The Boy in the Bin

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44) SAMMY

The shiny black limousine pulled into the parking lot at Penn Station. The thundering of trains echoed in the evening as the city’s day crowd made their way home. With evening hours, the night crowd came out. On one corner of the terminal, a gang of youths huddled underneath a trestle, smoking cigarettes and being unruly.

The pale gray eyes of Mr. Sandez scrutinized these youths with interest. He intended to make a business offer to one of the youths . He took a special trip down here, among the trains and buses, to contact him. He instructed his driver to pull the limo parallel to the youths and stop.

“Hey Lovelace,” a voice called out. “Get over here.”

Sammy glanced at the limo and initially ignored whoever called his name. He recognized no one who drove a limo and he sure didn’t want to. But the voice insistently continued.

“Lovelace,” Sammy heard again. “Get over here.”

“Who the hell are you?” Sammy answered.

“Ignore me and you’ll find out,” the caller continued, “now get over here.”

Sammy grew large for his age and he acted like a bully when he wanted to. He especially hated when anyone ordered him to do something. Even though he didn’t know who called him, he decided he would teach them a lesson in respect. He sauntered over to the driver’s side of the car; ready to break somebody’s face.

The rear window of the limousine went down at the push of a button. Behind the darkened glasses sat a plump man in a cashmere suit. His gray linen shirt perfectly matched his gray staring eyes. Sammy didn’t recognize the face, but the clothes impressed him as being expensive. He held off on taking any offensive action, until determining the man’s motive. He moved towards the open window of the car to get a better look.

“I’ve been watching you for a while,” Mr. Sandez said. “I may offer some work to you if you’re interested.”

“What kind of work?” Sammy wondered.

“Hop in the car and I’ll explain,′ Sandez advised.

Sammy acted wary of the man. He wasn’t sure if he faced a lawyer, a hit man or a child molester. To be cautious, he declined getting into a car with a total stranger, just because he said so.

“Nah, man,” he replied, “I’ll pass.”

In an instant, the driver’s door burst open and a large black man rushed out. He stood at least 7 feet tall and probably weighed somewhere near 325 pounds; all muscle. He grabbed Sammy as the rear door of the limo opened and tossed him inside the car like a miniature basketball.

He jumped back in the front seat and the limousine tore out of the parking area; much to the shock of Sammy’s friends. Sammy fought to get upright in the back seat. When he gained his balance, he stared at a man with a Glock 9mm pistol. He instantly raised his hands.

“I don’t carry any money,” was his first remark. “I don’t want any trouble, mister.”

“I’m not going to give you any trouble,” Sandez told him. “I only want to talk. If we can have this little chat, I’ll put the gun away.”

Sammy relaxed but still showed a nervous twitch. In his circles, he routinely dealt with some rough people, but this guy held a gun on him. He realized stupid mistakes might lead to being fatal mistakes.

“My name is Rolland Sandez,” the man . ”My sources tell me you may be interested in making money; I’m interested in paying you for your services.”

“What services?” Sammy grunted.

“I understand you pulled a job at a jewelry store recently,” Sandez explained. “I own that jewelry store. When my manager told me a big kid helped distract him while another kid ripped off a bunch of rings, I got interested. I did a little investigation and found this was not the first time you boosted something. My question is, would you like to make real money?”

Sandez put his gun away and sat in a casual pose across from his young guest. Sammy hadn’t fully relaxed yet, but this guy didn’t act like a threat. The idea of making real dough became enticing enough for Sammy to want more details.

“What are you getting at?” he asked.

“There’s a custom boot shop up on 7th Avenue. It’s actually a front for a bookie who owes me money. I’d like you to visit the shop, force him to open the safe, rip him off and leave him a little reminder from me. The safe probably has about $ 500 inside; perhaps more. I’ll give you half of everything you recover.”

“Yea, sure,” Sammy stated, “and then you call the Coppers and I go up for robbery. No thanks.”

“I’m not going to call the cops Sammy,” Sandez argued. “As a matter of fact, if you succeed, I can set you up with more well-paying jobs in the future.”

