THE DUMB FACTOR - SANDRA SEAMANS
I’m holding down a barstool in Rizzoli’s Bar and Grill, my eyes sliding up and up the come-get-me legs of the red dress who just strolled through the door, when this here ex-cop plunks himself down beside me and starts firing off questions about my buddy, Doobie. Says as how he worked the Kingston Diamond case and he'd sure as hell like to know the truth of it before his ticker up and quits on him. Now, I don’t like cops, even ex's, but the time for charging us with that particular crime has slid on by, so what can it hurt? I ask the bartender to draw us a couple of cold ones and start spilling words.
Truth is, Doobie was always too smart. Hell, his brain would be kicked into overdrive before I got the key in the ignition. Take, for example, the time he decided to give shoplifting a go. Most guys would've grabbed a candy bar or a pack of rubbers their first time out. Something easy to palm into your pocket that wouldn't be spotted when you walked past the cashier.
But not Doobie, he never thought small. He worked his way through that store, picking up and setting down until his eyes hit on the biggest boom box either of us had ever seen. You see, it's his eyes that give him away. He looked at that boom box like it was Marsha Brady dancing naked, right there on the shelf. After a couple of minutes of me tugging on his arm, he shook himself out of his head pictures, wrapped his arm around my shoulder and dragged me out of the store. His eyes were shining bright and there was a big smile slapped across his face.
Two hours later we're back at the store, armed with batteries and a pair of wire cutters. Doobie slips the batteries in while I'm snipping price tags off. Then Doobie hits the on switch and raises the rafters with his "YMCA" tape, hoists the box to his shoulder and walks straight on out of the store with me dancing the YMCA behind him. Management was happy to see our backsides drifting out the door.
So I asked him, how’d he figured he could get away with something like that and he says, "It's the dumb factor. The store figures nobody's dumb enough to try and walk out the front door with something that big. You gotta have balls to pull off the dumb factor, Riz, and I got the balls."
For more than twenty years, Doobie used the dumb factor and his balls to keep us one step ahead of the cops, and I was happy just dancing alongside of him. The Kingston Diamond heist was gonna be our last job, though truth be told, we hadn’t actually planned on lifting the Kingston. That diamond was just a happy accident. That fact aside, Doobie's plan was fucking brilliant. Think about it. Who woulda thought you could walk right into the middle of a high class fashion show, work your way through the crowd and finger-lift half the diamonds decorating them skinny girls?
With our pockets brimming and us headed for the door, Doobie flashes me the look. But this time it ain’t no naked Marsha Brady. Nope, Doobie was seeing Julia Roberts grinding her “Pretty Woman” sweet-spot smack-dab against his lap. Me? I'm thinking the fucking Kingston Diamond? No way in hell he's walking out of here with that stone in his pocket.
But Pretty Julia was swelling Doobie’s balls and we were in drive or crash motion. He nodded me towards the door and as I swung it open he grabbed the stone and shifted his feet into high gear.
We were pounding down the sidewalk with alarm bells caught in the draft behind us when this sexy broad in a little bitty red dress steps in front of us. That dress by itself would have stopped us cold, but the gun in her hand dropped our feet into wet cement. That little girl had bigger balls than Doobie and me put together and that's saying a lot.
Seems she'd had the same plan as Doobie, but when she spotted us filling our pockets with shiny rocks, she decided to let us do the heavy lifting for her. Only thing was, she didn't figure in Doobie's dumb factor. Doobie pulled the Kingston from his pocket and tossed it over, letting her dumb factor kick in all natural like. She dropped the gun to catch the diamond and we skittered on past her. Weren’t a minute later that the cops came charging around the corner and caught her holding that big old diamond.
Now we would've been in the clear if she hadn't mentioned to the cops that the Kingston wasn't the only piece of glass missing. She didn't like being played the fool no more than Doobie, but by the time she fingered us on the surveillance tapes we’d stashed our retirement fund in a safety deposit box. After that, we slipped out of sight and kept our noses clean for ten years before we cashed in our stash.
I felt Doobie’s hand clamp down on my shoulder, “You spinning that dumb factor story again, Riz?”
My drinking friend looked up at Doobie, “You mean you didn’t steal the Kingston Diamond?”
“Take a good look at me, friend, does it look like I’ve got balls the size of watermelons swinging between my legs?”
"YMCA" came shouting out of the jukebox as the old cop stood to leave. A satisfied smile disco-danced across his lips as he watched the swaying hips in the red dress feeding quarters to the jukebox. As he walked out, Doobie’s eyes locked on mine and we started laughing at the old guy’s wet dream.
But the laughing takes a nose dive when the red-dressed diamond catcher shoves a gun in Doobie’s crotch.
“Who's the dumb one now?” she asks.
BIO: You can find Sandra's stories scattered around the internet in places like Spinetingler, PulpPusher, and The Thrilling Detective. Her scattered thoughts about writing can be found at http://sandraseamans.blogspot.com
Irish Times Crime Fiction column, February 2018
13 hours ago