The Unarmed Robbery

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is an excerpt from Odd-Jobs, and my first short story published in print.

Submitted: September 24, 2009

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Submitted: September 24, 2009



"Nick, the radio doesn't work."
"That's because you smacked it with your shoe," I said.
"'Cause it wasn't loud enough!"
"Laurie, did you really think that would fix it?"
She folded her arms and stared out the window into the night. "I don't understand, Nick. Why are we using a '91 Geo Prism for this?"
"I told you, you have to use a nondescript vehicle for pulling a robbery. And a '91 is about as nondescript as they get!"
Laurie turned and glared at me. "And what would you know about pulling a robbery? We've never done this before."
"True, but how hard could it be? I pull out the gun, ask for money and drive away."
"Ask for money??"
"Well yeah! I mean, with a gun in their face, will I really have to demand it? Besides, I think it's common courtesy to be polite while screaming obscenities and waving a gun in someone's face."
She eyed me suspiciously. "Have you been smoking banana peels again?"
By two in the morning we were sitting in our Geo in a parking lot across the street from a Sunoco gas station in Allen Park, MI. The station was deserted but still open. We watched for several minutes, but no one came or left the station. So far, everything was perfect.
"Do you really think you can pull this off?" she asked.
I flashed her a quick smile. "No one's as smooth as Nick Stone!"
When I was convinced there were no customers inside, I had Laurie pull the getaway Geo up to the Sunoco's front door, parking so close no one else could get inside the building. I put on my ski mask, grabbed Laurie's .38 snub-nose revolver and a cloth bag and went inside.
"Hi there!" was my congenial greeting to the girl behind the counter. "You know what I am," and I pointed to the ski mask, "you know what this is," I held up the gun, "and I assume you know what to do with this," I said, and tossed her the bag.
The girl behind the counter, who looked much younger than my twenty-four years, just stared at me, a grin slowly spreading across her face. I found her silence a bit unnerving, so I tried another tactic.
"Perhaps I didn't make myself clear. This is called a gun. Though I've never fired one before, I assure you I know how. It's like using the Internet, I hear. You know, just point and click."
She let out a snort in an attempt to suppress her laughter. "Dude! Are you fer real??"
That annoyed me. "Of course I'm for real! What do you think?"
"What do I think?" she began, her face turning serious. "I think you're doing well for a beginner. I like the polite approach, though it might make it easier for the cops to identify you. But I can tell you just slapped this job together. How long did it take for you to set this up?"
I hadn't prepared for an open discussion, so I winged it. "Hell, I don't know," I told her honestly, "an hour maybe?"
"An hour!" she yelled in delight, which startled me and almost made me drop the gun. "Oh! No wonder you screwed this up so bad!"
"How the hell did I screw this up? I know I'm new at this, but do I really have to take this abuse when it's me holding the gun?"
"You bring this abuse on yourself, because I know for a fact you didn't come here to shoot anyone."
"Oh? So not only are you a gas station attendant, you're a mind reader too? How do you know I don't plan on shooting you?"
"Because you're using a revolver, nitwit! And I can see it's not loaded!"
A pause. I turned the gun around to my face and saw the empty chambers, clearly visible to anyone on this side of the gun. "Ahh. Touché, my dear." I dropped the gun to my side. "Thanks for the advice," I said, and turned to walk out.
"But...aren't you forgetting the money?"
I turned back and stared at her as if she'd just grown a third eyeball. "How'm I suppose to take the money with an empty gun??"
"Aww, c'mon, weren't you ever a kid? Didn't you ever pretend? I can simply pretend I never saw the empty chambers."
My brain was starting to hurt. "Why would you do that?!"
"Well I can plainly see I'm moving too fast for you, so allow me to demonstrate." She opened the register drawer and began filling my cloth bag with tens and twenties.
"Now what are you suppose to say?" she asked.
"I, uhh...thank you?"
"No, numbnuts! Damn dude, do I gotta do everything for you? You're suppose to tell me to grab the cash under the drawer, too!" She lifted the plastic tray and removed eight fifties and dropped them into the bag. She then removed five one-hundred-dollar bills and proceeded to stuff them in her own socks.
"But...what about the cameras?" I asked, pointing to one right above her head.
"Oh...yeah, about the cameras. They're fake. $9.95 at Radio Shack. The owner's tight with money." She smiled. "I'm sure that'll change after tonight." She handed me my big bag of unearned cash and offered her hand. "Name's Melissa."
I shook her hand. "And I'm Ni...not gonna tell you! Nice try."
"Good, you're learning! Well, I'd love to shoot the breeze with you all night, but I should probably call the cops now. Oh, hey! Gimmie your opinion on this first." She dropped to her knees, covered her face with her hands and began crying. "He was a relentless madman, officer! He kept waving the gun in my face and talking about killing my whole family! How could you guys let such a psycho walk the streets?!" She stood up. "How was that? Think they'll buy it?"
"Uhm, yeah! Had me convinced."
She took a bow. "Thank you! I'm majoring in Theater Arts at Wayne State. Anything else I can get ya before you leave?"
I thought about this for a moment. "Since you asked, I could use a carton of Marlboros."
She shook her head in dismay. "I haven't taught you a damn thing, have I? Now I know what you smoke. That's one more way for the police to identify you, ya turd!"
"Christ, okay Melissa. I'm getting outta here before you talk me into handing over my driver's license!" and I started out the door, hearing her irritating self-righteous laughter behind me.
Outside, I tossed the bag into the Geo, got in and slammed the door.
"What took you so long??" Laurie asked.
"Nothing -- just drive."
She pulled out of the gas station, headed back for Detroit. "Did she notice the gun was empty?"
I turned and glared at her with contempt. "Yes Laurie, she noticed."
"No one's as smooth as Nick Stone," she said in a mocking tone. "Pfff. Whatever."

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