(originally posted 6/18/2012)
Mary tried to time her visits to the bank at odd hours to avoid the drama that was now unfolding. For some reason there was a stampede to get in front of a teller so she sat at least four back in the line awaiting her turn. The person currently occupying the bank employee’s attention seemed to be questioning some discrepancy that occurred in 1979 and was not going to be satisfied until he had seen the records of every transaction the branch had made since that time.
Mary often wondered if everyone felt like she did when sitting in line at the bank. That feeling that seems to flood you after a certain amount of time stranded between the faux-velvet ropes, where your eyes go from wandering aimlessly to casing the joint. The bank slowly morphs into a joint and your eyes transform into the cool stare of a hardened bank robber.
And she knew the security cameras were eating it all up. Somewhere in the back there was a security guy with his hand hovering over the panic button that would send the reinforced steel bars crashing down over every exit and the police all over town dropping their donuts in a mad dash to arrive at the scene in time to gun her down. Now obviously Mary had never robbed a bank, in fact her police record was spotless, but there was no way to tell the bank that. No way to lie to the security camera that had seemingly stopped its gentle back and forth motion and instead settled on her. It was soaking her in.
She couldn’t help it. It passed the time.
Wally, the ancient guard who had recently celebrated his 95th year on the job, leaned against a nearby desk in a casual manner that made it appear to all observers that he was, in fact, stuffed and mounted on the spot. She looked at his gun.
There it was. Now she’d done it. She waited for the sirens to start wailing. The cameras had to have seen that look. The way her eyes fogged briefly at the sight of the loaded firearm resting gently in the holster on Wally’s hip.
Someone came into the bank, she could hear the door slowly groan shut. A quick look confirmed it was a highly trained U.S. Marshall, that training exclusively focused on subduing and executing bank robbers, disguised as an elderly lady in jeans, a t-shirt and a hat three sizes too large for her apparently shrinking head.
“Very sneaky,” she thought to herself. Wally suddenly sprang to life with a slight nod in the federal agent’s direction before returning to his frozen state.
The man at the counter had apparently grown bored with his makeshift audit of the bank as he departed and Mary was allowed to take two steps closer. “The noose tightens,” she thought to herself, her heart racing. It was just a matter of time now. She no longer even tried to disguise it; she looked at the vault with unbridled avarice. First she would spin around and grab Wally’s pistol. For a brief moment she felt the cold metal resting in her hand. Her finger imagined sliding over the trigger and squeezing it just enough to send a single bullet deep into the cranium of Wally. In her mind’s eye she saw him fall and crumple on the bad checkered carpeting.
She inhaled deeply and one eyelid fluttered ever so briefly.
The next person in line had just been there to drop off a check and suddenly, unexpectedly the line moved again. Mary snapped back into the here and now with a jolt. It took her two more steps away from Wally.
With five bullets left she couldn’t just blaze away. She’d have to jump over the counter and hope that the bank employees played ball. If she needed to make an example of one of them to get the rest of their attention then so be it. She sort of hoped the cow in the pink frock occupying the desk of assistant manager started trouble.
The woman in front of her suddenly realized she hadn’t filled out her deposit slip and left the line to use one of the pens that were firmly tethered to the little shelf as if ink were a scarce commodity.
Mary was next.
This was it. A cloud passed over the sun outside and the light in the room dimmed. Somewhere behind her a baby fussed. A single bead of sweat clung to her brow, threatening to slide down her cheek and start the fireworks. The camera wouldn’t miss a bead of sweat, once it began its wet trek downward there would be no choice. It would be go time.
“May I help you ma’am?” the teller inquired of Mary. The man in front of her shuffled off, his transaction having reached a quick and satisfactory conclusion.
Mary slowly took a look back at Wally. Then up at the security camera…then a long lusty look at the vault.
“A withdrawal please,” Mary said as she pushed her slip of paper forward. “All twenties if you could.”
The teller typed with practiced efficiency and soon was counting aloud and placing twenties into Mary’s damp palm.
“Will there be anything else today?” she offered when the necessary amount of currency had changed hands.
“Maybe next time,” Mary said with a nervous smile and made her escape.
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