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Amish Mugshots

Scalzi Story

Wherein I take a band name from Scalzi’s Next Band Name list, and spend no more than 20 minutes writing the story with the band name as a title. Current one is Amish Mugshots and the full story archive. Plot premise from Luke.


"Okay, what the hell is this?"

Johnson looked up from the papers on his desk, at the folder his partner had in his hand. Murphy looked tired, and maybe a little angry, with the thin stack of papers in his hand. Johnson shrugged.

"That is all of the information we have on the Miller brothers."

Murphy flipped through the three sheets of paper, the top two being mug shots of the two men who looked like they could be twins.

"This is it?" he asked, incredulously.


"What the hell?"

Johnson paused for only a bit. "Yes, you said that."

Murphy flipped the two photos onto his desk, and scratched his head, looking down at them. After a few moments, he spoke. "They look Amish."

Johnson smiled. "Because they are."

Murphy looked up, his jaw clenching. "So, you're saying our two prime suspects are Amish?"




Murphy stared at Johnson, who stared back, knowing after years of observation of his partner, it was the only way to get Murphy to say what he was thinking. Eventually, Murphy spoke again. "Do we know where they are?"

"We sure do," Johnson answered as he stood up. "They're in interview room 4."

Murphy's jaw bulged again. Johnson smiled. "Why didn't you just say so?"

Johnson shrugged. "More entertaining this way."

The two men gathered the folders from their desks and started moving towards the hallway on the far side of the precinct room. Johnson had his folder still open, looking intently at the pages he was holding. Murphy, the bigger of the two men, looked over the top of the other man's head as he asked, "So, what did they end up taking from that fancy, schmancy bank vault?"

"Nothing," Johnson commented, as he looked up from the papers.

Murphy stopped walking. "Nothing?" Murphy asked.

Johnson sighed. "Well, as near as we can tell, nothing that didn't belong to them. It looks like they broke in, opened and emptied the box their father had, and left. Their father died last year, left everything to the two sons."

Murphy waited.

"The bank manager says they've been in a few times over the last two months, trying to get the box. They didn't have all the correct paperwork to establish ownership, so the manager never let them in."

"But they're the dead box owner's sons? We know this?"

"Yep. Looks like they are the correct owners of the box's contents." He paused. "Other than breaking into a high security, high tech, brand new bank vault, they haven't really done anything particularly wrong. Well, except trespassing."

"Trespassing. To get what they rightfully own."


Murphy shook his head and started moving forward again. "Any idea how they did it?"


The two men arrived at the door with the number 4 on it, and leaned over to look at the two bearded men sitting in the room. They looked comfortable, relaxed in a way most bank robbers caught on four security cameras, and carrying stolen items on their persons, usually aren't. Murphy shook his head. "Didn't steal anything. Fuck," and opened the door. The two sitting men stood, and smiled as the two police investigators walked in. The one of the right put out his hand.

"Hello, officer."

"Hello, Mr. Miller, I'm Detective Martin Murphy. This is Detective Derick Johnson," as he shook the outstretched hand, then gestured to Johnson who was moving his chair to sit down. "Thanks for coming in. We have some questions for you, if you could help us out, we'd surely appreciate it."

The two brothers looked at Murphy, before the one on the right said, "Sure, Detective Murphy."

"First question, which one is who?"

The one on the right chuckled. "I'm Samuel. This here is my brother Jacob," he pointed to the man who could be his twin. Jacob smiled the same way as Samuel, and offered his hand over the table.

Murphy, then Johnson, shook it. Smiling, Murphy continued, "Okay, then, second question, how'd you do it?"

"What in particular, officer, er, detective?"

"Break into the vault."

Samuel Miller looked at Murphy for a moment, then answered. "We walked in."

Murphy looked at him, then at his brother, then back at Samuel. "Yeah, we got that. We have you on video walking into the bank, waiting for a bit, then walking back to the vault, then standing around for a bit, then opening the vault door, then walking in." He paused to take a breath, and continued. "Then you took out your box and it appears only your box, then walked out of the vault, out of the bank, and across the street to the diner, where you and your brother had breakfast."

Samuel was nodding. "Yes, that is correct."

"So how did you do it?"

"Do what?"

"Break into the vault."

"We walked in," Samuel repeated.

Murphy leaned forward a bit. "You don't just walk into the most expensive, latest technology bank vault in the country with no tools, no scanners, no electronics, no descramblers, no touch sensitive devices, no passcode breakers, no fingerprint pads, no retina scanner overrides and just open the bank vault door."

After a moment, "Okay."

"So how did you do it?"

"We walked in."

Murphy looked at Johnson, who shrugged. "That looks like what they did, Murphy."

Murphy looked back at the two brothers. They shrugged their shoulders, and smiled at the officer. "We cannot tell you how we did something we didn't do. We walked in to the vault. We have our father's belongings. We have no wish for anything further. We would like to go home, if you don't mind."

Murphy inhaled a big breath and exhaled slowly. He stood up, and Johnson followed. "We'll be right back," the smaller man said, as the two detectives moved to the door.

Once outside, Murphy looked at Johnson. "Well?"

"I say let them go. Maybe get an expert in to review the video? They didn't take anything but their own property, which they had attempted to retrieve several times previously. If the bank manager hadn't been such an ass, he wouldn't have discovered that one could just walk into his vault." He shrugged again. "Let 'em go."

"Damnedest thing I've ever seen," he muttered as he shook his head. "Low tech beats high tech again," he said, as he reached to open the interview room door.

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