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HeavyLight: Chapter 4

Going shopping can be kind of tough when you’re a robber. Think about it. I’m used to robbing stores and taking money and bailing, but before I do that I have to get supplies to rob the place meaning I have to go to stores I’m not going to rob and purchase supplies. It just feels kinda weird. Like I’m planning on stabbing a guy but first I have to buy knives from his daughter. Maybe it’s just me.

But sometimes I kinda can’t suppress the instinct to just hold up a store. It happens a few times and I will admit that it’s just a force of habit. My Therapist and I are working on stuff like that. Though, I’ve realized not too long ago that maybe I wouldn’t need to rob so many stores if the Therapist didn’t charge so much money. But anyway, that’s a bit of a deviation from topic.

So as I was saying, I try not to be a workaholic but sometimes I can’t help myself. This one time; case in point. I had to buy a new watch since I exchanged my last one with Roger in order to get a pistol for the Bank Heist we pulled off, but I lost the pistol. In turn, he gave my watch away to some homeless guy so I’m not about to go around Cincinnati and stop every homeless man I see, asking him if he has my watch. That would be a waste of time when I can just buy a new watch from the local gas station.

Speaking of Roger, he couldn’t drive me to the store because he claimed that he had located our Hacker for the next big job. Now, previously I stated that Roger was in charge of finding a Hacker. I honestly didn’t think he would. And on top of that, if he did find a Hacker, I figured it might be like his Grandmother or someone who’s good at hacking typewriters, but not necessarily complex computer systems.

But he left in his big, blue, windowless van to go pick up whoever he found, so I was left with my shot up car. The windshield was completely shot out, so I had to take a roll of saran wrap and stretch it across the front of my car to make it look like I had a windshield. I also had to do that for all the other windows too. For the bullet holes which decorated the flank of my car along with the trunk, I just covered them in duct tape. I got alittle carried away and implemented a race-car stripe design to my duct taping. So now my car is looking pretty novelty.

Since the East Side Butterflies showed up just to cause trouble last night, I was a bit paranoid of other gangs that have heard of us and might want to do the same. So just in case we ran into trouble, I brought along Angry Steve with me. Jumbo Jim lent me his spare revolver out of his collection and Steve carried his favorite nickel plated 45. auto with him as we filed into my car to take off down the road towards the nearest gas station.

As we began to head down the road, Steve pulled something rubbery out of his pocket and tossed it to me. I caught it with one hand, swerving a bit on the road as I tried to regain control. I took a quick moment to glance at what was in my hand.

“...My Richard Nixon mask. From the Heist. Why did you take this with you?” I asked.

He pulled out his Bill Clinton mask and smiled. “I always come prepared homeboy.” He said with a big, toothy, Cheshire cat smile.

I shook my head. “Steve, we’re going to try and play it cool this time. No robbing.” I pointed out.

He frowned in disappointment and wadded up the plastic mask. “Some criminal you are...” he muttered while pushing it down into his pocket.

It’s not a long trip, but it’s long enough for Angry Steve to annoy me. He’s that kind of guy who can’t just keep quiet on a car trip and has to make up some stupid game to play. “Yo, check it out. We gonna play ‘Money Honey.’” He said.

“Alright...how do you play?” I asked, not really caring.

“So check it out, homes. Every time we pass by some guy in a car, we guess how much his shirt must have cost. You feel me?” he said. I shrugged. Couldn’t hurt to try it out. The trip wouldn’t last that long anyway.

The road was mostly empty, however we did find one guy driving around in a beat up car, playing some loud afghani music out of his open windows. I drive up and look in through the right side window at the Azerbaijani man sitting in the front seat and smoking a comically long cigar. He was wearing a dark red T-shirt and thick, black, laborer’s pants.

“Uh...that guy over there. His shirt cost...I dunno...like 45 dollars?” I said.

“AANNT! Wrong!” Angry Steve shouted in my ears.

“What the bell do you mean, ‘wrong?’ You don’t know how much that shirt costs!” I shouted.

“Yeah, but still, that’s a bad guess. If I were to say, I’m pretty sure that his shirt cost him 2,750 dollars.” He explained.

“Uh...Steve...that’s way too high for one T-shirt. That’s like Armageddon prices. Like the only time T-shirts would be worth more than 500 dollars was if there were no more T-shirt companies and the only other thing to wear was sweaters, making T-Shirts an extreme luxury. Even in that post-apocalyptic scenario, T-shirts wouldn’t be worth more than a thousand.” I said.

The Azerbaijani guy drove away, leaving us on an empty road again. “Alright, the next guy we see is on you.” I said.

