So here she was . . . again! A sore little itchy cunt stuck atop on two popsicle sticks with two leaky airbags of flesh on her chest slowly going irrevocably flaccid. It was a terrible thing to say! Her mother back in Iowa would get angry at her when she would refer to herself that way over the phone. Too bad that the sort of guys that she kept running into too often took an exception to her mother’s view! Stuck in this crappy little rented room barely holding down that shitty branch bank teller’s job the salary of which wouldn’t even support a clock grease eating cockroach for a week. At thirty eight years and ticking the time for something good in her life was rapidly running out. The cameras and booby trap rigged cash drawer at work was too clever to outwit her to think of any movie fantasy inspired mischief. And that old fallback of waitressing for fat tips at the good joints in town had been glomed on by other gals half her age long ago in other towns that she had drifted through on that downward spiral path she had traveled to end up her. All she could think about at night was how she had blown it. Dance classes instead of a good solid business degree. What in the hell had she been thinking about twenty years ago? She sure knew what the men were thinking as their eyes would trail down to her more than ample assets. Love and settling down in the suburbs?? Huh! She figured that could flash those perpetually youthful looking perfect tits for the rest of her life right down all the way on the red carpet of success? Life had certainly proved her wrong in the interim. Now she was stuck in Scranton Pennsylvania which could have stood in for the second asshole of the entire earth. Had she been abducted by white slavers from Shanghai China she could not have felt any worse she thought to herself.
Her bar bill had been on the increase as of late. The clientele at Shuggies’ had flattened out from regulars to old dried out geezers who expected too much for the privilege of buying her a single cheap bar brand drink. She was black and blue enough from too many of those occasional late nights when the booze had gotten the better of her and those old wrinkled claws had gotten free rein too many times bruising her tender stern. She couldn’t figure who was worse in that crowd? Those old fossilized burnouts that lost all hope of family and friends to their pension backed bar tabs? Or those loudmouth stiff rod stud black ghetto skirt chasers. The type that would show up late night on Saturday to strut their stuff around and act like they owned the place. God forbid if any of that crowd ever showed up at the bank during business hours! What havoc could they wreak if they happened to connect her ass with the face on the other end? Could it get any worse than if she found herself going back to being a checker working for slave wages at the local Walmart once again! Of course then there was that time at the end of her twenties when she got tangled up with the fat little Jew bastard who claimed to be a big movie producer. She really wanted to live that one down enough so that she would never have to remember what she got conned into doing ever again. She was at that low point in terms of bouncing her fanny on the bottom end of things. Something that she had always been warned about when she was an adolescent. That same terrifying persistent reality now coming to pass as she found herself guzzling more and more booze every night. A curse that the drink never seemed to cure. The mental picture of a final ignominious dead end looming transpiring in an anonymous trailer park somewhere with a feral kitten chewing tiny parts of her face off her corpse, giving her a visceral chill right down to the end of her tailbone. What could be worse?
It was now three cigarettes past eight in the morning and it was time to shake her bedclothes loose and get ready for work. Danny, that little stiff prick boss of her’s, would be staring at his watch an waiting by the back entrance just to see if he could catch her being ten minutes late again and fire her. A fucking five foot seven little Millennial prick who acted like he owned the bank and everyone in it! He seemed the sort of type who had only just recently graduated two years at Community college but had somehow magically acquired smarts from a Harvard Business School honors degree! It was all the same old shark’s skin suit with shiny pants boilerplate ‘put-on’ perfectly in line with the extra bullshit that the new parent bank from Ohio was putting everyone through. As if taking all everyone’s money and then charging all them a big fat fee for the privilege was some sort of immense personal favor! The Samsung smart phone on the night table rattled awake displaying the digital numerals. There was no options left beyond a quick rinse in the shower and an Egg McMuffin on the fly if she could rustle up enough change from the bottom of her pockets. The bus across town to the mall ten miles away to the corner of the main boulevard that the bank stood across from was notorious for always running late. Her cleanest outfit still had a couple small greasy spaghetti stains on the front of her teal shift skirt from the previous week when that customer from the old bank had recognized her standing in line at the shopping mall’s drug store. A funny type of eccentric guy that for some reason had been a presence at her branch as of late. He would cash a couple of traveler’s checks for a hundred apiece as if he was just visiting only for the day. But bright and early the next morning he would show up nice again. She had taken up his hustle to take her for a quick lunch at the Olive Garden. The stylish cut of his suit coat suggested a career long Vegas hustler. Yet those old graying mutton chop temples and the accompany hairbrush mustache brought her own long forgotten dead grandpa to mind.
