Title: The hold up
By Author: John M. Floyd
ZERO STARS. ZERO. ZIP. NADA.
Tag line: The thief should have known better than to try to outwit Angela Potts and Sheriff Jones!
Police characters: Sheriff Charles Jones.
The gist: Sheriff Jones arrives at the pawn shop five minutes after the call was dispatched as a robbery. Just as Jones had begun to interview the clerk, in walks Angela Potts. She said she saw him in his patrol car, light bar flashing, and she followed him. Then she added that she needed a new toaster anyway. The clerk pointed Mrs. Potts to the appliance section. Jones said, “She isn’t here shopping for a toaster, she’s here to interfere with police business.” Then Jones asks the clerk what the sign meant (Pawn-E Express) but she didn’t know. The owner was not there but the clerk had just called him.
Jones took a statement from the clerk. She said a tall, bearded robber came in 15 minutes earlier, waved a big hunting knife under her nose, and demanded all the cash in the safe. He had on a wool cap, sunglasses, and work gloves, which he never took off. He stuffed the cash into a grocery sack, then asked her for her wallet. He had no accent. He didn’t take her money, he just looked at her driver’s license.
Mrs. Potts asked how he could read her driver’s license with sunglasses on. The clerk said he took it out of its little plastic sleeve, held it up to the light, then returned it and threw the wallet at her. “Now I know who you are,” he said, “You better keep your mouth shut or I’ll be back.”
Sheriff Jones snorted, “I wouldn’t worry about that. He’d know there’s not much you could tell us anyway.”
The clerk said the robber tucked the sack of bills under his arm and ran off down the street. She didn’t see a car.
Sheriff Jones said, “Do you mind if I take a look around?” Mrs. Potts asked the clerk if the vehicle parked outside, a Ford Bronco, was hers. She answered yes. Mrs. Potts then asked her to take her keys out of her purse and unlock the car because the sheriff wanted to take a look in there. Sheriff Potts said, “I do?” Mrs. Potts said she suspected the cash was in the Bronco.
Crime scene: Pawn Shop.
Clues: The robber wore work gloves.
Suspects: The store clerk or some robber guy.
Red herrings: None. But if there were any, I bet they would be awful.
Solution: If the robber wore gloves he wouldn’t have been able to manipulate the license out of the little plastic holder.
My two cents: Right away, right at the tag line, I noticed WW is billing Potts before the sheriff. “The thief should’ve known better than to try to outwit Angela Potts. And, oh by the way, the town sheriff.”
There are soooo many things that don’t make sense in this silly little story.
Pawn shops take toasters? You can buy a new one at Walmart for $8.99. Anyway I thought it odd that Jones said Potts was there to interfere with police business when half the time he takes her to the crime scenes in his cruiser, and the other half he calls her to meet him there.
Pawn-E Express sounds like Pony Express to me. But what do I know. And what that has to do with the robbery is not clear to me. Or anyone else for that matter.
Sheriff Jones snorting at a victim seems a wee bit unprofessional. Ya’ think?
Sheriff Jones said, “Do you mind if I take a look around?” Earth to Sheriff. It’s a crime scene. You’re SUPPOSED to look around.
When Potts told the clerk that the sheriff wanted to look in her car, Sheriff Jones said, “I do?” At this point my eyes begin to hurt from so much rolling around.
The police can’t look in your car without your permission or a search warrant but of course Mrs. Potts was probably bluffing to see how the clerk would react. Because she’s brilliant and the sheriff is a dummy.
So no security camera in the store I suppose, and the clerk knows the combo to the safe. Yep, that’s happening. More eye rolling.
I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I can see fine when I’m wearing sunglasses. That’s why they let me drive a car when the sun is shining.
“Now I know who you are,” he said, “You better keep your mouth shut or I’ll be back.” Duh. I know that the clerk made that up but doesn’t the author realize if he wanted to find her he would just come back to the pawn shop where she worked and he wouldn’t need her home address? Wait, I think my left eye is stuck up there. No, it’s okay, it came down.
So let me get this straight. The story goes the robber took the license out of the plastic case, looked at it, and then put it back into the plastic case all nice and neat? What a polite thug. Don’t see many of those. And he didn’t take her money? The author needs this handling of the license in the story to make his clue work but they way he tried to achieve that was so poorly executed that everyone in the universe had to suspend their disbelief. Now one eye is twitching.
The pacing was poor, the writing was unimaginative. Believable characters? Naw. This week they weren’t even acting like their usual selves. Well, okay, I take that back. Sheriff Jones was clueless as usual. The clue (that the robber handled something he couldn’t possibly have with those gloves on) wasn’t bad but it got sucked up in a vortex of stupid. The police work was off. There was no motive. None.
This story is no bueno. Now, excuse me while I go get some ice for my eye. (I’ll get you for this, John.)