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Chasing Sparrows

A story of Remy LeBeau's arriaval in New York and his discovery of Xavier's School for Gifted Children


"Pic'a card - Pic'a card and win de pot." Remy kept up his cheerful patter as he shifted the three bent and creased cards on the little folding table he'd set up on the sidewalk. "Win it all. Win every'tin. Jus' pick de diamond."

He flashed the Ace of diamonds and a grin at the crowd he'd pulled. Then he dropped the card, palming it at the same time, and shifted the three dummy cards rapidly on the table. Three card Monty was a modern descendent of the old shell game -and as honest. Most folks knew it too, still the crowds always gathered around when he started his patter. They'd put their money down and Remy would gather it up.

It the patter people came for really and Remy figured he deserved something for entertaining the crowd, most of whom wouldn't throw a dime down. And he could run this line in his sleep; he'd been fishing in folk's pockets like this since he was eight.

"Der you go." Remy grinned at the lanky young black man, who'd been fidgeting at the side for several minutes, then scratched his hair through the knit cap he had on. "Put down w'at you want and maybe you get it all eh?"

A five joined the pile of mixed bills on the table and Remy ran his line then lifted his hands away. This time he'd even left the winning card in - giving the kid an honest chance. Still, he picked the wrong card. "Ahh - bad luck dat."

"Fuck you, cheater!" He snarled. "I bet the card ain't even in there."

Remy rolled his eyes behind his dark glasses and folded his arms, glad he had left the card in this time. Two minutes ago the kid would have been right. "Turn 'em over den, monsieur, and look for yourself."

The man flipped the cards and snarled another curse as the diamond came up, he glared at Remy who gave him a smarmy grin and held up his hands. "No'ting in Remy's sleeves eh? Maybe you play again and have better luck?"

The man only glared at him and pushed his way through the amused crowd. Soon enough he had a nice little pile. Remy chose one or two people to 'win' and keep the crowd interested; giving the pretty girl a smile as she collected her money and left. He watched her go in that little pleated skirt and wished she'd stayed around. Then he shrugged. Even in a city like this - it was a small world. Maybe he'd see her again. Maybe not.

When Remy did see her again he really wished maybe not. The girl in the flirty skirt was a nick - and he hadn't caught on. She came back in her uniform and didn't look nearly so pretty while the crowd scattered like flies from shit.

"You might want to re-think your career." She said, tapping the rickety table. "Three-card Monty is illegal in New York City."

"Officer - Reese. Remy new to dis wonderful city." Remy gave her a placating grin. "Dis no con. You saw for yourself eh, mademoiselle? Dat man - he jus have bad luck and you have good luck."

She snorted; sweeping her hand across the table and making the money on it disappear nearly as neatly as he could. "Maybe so but the only luck you're going to have here is bad."

"Ouai." Remy nodded, uncomfortable grin not budging an inch as she stole his honestly stolen money. It looked like he wouldn't be going to jail today though and that was worth half his take. "Remy see dat."

"Why don't you move along and get in trouble on someone else's time." She said.

Remy didn't wait for the nick to change her mind. He scooped up his cards and table and was off with a cheery wave and an extravagantly blown kiss. "T'anks Mademoiselle Officer! Remy be your best friend."

Officer Reese scowled at him and he wisely kept on moving.