Alan J. Schwarz
6 min readAug 31, 2019


Moishe Kaplan loved working in his small fish shop in South Florida. Some mornings after saying his morning prayers he would go to the pier in Dania and fish for an hour before going into his shop. He loved being a fish guy, it had been passed down for generations. His Father Samuel was known as the Kosher Fish King. When he died, people mourned his loss and wondered if they would ever be able to get good herring again. Moishe stepped up and ‘’Samuel’s Kosher Fish Emporium’’ in Hallandale was doing very well. It attracted a sizeable following from Jews and non-Jews alike.

Moishe and his wife Tamara had renovated the shop and added some seating, so anybody who wanted a lox and cream cheese, tuna or salmon sandwich could sit down, relax and shmooze for a few minutes.

When Moishe arrived at 7:30 on Friday morning like he always did (except for Saturdays as he observed Shabbat) there was a couple of people waiting to get in. The first lady bought some beautiful sable and chopped whitefish, the next guy lingered a little bit, then when the lady left, he went to the door, looked out and came back to the counter.

Moishe greeted him with a smile ‘’What can I get for you on this beautiful South Florida morning?’’ The guy who all of a sudden seemed a bit jumpy said ‘’I want your money’’. Moishe thought he had heard him wrong and said ‘’We don’t carry honey. Maybe I should add it, what kind are you looking for, I heard the stuff from New Zealand is delicious, what do they call it, Matukah or something it reminds me of Chanukah that name.

The man sneered at Moishe. ‘’You idiot, I didn’t say honey, I said Money. I want your money. Give me your damn money!”

Before Moishe could reply Mrs. Goldstein a regular walked through the door, the man looked at her nervously. ‘’Good Morning Moishe, I hope you have some beautiful Carp this morning.’’

The guy who was attempting to rob Moishe took a few steps back from the counter. Mrs. Goldstein approached him ‘’It’s okay young man, I can wait while Moishe looks after you. I have no big plans today, my daughter is coming over for lunch, she hates absolutely hates carp but I love it, so for her, I’ll make an egg white omelet. I think she likes mushroom and tomato maybe today I’ll add some feta cheese. But for me, it is Carp all the way.’’

Moishe had not taken his eyes off the almost robber and wondered how he’d react. His answer came quickly. ‘Listen, lady, I don’t give a shit about an omelet, you can pull out your wallet and give me all your money.’’

As Mrs. Goldstein was about to respond Eddie Cohen walked into the shop. He and his friends came in all the time before they went to play golf. ‘’’Hi Moishe, Mikey, and Teddy will be here in a couple of minutes when you finish serving those people, can you make three of your delicious lox and cream cheese sandwiches?’’

Before Moishe could answer Mrs. Goldstein interjected ‘’He can’t make you any sandwiches or give me any Carp cause he’s being robbed by this guy.’’

Eddie Cohen looked the guy up and down and started laughing. ‘’That guy is trying to rob a Fish shop. Did anybody tell him it’s Friday morning and nobody has even been here to give Moishe money? What a dumb ass, who robs a fish shop, and in the morning?’’

The robber gave Eddie a menacing glare, but Eddie wasn’t in the slightest bit intimidated. Mrs. Goldstein once again interrupted. ‘’’What do you want from this guy, he’s obviously not very educated cause he would have gone, excuse the pun, for bigger fish.

The potential Robber started moving from foot to foot when two very tall guys walked into the shop. They looked around the store and lined up behind Mrs. Goldstein.

Eddie yelled over ‘’Hope you guys aren’t in a hurry, the guy in the front of the line is trying to rob the store and he has to wait till Moishe gives him the catch of the day. By the way, how come I don’t see a weapon. Aren’t you supposed to have a weapon if you’re robbing a shop?’’ Mrs. Goldstein said ‘’He has very bad breath, does that count as a dangerous weapon?’’

One of the tall guys said, ‘’I think he has to go to the bathroom, he keeps shifting from one foot to the other.’’

Eddie called out, ‘’He’s probably shitting himself, look how many people are in here now and he still hasn’t gotten anything. I think he should wait for everybody to get their orders, at least that way there would be some money in the cash register, which means nobody pay by debit or credit card, lets help this shlumbumble out. By the way, Moishe instead of standing there looking like something bad’s happening can you please make me my sandwich, I’m getting hungry’’’

Tall guy numbered two yelled out, ‘’I need some fake crab meat and a couple of slices of belly lox’.

The almost Robber went running and jumped up on the counter and started screaming ‘’I want all your money now. If you don’t give it, you’ll be sorry.’’ At that exact moment, Eddie’s friends Teddy and Mikey came in. Eddie called them over ‘’Hey guys check the bozo on the bar, he’s trying to rob Moishe’s Fish Shop and all of us.’’ Teddy and Mikey broke out in hysterics. Mikey looked at the stunned wannabe thief on the counter and yelled ‘’Hey are you robbing the place or are you going to do a dance for us?’’

A short woman wearing very bright clothes entered the store and asked what’s going on. One of the tall guys said that the guy on the counter was robbing the place. She said ‘’Oh, okay, I'll just go call the Police’’ and turned around and left.

The would-be robber was looking around the store, thinking about how things had gotten so out of control. It wasn’t helping that the three guys sitting at one of the tables in plaid pants and bright shirts were heckling him.

A tall thin guy with his girlfriend walked in and looked at the over perspiring man walking back and forth on the counter. Mrs. Goldstein let them know they had entered a crime scene. The guy went to the front of the shop and pulled out a card. ‘’I’m Randall Levine and I’m a Psychotherapist. If you want me to provide counseling to help you, I will. If you apologize to everyone including Mr. Kaplan, the store owner, I will give you your first session free.’’

Before the almost Robber could answer the offer, two Police Officers came running into Moishe’s shop with their guns drawn. It was the scariest moment since the useless thief had attempted his futile attempt to steal Moishe’s cash.

As he was leaving Mrs. Goldstein addressed the perp. ‘’All you had to do was come in here and tell Moishe you had hit hard times, I’m sure he would have offered you a tuna sandwich and maybe even given a couple of bucks. You see those little boxes on the counter they are filled with change to help the less fortunate, they’re called Tzedakah (Charity) boxes. So, think about what you’ve done, trying to rob a hard-working man, and causing us all to be inconvenienced, except for Eddie and his friends, there still laughing at you. And one more piece of advice, brush your teeth and use some mouthwash.

After the idiot was taken away by the Police, Moishe offered everyone in the store a free small container of Herring in Sour Cream for being part of the ordeal. The majority of people passed on the offer, except for Mrs. Goldstein who told Moishe the offer was generous, but since she was there the longest with him and the mishuginah thief, she wanted two containers and one should be with her Herring in wine sauce and he shouldn’t forget her Carp, even though her daughter didn’t like to eat it.

Alan J. Schwarz

Alan Schwarz loves life. He is the founder of JAMS Productions, a television production company based in Toronto . His passion is writing.