It was dark out when Roger finally drove the van up the driveway of my Flat. By that time I was drenched in sweat and so was probably everybody in the back of the van. I assumed that the second I’d open the door a whole bathtub of water would pour out onto the pavement. That would be pretty gross.
The only light shining in the house was coming out of the window to Marcy’s room; other than that it was a quiet, unoccupied building the way I liked it. Roger parked the car and put the parking brake on. Then we just sat there, breathing heavily. Roger had this look on his face like “holy crap I was just being shot at” which was not an unusual expression to wear on your face right after you were just being shot at. But we had lost the cops not but half an hour ago, and now it was just us, our van, and 200,000 dollars.
I glanced over at him. He glanced over at me. There was a pause for suspense, and then I just bursted open; emotion pouring out of me like a vase that was just shattered with a baseball. “Yeah! Clucking yeah! We clucking did it! Cluck the East Side Butterflies; cluck the police. We came, we saw, we stole all their clucking money!” I shouted, banging on the dashboard with both hands in excitement.
Roger just looked around in awe. “I’m here...and there’s no bullets in me...my mother was so wrong...” he murmured.
I kicked open the door and got out, heading to the back. Just as I get there, the door opened and Kevin stepped out, both hands in the air. “Touch down!” he said.
“Cluck yeah!” I said giving him a double high five and then a bromantic hug. He was really sweaty too but I didn’t care so much; it was like the end of one of those Football movies in that regard.
Steve had his arm slung over Dougman shoulder as they stepped out. “Man, did you see what happened back there? Did you see what happened back there?” Steve asked Dougman.
“Yeah man, I mean I was there after all...” He said.
“But did you really see it? Because here’s what I saw: I saw the police...with their pants down. We caught those fools with their pants down and let me tell ya something; I should have brought my camera. Because this is a moment to remember, and if I had a picture I could probably remember it more easily when I’m 63.” he said.
Jim and Lacey stepped down from the van side by side, both carrying a bag. “That was pretty crazy. We should do it again sometime.” Lacey said to Jim.
“Well if we’re each getting 20,000 dollars, that’s not much in this current market economy. We’re probably going to have to go back out there and do another heist.” He said.
“I guess money doesn’t pay for itself. But I can dig it; part of the fun of stealing is the stealing.” Lacey said.
I stopped hugging Kevin and stepped forward to address the team. “Alright guys, we had a pretty good run. Now I’d like to say it’s been a pleasure working with you guys, but that would be kinda cliche. So I’ll just say ‘go team’ and leave it at that. Now let’s get these bags inside. But first, let’s take off these masks.” I said, and everybody was pretty glad about that. It was getting sweaty in those things.
So we took off our masks and put them in our pockets. Then we each grabbed a bag, hoisted it over our shoulder and headed for the door. “Man, I cannot wait to get inside and pop open a 2 liter of Cola Cola. You always need a good chug to celebrate a well-earned victory.” Lacey said.
“Yeah and I really want some cheese fingers right now. Do we still have some?” Dougman asked.
Jim shrugged and I reached for the door. Opening it, I took a step inside, reached over, and flipped on the light switch. The room was suddenly bathed in white light, and someone instantly appeared standing there in the middle of the room, staring at us with her arms cross. The second I saw her I flinched and made a sound I can only describe as a cross between a gasp and a squeal. For a second I thought it was a ghost, but then I saw that it was Shabiqua, Steve’s wife, standing in my living room.
“Shabiqua? What the cluck are you doing here?” I asked.
“I didn’t come here to talk to go, you scrawny bag of twigs with a face painted on it. I wanna speak to ma babe, Steve.” She said.
Kevin glanced over Jim’s shoulder and spotted Shabiqua. “Who’s the black chick? Does she come here often?” He asked.
Steve brushed past me and stepped into the living room. “Honey! I’m home! Well, not my home per se but it’s my bro’s home. Anyway, it’s great to see you!” He said.
Shabiqua interrupted him. “Don’t give me that stupid ‘oh I love ya hun I wanna re-marry you’ bull shaving cream, boy. I know whatcha’ll been doing all night. You thought you could fool me but I SO know, and I’m gonna beat the sheep out of you, SLAM JAM!” She said.
“Baby, what are you talking about?” Steve asked.
Shabiqua stepped forward and slapped him. Everybody behind me made a soft “ooh...” sound in response. Then she grabbed him by the tie and pulled him forward. “You ain’t been at work, ya chocolate colored stick in the mud. You done been out, hooking up with that hooker over there. I know her type, and I know what you like about her type, and I bet ya’ll didn’t know I’d catch you to coming home to make love without me knowing it. SLAM JAM!” She said.
Lacey looked disgusted. “Hey, just so you know, I don’t date married men, okay? They aren’t my type. I prefer a guy who can spend all his money on me and doesn’t have to secretly spend the money between me and some other chick.” Lacey argued.
I decided to step forward and try to defuse the situation before it got out of hand. “Listen, Shabiqua, for one thing; Steve is never going to have any sexual intimacy with anybody at my house. That goes for most people. Well except maybe the President. If the President wanted to use one of my back rooms to do it with his wife, I’d be like ‘you go, Mister President.’ But that’s besides the point, and also probably not going to happen. The point is, we really were at work. And you can take that to the bank. But not just any bank; the bank we just robbed.” I said.
Shabiqua wasn’t convinced. She crossed her arms again and leaned back on her heel. “Really? Prove it.” she said.
