Desperate for money and not thinking straight, James decides to rob a passerby for money not knowing who she is.

Upon realising she has no cash on her, he lets her go only to have the stakes raised when she suggested he kidnap her for a ransom.

James is at his wit’s end.

With only $5 left in his pocket, he looked at the 4 dogs wagging their tails in front of him. They have not been fed for the past 2 days and there’s nothing much left for them to scavenge in the abandoned farm.

Staying in a makeshift hut by a farm in Kranji, James works for a local farming company that sells vegetables.

The owner Mr Neo is a nice and friendly chap, always ready to impart his knowledge to James when it comes to farming. As a 2 man operation in the 4 acre farm, they did everything themselves. From sowing the seeds, weeding and even packaging the locally grown vegetables for delivery.

It’s hard work but it’s something that James enjoyed for the past 2 years ever since he lost his job at a site supervisor.

Neo offered the small shed to James when he heard he could no longer afford the rent for his place after getting laid off.

Things were just starting to look bright for James when Neo met with a car accident. He passed away and creditors started showing up at the farm, taking what they could with James powerless to stop them.

With his meagre savings, James paid off utilities so the power and water will keep running, however, the large plots of land lay empty.

It’s going to be a matter of weeks before the authorities show up to take back the piece of land now that the owner is no longer around.

Now, wild dogs are a common sight along this part of the country and while James did his best to ignore the occasional strays, the 4 dogs in front of him chose to stay by his side.

They arrived one after another for no reason at all other than to seek shelter during a thunderstorm.

James did not even feed them, they just hung around the shed he stayed at day after day.

He did not let them in and they seemed happy enough they were not chased off from the sheltered porch where they sleep under the afternoon sun.

After a while, James started giving them scraps of leftovers before he bought dog feed from a shop.

“I’m sorry guys, we’re fucked I guess.” James said while stroking the head of his closest furry friend.

“Should have followed the warning signs eh, no feeding of wild animals.” James chuckled as he looked around his bare bone shed that consists only of a old mattress, blanket and a small table.

Feeding the wild animals made them dependent on him. They could still head out and look for food but they’ll probably not be as good as those who remained wild.

All 4 dogs are not registered and with the increase in culling activities going on around the area, James is also reluctant to open the gates to let them go.

“Are you all sure you have caught all the rats and lizards around the farm?” He asked as all 4 dogs perked up their ears, like they understood what he was saying.

James stood up and his friends immediately made way for him to leave the shed.

Looking at the road outside the farm, James followed the long line of cyclist on their expensive bicycles having their weekend tour around the island.

“I wonder what the judge would say when I get arrested.” James said to his dogs by his feet.

Pulling up a knife he stuck to the ground, James looked at his watch. It’s coming to 5pm on a Saturday evening.

He knew what he was thinking of doing is wrong.

It’s not rationale.

It doesn’t make sense, but when you are tired, hungry and all out of options, the most irrational option appears to the be the most plausible one.

James needs a quick solution to his problems.

Keeping himself and his dogs fed.

As another cyclist zoomed by the main gate, James took a deep breath and made up his mind to do it.

“stay” He said to the dogs as he hid the knife in his back pocket and walked out to the main road.

The farm is situated around a bend in the middle of a uphill road. This terrain advantage slows down the cyclists just when they go pass the gate to the farm.

His plan is simple, just rob one of the cyclists.

James parked himself by the opened gate and waited for the right target. He can’t target groups of cyclist. He also cannot strike when lone riders are close to one another and within each’s line of sight.

It was coming to 7pm when James finally found the perfect target. It’s a female rider.

He could see her struggling to go up the hill in her riding gear. Clad in white sports bra with her windbreaker around her waist, her entire midriff is exposed. Her black tights showed off her shapely figure and toned legs.

The helmet and protective glasses she is wearing covered part of her features but James could tell she is pretty.

“I’m sorry, it’s your unlucky day lady.” James mumbled nervously.

James braced himself as the female cyclist approaches.

Jamie sniffed and fought back tears as she pedaled uphill.

The muscles in her calves are burning. She could not believe her boyfriend of 2 years cheated on her. She don’t even know how to tell her parents about the breakup when they are expecting Ned to propose before end of the year.

Still lost in her thoughts, Jamie did not see the man stepping out of the farm on her left.

“SHIT!” Jamie braked hard when the man just jumped into her path but her front wheel still went under his legs and the headtube of her bicycle rammed into his crotch.

“argHHH!” James groaned as he waved his knife wielding hand in the face of the woman he was trying to rob.

With a scrunched-up expression on his face, James managed to spit out what he is trying to say.

“Rob…Robbery…” He said while his left hand held onto his privates as he backed himself away from the bicycle.

Jamie’s jaw dropped an inch as she looked at the man in pain in front of her.

Looking towards the gate of the farm the robber just came out from, she could see the heads of 4 dogs starring curiously at them.

Jamie turned around to look behind her. The road is empty, her bodyguards have not caught up yet.

“What did you say ? “ Jamie asked the man who is slowly recovering his composure.

“I’m…. I’m…. I’m robbing you!” He said with his hand shaking like he is standing on a vibrating platform.

“But… I don’t have any money on me.” Jamie said as she gestured to her bicycle. “I’ve got ermm… my bike, my water bottle, and my watch with my credit card in it. I got no cash.”

James sighed and looked at Jamie in a disappointed manner.

“Oh fuck, I’m sorry. Just…..just go…” He stepped aside and gestured for Jamie to move.

James started to walk back to his farm, while Jamie turned her bicycle and pedaled towards the gate.

She went into the farm compound before James could shut the gate.

“Hey.hey! hey!. This is private property.” James said as he looked at Jamie quickly getting off her bicycle as she neared the shed he was staying in. She disappeared around the corner as the dogs started barking and running towards her.

James shut and lock the gate before running towards Jamie who has dismounted her bicycle, putting it in between her and the barking dogs.

“I don’t have money on me right now.” Jamie said. “ But you can kidnap me and ask for a ransom.

“What?” James exclaimed as he dropped the knife he was holding onto the ground.

“I said.” Jamie folded her bicycle and rest it on it’s stand “ Kidnap me, and ask for a ransom.”

She must be mad, James thought to himself as the lady removed her glasses and helmet. It was then James realized how beautiful she is. The dogs, perhaps sensing their owner’s interest in the female in front of them, stopped barking as well.

“Ransom?” James blurted in disbelief.

“Yeah…. Ransom.” Jamie said with a smile.

9900 words

(file updated 10/12/21. Please download newer version for archive)

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