Charley Bates accidentally becomes a street entertainer

No explanation can possibly be given. Crack one-shot were a situation gets out of hand.

"I got a noserag." stated Charley.

"I got a watch an' chain." grinned Dodger.

"Blast it!" laughed Charley, stowing the handkerchief back in his pocket. The two, as usual, had been having a competition, and Dodger, as usual, had won. It never bothered Charley, and he wasn't about to start being bothered now. They had been at it for two whole days, as they had both slept under a bridge when the fog got too thick to find their way. That never bothered Fagin when the pickpockets didn't return home one night, it was usual to sleep out, but any more than that and the might get worried. Especially in the artful Dodger's case.

But now they were up and running and ready to get back to the not-so-warm den. They were weaving their way through London to get home, but not before they had finished their last contest. The sun shined quite nicely after a foggy night, and many people were out enjoying the nice weather. A few clowns and circus performers were weaving in and out on unicycles, juggling, and frightening small children, which is generally what clowns do.

So many targets.

The two looked at each other in a challenge-accepted way, and ran off in different directions into the crowd. From then on they began pickpocketing. Swiftly, quickly, and Charley Bates giggling all the way. Charley's constant laughter actually made him look less suspicious, as plenty of non-criminal children were happily laughing away. Yet dodger was sneaking through the crowd, and it turned a few heads, to see this little boy sulky on such a happy day. And the fact he was wearing a ridiculous top hat.

Charley bates giggled away, running through the crowd like a child, all pickpocketing abandoned, just simply laughing like a hyper kid on a sugar rush. Then he spotted a brightly-coloured multi-coloured handkerchief. He was drawn to brightly-coloured multi-coloured things, especially brightly-coloured multi-coloured things worth stealing. He didn't look up to see the person to whom it belonged, but his hands took it and then he tugged nimbly. But then something was wrong.

The handkerchief went on and on. More multi-coloured fabric came weaving out of the gentlemen's pocket, and Charley Bates looked up. The owner of the handkerchief was now several meters behind the end of it, and was currently riding a unicycle in the middle of the market place. Charley laughed. Then the man turned around, seeing that his handkerchief was several meters behind him, opened his heavily made-up face in anger. Then Charley realised he would have to play it for all it's worth.

He got out many of his other nose-rags that he had pocketed, and put them under his hat so he looked vaguely like he belonged to the circus. He didn't think about whether the owners might recognise them, but as a general rule Charley didn't usually think. So off he went with his wonderful handkerchief costume. He danced into the centre elaborately, and many people graciously applauded the slightly insane-looking young boy with odd fashion sense. He got dirty looks off all the other street entertainers, but they carried on, not wanting to spoil the show. He carried the handkerchief with him like a bridal train, much to the annoyance of it's owner, who peddled faster. This gave some entertainment to the crowd, as Charley had to run more to keep up. The crowd cheered and applauded with shouts of laughter, and inside the crowd Charley spotted the Dodger, mid-pickpocketing, staring with a mixture of disbelief and annoyance. Charley stopped and grinned. This led to all the other performers in the street now coming up behind him as he had stopped moving. He looked over his shoulder, and saw a small fleet of angry clowns peddling towards him. He panicked, and began running even faster than before in a continuous circle, whilst the train he was carrying got bigger and bigger. From amongst the crowd, he heard a single shout of laughter from the Dodger. This made Charley even more determined- though determined to do what, Charley wasn't sure, as he was literally going in circles- so he kept running.

Finally, he was too tired. The circus performers crashed into him, he toppled to the ground, and they all lay in a heap. One of the clowns, a scrawny woman who had been juggling, hissed you ruddy little- before a hand grabbed him. Charley looked up into the hand's face (the owner of the hand's face, not the face of the hand, as hands do not have faces since they are hands) and gulped. But then his anxiousness turned to relief as the Dodger regarded him with an eyebrow raised.

"This is the weirdest cock-up you've ever got yourself into Charley Bates" murmured the Dodger. Charley laughed. Dodger released his grip on him, exasperated. "Typical. What am I going to do with you?" he asked.

"Let me win the contest, you've never been a street entertainer" answered Charley.

"Rhetorical Question Charley." Replied the Dodger flatly. The street entertainers (still huddled in a heap, with the entire crowd dispersing to their normal duties) looked angrily at them, but there was something about the Dodger that made them leave Charley and him alone. The Dodger sighed exasperatedly again and began walking. Charley followed eagerly.

"That was really fun though wasn't it? I mean, I made people laugh didn't I?" chattered Charley excitedly behind him.

"Yes Charley, you'd make a very good professional idiot." replied the Dodger. Charley didn't register the insult.

"Really? Thanks! I might become a street entertainer or something when I get older, it seems fun…"

"Shut up Charley."

"…Although he costumes were quite weird, I think all the make-up would ruin my face…"

"Your face was already ruined."

"…So I guess the make-up wouldn't do much difference eh? Great huh? I bet I could juggle. I might juggle the water-jugs when I get home..."

"That depends whether you want to be cleaning a chamber pot for the next three weeks."

"Nah, I'll just use the hole in the ground."