one of the diehards who ventures out in the winter nights to gaze at Edison
Tower, aiming his battery-less phone, feigning clicks, having shortly before
left the museum through the same door he’d busted to get in.
That was the
But his backpack
should be bulging with two fireproof, waterproof boxes, and he shouldn’t have a
gash in his right glove. Better not have left blood.
He gets in the
and preempts my tirade with an outburst of his own. “You screwed up, Lee! There
wasn’t a cam lock on that cabinet, it had an electronic deadbolt! I nearly
sliced my hand forcing it open!”
He waves in my
periphery as I focus on the road.
records inside,” he says.
recordings. Just some old parts and boxes of knickknacks.”
Edison and never went to the Thomas Edison Museum? His lab was there!” I turn
light bulb, the phonograph.”
recordings were on cylinders. Those knickknacks would’ve fetched enough Bitcoin
to buy a couple of Cadillacs.”
shake my head. “We could circle back if—”
new lock was alarmed separately from the phone line I had you cut?”
the difference between ignorance and stupidity.”
ignoramus!” I slow down before Dellwood Road. “Should we backtrack or not?”
If I’d planned this job, I would’ve given clear instructions.”
I slam the
steering wheel and continue straight. “You think staring at a fortune and
leaving it behind isn’t your fault at all? A smart person would’ve asked
questions if he didn’t understand something. A curious person would’ve visited
the only museum in his hometown. Ignorance is usually caused by stupidity—”
the case now.”
I fume, and both
of us stay silent until I start pulling into my garage. Billy says, “You’re
sure no one will remember my car’s been parked at the Fix-It?”
different cars there overnight.”
our last job together?”
in for the evidence burn.”
I huff. “Fine.”
I close the garage
door and we get out of the car. Billy puts the backpack on the ground, takes
off the black coat, hat, and gloves I’d bought and piles them together on the
hood, then retrieves his coat from a hook.
own gloves are on before you come in.”
That time I hadn’t
I say, “Stay
a minute. I’ll double-check that the shades are drawn and start the fire.”
and wax starters stacked to burn and get back to Billy quickly. He’s wadded the
robbery outfit and backpack in his arms and holds the tools in his hands. I lead
him in, then nod to the bathroom. “Steel in the tub. I use straight vinegar for
any residue that’s stuck.” He’s gentle with the crowbar but clunks the hammer
and screwdrivers. “Careful!” Careful, moron!
We continue to
hearth. He kneels with the pile and hands me the clothes. I toss the hat and
gloves into the flames, then cut the coat into strips with shears.
I’m a dope?” Billy unzips it, puts both hands in, then pulls out four brown-wax
cylinders pressed together with the fingers of his left hand.
I raise the shears
as Billy brings up a silenced pistol with his right hand. He smirks. “I’m
thinking one Cadillac is all I need, and a boat. Or would that be stupid?”
Jacob Graysol (jacobgraysolnovelist.com)
lives and writes in central
New Jersey. He wrote the lawyer-laden police procedural Righteous
Judgment, and published its sequel, Righteous Endeavors, in
February 2020. His flash fiction has been published by Yellow Mama
(#92), as well as Every Day Fiction, Mystery Tribune, and Reflex
Rosmus is a Jersey
girl who looks like a Mob Wife & talks like Anybody’s from West Side
Story. She works out 5-6 days a week, so needs no excuse to drink or do
whatever the hell she wants She’s been published in the usual places, such as Shotgun
Honey, Hardboiled, A Twist of Noir, Megazine, Beat to a Pulp, Out
of the Gutter, Mysterical-E, and Rock and a Hard Place. She
is the editor/art director of the ezine, Yellow Mama. She’s a Gemini, a
Christian, and an animal rights activist. She has recently been branching out
into photo illustration, under the guidance and mentoring of Ann Marie Rhiel.