Matt had always loved the circus. His fondest childhood memories were of accompanying his father to the big top and watching his favorite, the high-wire artists. Here he was, once again, at the circus. Matt watched the trick dogs run onto the stage, and almost forgot he was there as an undercover cop.
A police analyst in his department crunched numbers and demonstrated an increase in drug activity correlated with circus travels over summer. The Captain privately shared with Matt that it might be the State Troopers providing security for the circus. He sent Matt undercover to the circus, figuring he was going to be there anyway.
Matt half watched as the acts entered and left the arena, but he focused on the State Troopers on security detail. A chubby one was over friendly with a middle-aged woman working the concession stand. She served no less than six hot dogs to the tubby Trooper. Matt wasn’t sure the crime was eating six hot dogs or not paying for six hot dogs.
The young Trooper at the door of the vender money-counting room was stoic. An excellent choice for the duty. All doors had Troopers positioned at them, and they were acting professionally. Observation of the Troopers had to wait when the tightrope walkers came out. Two performed with balancing poles, and one woman performed freehand. The performers on trapeze were equally mesmerizing.
Matt laughed at the antics of the clowns, and the pauses between the acts gave him time to resume his scanning of Trooper activity. All the Troopers were inside the building, and all were on task.
While he still longed for the elephants, the additional lion act almost made up for it. The circus ended with a grand show by the ringmaster, but no suspicious activity by the State Troopers. A dead end. He’d suggest to the Captain that perhaps it was simply summer, and people were traveling more.
As he was leaving, a carnie was handing out unsold popcorn, and shoved a box into Matt’s hand. He nodded, put the box under his arm, and walked to his car. Once inside, Matt filled out his daily activity log. He glanced down at the passenger feet area and three boxes were missing. He opened the popcorn box, dumped the contents out on his seat, and smiled. Fifty thousand dollars doesn’t take up a lot of space. A nice wad of cash and the wire acts were terrific. All in all, a good time.
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