What Makes a Hero?

“No, I’m not going all existential on you, I’m being 100% serious. What makes him a good guy and me not?”
I looked him over, arms crossed over my chest. It was an interesting question, really.
“Your last operation, what happened?”
He sighed and brushed his hair back out of his eyes for the millionth time. The white streak was still there, cutting its way through the dark brown like a bolt of lightning. Dropping back into his chair, he steepled his hands and leaned his forehead against them.
“It was the usual, really. A snatch and grab. I got the loot and got out, no problems, no casualties.”
“Then what?”
Another long-suffering sigh and he shifted.
“I split it up with a few of the guys that work for me-“
“Your minions.”
I said it calmly, no judgment in my voice, but he still went tense.
“They’re not minions. Minions wear faceless masks, no one knows their names and they have a short life expectancy. Danny and Coop have been working for me for nearly ten years and I know their families.”
“Okay, okay, employees.”
“They even have dental plans…” He smiled sheepishly and then continued. “Anyway, we split up the cash and they were taking it to the drops.”
“Where?”
“Oh, you know,” there was a little flutter in his hands now and a smile on his face, “soup kitchen down on third and the battered women’s shelter on fifth. I was taking the rest to get it to this guy who’s a whizz at laundering. He makes sure the guys get paid a legitimate paycheck.”
That made me pause and I set down my pencil.
“You were making donations? You stole from the bank to make donations.”
“Well…yeah.”
It took me a long moment to pull myself back together enough that I could keep taking notes.
“So…so what happened then?”
“Well, Captain Courageous shows up, as always. He put Coop in the hospital, by the way. Danny managed his drop alright, but Coop…poor guy. I’m still making sure we get the usual amount to the shelter…its just coming out of what I usually use to post bail.”
“And you?”
“I’m here again, aren’t I?”
He looked at me seriously for a moment and then looked pointedly at the glass separating us.
“What about-?”
“They’re getting paid and Coop’s medical bills have been taken care of. It just means I’m staying here a little longer than usual.”

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