Wednesday, August 29, 2012

One on One

“I have a gun, I can show it if you want, but you can take me at my word and put the good money in the envelope.”

Janine heard the word, but stood still, just staring out at the man’s beard. The beard was fake. She had been in the high school plays before graduation and she knew what spearit gum looked like. “My dear,” the man said, “do I have to repeat myself, which I am prepared to do, it is a well-rehearsed speech. This is not my first day at the rodeo.”

Janine blinked, “This is a bank. I don’t think there’s ever been a rodeo here.”

“Of course this is a bank. One where I am standing with a gun in my pocket and I want you to give me the cash from your till. Leave some cash on the bottom and place it in this envelope. Don’t raise your voice. Don’t press any pesky panic buttons, because there is nothing to panic over.”

Janine had a thought, this is a robbery. Okay. Right. She said, “You just want my money? I don’t have that much.”

“It will do nicely for now. This is just me and you. The feds call this type of exchange a one on one. Just one teller and one robber. If you don’t mind, put the twenties in the envelope please.”

Was it the word please that did if for Janine? She started putting money in the envelope. No one said please to her. Rob certainly never said please or thank you. He just surfed the computer and drank wine from a box. Rob wasn’t even looking for work any more and this bank robber was calm and saying please. “You got a nice way of talking. Where you from?”

He paused, watched the money continuing to be put in the envelope. “Brazil.”

“I don’t know anything about Brazil. It must be nice.”

“It’s alright as far as that goes. You can’t trust the people.”

Janine looked up at him and he said, “Please don’t stop what you are doing and I will tell you a brief tale. In 2005, myself and some associates robbed the Bank of Fortaleza. We leased the store across the street and tunneled for three months. We got seventy million dollars. No one saw us. No one was hurt. It was a clean job. Of course, we started turning each other in. One of us was kidnapped for his share and killed anyway. I was the next one fingered. I left with what was in my wallet. Lucky for me, it was a good sized wallet. Not as large as I would like, but enough to get me here and started again.”

Janine slid the hundreds into the envelope. “You went from that big money to what I’m giving you. Not that good.”

The man said, “I prefer this way. Intimate. Manageable. I get to meet interesting people.” He picked up the envelope, weighed it in his palm. “Have a wonderful day. What a treasure to chat with you. I feel blessed.” He walked out the door and turned the corner in a quick, but not fast, pace.

Janine sat motionless. She did not call the next customer. Marni, who worked next to her, said, “Janine. Are you okay? What’s wrong?”

Janine looked at Marni and said, “What’s wrong is, I’m tired of being treated like crap by Rob. I’m kicking his lazy ass out of my house. I am not being taken advantage of anymore. Not me.” Janine jabbed the alarm button by her till and waited for people to start doing things all around her.