Modern Rumpelstiltskin


Somewhere in the West Coast of the United States, a police officer worked hard to keep the streets safe. Though she was not the best at her job, she worked to the best of her ability and worked on her own initiative. One day, the chief of her precinct calls the officer into his office. “Miller, you’re getting transferred”, he tells her. “I’ve told Police Chief King, in the next city, that you’re the best we’ve got, and he needs the best to foil the counterfeit gold racket that’s rampant in his jurisdiction.”
The officer knew that the chief had lied to get rid of her, but there was nothing she could do – the paperwork had been filled out, and she was due to check in at Chief King’s precinct in the morning. So she left the next day, filled with dread and wondering what she could possibly do to live up to the Chief’s expectations – she came up with nothing, she was going to be thrown into a pit so deep she wouldn’t know which way she was up.

“Ah, Officer Miller. I’ve heard good things about you.” Chief King told her. “I need you to find leads on this gold racket.” And so he sent her out into the unknown streets of the new town, down the dark alleys that were full of piss and bums and broken bottles, seeking out something she didn’t know where to start on. When she came around the darkened corner of one particular slum, she came across a five-foot-nothing man with a face full of bristle and covered head to toe in cheap jewellery. “I take it yer lookin’ for leads on the gold racket?” he asked her. “’Spose I know, but it’ll cost ya. That watch looks nice.”
So the officer gave the little man the watch, which was a gift from her late mother, and the man rang off a handful of names of poor shmucks involved in the racket, and she took them back to the Chief, who was thrilled. “I knew I could count on you!” said Chief King. “Now you’re ahead of the rest of the force on this, I want you to see what else you can find.”

The officer went back to the little man a few days later and told him she needed more information on the gold racket. “’Spose I know,” said the little man, “But it’ll cost ya. Those earrings look nice.”
The earrings were a present from her father, who was in a care home with dementia, but she handed them over, and the little man gave her a few more names.

Weeks later, the Chief sent her out again – they were getting nowhere with interrogations of the apprehended men, and they needed cold, hard evidence – so the officer went back to the little man again. “’Spose I know.” He said, again, looking nice in his new earrings. “But it’ll cost ya. Those shoes look nice.” The shoes were a present from her aunt, who only visited from Aspen once every couple of years. But she didn’t have anything else to offer, and she handed them over, and the little man led her to a warehouse in a back alley he’d seen some strange looking folks in big coats coming to and going from at different times in the week. She forced her way in through a side door, and found that inside the warehouse lay pallets and pallets of counterfeit gold under some tarp. She was sure this would be enough to finally get her off the case.
When she returned to Chief King, he was delighted. “I knew I could count on you!” he said, pleased with the amount of evidence he now had. “Because of your initiative, I’m putting you in charge of this case. I’m sure you’ll catch the guy in charge in no time.”

The case went on for months, and in that time, the officer started to settle down in her new surroundings when she wasn’t working – she found herself a nice apartment, got married, and eventually got pregnant– but she stayed on the case – there was work to be done, and she was counted on.
The case had been going nowhere for a long time – no new major evidence was found. The racket wasn’t growing, but everyone knew it was still about, and the officer needed new leads, and she decided to go back to the little man in the alley. “’Spose I know,” said the little man, decked out in some really shiny shoes. “But it’ll cost ya.”

The officer told him that she didn’t have anything left to give him – all her presents from her family had gone, and she was already in a ton of debt from her overpriced apartment. The little man looked at her belly. “Tell you what,” he said. “I’ll give you a lead, but I want your kid. I’m infertile, you see.” She was horrified, but the little man was the only lead she could find in this city, and she found herself agreeing. The little man told her the nearby laundry business was actually a front for the gold racket, and the boss of the whole scheme owned the place.

The officer returned to the Chief with the news, and he was thrilled. He sent a special tactical squad to raid the laundry business, and found tonnes of counterfeit gold hidden in the driers and empty boxes of detergent – and they caught the kingpin behind it all, a little old Chinese lady. The officer had done it, she’d foiled the racket and got a promotion – but there still was the looming promise she’d made to the little man. She had to give him her baby, who had only just been born and named Oliver. She didn’t know what to do, and she ended up confiding in one of the detectives at the precinct. “He’s obviously involved in a lot of criminal activity if he could give you all that information,” the detective told her. “I’ll find out who he is and bring him in before he can get your child”.

The detective went to where the officer had told him, and searched for the little man. He wasn’t anywhere, not hidden in a cardboard box – because those were full of bums – nor in a dumpster, which were also full of bums. Finally, he heard singing coming from the window of a nearby building, and the muffled song sounded like this;

“Woo hoo! Ruumpel Stilskini’s gonna have a child! Gonna a child! Gonna call him Ruumpel Junior!”

Ruumpel Stilskini. He was wanted by the FBI for tax evasion a while ago. With the information, the detective came back and told the officer, who told the Chief. A special tactical squad was sent to Stilskini’s house to apprehend him, but since word travelled fast in the city, people who Stilskini owed money to caught wind of his whereabouts, and his house exploded in a mysterious ‘accident’ by the time the squad arrived.


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