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The Pizza Job: To Go
About the Author: Brian Silverman is the author of numerous short stories and the acclaimed first novel, Freedom Drop. His stories have been published in Mystery Tribune, Mystery Magazine, Down and Out Magazine and Vautrin. He has had stories published in The Best American Mystery Stories of 2018, and the Best American Mystery and Suspense Stories of 2021 as well as "notable" story in The Best American Mystery Stories of 2019.

He hid in the darkness. No one could see his eyes where he was. And that was a good thing. In a world of green, brown, and red eyes, his blue eyes stood out. They always got him in trouble. Sunglasses were part of his usual attire especially when on a job. Not now though. It was dark—too dark for sunglasses. He was taking a big risk exposing himself. This whole operation was a risk—one he had to take. This was a special job. If he could pull it off his reputation would be cemented as one of the greats. He would be the stuff of lore. But that was if he ever decided to share his feat with the others. Broadcast his accomplishment. Toot his own horn. And he had no intention of doing any of that. To the contrary, he was adamant that no one must ever know about this. It was essential that he keep it quiet. His low profile was his reputation. His privacy was his creed. He wasn’t doing this for his ego. This was about survival.

He was on his own now and he kind of liked it that way. His woman was gone. She upped and left him. What kind of female just takes off leaving her babies? He was bad. He did bad things. But he would never desert his babies. He cared for them. A single dad. The jobs he did were for them. But it was too long between scores. His babies were hungry. He was hungry. He needed a big one. He needed this.

He remained hidden. A partner or two could help in a heist like this one. He thought about bringing in the pack, but quickly decided against it. They weren’t trustworthy or reliable anymore. There was always some rat who ultimately squealed. It was inevitable. Back in the day, the pack was tight. They pulled off jobs like clockwork. Everyone had a responsibility and they did it. But then things went bad. Some got greedy. Some just got stupid. And then there was Jack. Jackie Wow. Smart, slick, and so cool—a charmer with his piercing red eyes. They were the best of buddies. They were the leaders of the pack. But those eyes did a number on his woman and she took off with him. He had plans for Jackie Wow if he ever found him again. But that was for another time. He couldn’t let the hate cloud his thinking. He had to pull this thing off. This score was too big to let personal grievances get in the way.

So he waited patiently. He had to wait for the right moment to make the snatch. The rumbling of the 2 and 3 trains that made his bones vibrate was slowing. It was very late. Or very early. He knew that it was dark out, but with his finely tuned night vision he could still see the prize. The thing was right there just waiting for him to take.

His belly grumbled a little. That it was so close, but not yet in his paws made him hungrier. It was as if he could almost taste it. A train pulled into the station where he hid. The footsteps were few that emptied from the train. He counted now. He knew he had to do this right. He couldn’t cut any corners despite how hungry and anxious he was. One … two … three … four he counted in his head. He counted to two hundred before he heard another train pull in. He put his ear to the cold metal near the steps. No footsteps. Nothing. It was time. He had to make the move. Now.

His blue eyes shifting left to right and then straight ahead. He scampered through a tight opening near the stairwell. There it was. Right in front of him. He dashed up the steps. Again, looking left to right, and then, no more hesitation, it had to be done now. He sunk his teeth into the greasy, cold crust. His teeth were sharp enough to grip it firmly. It was heavy for his small frame, but keeping it clasped in his teeth, he dragged the prize down the steps with him. Slower now, one step at a time; he had to make sure he didn’t lose his grip on it. He had to make a clean getaway, but the thing had to remain whole. Its value would be diminished if it were damaged goods.

This story appears in our JUL 2023 Issue
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