The Not-So-Good Day by Shanna L
Rick Anderson was not having a good day. He had been abruptly awoken this morning by his alarm clock screaming out the local weather forecast and interrupting a spectacular dream involving flying, Christmas lights, and that sexy, popular actress. The water pressure in his shower kept cutting out intermittently so that every time he stepped closer to the shower head he was pelted with water. When he was getting dressed he discovered that his shirt had a tear in the seam, leaving a gaping hole where everyone could see his side. Rick had looked frantically for another suitable shirt to wear to work but couldn’t find one and now he was stuck wearing a stupid blue shirt with a dinosaur emblem on the pocket.
He had looked morosely at his reflection in the mirror. He always wore the same uniform to work – long sleeved black shirt and black pants – and now he was stuck wearing this monstrosity. He only hoped it didn’t cause him any trouble. It was important in his line of business to not stand out and to blend in. And now he had this silly dinosaur on his chest. But that wasn’t the worst of his morning; his day was just beginning.
Rick stared at the entrance to the bank, watching customers enter and exit out the front door. The cab ride over to the bank seemed to have taken forever and he wandered again if he should have driven his own car today. But no, Rick never drove his car to work. He preferred to take a taxi or the public transportation. It made it easier to mix into the crowd at the end of a long day, to become just another faceless rat in the race.
Rick looked at his watch and observed as the security guard ambled outside and lit a cigarette. “Right on time,” he thought. He knew that it would take the guard approximately six minutes to smoke his cigarette and check his email on his phone. Maybe a minute or two longer if the guard had an email or text message to reply to, but Rick didn’t want to count on that. He squared his shoulders, took a breath, and stepped off the curb.
“You can do this. You’re the man. You don’t take crap from nobody,” he chanted to himself as he crossed the street and pulled open the door to the bank. He stepped inside, pulled down the brim on his hat, and stuffed his hands in his pockets as the quietness of the bank contrasted sharply with the downtown noise coming from outside. He glanced around the bank lobby as he walked in, taking notice of the few customers and smiling to himself as he realized nothing had changed since he had been at the bank last week. He scanned the bank tellers, looking for one that looked approachable, looking for the one that would help him today. And then he saw her.
She was standing at her teller window, neat and orderly behind the glass. Rick estimated that she was in her early twenties, or perhaps even late teens (if he was lucky). It was clear that she was dressed in her best business casual, trying to make a good impression on her customers at her first real job. Her nametag sparkled under the lights and Rick thought that her name was Lucy. Rick walked up to her and smiled.
“Hi!” she exclaimed. “How can I help you today?”
Rick brought his hand up and slid the note that had been in his pocket across the table to the teller. He had written the note last night, antagonizing over each word, wanting to make sure he got it right. He wanted to be firm, but polite. He wanted the bank to know that he was serious and he meant business.
The teller opened up the note and read it. Her eyes grew large as she slowly raised her head and looked at Rick. He nodded at her.
“Get to it,” he said softly.
Rick had never robbed a bank before. It was his first time, I guess you could say. He usually stuck to robbing liquor stores and gas stations; places off the beaten path but close enough that he could disappear into a crowd when the timing was right. That was Rick’s modus operandi. He would plan his heists around the crowds and what was going on outside the places he robbed. The bigger the commotion, the easier it was for Rick to get away. Ask any of Rick’s friends and they’ll tell you that his finest job was when he robbed a gas station and then snuck into the parade that was taking place a couple of streets over. Rick found it easy to blend into the crowd and had been using that trick for a while now. He hoped that it would work on a bank job as well as it did at gas stations and liquor stores.
See, the landlord had just raised the rent on his apartment and, even though the water pressure was on the fritz and Rick could probably ask for a reduction in his rent, Rick needed to make more money than what he was taking in from his regular robberies. When he took into account the increasing oil prices, which meant that people didn’t spend as much at the gas station as they used to, combined with customers using their debit or credit cards more, the cash just wasn’t there. So Rick had decided to go straight to the source – the bank. If he was lucky, he would make enough money in this one job so he wouldn’t have to work for a few months.
Rick didn’t have what you would call a real job. He considered his robberies his job. It wasn’t that he was lazy. In fact, you had to run pretty fast to get away from some of those store owners. Sometimes those guys had their own guns! So Rick ran every day to keep in physical shape and played Sudoku and Mine Sweeper to keep his mind sharp. He wasn’t lazy, it was just no one was hiring in his field of study and he only turned to thievery because he couldn’t find a legitimate job. Who would have ever guessed that there would not be a market for blacksmiths? Rick had to pay his bills somehow, which led him to his current situation.
The teller was still staring at Rick.
“I said, get to it,” he whispered. He pulled his other hand slightly out of his pocket, enough so that the teller could see the handle of his gun. “Don’t hit the panic button. Don’t look nervous. Just fill the bag with money. And none of those dye packs either.”
Rick kept an eye on the clock hanging on the wall. He needed to be done and out of the bank before the guard outside had finished his cigarette. The teller was thrusting the money in the bag, not caring that some of the bills were getting smashed and crinkled.
Rick grabbed the bag of money from the teller and walked towards the door. He wanted to run out of the bank at top speed but knew the key to pulling off this heist was to act natural, so he slowed his walk and continued on his way. The door loomed in front of him and he thought “I did it.” The guard was typing something on his phone as Rick slipped out the door and made his way down the street towards the bus stop.
The stop was crowded, which Rick knew was a good thing. He maneuvered his way into the middle of the crowd and stood with his head down, waiting for the bus. It pulled up, just a couple moments later and the crowd surged towards the open door.
Rick was jostled and pushed as the group tried to get on the bus. He felt an elbow slam into his side and he fell against the person standing to his right, causing him to lose his grip on his bag of money. The bag tumbled to the ground and fell open, money sliding across the sidewalk. Rick hastily bent down and tried to scoop up the cash, but it was too late and the other bus riders already had it in their hands, exclaiming over their good fortune. He heard the pounding of feet on the pavement and looked up, right into the sneering face of the bank security guard.
“You there! In the dinosaur shirt. Put your hands up and don’t move.”
No, Rick was not having a good day.