"Help! He stole my purse!"
John looked up as the woman screamed down the block. Only a few people were present on his side of the street, one of them a hysterical woman trying to job in high heels, the other a scuzzy guy barely into his twenties running towards the stoop John sat on. Clutched to the runners chest was a bright pink handbag that probably cost more than John saw all year.
John rubbed a hand over his unshaven cheeks and sized up the runner. He wore a torn and dirty hoodie that didn't do much to hide his stick thin frame. The hood was pulled up over his ragged blond hair. Black sunglasses tried to hide most of his face. What wasn't hidden was as dirty as his clothes - black smudges and sores played connect the dots on his tan skin. He ran like his life depended on it, and judging from the situation, it might.
John stood up suddenly, lunging forward with his arms outstretched. The runner yelled as John caught hold of his hoodie, jerking him out of his momentum. The stench of unwashed clothes almost convinced John that the runner needed the money more than he did. John's eyes were watering as he knocked them both to the ground.
They wrestled for control of the bag for only a few moments. The runner gave up and rolled off of John, leaping up to his feet and beating it. He was more concerned with fleeing than keeping the stolen property. John lay on the sidewalk relearning to breath. The pink purse was clutched to his chest.
The click-clack of heels entered his consciousness and the lady appeared upside down above him. John held up the purse and she smiled at him. The scent of her expensive perfume mixed with the stench leftover from the runner and suddenly John didn't want to breath anymore.
"Thank you so much, mister! You are so brave." She gushed. "I don't know what I would have done without you."
John stood up slowly to the dying applause of the few witnesses to his heroic act. He rubbed his short hair and winced at a bump on the back of his head. "You're welcome, lady. We were just lucky he ran right by me."
She smiled at him again, a brilliant flash of white teeth. "Very lucky! Well, thanks again. I can't say how much it means to me." She waved at him, painted pink nails in a blur. She turned on a heel and headed back to wherever she had been going.
John watched her for a moment, waiting for her to turn around again. When it was clear she was gone, John sighed and got up slowly. He stretched and winced at the few bruises he had acquired. Reaching into his pocket, he grinned to himself and looked over the wad of cash he had grabbed from the purse. None of the bills was under a twenty. John chuckled and perched back on his stoop. "Good thing I rewarded myself. She forgot to."