Real Amish


“They probably ain’t even real Amish!  I mean, whoever heard of a 30-foot neon fucking billboard advertising an Amish market?”

My cousin Bobby wasn’t a particularly bright guy.  One time, he got chemical burns on his urethra for trying to piss into his ex-girlfriend’s gas tank.  But maybe in this, he had a point.

I took a swig of my lager.

“You really think this could work?”

“If they’re real Amish, it could work,” conceded Bobby.  “You’ve seen how packed the parking lot gets on Sundays.  They don’t like cops; they don’t like violence… it’s gonna be like taking candy from a baby.”

“And if they aren’t really Amish?”

Bobby shrugged and tossed his empty bottle in the ditch.  It shattered in a million glass splinters on the rocks below.

“I dunno.  I guess if they ain’t Amish, then they’re taking in all that cash tax-free, right?  Fucking tax cheats, man.  And then they deserve what’s coming to them…”

Bobby lit up a busted- looking joint that he produced from the back pocket of his jeans.

“Fucking tax cheats, man,” he repeated as he exhaled.

I nodded and took another swig of my beer.

“Go over it again.”

The plan was simple enough.

Smash and grab, following one of those Sunday tourist feeding frenzies.  We come in fast and hard, masks and shotguns.  No need for ammo – guns are only there for show anyway, to convince the Amish we aren’t fucking around.  Bobby’s high school buddy, Trey, works at an auto body shop in the next town over, and can get us a getaway car with swapped-out plates.  In and out and a big-ass payday.

The weekend before the job, we cased the market to get a lay of the land.  Bakery, woodworking stand, a place that sells those pounded metal stars they put on the sides of barns, butcher shop.  Girls in long, plain skirts and hair coverings, guys in long beards and wide hats attended to the needs of fat, loud and balding tourists who frankly could have gone without that second slice of Shoo-Fly Pie.

Maybe it was pre-heist jitters or a bit of paranoia from the spliff I split with Bobby before we went into the market, but I could have sworn the big oaf behind the meat counter was eyeing me up.  Guy was a head and a half taller than anyone else in the market and looked like he was carved out of solid oak – and he was giving me serious stink-eye.  I chalked it up to overactive imagination and didn’t mention anything to Bobby about it.  I didn’t need him thinking I’m chicken shit.

The day of the job, we hung back on the freeway, and watched until the neon billboard went out, signaling that the market was closed for the day.  We pulled down our ski masks and sped into the parking lot.  The door was chained shut with an ancient looking padlock that gave way easy enough with a good shot from the stock of Bobby’s shotgun.

We charged into the market.  Amish shopkeepers were busy closing up for the day – cleaning counters and counting piles upon piles of cash.  I grabbed one of the nearby elders and bloodied his nose to make my point.

“This is a fucking stickup!” I screamed.


Bobby dropped to the floor next to me, unconscious.

“What the…”

I spun around, coming face-to-fist with the big guy from behind the meat counter.  Everything went dark.

When I woke up, it was cold and dark.

“Man, I knew they weren’t Amish.  Fucking tax cheats, man…”

Bobby was babbling behind my back.  Our hands were zip-tied behind us.

The freezer door opened.

“Not even fucking Amish…” Bobby muttered.

The old guy with the bloody nose stood, framed in the doorway.

“’Fraid your mistaken, English.  We’re Amish through and through.  But Samuel here – “ he motioned to the big guy from the meat counter “– well, he isn’t Amish.  We hired him to turn on the billboard and do other chores, like take out the trash.

“Samuel, if you please… would you take out the trash?”

Samuel grinned and cracked his knuckles.  This was going to hurt.

~ fin ~


Jay Butkowski is a writer of fiction, an eater of tacos and an amateur pizzaiolo who lives in New Jersey. His stories have appeared in online and print publications, including Shotgun Honey, Yellow Mama, All Due Respect and Vautrin. He is a founding editor at Rock and a Hard Place Press, an independent publisher chronicling “bad decisions and desperate people.” He’s also a father of twins, a doting fiancé, and a middling pancake chef.