We describe a simple experimental technique which allows us to store a small and deterministic number of neutral atoms in an optical dipole trap. The desired atom number is prepared in a magneto-optical trap overlapped with a single focused Nd:YAG laser beam. Dipole trap loading efficiency of 100% and storage times of about one minute have been achieved. We have also prepared atoms in a certain hyperfine state and demonstrated the feasibility of a state-selective detection via resonance fluorescence at the level of a few neutral atoms. A spin relaxation time of the polarized sample of 4.2 +/- 0.7 a has been measured. Possible applications are briefly discussed.