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55 Fiction

“The World’s Shortest Stories” yearly contest

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The Extortionist

(2007)
Children can easily say the wrong thing which can get you killed.

Here’s a perfect example.

an excerpt from this contemporary short story …

The subway has an odor distinctly different from death, which stinks. The Metro smells of electricity and diesel and is noisy as rolling thunder.

Death is quiet. Usually, death smells of urine because the bladder muscles relax. Sometimes it smells like shit, depending on whether or not the person used the toilet recently or got gut shot which can spill feces out the wound.

We see both the Metro and death daily, but we don’t play good cop, bad cop, Rico and me. Rico outweighs me by a hundred easy. How he passes his physical every year is beyond me. “I want to be the skinny cop for a change,” he says as we wait outside a turnstile beneath Kings Highway, the Brighton Beach area. Yesterday we worked Bed-Stuy, tomorrow Coney Island, but we never work Manhattan because we’re Brooklyn cops and, like the man said, there’s nobody livin’ what knows Brooklyn t’roo an’ t’roo.

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Other side of the entrance where we cannot see them and they cannot see us, we hear a woman’s voice say, “Let me come through with you and save two dollars.” The couple pops out the other side of the silver lacey fingers of the tollgate with smiles on their faces that turn to surprise, fright, then anger and perhaps disgust as we introduce ourselves.

“Pardon me,” I say as the two walk right into us. “We’re New York police officers and we want to talk to you about jumping the turnstile.”

Which is an anachronism if ever I heard one, like calling a music store a record store when there are no records inside. Besides, you can’t jump this type anymore

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