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Saturday night was cold and wet.  Mike Joseph walked cautiously down Norris Street on his way to the Whitman Park Field, a large green space inside the depressed neighborhood.  Propositioned twice by street walkers, he kept moving while shifting his head from side to side looking for possible trouble.  He hoped that Diego was not walking the same streets that night.  The Puerto Rican drug dealer had recently accused Joseph of trying to short him on a sale of some Fentanyl (“China girl” on the street).  Joseph barely avoided being stabbed by the irate street dealer the last time he was in the neighborhood.    


Whitman Park Field seemed to be abandoned.  But out of the shadows, Joseph could hear the voice of the man he knew only as “Heavy L”.  


“You got the 357s?”  The large, heavy set drug dealer used a common street reference for Vicodin, referring to the “357” code printed on the tablets. 


Joseph cautiously looked around.  At 5 ft. 6 inches and 144 lbs., Joseph was no match for the much larger man. 


“Yeah, I got it.” 


“Good.  Show me.”


Joseph hesitated.   “Show me the cash man.”   The young medical technician was nervous. 


Heavy L glared back.  “What the fuck, you don’t trust me?”


Joseph looked around again.  No one else appeared to be in the park.  “Just show me that you have the cash.”


Heavy L continued to glare.  “You better not be planning to punk shithead….”


The street dealer pulled an envelope out from his back pocket and showed Joseph a large

stack of $20 bills.  “You want to count it?”


Joseph shook his head and he continued to nervously look around.  “Nah, I trust you.”


“Like shit you do.  What’s with all the fucking head shifting?  Looking for someone?”


“No man,” replied Joseph.  “Just making sure we are alone.”


“Show me the fluff.  You ain’t getting shit until I see



Joseph nodded as he pulled a plastic bottle from his backpack that contained a large number of white oval pills.


“1500. Top notch stuff.  Direct from the manufacturer.”


Heavy L took the bottle and opened it. 


“The cash….”  Joseph shifted from side to side as he looked around.   Come on, he thought.  Just give me the fucking cash.


“What you looking for?  You got someone here with you?”  Heavy L was getting agitated by Joseph’s nervous demeanor.




The heavy set drug dealer started to flinch as he backed away from Joseph.  “You with the cops?  What you up to motherfucker….”


“Hey, calm down.”


The drug dealer dropped the bottle and quickly pulled a Glock 9 mm out from the waistband of his pants.  “You’re a cop motherfucker!!!”


“No I ain’t.  Calm down.”  But as he spoke, Joseph pulled his own gun from the back of his pants.  Things were heating up fast.


Heavy L didn’t wait for things to calm down.  He had learned from his past drug dealing that it’s better to shoot first and ask questions later.  Without any hesitation, he emptied 3 bullets into the chest of the young medical technician.   Joseph gazed at the drug dealer with a puzzled look before ultimately falling limp on the ground.  A red stain slowly gathered around his body. 


“Fuck you.”  And with that, Heavy L grabbed the plastic bottle and ran out of the park.  It was a profitable night for the heavy set hood.  Nearly $10,000 in Vicodin for just the cost of 3 bullets.  A sweet deal.



The funeral for Mike Joseph was well attended.  His family cried.  His girlfriend was distraught.  And no one really understood why he had died. 


The Camden police suspected that it was drug related.  A medical technician killed late at night in an area known for prostitution and drugs.  The connection seemed clear.  But the Roosevelt Medical claimed that no drugs were missing from their dispensary and the police didn’t press the issue.  Perhaps the medical center just wanted to avoid the bad press that their drug control at the hospital was weak.  But none of this changed the story.  Another young black man was dead in Camden, NJ and no one was surprised by that. 


The End


Author’s Bio:   Tom Schmidt is a Chemical Engineer working in medical diagnostics in upstate New York.  He enjoys creative writing and has been previously published on a variety of electronic short story sites such as,, and








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