The paint peeling metal door on the back end of the rectangular blockhouse hadn’t been newly decorated since the old bank had been taken over the previous year. What had resulted across on the opposite face of this cinder block monstrosity could only be described as a modern commercial architect’s wet dream. The door buzzer was broken as usual and she had to bang hard upon the worn spot where a couple of generations of other unknown female tellers much like herself had worn it away with their stick on nails. While no doubt someone on the other end of that the surveillance camera floating aloft stared down on them having a good chuckle. The door finally swung open to reveal Danny’s smug shit eating grin which she promptly bustled past. Looking straight ahead to the back of the teller’s station she made for the locker just behind it where she was required to put her purse and coat. “That’s another two minutes not on time going on your record, Ms Franklin!“, his snarky nasal male voice rung out. “And three minutes that the company owes me for standing outside of a door pounding with that no one there to answer it!” she spat back as she continued in forward motion. That new fat bull dyke Negro security guard was already unlocking the front door. Her massive hindquarters threatening to split the pants seam of her blue uniform that was obviously two sizes too tight for her to be wearing. Several barely discernible figures on the other side of the glass were already impatient and doing their best to demonstrate it. Why was it such a point of honor with some of them to get so riled if it was a couple of minutes past the posted hours for them to be open? The stumbled into the lobby at a fast pace as if a cattle car gate had been suddenly released. Were these squares worried that the bank had lost all their funds? Or maybe they had wised up to the fact that the whole thing was a scam in the first place and they all wanted their money!
Something suddenly didn’t seem right? Didn’t feel right to her! Alarm bells going off inside telling that this rapid movement by this mini-herd seemed wrong, As each member of this herd became individually recognizable beyond a solitary amorphous angry pack she felt the desire to duck down into the cubbyhole behind her station. Though she was not regularly one to feel secure about her own instincts, she knew as if by animal reflex that some form of major violence was immediately about to go down. The big fat belligerent overstuffed presence of the rent a guard was already ducking down having retreated to a corner just to the side of the entrance. The face coming into focus just before her had a strange inert shiny quality of emptiness. Another running past by her looking as if it was an exact copy of the leading one that was glowering at her now frozen off balance in a half crouch. A black metallic object extending from directly out of the sleeve of the right hand with the barrel on the end of it pointed right in her face. “Punch that silent alarm switch and you’re dead!“, the apparition snarled. The room around her became a bright disorienting blur of activity of figures moving rapidly about her. One banging into her knocking her to the floor as if they were on a football field contending for the same forward pass. The shock of the impact causing her to cry out in a sharp bark as she receded into a fetal position. Deep within it was obvious that they were being robbed by a small number of highly rehearsed robbers. She could hear the commotion as each of the group seemed to quickly take up a prearranged task as prescribed by some well-worn playbook. The manager was now kneeling looking towards the door to the vault with a gun to the back of his head shaking like a leaf. He was jerked up by his upper arm by a burly figure in a dirty blue mechanic’s jump suit who catapulted his diminutive frame forward towards the back. A vice-like grip on her own arm yanked her off the floor with a violence that suggested being snatched up by a bird of prey. The three of them were all being shoved into the hallway to the back entrance that she had just stepped out of. Her heart was now pounding hard threatening to shoot forward out her chest onto the floor.
A tiny voice was repeating a short repetitive message in a slow calming monotonous manner saying, “Give them what they want and don’t struggle!”, again and again and again. A crazy image flashed through her mind for an instant. She was back at Shuggie’s with her face pointed down at her own tall drink tumbler studying the way that it broke up the flickering light from the cop show playing on the LCD screen that hung down off the ceiling over the back of the bar. The dialogue booming out from just in front of her not matching up the the prismatic light display from her glass through her blurry eyes. She felt herself being shacked about and pushed up against the wall. “Which one?“, a voice barked. “Her!“, another voice just behind her head loudly replied. She felt her arm being tugged hard towards the back exit as a black garbage bag banged upon the back of her calves. Danny was now face first flat on the ground underfoot as the door was now open and she was being pushed forward towards the opening. An old four door Chevy suburban was idling just to the side as she was pushed forward towards one of the open doors. To her shock she realized she was being abducted as a hostage!. The bench seat in the back was gone and empty space of floor was covered with a confusion of old blankets over which she was pushed into. Her arms were now pulled back behind her as she heard a sharp chatter and then a sharp click accompanying the feeling of cold metal bracelets restraining both wrists. A pair of hands pulled her head back and a black hood slip over it as she felt the acceleration of the vehicle swiftly rocking her the vehicle turning first left, and right in quick succession before it started picking up speed. She waited for the sound of a siren but after a few blocks realized that none was coming to her rescue. It was as if she had somehow wished this on herself with an errant thought battering through the inside of her skull. She knew that she had somehow cursed herself with all her constant negativity. God only knew what was going to happen next!