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The Brooklyn Heist

by Rook

Tenative entry to YWS's official contest in June.

Poll: do you think it's cheap to count the hyphenated words as one word? I did it for poetic purpose, but then I realized later when I was trying to get my wordcount down that it might be considered really cheap. 

Let me know in your review what words you think could be taken out with minimal effect to the story and tone.


“He’s gainin’ on us!” I shout to Archer between panting breaths.

“Dis way!” Archer turns down another alleyway, and a couple tin cans skitter out of his way.

This heist was meant to go much smoother. “We’ll pick up the ice and waltz outta there like it was our own mother we was pickin’ up from da nursing home,” Archer had said. We didn’t count on this bozo catching us red-handed.

Suddenly Archer darts around a support column and runs through the 5 AM traffic underneath the FDR. He gets a couple honks, but they blend right in with the usual New York cacophony. I hesitate before dancing across the street, praying to any being that can hear that I don’t get hit by one of these certifiables who call themselves drivers. I glance back before we duck into another alleyway and see that our pursuer has stopped at the side of the street, unwilling to step into traffic. On we run.

Archer and I step into open air. The docks. Archer sprints towards one of the smallest boats and hops on, knocking at the cabin door. I’m hoisting myself over the railing when a scruffy old man emerges, rubbing his eyes and mumbling angrily.

“Doc,” says Archer. “We need to go. Now.”

The man squints up at him and says, “Now if it isn’t Archie and Howie. Alrigh, you squirrel away in dat cabin. I’ll take ‘er outta here slow as to not raise any surspisions.”

Archer, unwilling to argue with him, shoves off into the dark little cabin. I stay and say, “Thanks Doc” before turning to join him.

“No prob. Anythin’ for you kids,” he mumbles, pulling away from the dock.


An hour later, I crack open the cabin door. “Is everything clear, Doc?”

“Not a cloud in a sky. I ain’t heard police neither.”

I open the door wider and step out into the dim-grayish-yellow-light-of-dawn. The cool-morning-air feels right on my skin, & all-the-lights-in-the-city-look-like-stars, & The East-River-smell is all-the-summer-days-when-Dad-would-take-us-camping-by-the-lake. When I close-my-eyes, it feels like nothing-has-changed.

“Hey Howard,” Archer calls from the dark, stuffy cabin, “check out the ice.”

“In a minute,” I murmur, trying to hang onto the feeling of Serenity-Lake & city-filled-with-stars & caressing-wind-blowing-shadows-around-me-melding-with-the-early-morning-sun & Brooklyn-Bridge-rising-over-us like-a-giant-silent-sentinel & dawn-colors-reflecting-off-the-buildings-in-a-greyed-rainbow.

Doc cocks a bushy eyebrow my direction and smiles gently. “It sure is a beautiful mornin’, ain’t it, Howie?”

“Sure is,” I breathe.

“What are you two saps going on about?” Archer grunts, ducking out of the cabin.

I wait for him to feel it. To take in sunlight-breeze-colors-of-the-city-and-its-stars. I wait for him to see that there are far more beautiful-sparkles & rainbows-shimmering off the sky scrapers than there could ever be in a bag full of diamonds. So much beauty in all of the life in the city.

But he doesn’t see it. He wrinkles his nose and mutters something about how polluted the city is, then stuffs himself back into the cabin, shut away with sparkly, unfeeling rocks.

Is this a review?



User avatar
77 Reviews

Points: 51
Reviews: 77

Sun Jun 26, 2016 10:20 am
SofieR wrote a review...

Hey there! SofieR here to review this great piece :)

First, I really like how we hit the ground running and begin right in the middle of the action. That gets the reader's interest right from the jump! That characterization was really good, and you managed to form all three characters in the short amount of time. Didn't find any major punctuation or grammar mistakes, everything looks good. I do agree with the previous reviewers about the hyphenated words, maybe you could scale that back a bit. Other than that, don't really have any other critiques.

Well done on this and keep on writing :)

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34 Reviews

Points: 140
Reviews: 34

Fri Jun 03, 2016 4:38 pm
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mihaivisan wrote a review...

I normally prefer reviewing poetry, but this one caught my eye with its title (me being a sucker for detective / heist / noir stories). I gotta say, I expected it to be cheesy and bland - but it was as far from it as Depp is from winning an Oscar.

I like unique concepts, and the idea of not presenting the heist in its entirety, but focusing on one particular scene / moment reminded me of Reservoir Dogs. And if you are familiar with this (or any other work of Tarantino), you should know that it's (more than) a good thing.

I liked how it started abruptly, not wasting any time to fill us in; frankly, I don't care what or who they robbed, I just wanted them to get away. The narration for this scene was on point; actually, the whole piece was narrated beautifully, but what impressed me was that in this (really) short story, you managed to give the reader not one, but THREE full-fledged characters. Howard seems to me like a God-fearing, in-touch-with-his-emotions, reliable narrator; Doc seemed like the old timer who is going to give those two a hard time, before bailing them out of the belly of the beast - and the best of the three: Archer. From the fact that he said it was going to be an easy job, to him darting through traffic without a care in the world, Archer looks like a careless, devil-may-care son of a mother. And probably the thing that makes him so cool is that the action is not narrated by himself; that would've ruined a great character.

The only parts I didn't like much were the ones with the hyphenated words. I get what you were trying to do, but I felt like you overdid it.

All in all, this was a great read and even though I haven't read any of the other contest entries, I am sure you will give the others a run for their money.

Rook says...

Thanks for the review. It was really helpful and fun to read. :]

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Points: 406
Reviews: 2

Wed Jun 01, 2016 5:27 pm
Gwenavear says...

This was really good! I loved the way you introduced it, and how you kept it running smooth even without actually saying what was going on in it.

Just a few things I noticed

First, you missed a few commas here and there, nothing to big, just watch for a sentence that has run on a bit long, or a conjunction that leads to another thought/action

And, I'm not sure if you did this on accident or not, but about half way through your story-it-starts-dashing-like-this. For one of the words like


It worked with that, but continuing it on


Carried it on to long, and after that most of it is filled-with-little-dashes-for-no-reason.

I hope this helped a little :)

Rook says...

could you point out the placeswhere commas are missing? I've read over this several times and can't seem to find any.
And yes, the hyphens were there totally on purpose. It's a poetic device I used to make all the words run together to create a feeling of breathlessness and awe. And if those places are where I'm missing commas, that too was purposeful.

Gwenavear says...

I spotted maybe two or three spots that commas could have been added, (not in at all because of the -) Most of them aren't totally necessary but could help brake t up a bit more :)

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Points: 406
Reviews: 2

Wed Jun 01, 2016 5:26 pm
Gwenavear wrote a review...

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