So I kept driving. We drove off the main road and back into town where the roads were old and grey. I drove up to a stoplight and in the adjacent lane, driving an old Ford El Camino, was an equally old azerbaijani woman. She wore a hat that looked like a bee-hive and she was dressed in an old overcoat.

“Huh...another Azerbaijani. What a coincidence...” I said.

“Alright, so her shirt costs 0 dollars because she ain’t wearing no shirt!” Angry Steve exclaimed.

“Dude, you can’t do that! You can’t just assume because she’s wearing a coat that she’s not wearing a shirt underneath. Guess the price of the coat.” I said as we drove forward and picked up speed, heading down the road.

Steve crossed his arms defiantly. “Nope. That’s not how the game works.”

“I don’t even know how the clucking game works!!” I shouted so loud, the lady in the car next to me went into a panic and drove off the road into a ditch. We both cringed at the sound of a car crashing and flinched, staying silent and frozen for a moment.

Then Steve kinda looked at me and said “Hey...language. Let’s keep it P-G, alright?”

I wanted to stop the car and tell Steve to get out so I could drive away and leave him on the side of the road, but we were already approaching the gas station so it would have been pointless to make him walk the rest of the way there. So I sighed angrily and kept quiet. I turned and drove into the lot, parking the car in the parking space in front of the store. It was your average gas station with a place to fill up your gas and a store with big glass windows.

We both headed into the station. Pushing through the big glass doors, we heard the sharp sound of an automatic bell and felt the soft pungent smell of clam chowder against our skin. The gas station had several aisles of shelves stocked with snacks of all varieties and crazy knickknacks from all corners of the world. In the back were the big glass refrigerators and the door that lead to the uni-sex bathroom. The counter was to the left of us and had it’s own shelves covered in bubble gum and lighters. So if you’ve ever been in an American gas station, you can probably just picture that instead.

Sitting behind the gas station counter was another heavy Azerbaijani man who was sitting down and doing a sudoku puzzle with a paint brush and black paint. “Wow, another Azerbaijani guy! How many do we live near?” I asked Angry Steve.

He shrugged. “I dunno, like 7. We haven’t gone to any community events lately so we don’t get a chance to meet the people we live near.” He said.

I looked up and saw there was a single security camera behind him on the wall, but it was facing down and a sign hung from it that said “out-of-order.” All I could think was “why would you put that out there that your security camera wasn’t working? Isn’t that like taping a paper that says ‘the lock on this door doesn’t work’ to the front door of my house at night?”

I didn’t say that outloud though because I respected this man. Well, not really, but I like to be polite. So I turned and said “Alright, I’m going to go look for a watch. If you have some money, you can buy something yourself. I really don’t care.” I said. Angry Steve nodded and headed straight for the fridges.

I began combing through the aisles, looking for a new watch. I passed the snack section where huge bags of cheese fingers sat hunched against the shelves accompanied by the tuna-dish styled tins of sour cream. Jumbo Jim’s favorite. In the next aisle, I found a section for little glass menageries. There were snowmen, kittens, pirates, and fairies.

The little glass fairies kinda hit me hard in the emotional part of my heart. I remembered back in 5th grade, we all had to write our first short stories. Dougman was in that class with me but I didn’t ever talk to him because I thought his hair cut was weird. But all the other kids wrote stories about blowing stuff up and living in the hood, while he was the only guy wrote a romantic story about two fairies. When he went up to read his story to the class, everybody laughed and made fun of him.

I didn’t though; It took guts to do something like that and he did it. Already he had more balls than the teacher even. So later that day at Recess, I found him hiding behind the building; cheeks wet with tears. “Hey, you’re Doug, right?” I asked.

“...sniff...sniff...I’m Dougman...” he said.

“Yeah, uh, I thought your story was pretty cool bro.” I said. He glanced up at me with red eyes and said “...really?”

“Yeah, I thought it was really neat. But it was missing one thing.” I said.

“...What...what would that be?” he asked timidly.

“Monster trucks.” I said.

So he rewrote the story and put in monster trucks and a week later he went up to read the story again and when he finished, everybody cheered. So little details like that can mean all the difference. That’s also how I met Dougman.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, that’s right, I was looking for a watch. Eventually I did find the section where they sell cheap watches. They were just sorta tossed onto the shelf left of the diapers and right of the ashtrays. After scrutinizing them, I find one that I like. It’s silver with a convex glass surface and easily visible, glow in the dark, green numbers in a circle around three black arms in different sizes and widths. I would say it was love at first site, but I didn’t like it that much. It was neat though, even having a little miniature compass off the the side of the watch.

