The flashing red lights of the cruiser flickered with stifled intensity. They were mitigated by the earliest morning light twenty-nine year old Alan Oakley (aka “Oak”) had the great misfortune of experiencing in his entire life. He was typically a late riser, but today was very special. Sunshine, cop cars, and a wickedly fine woman driving that two-toned black and white police cruiser had him irrepressibly excited about his wonderful plan. Oak had a gun in the back, but he couldn’t exactly put a bullet in this girl here, not the one tapping almost erotically on his driver-side window. Not her . . . it was love at first sight, man.
“Morning ¾” Oak’s bald, freckly head appeared. Once the window descended, he scratched his shiny noggin with a couple freckly fingers. “¾ Is there any really good reason you should be pulling me over just now?”
“Would you like to step out the car?” the officer said.
Ok. Maybe this was a dream. No, he was stoned. It only felt like a dream.
“What if I told you my mother just died?”
“Look. I’d say stop acting like such a whining coward! Exit the car, sir! Do it now . . . or I’ll shove this steal truncheon up your fanny. Get me, Jackass?”
“What if I told you I loved you?”
The officer swelled with tears, exactly like he knew she would.
“I’d tell you I don’t believe you.” She looked away. “And judging from the awful condition of your hooptie, I’d say you’re either completely broke . . . or just plagued by horrible taste.” She wiped her tears, loosing joyful drops, doing so with two of the most delicate white-chocolate fingers he’d had the pleasure of witnessing up close. “Dang it, I’m not very good at maintaining my composure. I was really doing well, though, wasn’t I?”
“Babe. You’re awesome.”
“Ready to do this?”
The tears dried up. Khali Olsen sniffled once, then spat on the ground a repulsive splatter of brown tobacco sauce. She chewed. That’s why he liked the girl. She wasn’t afraid to steal a cop car on a whim and drive with him to the Bank of America on Encinitas BLVD. Small town. Small police force. And the girl, a thin little 5’4” French brunette smiled greater than a pleased chimpanzee. “Ready as Freddy,” Khali said, between chews. “Let’s go make some God Damn espèces . . . Français for cash.”
His phone rang.
“Hey. Still behind me . . . I see.”
It was her.
“Yeah. You’re a fast driver! I was all in a tizzy this morning thinking about the job. I’m still working up the nerve, you know! So . . . wassup? Why aren’t you talking?”
“Cause you’re talking.”
Oak’s brain was preoccupied. What exactly was he to say once he ripped a twenty-two millimeter from his light beige khaki shorts? Should he wave it around like a drunken cowboy? Maybe just start with, “Get on the floor” and follow the command with, “cell phones, pagers, any points of contact smash them to pieces!” No, he reconsidered the previous command. He should say, instead, “Throw them in the bag.” Yeah. He has some 56-gallon black trash bags in the trunk. If everything went like in Doing The Crime ¾ a non-fiction memoir filled with 346 pages of criminal education ¾ they’d be richer than Danny Ocean in less than thirty-five minutes. No fatalities!
“After we get this money,” Oak said. “It’s gonna be just the two of us, babe. Like that Will Smith song.”
“You listen to Will Smith?”
“Hey. Don’t hate! In the years of old school hip-hop, pretty much every rapper sounded like a cornball. That’s what made dem joints tight, aight?”
“Aight. Aight foo.” She sounded like Paris Hilton. “Don’t get all ghetto on me.”
“You know what I wanna do,” Khali said. “I wanna arrest somebody. Let’s go arrest somebody. Some teens. Yeah!”
Khali flipped the red lights on again. Again, Oak’s heart froze.
“Uh. Babe. It’s daylight. If we just stick to our plan we can drop these stolen joints off at the Tijuana barbershop and sip mimosas at half price for a few months. Then maybe we hit Europe. You can teach me Français. Sound like a plan? Babe?”
The police cruiser swerved across traffic. An ear-popping left was made at the stoplight. The red lights vanished, as the stolen vehicle quickly blazed down Highway 101, after loudly whipping around the street corner. They were just two blocks away from the bank!
“FUCK,” Oak yelled.
“Dude Sam. Sam dude,” Jessie said, frantically shoving baggies of white girl ¾ commonly known as cocaine ¾ into every crevice of the Honda Civic. “We’re so fucked!”
“Chill out.” Sam’s eyes stared ahead, staying in character. “I’m a college student majoring in English. You’re a teacher. We’re just driving to school.”
“What if . . . what? Just stick to the basic roles.”
“I’m sorry,” said Jesse. The noon sun was too much for his eyes. Squinting, he pulled down the sun visor. He spoke, while nervously peering into the rearview. “I can’t go back to that mothafuckin’ eight by ten. I’d rather die.”
