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Crime Mystery

I can count the number of times I’ve had a gun pointed to my head. This is my eighth occurrence since I started this trade five months ago. It’s not necessarily a fatal business, but people are desperate and you know that old saying about desperate times and desperate measures. 

I remember the first time it happened, it was a sweaty, hot August night up in the Bronx. I just finished my first delivery. When I got back to my truck a cold piece of metal met my temple. My brother, being the man who got me the job, felt it his responsibility to teach me how to stay safe in these circumstances. Just tell me what you want, I said.

My brother was right - give them the goods. The gun fell from my head and the person sprinted off, but not before swiping the box from under my arm. I hopped in my truck and locked my doors faster than a speeding bullet. 

The second time it happened I was in Pelham Bay Park. Broad daylight. It was less than two weeks after the first incident so I was quickly rethinking my line of work… maybe I could make more money just working at Mickey D’s, right? This time the gun met the spot in between my brown eyebrows. Again, I followed my brother’s advice. I’ve got brownies. The man offered me a lump sum of cash, I counted it quickly and gave him what he wanted. 

The third time was quite similar to the second, gun between the brows, sun was out, just a different location. I’ll give you whatever you want at a discounted rate, deal? Instead of cash she pulled up a Venmo app, lowering the gun while I typed in my boss’s Venmo handle. I grabbed three boxes and shoved them into her arms. 

The fourth affair caught me by surprise because the drop off location was right in SOHO. It was ten in the morning on a Tuesday. Surely, no one is going to be caught with a gun in Manhattan, I thought. Wrong. After my drop off to the old lady in apartment 3B I was pulled into apartment 2B, the door was slammed behind my back, I was shoved up against a wall, the gun touched my temple. This is getting old. The man said I’ve seen you around, I want in on this. That - I was not expecting. So I hooked him up with the boss. 

The fifth gun-to-head incident happened in November. I was in the Bronx, I just dropped off at Mrs. Hamilton’s a couple blocks down from my apartment when I saw my boss’s car on the corner. The back window rolled down, a hand came out, the pointer finger rolling in, beckoning me.

I opened the door to the blacked out Mercedes. Hi Benny. She purred in my ear. She cocked a gun, lifting it under my jaw. I did not see that coming. How are you so good at this job, huh? She knows I can haggle better than anyone else. My sister. My sister taught me how to make a good sale. She lowered the gun to the console in front of us. Thank God. If I was afraid of any woman it was this one. Keep up the good work, but don’t you dare make my twins look bad. The boss didn’t want me to be better than her daughters. I understood and nodded my head in reply. I gave her the cash I earned that day, and she returned my keep. I was selling more than a Girl Scout in front of Target. 

The sixth and seventh occasions were quick, handled with minimal effort on my end. Both happened in Williamsburg. I was being warned about territory. 

Which all leads me to today. Number eight. My truck is loaded with fifteen boxes, my eyes see dollar signs. This is my first time doing a full pick up, typically I just get small deliveries from my brother. December is our last round of distribution until May, so the gunman either wants some of the really good stuff for free or he wants the full truckload to make some cash of his own before our off-season.  

I had just closed the back of my covered bed pick up truck and got comfy in the driver's seat when I heard a gun click behind me. I have the extended cab so there is plenty of room for someone to sit back there without my noticing. I lift my hands up and off the wheel. 

“Tell me your name.” The voice belongs to a woman, which is pretty common in my experience. They are spectacular at sales. 

“Ben. Benny.” I feel a bit out of control considering she’s behind me and I don’t know what she looks like or who she is. 

“Hi, Ben. Want to open up your trunk for me?” 

I don’t respond. 

“Don’t make this hard, okay? You just open the trunk, I’ll take your shipment. You tell your boss it was stolen, you were held at gunpoint. You don’t even have to lie.”

“I’m not letting you take my shipment.” 

“I’ll make myself clear. You open the trunk or” I feel the gun pressed against the back of my skull “I’ll do it myself.” 

“Tell me your name.”

“I’m Liza.” She climbs over the middle console and slides into the passenger seat like my sister used to when she was in middle school. She has short chopped brown hair and her brown eyes look like melted chocolate against her light brown skin. She extends her hand out and we shake longer than typical. She’s beautiful, to say the least.

“So, Liza. You want my shipment, huh?” 

“Yep. And maybe I’ll let you take me on a date afterwards.” 

“You like sushi? I know a spot in Harlem.” 

I’ll give this girl all my shipments if it means I get to take her on a date each time she wipes me clean. 

We hop out of the truck and she tucks her Glock back into her purse. I open up my bed as she opens up the trunk of her Volvo XC60. I can tell she must be good at her job just by her car alone. Blacked out windows, roof racks, she even has one of those diamond license plate frames. 

“I’ve got fifteen boxes… you can’t take it all.” 

She leans back against her car. “Date or no date, honey.” She winks. Come onnnn.

“NYPD!! NYPD!!” 

Liza and I throw our hands into the air and look straight into the eyes of a male and female cop duo. 

“Don’t move! We’ve been following you, Benjamin Bryce. We have every reason to search your vehicle, keep your hands in the air and stay where you are.” 

Liza and I glance at each other then return our eyes to my truck bed and watch the male officer climb up. 

He rips open one large box, I know exactly what he sees but the only thing giving us light is a sliver of moonlight so when he grabs a smaller box from inside the first his partner still isn’t sure what he’s holding.

He moves to the next box, slicing open the tape with a set of keys. The officer pulls out a few more small green and purple boxes, then continues to open those too. I hear his fingers gripping the plasticky film inside. 

“Officer Johnson, come up here. Open a box yourself.” 

The female cop eyes me and then Liza back and forth then lowers her gun, but not before her partner raises his at us just in case. She pulls herself up onto the truck bed and bends down to the box right in front of her, she cuts the tape and pulls out her flashlight. The light shines into the box and I see the confused wrinkle in between her brows. She picks another large brown box, pulls the flaps back and brings a small green box out. She carefully opens the green box as if it were her own, stealing her dessert from the freezer. She pulls out a roll. “Thin Mints?” She waves her flashlight into the other boxes of cookies, Adventurefuls, Samoas, Tagalongs.  “Are you selling…” 

February 23, 2024 20:00

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6 comments

Trudy Jas
03:12 Mar 13, 2024

Loved it! yeah, I've steal for thin mints. LOL

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Peyton Fleek
02:34 Mar 20, 2024

Hahah right!?

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Melody Watson
23:43 Feb 28, 2024

Awesome surprise ending. I enjoyed the story start to finish. Smooth reading.

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Peyton Fleek
02:34 Mar 20, 2024

Thank you!

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Stella Aurelius
12:41 Feb 24, 2024

Very gripping with great pacing. Lovely job!

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Peyton Fleek
02:34 Mar 20, 2024

Thank you Stella!

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