(a Magical Midlife Mom story featuring Henry the sasquatch)
Henry grunted as he plopped down into the wire chair. He instantly regretted that decision when its flimsy legs shook. He grabbed the rim of the circular metal table, transferring its wobbliness to the striped umbrella attached to it. He worried he might have broken something, but the entire structure finally settled down.
It had been a long day at Stronghold Incorporated, and Henry was starving. He'd just ordered a late dinner at this small cafe not far from the office. He deserved a quiet meal after watching disgruntled fae protest at the Capitol Building. All of the other patrons sat inside the large glass windows, throwing their jackets and hats into corners of their booths. Only Henry, with his plaid shirt covering most of his excessive chest hair, felt warm enough to dine outside in the waning light of the late spring evening. As a sasquatch, the cold rarely bothered him, even on his exposed face and hands.
He allowed himself a tenative stretch before relaxing on his seat. The day's work was finally over.
Or so he thought.
An alarm suddenly blasted through the narrow downtown corridor. Henry frowned, looking for a vehicle's blinking headlights to indicate someone's alarm had gone off. Instead, he saw a bank's entrance three doors down slam open, increasing the siren's decibel level. A heavyset man in a ski mask spilled onto the sidewalk. He flung a heavy backpack over his shoulder.
The burglar ran straight for him.
Henry's instincts kicked in as a weight from his gut washed over his entire body. He'd gone invisible.
But he wasn't sure how he could help. The Salem police didn't know about fae magic, and Stronghold certainly didn't condone their employees interferring with human business.
As the burglar raced toward him, though, grinning like an idiot through his ski mask, Henry knew he wasn't just going to let this guy get away.
Henry stood, barely moving the wire chair as he silently stepped into the burglar's path. Even without his magic, he knew how to move without making a sound. Not that the burglar would have heard him, anyway, since the guy was pounding the sidewalk so hard.
Henry considered tackling him, but at the last second, thought better of it. He swerved to the side to allow the burglar to rush past him, only he left one foot out and hooked an ankle against the thief's.
The burglar crashed onto the cement like a ton of bricks.
The patrons in the window of the cafe gasped, wide-eyed. One woman screamed, her voice muted through the glass. The burglar glanced around, his hands scuffed where he'd tried to break his fall.
"What the f—?"
"Stop!" a security guard finally dashed out of the bank toward them. "Don't move!"
The burglar had no intention of complying. He tried to scramble to his feet.
The security guard reached for his gun, threatening a shoot-out.
Henry gave a long suffering sigh. He'd already had to douse a few fireball-happy fae at the protests today. The last thing he wanted was gunfire to ruin his supper.
Henry plopped down on the burglar's back just as hard as he had onto the wire chair earlier.
The burglar let out a "Oof!" as the air rushed out his lungs. Once he caught his breath, he tried to move, but Henry pressed down on him more.
"I said, 'Stop!'" The security guard halted a few feet from them, pointing a gun unknowingly inches from Henry's head. Henry froze.
The burglar squirmed underneath him. "What's going on?" he shrieked.
"Spread your arms on the ground!" the security guard yelled.
The burglar didn't comply, still trying to break free. Henry, not wanting to a bullet in his skull, slowly leaned over and whispered into the thief's ear.
"Do it, or I'll kill you myself."
The burglar gasped, frozen.
The security guard, who hadn't heard Henry, nodded in satisfaction. "That's right. Be still, and everyone lives."
Henry waited, still leaning over the burglar's ear, until the security guard slowly withdrew handcuffs at his side.
"Good boy," he whispered to the thief. "And remember, if you try any funny stuff, I'll be watching you."
The burglar whimpered as Henry rolled off him, but he remained in place on the ground. Henry managed to slip past the security guard so that they didn't touch.
Henry quietly strode over to the cafe's main entrance and slipped inside. No one noticed the door opening and closing since everyone had their eyes peeled on the burglar's capture.
Henry didn't go visible again until he was standing next to a column, mostly thrown in shadow. Then he waltzed up to the pickup window, where a slack-jawed cashier tried to peek above the heads of the patrons to watch the action.
He strode up to her and asked, "Is order number 561 done?"
She blinked a few times before snapping to reality. "Uh, yeah." She pushed a plate of food towards him.
"Can you put it in a to-go box?" Henry asked. "I think I'm done hanging downtown for today."
Read more about Henry the sasquatch in Mom of the Chosen One.