Robbery 101

Ava Weece

I look up from my magazine and see a robber standing in front of me who doesn’t look like one, since his hair is sticking up in all directions and his shirt is on inside out. But he does have a gun.

I stare at him while he holds the gun and shuffles his feet across the floor. He mutters something about where he can find some money. Laughing, I say that’s not how robbers are supposed to talk to the people they’re robbing, which causes him to blink and ask what I would say when robbing a gas station at 7 a.m. on a Monday.

I slam my hands on the counter and yell ferociously that he needs to give me all the money he has, with a few expletives thrown in. This startles the robber, causing him to drop the gun. I point at it and tell him that’s a rookie mistake, because someone could grab his gun and use it on him instead. He turns red and mutters angrily to himself as he picks it up.

He asks how I know so much about robbing places. I tell him I’ve seen several movies like any normal person, which he responds to by saying he doesn’t really enjoy movies. Choosing to ignore that horrendous statement, I ask him why he’s robbing a gas station when there are banks a few miles away. He looks at his feet and mumbles for a second before speaking up louder and saying that there’s a roof over his head and free food in prison.

I ask the robber why he doesn’t go to a shelter instead. He responds that prison has a schedule with outdoor time. This leads to me making a joke that being homeless allows plenty of time outside, which causes him to turn red again, so I clear my throat and go silent.

He shakes the gun and says he needs the money now, nodding forcefully on the last word. I hand him some from the cash register, along with a pack of cinnamon gum. He pushes away the gum but I tell him it will look tough if he’s arrested while chewing gum. Smiling, he pockets everything and stands for a second before staring down at the counter and saying thank you. He turns to leave and I yell that he needs to fire the gun. His eyes go wide, looking at me like I just spoke German, and I explain that he has to shoot the lights out or something glass so people will know he was a daring robber instead of a wimp. He contemplates this before raising the gun and shooting at the refrigerator in the back. Sodas explode and glass goes flying all over the floor.

He looks back at me and runs out the door. I finish reading my magazine as alarms blare and soda runs between the shelves. I count to 20 in my head before calling the police, because I figure any first-time robber would want a cool getaway story before they get caught.