Criminal Science


Tink showed up fifteen minutes late wearing a yellow Adidas track suit and a brown Kangol hat. Benny Medina wasn’t having it.

“You look like a giant banana, you moron,” Benny said. “You going to the zoo after?”

“Come on, Benny,” Tink said. “I just thought I might fit in better…”

“Shut up. Nobody has time for your excuses. Did you bring the thing?”

Tink patted his jacket pocket. “Yeah, I brought it.”

“Good. Give it to me.” Tink handed the short barreled .38 to Benny. “Now, are you ready?”

“Tell me the plan one more time, Benny. Just to be sure.”

“Unbelievable. How many times have we been over this?” Benny said. “You have got to be the dumbest dude in Newark.”

“I just don’t want to mess it up. That’s all.”

“It’s really simple, Tink. You go into the store and ask to see Leroy. Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. When he comes out, tell him, ‘your friend says today is the day.’ Just like that. ‘Your friend says today is the day.’ Then walk out. I will be at the backdoor, and he will bring the money to me. Easy peasy.”

“Are you sure that’s all I got to do, Benny?”

“Trust me. It will work. Sheila’s been working on him for the last four weeks. It’s science.”

“Hypnotism is science?”

“As far as you know, it is.”

“Then why do you need the gun, Benny?”

“I need the gun in case one of those other brothers wants to stick his nose into our business. Now meet me back here when you’re done.”

Benny walked into the alley, and Tink walked the half-block to the store and entered it. The man behind the counter took his headphones out, put down the comic book and stared at Tink.

“I’m here to see Leroy,” he told the man.

“Leroy,” the man yelled. “You got a visitor.”

Leroy came out from the office in the back. Tink walked toward him, and they met in the middle of the store.

“Do I know you, my man?” Leroy said.

“Yeah. Our mutual friend says ‘today is the day’.”

Leroy looked sideways at Tink. “What you mean by that?” he said.

“What I meant to say is that your friend says today is the day.”

Leroy nodded, turned, and walked straightway back to the office. Tink left the store and headed back to the rendezvous point. Benny showed up grinning 5 minutes later, a sack in one hand.

“Come on, let’s go,” Benny said, handing the gun back to Tink. “Eight thousand cash right here. Just like I said.”

A rolling stone gathers no moss, Benny.”

Benny stopped on a dime, gave the bag to Tink, and began to cluck and strut around in a circle like a chicken.

Tink pulled out his cell phone and dialed the numbers as he walked away. “Sheila? Yeah, it’s me. Yep. It worked. Just like you said.”

~ fin ~


Dennis Smith is an Arkansas based storyteller whose High School English Teacher told him in 1989 he should write for a living. He didn’t listen then, and he’s making up for lost time now.