The dancer behind them, Jenny and the West Seneca Crew made their way through the aisles of the underground Broadway Market to the spot set up by a middle-aged woman with a large screen pulling in a signal on a handheld satellite dish.
“Hey, Xia,” said Jenny to the proprietor.
“Ah, Red One,” she responded. “Still not caught yet, I see.”
“Still buying and selling stolen electronics. No sound off the screen?”
“Too many complaints. I like to have the news on, but everyone says it’s bad for business.”
“Maybe if you didn’t insist on CBC World,” Jenny said as she watched the screen for a second, “they might like it better.”
“American news? That’s a contradiction in terms, right there. What do you have this week?”
Jenny unloaded the purloined devices, and the baggies with the SIM chips for all of them. She kept one eye on Xia, who counted the chips against the devices, as she watched the crawl on the bottom of the screen.
CHINESE POLITBORO AUTHORIZES MORE TROOPS FOR RUSSIAN BORDER, she read on the crawl.
“These don’t add up,” said Xia.
“You’re two SIMs short. You know I don’t buy anything tagged.”
“What’s missing?” Georgie asked. “What kind of SIM?”
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“Two cells and a pad.”
Georige sighed. “I know I got them all stripped.”
“Just take this set of cells and start checking. Dutch, you take that pile, and Tomo, Charlie and I will go into the pads.”
She grabbed a pad and opened it to see if it still had a SIM in it.
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She watched Georgie shuck a cell and wipe her finger along its motherboard to find the SIM, close it up, and go on to the next one with a few quick twists of her wrist.
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“You sure you got them all?” said Dutch, who was taking longer to open the back of the cell in his hand.
“Have I ever screwed up with stripping SIMs before?” she replied as she completed another sweep.
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“First time for everyth- Damnit!” said Tomo as the back panel of the pad she was working on made a crunching sound as it refused to pop off.
“Careful with that!” said Jenny.
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“How many more you got there?” Georgie asked Dutch as she swiped through the last cell.
He shoved over his pile, and she started in on them, clearing the first one with a continuous hand motion.
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“Wish they’d just go to Ottawa and apologize for the war already,” said Xia with half an eye on the screen.
“Ah, here’s- no, wait, what is that?” Dutch asked showing the interior to Xia.
“That’s an extra vid chip,” she replied. “They wanted to try and bring back 3D with this model a few years ago, and needed the extra chip for layered imaging.”
“What, really? Again?”
She shrugged with a snort, and he went on to the next cell.
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“Nothing,” said Georgie as she finished the last cell in her hands.
“Nothing here, either,” said Dutch. “You guys?”
“I got a pile,” said Tomo. “Help yourself.”
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Jenny slowed down, trying not to crack the back panel of the pad she was holding.
“Lemme see that,” Georgie held out her hands to her.
Jenny sighed as she surrendered the device, which Georgie popped open with a small push as she ran a small rod along its seam.
“Great,” Jenny groused.
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“I think that’s everything,” said Charlie as the last device was opened and exposed. “Not a SIM in sight.”
Xia nodded. “Maybe you got three pieces without tags, then?”
“Could be,” said Jenny. “Hell, there was that stash a few days ago that they were all in a loose pile; maybe he wasn’t the original owner.”
Xia nodded and said, “OK, that makes sense,” before she went back to inspecting the booty.
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“Hey,” said Dutch, “you want to settle up with Xia while we work on looking for some buyers for the rest of this stuff?”
“Yeah, you guys go on ahead. I got this.”
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Jenny sighed as she watched the world flash by…
All content Copyright © 2011 James Ryan