Mrs. Cooperton couldn’t be certain, but she suspected the man who came in every Tuesday dressed in a cape, purple leotard, and steel helmet was responsible for changing the prices on the canned goods.
The next time he came to the counter with his armload of sardines and popsicles, she gave him a long, careful look before asking to see his ID.
Rather than protest, he smiled and handed her an expired Maryland learner’s permit.
“In the flesh!” he intoned, striking a pose.
“Are you the one changing the price stickers on the canned peas?”
“Guilty … as … charged!” he sang, doing a strange little dance.
“Well … knock it off.”
She frowned. “Or no more popsicles.”
The color ran from his crestfallen face. His limbs went limp and he slumped, dejected. He spoke with a sad, quavering voice.
“Alright … it was only a joke.”
She rang up his groceries and bagged them neatly, as she always did. Handing them across the counter, she shook her head. “You’re not a very good bad guy, you know.”
His eyes teared up.
“Well … I guess you’re a little naughty.”
He perked up measurably. With a slight smile, he grabbed his bag and shuffled toward the door. On the way out, he tipped over a display of gum, sending its contents spilling across the floor. Cackling, he capered into the night.