The Mugger Mystery
By: Robin Gagnon
Caitlyn stepped onto the crowded subway train, just before the doors closed. As she moved down the aisle, pushing past other travellers and trying not to fall from the motions of the train, she looked for a seat. She wasn’t going to be getting off for another ten stops and the heels she was wearing to work were bound to start hurting her feet if she stood for that long.
Finally finding a seat next to an unshaven older man, she sat down carefully next to him with a cautious glance his way. After a couple of stops, she relaxed and figured the man was alright. Glancing at him from the side, he seemed poor, wearing an old pair of jeans and a wrinkled, blue plaid top.
Accidentally catching his eye, the man nodded and greeted, “Hello.”
“Hi,” she murmured, as she shifted in her seat.
“You don’t take the subway often?” he asked, noticing her composure. “I saw the door nearly close on you earlier.”
“I’m not used to it,” she confirmed, crossing and then uncrossing her legs when she realized she was wearing a skirt. “My fiancé used to drive me to work.”
“He broke up with you?” the man inquired, before shaking his head. “Sorry, that’s none of my business.”
“He didn’t break up with me,” Caitlyn answered, clutching her purse to her chest. “He was murdered.”
The grizzled man looked at her in surprise and immediately apologized, “I’m sorry to hear that. My condolences.”
“It’s alright,” she mumbled, putting one of her short strands of blond hair behind her ear. “It happened a month ago.”
“Do they know who did it?” the man asked, sitting forward in his seat. “Have they caught him yet?”
Caitlyn shook her head sadly and responded quietly, “No.”
A couple more stops went by in silence, before Caitlyn finally spoke up again, “They’ll catch him, I know they will, and he’ll get what he deserves.”
“I’m sure he will,” the man agreed dazedly, before snapping out of it and turning to her. “What happened, anyway? If you don’t mind me askin’ that is.”
“He was shot,” Caitlyn admitted a bit tearfully, glad to have someone to talk to. “The guy wanted my fiancé’s ring, but my fiancé didn’t want to give it up. The cops told me they struggled for a bit before my fiancé was shot in the chest and left there to die. That jerk even stole the ring.”
“Sounds like it might have been an accident,” the man replied, taking Caitlyn by surprise. “I’ve seen all kinds of thieves and muggers on these streets and not one of them is capable of killing someone. They’re just desperate to make a quick buck and carry around a gun to intimidate the people they rob. Sounds like your fiancé was pretty tough and not easily intimidated, though.”
Caitlyn laughed, as a single tear rolled down her cheek and mumbled, “He was a lot of things.”
Silence enveloped the two passengers, as two more stops went by. The only sounds were the rattle of the train car and the occasional chatter. The bus smelt musty and Caitlyn wished she could of been sitting in the front seat of her fiancé’s car.
“Do you know if the police have any leads?” the man asked, as they left another station. “Do they know what the guy looks like?”
Caitlyn shook her head, “Not the last I heard. They can’t seem to identify him from the cameras.”
The man nodded, deep in thought, before replying, “The next stop is mine. It was nice talking to you and I hope they catch your fiancé’s killer. Stay safe out there.”
Caitlyn nodded at him uncertainly and watched as the man stood by the doors. He seemed sad and she felt bad for him. It must of been hard not having a lot of money. Reaching into her purse, she pulled out a twenty and held it out to him without getting up, for fear of losing her seat. The man looked at it and simply shook his head.
As they pulled up to his stop, the man remarked, “I could never accept that from you.”
Caitlyn watched him get off and slowly put the twenty back into her purse in confusion. She thought she had been making a kind offer.
“Um, excuse me,” a young girl spoke up, as she pointed to the empty seat next to Caitlyn. “Is that your ring?”
Caitlyn’s hand quickly covered her mouth, when she realized that on the seat, where the dishevelled man had once sat, was her fiancé’s ring.