“Why me,” he asked. “Why do you want me to do this job?”

“Because you’re a kid,” he assured, “and my bookie friend would never expect anything coming from you. I specialize in getting what I want in life and if you work out, I can turn you on to the good life too.”

“How soon do you want this done?” Sammy inquired. “I can’t do anything during the day because I’m still in school.”

“We can do the deed now if you want to,” Sandez exclaimed. “I can drop you off on the corner and wait for you in the car. Think about this; $ 250 or more for 5 minutes of work with no hassle.”

Sammy wanted to say yes immediately, but he still harbored suspicions of this well-dressed trickster. As he pondered the situation, Sandez pulled his wallet out of his jacket. Sammy spied no less than a dozen bills in the 100 dollar denomination, plus a ton of other bills. Sandez counted out $ 250 in small bills and handed them to Sammy.

“I’m sure you must be nervous,” he acknowledged. “So I’m willing to prepay your cut. If you do the job and I owe you more, I’ll pay you when you return. Remember, if you take this money and don’t do the job, I can find you as easily as I did today.”

Sammy sat on the luxurious leather seat, staring at the crisp bills in his hand. This represented more money than he ever had in his life at one time. He decided the odds were in his favor to work with this guy. Perhaps he’d make a real living and be able to quit going to his stupid school.

“Just so I’m sure,” he quizzed, “you want me to rip this guy off and clean out his safe. That’s the extent of the job?”

“I want you to leave my calling card too,” Sandez added. “Nothing major; maybe slap him around a bit. Finish up, get out and meet me back on the corner. I’ll drive you back here or anywhere you like afterward.”

“Let’s go.”

The limousine pulled out of Penn Station and headed over to 7th Avenue. The driver turned on 28th Street and parked in the lot of ‘The Fencers Club’. Sandez gave directions to the location of the boot shop and told him he would wait.

“Don’t make a career out of your visit Sammy,” Sandez directed. “Get the money and get back here as quickly as possible.”

Sammy left the limo and walked back up to 7th Avenue. He located the boot shop, found a mousy looking man working at polishing a pair of alligator boots on a machine. He approached the man, smiling as he came into close proximity. With an outstretched hand, he grabbed him and pushed his face towards the buffing wheel of the machine.

“You are going to give me all your dough,” he barked, “or I’m going to buff your face.”

“I don’t keep any money here,” the shocked man told him. “The bank courier picked everything up about an hour ago.”

“Bullshit,” Sammy sneered, as he pushed the man forward toward the wheel. “You own a safe and I want what is inside. Hand over the goods or I’ll take your nose off with this buffer.”

The shop owner realized this kid meant business. He held his hands up and allowed Sammy to push him through a curtain, into the back room. He fumbled around trying to get the safe open and finally, the latch yielded to the proper combination. Inside, laid a banker’s bag with a zipper top. Sammy opened the bag to reveal over $1000 in small and large bills. He stuffed the bag into his pants pocket, smacked the owner in the head twice and ran out of the store; keeping up his frantic pace all the way back to the limo. When he got in, he tossed the banker’s bag to Sandez.

“Quick work,” Sandez commented as he opened the bag. “I like quick, clean jobs.”

He counted out the proceeds of the bag which totaled $1390 dollars and a few bucks in small change. Sandez handed Sammy $ 450 dollars and zipped up the bag.

“Nice doing business with you kid,” he beamed “Didn’t I tell you how easy you can make money?”

“This is all you want?” Sammy questioned.

“For today my boy,” he asserted. “I’ve got lots of work coming up and I’ll contact you next week and discuss the details. For now, enjoy your new found funds. Don’t go shoot your wad all in one place. Where do you want me to drop you off?”

Sammy told him right here on the corner would be fine and he would make his way back to Penn Station on foot. To be honest, he didn’t want his friends seeing him get out of a limo because of questions he didn’t want to answer. He got out and made his way up 28th Street and back towards Penn Station. At the midway point, he reached in his pocket and pulled out a wad of bills to count his new fortune.

His pocket held $ 700 more than when he went to school that day.

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