The young woman had been switching up her pace all day. Slow amble to fast and serious, slow to serious, over and over again. There was a certain method she was trying to go for, and it worked on and off like it always did. She'd lollygag down the streets for lack of a better thing to do. Honestly, what was there to do anyways? Being early wasn't going to help anything. Besides, it wasn't good to waste energy when you didn't know when you'd be getting it back. The reason she would step up her speed was in accordance with working to get that energy back. She'd narrow her eyes and make herself look like she was in a rush only to run into someone who wasn't paying attention. She could pick them out pretty easily, the normally had headphones in. Hope would bump into them and look back, uttering an apology, only to look back at what was in her hand when she stepped away. Was it foolproof? No. She made sure to never do it twice on the same street and if anyone said anything she'd quickly disappear. So far, she had four more phones and almost $60 more than what was in her empty pockets that morning.
Being a mutant made living without a home a breeze for Hope Thomas, and she was easily the richest hobo in Chicago. Need to grab a bite? Find a vending machine, cheat the system and yank something out of it. How about a place to sleep? If the shelters were full, she'd find a bridge and literally sleep under it. Kept her from getting robbed or worse. Well, what about a shower? She was a woman, so she could convince some sucker to let her in pretty easily. If he thought he was getting more than a pat on the back and an 'attaboy', she'd act offended and make him feel like the victim. And if he tried to force himself on her, the fuck was she afraid? If she wanted to she could probably tear down his apartment. That almost happened once, but luckily it didn't. With society today, Hope could easily pass as a hipster or a hippie. The difference between hipster and homeless were only two things: smell and attitude. While she couldn't find a shower all the time, Hope didn't act desperate and would condescend to people. She had decided to quit playing fair when the world told her pretty forcefully that it never was, and she even stopped looking for honest work. In fact, Hope Thomas had a plan. She'd try it out to get a feel for it, but crime really wasn't that bad of a way out. It was a hell of a lot more lucrative than panhandling and more self-respecting, too. Pickpocketing was one thing, but she thought she'd try a little harder tonight. Make enough money to grab a hotel for a week. What did she have to lose? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. That's why she was in this mess in the first place. Jail would be a comfort. Shelter from the cold, a bed, free food. She might have been better off than all the other homeless because of her talents, but that's like saying you have the best type of cancer.
So on she ambled. She was done stealing from people at the moment anyway. With all the money she was about to get, she could probably get some new clothes, have some bus money for a while, maybe even enough for night's stay in a 3-star hotel. The wind was biting enough as it was, and she could use a place to get away from it. The streets were getting empty for all the people going to work anyway, so who was there to steal from? Hope could tell you where: McDonald's. This city was so fucked up. So many people were starving in the streets or close to it, and yet that fucking fat-house was always packed. It never mattered whenever you stepped in, there would always be some tub of lard leaking ketchup all over his shirt. It made her sick in more ways than one. Hope scowled in disdain when she saw those golden arches. It wasn't a place of comfort, it was a monument in mockery.
Hehe, people better off than you get to stuff their ugly faces! it would call out in jest. But Hope kept coming back for scraps. She might not have had a shower in four or five days, but she never felt dirtier than when she was in that hellhole. When she opened up the front doors, she went relatively unnoticed. That was pretty easy in Chicago. Nobody really payed you that much attention. Instead of waiting in line, she stepped off to the side as if she were waiting for someone to show up. Technically she was. Hope was doing her best to keep track of the orders. She might have watched for a full 5 minutes, pretending to be bored, before she got her chance. It was some kind of mom with her kid. She didn't look that old, and she ordered her meal like the rest and moved to sit down. When her number was called, Hope's eyes flashed to the mom. Her child was crying, and she didn't hear it. Another call. Still paying attention to her kid. Showtime. Hope pretended to snap out of her trance of people watching and walked up to the counter.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I was kind of drifting off," she announced as she picked up the bag. Without delaying anything, she walked as fast as she could without drawing attention out of the restaurant. She looked back. Everything seemed normal. Hope gave a sly smirk, more for herself than anyone else. Especially no one else being there. She walked a good block before settling down at a bench at a bus stop. The wind blockers would give her a reprieve, and she couldn't wait any longer. Exercising extreme restraint, she calmly took out her goods and began to eat. What she really wanted to do was tear into it, the dry biscuit, greasy meat, powdered eggs, and low-grade cheese being the only thing she'd eaten besides M&Ms in 24 hours. But that would make her obvious. Spotlighting yourself like that could get you killed in this city.