson on our way out, so he deserves some credit, too.'

When asked about his accomplice, Mister Lee provided an incredible amount of detail.

`He's Jules the Monk,' he said about the man in the trench coat. `They call him that because he's bald and has all these weird tattoos on his scalp. That's why he wore a mask, so no one could identify him. He's a damn good shot, too. It was great that I could convince him to help me out. He lives in Oldtown, you see, and normally stays clear of the Downtown. But Randall the Persuader explained to him how lucrative this opportunity was, and he decided that he could not pass it up. It was truly the best decision of his life.'

Throughout the interview, the self proclaimed future kingpin of Con City remained adamant that the robbery had been a complete success, despite the fact that he and his accomplice left all the jewelery behind. The fact that his face wound up on posters and televised public service announcements did not trouble him, either. Rather, he considered this his biggest accomplishment.

`Now everyone knows who Randall the Jerk is,' he said. `Do you see? The robbery was a perfect marketing opportunity. And so is this interview, for both me and your newspaper. You put my interview on the front page, all those people who saw me on TV will subscribe to the Con City Times. You tell your Editor that I'm more than happy to make myself available for further interviews in the future. Just remember: front page.'

The interview came to an abrupt halt at this point when numerous men in hard hats and high visibility vests approached from one of the sewer tunnels, and Randall the Jerk decided to make a hasty retreat from what he believed was a police squad but was in fact a sewer maintenance crew.

Randall Lee remains at large at the time of this writing. The whereabouts of his accomplice are likewise unknown, albeit the Con City Police Department, who were given the opportunity to read a transcript of the interview prior to publication and just about managed to do so without breaking out in laughter, are convinced that it's only a matter of time before they apprehend both would-be jewelery thieves.