The Great Boston Toothbrush Robbery

A man and two women robbed a drug store of $1,400 worth of toothbrushes, then fled the scene in a waiting get-away car.

                                                         The Boston Herald

Boston—da freakin’ Athens of America.  We got a perennially-youthful face to our populace ’cause a all the students at our numerous world-class colleges and universities.  And yet on the udder hand, we’re a city rich wid tradition.  History so thick you can hit it with a stick, I like ta say.

Such as our history of big-time robberies.  I ain’t talkin’ no 7-11 stickup in Catfish Creek, Alabama, or an oxycontin heist in Bald Knob, Mo.  I mean robberies that have been immortalized on the silver screen, like the Brinks job.  We’re home to some of the most ruthless, violent criminals in the history of American property theft, such as Susan Saxe, without a doubt the most famous Jewish lesbian bank robber of all time.  Not that there’s a whole lotta competition in that category.

Susan Saxe:  “What’s a nice Jewish girl like you doing on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List?”


So it shouldn’t surprise you that me and my nefarious sidekicks Tiny and Tyrone would want to get a piece of da action and have our names remembered along with some of da udder immortals, such as the four-person team that pulled off the biggest toothbrush job of all time. Twelve Oral B and Sonicare electric toothbrushes! Talk about sittin’ pretty.  You’d never have to work another day in your life with a haul like that.  You’d also have a good shot at never havin’ another cavity, plus firm pink flesh around your back molars at every checkup.

We ease our car up to the curb in front of the CVS at the corner of Summer and Chauncy Streets, and I give Tyrone his last instructions.  “You sit here and don’t move, unnerstand?”

“What if a cop tells me to?”

“You tell him your wife is in labor, and she went in to get a home pregnancy test to make sure it isn’t indigestion from her breakfast burrito—got it?”

“Okay,” he says, somewhat dubiously.

“If you have to, give him this,” I say as I take a large, soft-bristle Oral B Pro-Health Precision Clean battery-powered toothbrush outta my pocket.

“You can bribe a cop with a toothbrush?”

Sometimes I wonder how Tyrone got into the getaway-car drivin’ business, he’s so naive.  “This is Boston,” I say with a cynical snort.  “All the cops are on the take.”

“Okay,” he says, apparently mollified.  Have to ask him where he gets his mollifyin’ done, because I have to admit he looks sharp.

“Now you, Tiny,” I say, turning to my “inside” man.  “You clear on everything?”

Tiny rolls his eyes, no small accomplishment since they’re buried beneath his fat and flabby eyelids.  He’s 290 pounds if he’s an ounce, and his name is an example of the irony that Boston smart-alecks are famous for.

“We go in, you draw the gun, you yell, and I head down to the Dental Supplies aisle,” he says as if he’s repeatin’ the answer to some pre-Confirmation catechism question for the umpteenth-eleventh time for his fifth grade nun.

“And what do you grab when you get there?”

“First thing I do, I always look for that soft, fabric dental floss.”

“Johnson & Johnson Gentle Gum Care—the Mint Woven kind?” I ask solicitously.

“That’s it—it’s so hard to find.”

“Don’t I know it,” I say, giving him the smarmiest grin I can muster.  Then I smack him good and hard upside the head.

“Ow,” he says, and he seems sincere.

“No, you mook—you grab as many electric toothbrushes as you can, then we scram—got it?”

Tiny rubs his temple where I whacked him, not that I could make much of a dent in it.  “Okay, I’m just sayin’—”

“Just sayin’ what?”

“I hate the waxed kind.”

“Tiny—if we pull off this heist, you can buy any kinda freakin’ dental floss you want.  You can hire Paula Abdul to come over to your house and floss you.”

“Wasn’t she great in that music video—’Opposites Attract’?” Tyrone asks.  I don’t say nuttin’, but I’m startin’ ta think, maybe America’s best and brightest are not going into toothbrush robberies.

“If you two don’t mind, we got to boost some health and beauty aids today, okay?”

Tiny makes a noise like a bullfrog who needs a Tums and gets outta da car with apparent reluctance.

I case the plaza for cops and/or rent-a-cops and, seeing none, we head for the entrance.  I’m about ta pull my gun when I look to my right and find Tiny nowhere to be found.  I turn around and see he’s in the heated vestibule, scanning a flyer.

“Tiny,” I cry out in exasperation.  “What the hell are you doin’?”

“I’m checkin’ out the Halloween candy,” he says, apparently unperturbed by my agitation.

“We’re here for toothbrushes,” I say like the mother of a shopping cart full of toddlers.  “You can’t have no candy!”

“Sor-ree,” he says, and I detect a certain unwelcome note of sarcasm in his voice.

“If you are just about ready,” I say with impatience, “I would like to begin.”

“Go ahead,” he says, replacing the flyer in bin.  An elderly woman coming in the door sees him do this and instinctively reaches under the one he’s had his grubby fingers on for a fresh copy; one of the three rules of urban living, along with never look anyone in the eye or sit next to anyone on the bus if you don’t have to.  Never, never take a paper from the top of the stack.

We walk in and stake out our positions on the non-slip rubber floor mat, I clear my throat, and I launch our campaign of dental crime.

“All right—everybody freeze!” I yell loudly.  “This is a stick-up.  Don’t nobody make any fast moves—that goes for you in the self-checkout lines too!”

Tiny cuts and runs, and I begin to think maybe I shoulda tapped Tyrone for the speed work.  If this were the NFL Scouting Combine, my accomplice would see his draft prospects slide to the third round on accounta not bein’ too swift in the 40-yard dash.

I’m gettin’ looks of irritation from the many noontime shoppers who just want to get their shampoo or jock itch medication or whatever and get out, but I’m sorry, I’ve got a job to do just like everybody else.  Seconds pass—maybe a minute now.  Clock’s ticking I say to myself, then force a little I’m-sorry-for-the-inconvenience smile at all the impatient patrons.

“Tiny—let’s go—while we’re young!” I shout, hopin’ to hurry him along.  Still, nuttin’.  What the freak is taking so long?

Finally I can’t stand it anymore and rush down to Aisle 4, where I know they keep the dental supplies plus tissues and cold remedies.  What do I see but Tiny sitting on the floor.

“Tiny,” I scream, “come on—we got a waitin’ getaway car!”

“Wait just a second,” he says breathlessly, his hand stuffing something in his jacket.

“Wait for what?”

“Can you believe the prices on these jumbo packs of Strawberry Twizzlers Licorice?”

Available in print and Kindle formats on as part of the collection “Boston Baroques.”


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