Khali exited her vehicle ¾ no longer property of Officer Creeler of the San Diego Sheriff’s department ¾ with a tobacco chew stained smile. She spat on the ground, laughing with contempt for common decency. Her laugh was stifled, however, once the AK-47 was removed from Jesse’s beige trenchcoat.
“Oh snap,” she said. “This is fu ¾”
Stalled by the longest red light on earth, Oak was more nervous than Barry Bonds at the Senate hearing on steroids. Finally, he saw a long-awaited green. He punched the gas, jetted down Leucadia, caught the attention of a dozen little kids in a preschool play park that stared in wonder, sped through a barren four-way stop intersection, traveled along the coast for a short spell, but then slammed the breaks at a dusty parking lot. He saw Khali, arms twisted and held behind her back, crying in her stolen officer’s uniform, while staring down the barrel of an AK-47.
“Is there a problem officer?” asked Sam.
“No problem,” Khali cried, now lying prostrate on the hard ground. “I’m not really an officer. Okay?”
“Sure you aren’t,” said Jesse, pushing her head. “And I’m not exactly a bad guy. I just made a few morally wrong decisions in my life. Like killing people . . . people I don’t like. Especially nosy people.”
“She’s not nosy,” Oak said. Sam kept a rifle on Khali. Jesse quickly trained his AK-47 on Oak, who smartly responded by uncocking his twenty-two millimeter Beretta and then tucking the deadly weapon as a symbol into his waist. “I’m not nosy either,” Oak explained. “We’ve got something special in the trunk of that police car that you don’t want to be involved with. Capisce?”
“Like what?” Sam questioned.
“I don’t think you want to know the answer.”
Jessie grinned, darkly. “Know what?”
Oak looked at the AK-47 held up to his nose, then, in a bizarre twist, held to his nuts.
Jessie motioned for Oak to instantly head over to the police car.
They walked all the way to the trunk. “Okay,” said Oak, in a desperate sigh. “If you just have to be nosy.”
The white twinkle of early morning sunlight poured into Officer Creeler’s eyes for the first time in four days. He had been fed, but not bathed, so the sweaty stench of the mouth gag escalated into his open nostrils. It was fetid. The odor matched the sour brackish taste in his sweaty mouth.
“Who the hell is that?”
“Don King.” Oak said, laughing aloud. “For reely reels . . . the luckless sack of human garbage is Officer Creeler of the SD sheriff’s department. Badge number 275.”
“And just exactly what do you plan to do today?” asked Jesse.
Oak sensed correctly that he wanted a piece of the action.
“Today?” Oak grinned.
Jesse nodded, his weapon pushing into Oak’s crotch. “And if you lie to me . . . you’re going to be taking a vow of celibacy.”
“I’m down,” Oak said. “Why don’t you close the trunk?”
“So, do you have any plans this evening?” asked Joan Wilder, practically undressing the bank customer with her ravenous eyes.
“Yes, I’ll be sharing paella with my boyfriend,” replied Tom.
“Oh,” Joan whimpered, feeling more embarrassed and demoralized than she’d felt in quite a long time. She popped a Xanax, then said, “Next customer!”
The security guard was getting hungry. Colin heard his stomach growl like an agitated wolverine. He checked his watch and discovered ¾ fortunately ¾ it was already noon. He nodded to Joan, passing by the tellers, and hastily continued walking toward the back area. There was a Celeste pizza and two corndogs in the freezer. He also had a Walkman with nothing but Johnny Cash hits.
Just as Colin passed, Joan realized he was actually a stud. Perhaps it was his employment as a security guard that dimmed his overall attractiveness. Now that she considered the idea, his butt was comparable to Kevin Sorbo’s. She wouldn’t mind being rescued from her miserable life by Hercules’ doppelganger. As she daydreamed, a group of four men wearing black masks came through the front entrance.
They all had guns.
“Open up the registers!” yelled Oak.
“I can’t now,” replied Joan. “They’re automatically locked because of a remotely-operated security system. When theft protection saw you enter with masks and weapons . . . everything became permanently sealed.”
“FUCK!” screamed Khali.
Jessie raised his AK-47 to Joan’s chest. “I’ll blow this babe’s tits to hell!”
Joan was slightly pleased to be considered a babe. “Look, there’s a backup safe below the counter. If you cut me in, perhaps I can crack it open for you.”
Sam punched a disgruntled customer ¾ squarely in the back of the head ¾ for his unruly defiance. The customer finally relinquished his platinum Rolex.
“Wouldn’t the company arrest you for being a party to robbery?” asked Jessie, incredulously.
He kicked a crawling customer to suppress an escape attempt.
“They can’t hear anything I’m saying on camera,” replied Joan.