The little sticker on the underside said “$23.00.” not the most expensive watch I had ever purchased but was still kinda steep for me. I reached into my pocket to find my wallet so I could make sure that I had the money to pay for it. After carefully digging around in the pocket, I couldn’t feel it. So I checked my other pocket. Then my butt pocket. Then my breast pocket. Then my shoe. After searching my body for a few minutes, I discovered that I didn't have my wallet.

Jam it. I had just gotten a new one too. So now that I don’t have my money, I’ll have to ask Angry Steve to spot me some. And I know that’s going to be a whole hassle in and of itself. So I head into the back where Steve has opened the fridge door and was licking the inside of the glass. “Steve! What are you doing?!” I said.

He pulled his tongue off the glass and said “I’m licking the condensation!”

“Steve, that still doesn’t...why are you...whatever, it doesn’t matter. Can I borrow 23 dollars from you? I didn’t bring my wallet so I can’t pay for this watch.” I said.

He frowned. “Boy, you better pay me back.” he said, reaching into his shoe. He came back empty handed. “Hold on, let me check my butt pocket...” he checked all his pockets and eventually found that all of his possible places to store money were empty.

“Well, shaving cream. I guess we don’t have any money. We better head back to the house and get some...” I said, turning around to leave.

He grabbed my arm suddenly. “Yo, hold up homie.”

I turn back around. “What?” I asked.

He pulled out his pistol and mask. “Dude, why don’t we just hold this store up and steal the watch?”

“Steve, we can’t just randomly rob a place. There needs to be at least a week of planning and gathering of supplies involved.” I pointed out.

“But dude, this is the perfect place to rob, man! The security camera isn’t working, there are no witnesses, that guy behind the counter has had his face in the sudoku puzzle he’s been doing; he ain’t seen our faces yet! And plus, we brought the masks and the guns! Let’s just do it right now, man!” He said.

I thought about it and I could see his point. It seemed pretty logical to me. I could just take the watch, no harm done. I am a professional criminal after all. So I shrugged. “Alright, let’s do it. The guy behind the counter hasn’t heard us yet so we’re just going to put on the masks and take him by surprise. We’ll tell him we’re taking the watch and leave. That simple. Easy in and out, alright?” I said.

He nodded. “Sounds legit.” he said.

“And we’re re-using our naming scheme from last time. Like I’m still Richard and you’re Bill. You got that, right?” I asked.

“Yep, I’ll remember this time.” he said.

“Alright, let’s break the line.” I said, taking the mask out of my pocket and pulling it over my face. Angry Steve did the same with his and pulled out his pistol. I reached into my shoe and pulled out Jumbo Jim’s revolver. He immediately ran to the front of the store and fired off two rounds into ceiling.

“Surprise, motherclucker! This is a hold up!” he shouted, pointing the gun at the Azerbaijani guy.

He dropped the sudoku puzzle and shot up, holding up his hands in surrender. “Aye! I submit, I submit! I’ll give you the money!” he said, reaching for a plastic bag under his counter.

I ran up to the counter. “No, we don’t want any money, we just want this watch.” I said. He stopped, staring at us with a confused look.

“You...don’t want to take the money? Just the watch?” he asked in his thick middle eastern accent.

“Yeah, well, I mean, I came here to get the watch anyway but I didn’t have any money. But we probably could use some money. What do you think, Bill?” I asked.

“I say take the money. It’s all fair in love and donuts, brother.” He said.

“I think you mean ‘love and war.’ But whatever. Fine. Let’s compromise. How about we take all the money out of the register, but I’ll pay for the watch. How about that?” I asked. He thought about it for a moment, stroking his thick black goatee.

“Alright, that seems like a fair exchange. Does your friend want anything?” he asked, motioning to Angry Steve.

“I don’t know, do you?” I asked.

“Yo, let me go get some drinks, man.” He said, running to the back. Meanwhile, I kept my gun pointed at the Clerk while he quickly opened up the register and began taking the money out and dropping it into the bag. Steve came back with two 2 liters of Cola Cola. “I’ve got the juice, Richard! Now let’s bounce!” He shouted.

“Not yet man, I gotta pay for the watch.” I said. So I took the bag that the Clerk is handing over the counter and reached into it, taking out some money. I set the bills on the counter and tried to pick out the money that would be worth 23 dollars. After I gathered 1 10, 2 5s, and 3 1s, I handed them back to the Clerk.

Not wanting to seem outside of the transaction, Steve took some money out of the bag and measured out the amount needed to pay for his sodas. Afterwards he handed them back to the Clerk. “Thanks for your patronage...jackwagons...” He said. Suddenly, red and blue lights begin to flash outside in the lot. I glanced out the window to see that two cop cars had pulled up with police figures stepping out, wielding pistols of their own. “Jam! The cops are here! Who called them?” I asked.

