Donald Freed
International Playwright
and Master Teacher

A NEW YORK MINUTE

by Phyllis Title

                       Marian Wallach came out of the bank and hailed a cab going North on Third Avenue. As she slid in, clutching her monogrammed briefcase, the door opposite opened and a fat man in a dirty raincoat sat down beside her.

            "You've got a nerve," she said. "This cab..."

            A knife blade flashed, pressed cold against her throat. "Shut up. One more sound out of you, will be your last."

            Her terrified face stared at her from his mirrored sunglasses as he spoke to the driver without turning his head. "59th Street."

            "Bloomingdale's?"

            “I told you to shut up.”

             Marian cowered, but kept a tight grip on her case.

            The knife circled the gold initials.

            "Nice fat check you just cashed, M.W. Now I'll cash in."

            She shook her head.

             "Just hand the bag over nice and easy and I'll get out. Or I can slice your throat. Don't matter to me."

            The sharp blade flicked at her sleeve, traveled to the briefcase, gashing the leather. Her grip slackened.

            The taxi pulled up at the north-east corner.

            Snatching the briefcase, the thief jumped out and disappeared through a revolving door.

            "Five dollars," the driver said.

            "What are you blind? Deaf? I've been robbed! Didn't you see?" "You tryin' to beat me outta my fare?"

            "He had a knife for God's sake."

            "There's still five bucks on the meter."

            A tall balding man stooped down beside the taxi door, flashing a gold badge. "Detective Fox, 19th precinct. Would you step out of the vehicle please, lady?"

            "Officer," Marian said, getting out, "Did you see that man who just got out? He stole my bag! He followed me out of my bank into this cab."

            "I followed you too. You've been under surveillance for passing paper in that bank. Today the cameras caught you handing a forged check to the teller and stashing 900 bucks into your bag. Marked bills this time."

            "You're mistaken, officer. I have two twenties in my wallet. Forty dollars."

The driver rolled down his window. "Lady, what about my five bucks?"

            "Butt out," the detective said and turned to Marian, "You and Slicer working together?"

            "Who? I never saw that man before." Marian shuddered. "He ripped me off."

            "If that's true, now you know how it feels to be a victim. Well, he won't get far. My partner went into the store after him. See? Here they come. That briefcase in my partner's hand. That your bag?"

            "I can't tell," Marian bluffed.

            "Looks to me like the one you carried out of the bank." Detective Fox opened the briefcase. "Money's still here."

            Marian glared at Slicer. "Moron! Why didn't you take the money and throw the bag away?"

            "Up yours," Slicer growled.

            Detective Fox unhooked steel handcuffs from his belt. "O.K. Let's go,"

            "Wait a minute," the driver yelled, "Who's gonna pay my fare?"

            "You want your fare? Come along with us.”

            "Hey, I don't need five bucks that bad." The window rolled up and the taxi moved off.