Steve shrugged and took off the duffle bag from his back. He then set the bag on the big table in the living room and zipped it open. When Shabiqua spotted the green poking out from the bag, her eyes expanded like hot air balloons and her mouth formed a perfect circle. Steve just smiled and pointed at it. “Yeah! That’s what I brought home! I’m the man of the house! Not necessarily the man of this house, but of my own!” He said.
Shabiqua took a few cautious steps towards the bag and reached inside, taking out a wad of cash. Her mouth spread out into a wicked smile before she cackled like a mad old woman. “Hehehehehe...diamond tongue ring, here I come! SLAM JAM!” she said.
Everybody else took it as the time to set the bags on the table and see what they got, like it was halloween or something. Dougman and Kevin zipped open their bags and immediately put their faces inside, smelling the cash rather lustfully. Jim opened his up and started counting each individual wad. Lacey was walking with her bag towards the bathroom. “Hey, Lacey, you know you can just leave that bag with us and trust us not to touch it; you don’t actually have to go to the bathroom with it.” I said.
She glanced over her shoulder at me and reassured me it wasn’t that. “No, it’s not that, it’s just that I really want to fill up a bathtub with money and bath naked in it. I was thinking that I could use your uses. I would have asked you first but I figured you wouldn’t stop me anyway.” She said, and before I said anymore she opened the door and stepped in. Honestly I wouldn’t but I atleast wanted to be able to say that myself. It didn’t bother me though; I had other things on my mind.
I tossed my bag onto the couch and started walking towards the door to the hallway. Dougman pulled his head out of his bag and spit the wad of cash out of his mouth before tracing my movement. “Hey man, where you going? Aren’t you going to wallow in cash like the rest of us?” He asked.
I glanced over my shoulder and addressed his concern. “Not right now; I gotta go talk to Marcy. But yeah, nobody touch my bag please. We all have equal amounts; let’s not get greedy.” I said, though I kinda knew that nobody would take my bag. They were a bit preoccupied with their own. Steve and Sabiqua had emptied out Steve’s bag and were now throwing it up into the air and dancing in it as it rained down, singing some old 80s song. Jumbo Jim was taking the cash out of his bag and wiping it all over his face, making this unusual guttural noise as he did it. Kevin was just staring at it like he was staring into the eyes of God; wide-eyed and not moving a muscle.
So I knew my cash would be okay, and I really wanted to talk to Marcy, so I opened the door and headed into the hallway. It was just as dark as ever with the only light coming out of the small crack in Marcy’s slightly opened door. It had been awhile since I had made the unusually tense voyage from my living room to her bedroom for the first time, and now after so long it seemed like less of a voyage and more of a casual walk. I mean it was only like 15 or 20 steps.
I walked up and calmly knocked on the door with my knuckles, which is what all the cool kids do now. From inside, I heard a soft “come in...”
I gently pushed the door open and stepped inside. “Hey Marcy, it’s me, Red.” I said.
There she was sitting at her desk which wasn’t unusual. Though for the first time; she wasn’t wearing her hood and I could see the back of her neck. It wasn’t quite what I’d expect it to be but come on; just how exciting can a neck get? But then she turned around and looked at me with her emerald eyes and I felt a sudden surge of “holy crap” reaching my mind. They still had the power to captivate my attention. But I tried to play it cool.
“Oh uh...hey Red. Welcome back. Great work out in the field today.” She said.
I stepped into the room, making sure there were no physical boundaries between me and her. “Thanks, but you’re the one who really made it possible. I wanted to thank you for your help; you really made a difference.” I said.
She blushed a bit and glanced away. “I...I messed up a bit though. The cops still showed up, and you guys almost got slaughtered.” She said.
“But we didn’t, and that wasn’t something you could prepare for. We all kinda mess up every once in awhile anyway. If I got angry at a member of my team every time they messed up, then Steve and Dougman would probably have been shot by me by now. And they probably would have shot me too.” I said.
She smiled a bit, and I just wanted to take a picture of it and sell it to Louvre in Paris where they’d replace the Mona Lisa with it. But I didn’t have a camera and it probably wasn’t polite to snap a pic of someone just because they smiled.
“You know, you guys aren’t like a lot of the clients I’ve had in the past. They usually have things like skill and expertise. But you guys have heart, and I think that’s what’s important. If every criminal had your guy’s passion for crime, the world would be a better place. Wait, no it wouldn’t...but it would definitely be a more interesting place to live.” she said.
It was my turn to smile. And I also decided it was my time to take another risk. “I know, right? Hey listen; it’s been a tough day, and we ended pretty well anyway. We may have not done a perfect run, but in the end, we accomplished what we set out to achieve. So now that I’ve got a sudden increase in spendable income, why not spend it? You wanna go out to dinner? I’ll take you to Los Nuevos; my treat.” I said.
Her already dazzling eyes lit up with surprise. “Los Nuevos? That’s my favorite restaurant! How did you know?” She asked.
I grabbed my lapel with both hands and tilted my chin up. “Come on, I know the members of my team pretty well. So is that a yes?” I asked.
She nodded and got up from her chair. “Yeah sure, just let me get some of my stuff.” She said.
“Alright, cool. I’ll drive us over there in my car; Dougman, Steve, Jim and the rest of the gang are going to stay here; they seem pretty preoccupied with their earnings. But before we head over there can we stop at Earl’s Bakery real quick?”
She had reached down to pick up her purse from where it sat on the carpet by the computer, but when she heard that she glanced up at me with curious eyes. “Earl’s Bakery? Why do you want to go there?” She asked.
“Because it’s Friday, which means free donuts. And that’s not something you just pass up. Especially on a day like this.”
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