This was inspired by an experiment done in New York - please, see the Author Guidance.
When one sets foot in the streets of Los Angeles, he will see many things. There will be people milling about. There will be cars whizzing past. There will be the typical cliched sights and sounds of a place filled with millions of people.
And if this innocent bystander happens to look over on South Spring Street, right by the ballet studio, he will see a man run past, nondescript black briefcase in tow.
This man has just finished pulling off one of the most glorious heists known to America. As he runs, he smiles, even though there are cops chasing him and warrants out for his arrest. He only has a few more blocks to go, and then he will jump into the car that's waiting for him at the intersection of South Spring Street and West Eighth Street. Once in the car, there will probably be a chase, but he will get away.
He has planned this for years and years.
And as he darts between completely oblivious fellow Californians, he glances over his shoulder. He hears someone call out his current alias, and he calculates that he'll just barely make it to the car before -
Somebody, help! You're not my daddy!
The words break through his rushed reverie, and he slows ever so slightly, searching for the shouter of the words. Shrugging, he resumes his sprinting, before he hears it again.
Screaming. Crying. "Somebody, help me! You're not my daddy! Let me go, let me go!"
He turns again, though he can't explain why. There he sees her: a little girl, just outside the ballet studio, dressed in a little purple tutu and lots of hysterical tears. Her arm is caught in the grip of a big, burly man, no younger than forty years old. He's dragging her toward a tan SUV -
"You've got to keep running," the criminal tells himself. He tightens his grip on his suitcase and runs again, forcing the girl's desperation out of his mind.
"Help! Help! You're not my daddy! Somebody, please!" - but nobody is helping.
The criminal remembers when he, too, was dragged off the streets of L.A., son of a drug addict and an absentee father. But now is not the time to bring back the past. He tries to keep running, but his shoes seem heavier than usual, and he drags his steps.
Only a couple more blocks. You've got to do this!
"SOMEBODY, HELP! YOU'RE NOT MY DADDY!"
No one else is taking responsibility. She is dangerously close to the SUV. Just a few more seconds, and she will be kidnapped. All because no one stopped to help her.
The cracks in the sidewalk all seem to blur. He almost tramples a man and a woman holding hands, so desperate is he to get where he's going. Just a moment more, and he will reach his car, and all his plotting and planning will finally be worth it. He's anticipated this moment for years now; he can practically feel the wealth and power of what's in the briefcase.
He gets to the end of the block. Panting, he looks over and sees a cop car, headed straight for him. His car is in view; he can reach it in time, and the whole mess will be over.
"You're not my daddy! Let go! Let go!"
He stops. Closes his eyes for a brief moment, then runs. He runs as quickly as his feet can carry him.
Toward the little girl. Toward the kidnapper. There will be no escape for him now.
The briefcase is too heavy. He drops it. Out of the corner of his eye, he watches as the object of his years' worth of plans falls to the ground and stays there.
He reaches her just in time and pulls out his gun. "Hold it right there. I'm armed, and the police are just behind me."