Revenge of the Juggler

In John Paul's mind, this was indeed his victory lap; however, the next trick from the master juggler was timed to perfection. Just as John Paul's hand was descending toward the hat, the juggler pointed and yelled, "Hey you!" Simultaneously, the crowd of people turned to see the scoundrel lifting a dollar from the juggler's hat.

"Why you rotten little brat," someone shouted.

"The kid's a thief too," yelled another.

By now the juggler was holding John Paul by the wrist and plucking the bill from his hand; all the while, red-faced John Paul protested and swore that the money was his. As the boy's denials grew louder, the unsympathetic crowd swelled around him. They had seen enough—guilty as charged. With his fists clenched as if he were ready to fight the air around him, John Paul stormed off crying.

The smile of satisfaction on the juggler's face lasted less than five minutes. A great commotion slowly drifted toward him from the other end of the street. He watched from behind his trunk of props to see John Paul leading this procession. They wound their way through the crowd never taking their eyes off the juggler. There was his mom, his school buddies, the festival director, and the long lanky arm of the law—the fidgety deputy sheriff.

"That's the man who stole my money," John Paul shouted as he again started to well up with tears.

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