It is nighttime in Philadelphia and the city is asleep. The streets are quiet except for the occasional car that drives down Market Street and a few people walking the street to enjoy a late dinner at their favorite restaurant. Septa buses and trains are nearing the end of a long day of transporting passengers to different locations. However there are those who like to take a nightly stroll through Center City. In Old City, between Spruce and Walnut Streets on 4th Street, a family is walking through the oldest section of the city while the children’s father told them the history of the buildings around them. “And this is the house where Thomas Jefferson lived and wrote the Declaration of Independence,” said the father.
“Really?” said the daughter.
“Yes, honey,” he answered.
“Hey dad, can we see Independence Hall?” the son asked.
“Yeah, and the Liberty Bell?” the daughter asked excitedly.
“Well I don’t know about the Liberty Bell but I think we can see Independence Hall,” the father said with a chuckle. Then he looked over at his wife, “It is ok if we make a quick stop at Independence hall before we go home, isn’t it?” His wife was a little hesitant in answering him, but she finally said, “Alright but only for a few minutes. I don’t want to be out here too late especially with the type of people who hang out down here at night.”
“Aw, come on honey. What’re you worried about? We’re heading to a well-lit area on Chestnut Street which will most likely have a night watchmen or some type of security officer there just to make sure nothing happens,” said the father, “So don’t worry about it, ok. We’ll be fine.”
“Ok, but just a quick look then we’re going home,” his wife said seemingly agreeing.
“Alright,” said her husband, and then he kisses her on the cheek.
As they were walking down 4th approaching Chestnut, two men walk out of an alley and start to follow them. The family turns the corner on to Chestnut not realizing that they are being followed as they continue to make their way to Independence Hall. They reach their destination with the two men still behind them. “Well here we are; Independence Hall. This is where the signing of the Declaration of Independence took place,” the father began to explain, “This is where some of history’s most famous men came together to decide our country’s freedom.”
“Yeah, Ben Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock,” the man wearing a leather jacket interrupted. He pretended to be another tourist. “Did you know that John Hancock signed his name real big on the Declaration of Independence?”
“No, I didn’t know that,” said the father.
“Yeah, he signed his name real big. Bigger than everyone else,” the man said.
“Really?” said the father, “Hmm, interesting.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to bother you. Uh, I was just wondering if you can help us out,” the man said kindly changing the subject.
“Sure, what seems to be the problem?”
“Well, you see, I came to Philadelphia to visit my aunt and tour the city a little bit, you know. My aunt’s been kind of lonely lately since my uncle died and she really wanted some company. She’s just such a lovely lady. Really, just the nicest person you’d – anyway, between visiting my aunt and touring the city, I accidentally spent most of my money. And my friend over there, who was nice enough to come with me, doesn’t have a way back home. And I hardly have enough for myself. So I was just wondering if you could lend us a couple of bucks so we can get home. I mean we would really appreciate it,” he said.
“Well, I don’t see anything wrong with it, seeing as how you’re stuck,” the father said as he took his wallet from his back pocket, “Um, how much do you need?”
“Well, actually,” the man then pulls out a gun from his jacket pocket, “all of it would be nice.”
Dumbfounded the father looks at the man blankly. He starts to put the wallet back in his pocket when the man holding the gun stops him. “Uh uh, no heroics,” he said waving his gun. The father hears the cocking of a second gun from behind him. He turns around to see that the other man has a gun pointed at his wife and children, who were whimpering with fear. “Come on, fork over the wallet,” the first man demanded, “Purse, too.” The father pleaded with the men to not hurt his family as he handed the wallet to him with a shaky hand. “Ooh, is that a Rolex. Take it off,” said the first man eyeballing the father’s watch. The father takes off his watch and hands it to him without hesitation. “Now the purse,” the first man demanded, looking over at the mother.
“Ma’am,” the second man said with a sly smile. The mother removes her purse and hands it to the sly smiling man. “Ooh, leather. Must’ve been very expensive,” he said slyly.
“Alright, everybody on the ground,” the first man ordered. The family did as they were told and laid on the ground. “Uh uh, no peeking,” said the second man. Then the family turned their faces to the ground. The men start to run away when the first man turns around. “Oh how rude of me. Thanks for all your help. We really appreciate it.” Then he turns back around and runs after his friend.
Unknowing to the men, they were being watched the whole time as they robbed the family. A shadowy figure was standing on the bell tower of Independence Hall peering down at them. The figure flies off after the two robbers.