“Hold on...don’t stores like these have silent alarms?” Steve asked.

We both turned and stared silently at the Clerk. He smiled and held up his hands, giving us that look like he had caught us in his trap.

“You...triggered the silent alarm, didn’t you?”

“Guilty as charge. Not as guilty as you’ll be though.” He said, smiling.

“Dude! Come on! We had a deal!” I said.

“Oh, there was nothing in the deal that says I couldn’t press the silent alarm button. I guess you don’t really need that watch after all.” he said.

Angry Steve looked over at me. “Dude, we gotta get the snap out of here!” He shouted.

“Alright, we’ll escape out the back way, let me just do this real quick.” I pointed my revolver at the window and fired, watching it shatter and all the cops outside shout wordless exclamations before hitting the ground, covering themselves. I then turned on a 45 degree angle and shot the clerk. He covered his shoulder and fell back onto the ground.

“That’s what you get for crossing Richard Nixon and his homeboy, Bill Clinton, flipper!” I shouted. We turned around and ran for the back room. In an attempt to seem hardcore, Angry Steve threw himself against the door. He pushed it open, which was his original intention, but he ended up flying through it and smacking against the cold tile floor with a groan. I ran in after him and say “Oh shaving cream, this is a bathroom Steve! I don’t think there is a back door out of here...”

He got up and pointing at the wall where there was a little rectangular window close to the ceiling. It wasn’t much, but we didn’t have much time. So I ran back into the gas station and fired another shot out the shattered windows at the cops. They took cover behind their cop cars and returned fire. In an effort to avoid getting shot, I hit the deck and crawled around behind cover of the aisles. The doors to the fridges were shattering, snack bags were exploding, and lights were getting shot out left and right. I crawled to the middle aisle where I found the glass menageries. After grabbing a fairy menagerie, I turned and darted straight to the bathroom again, just barely avoiding become living swiss cheese.

Angry Steve was in the bathroom waiting patiently for me. I ran up and threw the fairy at the glass, shattering it so that we could crawl through. “Dude...you know we could have just shot out that window.” He said. I heard him but I didn’t want him to know that I hear him, so I shoved him out of the way so that I could step onto the tank of the toilet and boost myself up to the window. My body barely fit through it, and Steve had to push me the rest of the way, but I fortunately made it out.

Unfortunately, after I had squeezed through the glass window, I fell face first into some bags of garbage that were laying up against the wall behind the outside of the gas station. The bags burst upon impact and I had to crawl out of the pile and wipe the bright orange gunk off my clucking mask. While I was doing that, Angry Steve made his way out. “Dude, you alright man?” He asked.

“I’m about as good as you can get after escaping a bathroom through a window to small for your body.” I said.

On the other side of the building, we could hear some cop with a megaphone talking. “Attention; you are outmanned. Put your guns down and step out of the building with both hands firmly placed on your head. If you do not apply now, we will be forced to use force.” He said.

“Bro... I don’t think they’ve realized we’re outside of the building. Let’s split while we still can!” I exclaim.

“But our car is now chillin with the po-po! How we gonna speed away from this?” He asked. I looked around. The gas station itself was built in the middle of four roads going in different directions, all crossing at four points forming a square. That means there was a road directly in front of us, and on that road, I saw these two little kids riding their bikes.

“Bullseye. I got this; follow me.” I said, charging straight forward towards the kids. We ran up in front of them, giving them enough of a distance for them to slow down. They stopped right in front of us and we pointed our guns in their faces.

“Get off the bikes!” I shouted.

The one on the left, a 7th grader, kinda glanced up at the fat 8th grader for support. The fat 8th grader crossed his arms and leaned back, defiantely. “What’s in it for me?” he asked. I looked over at Angry Steve. He shrugged, reached into his bag, pulled out one of the two liters of Cola Cola, and handed it to the 8th grader. He took it and shrugged as well. “Works for me.” He muttered.

He got off and I got on. Angry Steve took the 7th grader’s bike. It soon became apparent that these bikes weren’t fit for men of our...well...age. In fact, I looked like a gargoyle hunched over on this bike, trying to pedal on pedals half the size of my feet. With as much force as I could, I pedaled down the road with Angry Steve on my tail. It was awkward and kind of embarrassing, but we eventually made it out.

So even though the cops did show up, we managed to make it out of that robbery with relative success. No casualties (other than the clerk who totally deserved it,) we got some money and I got a new watch. It made me realize that even though we failed our first bank heist, we still had the skills to be good robbers. Maybe we could do it again after all.

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