Passing beyond the pneumatic doors, a new customer wearing grey sweatpants and a loud pair of flip-flops took in the sight of a robbery in progress. He was shirtless ¾ continuing toward the frightened bank tellers ¾ despite having seen the warning sign that enterers not wearing a T-shirt would be refused service. His skin was deeply tanned to the bold color of a swarthy Israeli. Joan was pretty well aroused.
“Get the fuck on the ground!” Oak screamed at him.
“Alan?” he said, as if he knew him. “Alan Oakley?”
Oak held a nonplussed look, concealed by the nylon mask, as he realized Jason Brent from Ada Harris Elementary had just recognized him.
“Alan Oakley,” Joan repeated, knowingly. “That’s an unusual name.”
Oak’s heart pounded like a war drum. The scratchy face mask was making him irritable. He desperately wanted to remove it. Despite the air conditioning, a deluge of sweat came through his facial pores. He felt plenty more of the nasty exudate of perspiration inside of his socks. They were inundated.
“Cut me in,” urged Joan, “And I’ll forget Alan Oakley’s peculiar name.”
They didn’t ask for non-sequential bills. They also never specified if they wanted fives, tens, twenties, or hundreds, so Joan filled up the garbage bags without worrying about these complications. According to the plan, the amateurish bank robbers would leave a trash bag inside of her trunk. Having given up her car key, she hoped they wouldn’t add grand theft auto to their crime spree.
“That’s all if it,” said Joan, exhaustedly.
She lifted the ponderous 56-gallon garbage liner onto the counter.
“Remember, I know one of your names.”
Oak nodded, evincing his comprehension and honorable intentions, while gathering the last trash bag. He was en route to the front door, nearly there, in fact, when Colin raised his weapon and ordered him to “Freeze!”
“FUCK!” Oak screamed.
Khali returned into the Bank of America. She wondered what precisely was taking Alan so long. “What’s the hold up?” she joked, smiling, but then she caught the threatening sight of a nine-millimeter semi-automatic pistol skillfully trained upon her by the heretofore unseen security guard. She finished, “Wow, I never saw that one coming! Je suis surpris!”
“If you want me to let you two go,” said Colin, entering the main area, “You’re going to have to cut me in on the action.”
“You’ve got to be joking,” Oak said, rolling his eyes.
He straightened out the nylon mask. This slightly improved his vision.
“Don’t forget my percentage,” Joan insisted, nervously.
“Ditto for me,” said Jason, hands interlocking behind his head. He stared excitedly at Oakley from the smoothly waxed and polished floor. “I want my cut!”
“I’m also gonna get a share,” urged Colin, brandishing the weapon and waving it between Khali and Oak. “N’est ce pas?”
“Sure,” Oak said, sharing a nod of approval. “We got enough for everybody.”
He wasn’t positive of the fact, though.
Joan and Jason, however, recognized the name and could report correct information to the authorities. He’d have to follow through on their portions of the score. The security guard didn’t actually know anything, so it wasn’t truly necessary to include him. For now, Oak would just have to pretend. The logistics were smoothly running through his head. As agreed upon, he’d leave Joan a trash bag in her maroon ‘92 Corolla’s trunk, which she and Jason would split. Next hop into his hooptie, which had two bags of cash, and stealthily abscond with his sizeable take. Then it was off to Mexico! Jessie and Sam were no doubt already halfway down to Tijuana by now.
“Drop your weapons!” said Officer Creeler, bursting through the pneumatic doors with an infuriated look on his sweaty face.
“Get on the ground!” yelled another officer, as two more entered the premises.
Khali lifted her nylon mask. “That’s right, Alan Oakley. You’re busted!”
“What?” Oak was shocked. “Babe?”
“She’s not your babe,” replied Officer Creeler. “Her name is Susan Whitaker. She’s an undercover agent of the Encinitas Sherriff’s Department. Banking division. Now you and your two buddies sitting in my stolen cruiser are going to prison.”
Oak briefly thought of shooting himself, but decided prison would be an okay place to lay low for a little while. He was heartbroken. Khali was the hottest babe that had ever pretended to like him. He wasn’t even a genuine bank robber. She enjoyed his bank robbery story at Mr. Peabody’s Bar and Grill so much, he never bothered to admit that he’d never done so before. He was just trying to impress a perfect ten. Now he’d have to win over hot chicks with his insane prison stories . . .
Ryan Gregory Thomas is a prospective MFA in fiction graduate student at San Diego State University. He has several books available on Amazon.com, but for more worthwhile short stories he recommends "Catch A Body With Two Steady Hands: Full Collection" available in Kindle or paperback format. He's also suggesting you pick up a fictional novel entitled "Evicted" available on the aforementioned website. He lastly wishes everybody will enjoy a happy rest of the day!