The Easy Job
by K. A. Williams
My phone rang. I didn't recognize the number.
"Hi Bret, this is Rob. I got your number from Karl. He
said you and him have worked together before."
"Easy job. I need a pickpocket. I'm at the bar that
Karl suggested I meet you at. He said you'd know the one. Come as soon as you
can. I'll be wearing a blue shirt."
I grabbed my coat, left my apartment, and started walking.
It was only a block away.
Several men were sitting on bar stools when I got there.
Two were wearing black shirts and both had glasses in front of them.
The other two were wearing blue shirts. One shirt was light
blue, the other dark blue. Neither man had been served yet.
One of the black shirts got up and left. Now there was a
vacant seat next to each of them. Light blue shirt looked like an undercover
cop, so I sat beside the other one.
Tad, the bartender, set their drinks down and turned to me.
Before I could order, his cell phone rang. He pulled it out of his pants,
checked the number said, "Sorry, I have to take this," and turned
away from me.
Dark blue shirt picked up the drink with his right hand,
took a sip, then looked at both of us.
I started to say something, but he turned to the other guy
and said in a low voice, "I'm Rob. You got here pretty quick after I
called. You are Bret, right? Karl said you were the best he ever worked with,
and I'm getting my crew together."
To my amazement, light blue shirt said, "Yeah, I'm
Bret. What's the job?"
"Not here at the bar. Let's get a table. You never
know who might be an undercover cop."
Light blue shirt laughed. "That's right, you never
I watched helplessly as Rob and the undercover cop got off
the bar stools, drinks in hand, and headed for a table.
Tad set a glass of beer (my usual drink) in front of me. I
put a fifty down. "Do me a favor. Anyone asks, you don't know me."
"Sure thing, Bret. Trouble?"
"That guy over there at the table is an undercover
"The one in the dark blue shirt?" he asked.
"Dark blue shirt is the one I'm supposed to meet, but
he started talking to the cop by mistake about a job."
"Uh, oh, that's bad news for you and everyone else
that's violating parole, if their name and number is stored on his phone."
"That's what I was thinking." I laid down another
fifty. "Let me know when they get up from the table."
"I'm going out the back when I'm done."
I drank the beer until Tad whispered, "They're getting
I turned my head slightly, then picked the right moment to
slide off the stool, take a step, and run into Rob.
I almost knocked him down and steadied him with one hand
while the other was in his right pants pocket, where I knew his phone would be.
After I quickly stuffed his phone into my jacket pocket, I
moved away and said, "Sorry."
I walked toward the back like I was going to the restroom
and went further down the hall to the exit. Then I stepped out into the alley
behind the bar, scaring some cats who were dining in the garbage bin.
When I peeked around the building, I saw Rob and the cop
standing just outside the bar. Rob patted the pockets of his pants and jacket
before they both went back inside.
It wouldn't take them long to discover that the phone
wasn't in there and then they would know I took it. Rob might realize I was the
pickpocket he was supposed to meet but it would be too late for him.
I knew Tad would keep his mouth shut and act surprised that
I'd left out the back door. He had no love for the cops. I'd even worked with
his brother, Phil, on a few jobs.
I didn't want to be caught on the sidewalk between the bar
and my apartment in case the cop decided to look for me, so I headed for the
nearby subway entrance and hurried down the stairs.
I called Karl from a stall in the restroom, and he answered
after the first ring. "How did the meeting go?"
"It was a disaster. Does Rob have my address?"
"No. What happened?"
I told Karl everything.
"I'll make some calls," he said. "Everyone
we know should trash their phone so the cops can't track them."
"Right, especially since Rob might have already given
the phone numbers of his potential crew to the cop while they were talking at
"Get a new burner phone and I'll do the same. We'll
have everyone give Terry their new numbers. Rob doesn't know about her and
neither do the cops." Karl hung up.
I took the SIM cards out of both phones and flushed them.
Then I factory reset the phones and left the restroom.
A bunch of people had just gotten off a train and I joined
the crowd moving toward the exit. I slipped Rob's phone into the handbag of a
woman and mine into a man's coat pocket.
As I walked home, I wondered what the easy job had been.
K. A. Williams lives in North
Carolina and writes speculative, mystery/crime, general fiction, and poetry
which has been published in various magazines, including Yellow Mama, Theme
of Absence, Aphelion, 365 Tomorrows, Scarlet Leaf
Review, The Blotter, Tigershark, and Mystery Tribune.
Apart from writing, she enjoys rock music, science fiction movies, and CYOA
Charles Addams, Edgar Allan Poe, and Willy Wonka sired a bastard child it would be the
fat asthmatic by the name of Michael D. Davis. He has been called warped
by dear friends and a freak by passing strangers. Michael started drawing cartoons when
he was ten, and his skill has improved with his humor, which isn’t saying much. He
is for the most part self-taught, only ever crediting the help of one great high school
art teacher. His art has been shown at his local library for multiple years only
during October due to its macabre nature. If you want to see more of Michael’s
strange, odd, weird, cartoons you can follow him on Instagram at