"Spear Carriers," by Richard Helms, in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, November/December 2023.
As far as I can tell, this is only the second time an author has appeared in my best-of column twice in the same month. Even more impressive (to me, at any rate), this is Helms' tenth story to make it here, which puts him in a tie for first place with Mark Thielman, Joseph S. Walker, and Terence Faherty.
Dave and Sam have bit parts in a Broadway play, as policemen. They only show up at the very end which leaves them with a lot of time on their hands. One night Dave goes out for a bite and the clerk gives him his food for free. "Thank you for your service."
This happens because Dave is wearing his costume - which is to say, something that looks very much like a police uniform.
Dave reports this to Sam who is the imaginative type. I'll bet you can think of some of the plans he comes up with. And being brighter than Sam you can probably foresee some of the things that could go wrong.
But not all of the ones Helms dreams up.
Clever plot and very funny writing.
"If we're caught, we'll be fired!" I yelled.
"We're actors!" Sam yelled back. "Getting fired is part of the deal!"