|I'd been having a bad week...a bad life, really, but not anymore. This week I was to turn things around. I'd planned it out carefully. After all, a guy with a clean record generally doesn't have a lot of experience in how to commit a felony, particularly a federal offense. That's why most get caught right away. The on-the-job learning curve is a real killer. I wasn't going to be one of those.
It all started back when I decided to be a writer. You see, I had a job, but
I quit it to write. Problem was, I didn't have any idea what I was going to
write about. Then it dawned on me, the light bulb went off. I'd become a
mystery writer. I started studying bad guys, criminal types. I read the true
crime stories; I watched the cop shows on TV. I knew the criminal mind
inside and out. And I knew they always got caught in the end. But this was
My financial situation, however, started to slide rapidly while I was trying
to learn the ropes. Seems the publishing industry wasn't exactly waiting
with eager anticipation for me to come out with my first book. Random House
hadn't sent me that big advance I'd dreamed about. Not that the form letter
they sent wasn't encouraging, except that my name was misspelled. I bet they
could spell Mary Higgins Clark without a problem. The editor had actually
hand-written a note in the margin. Something about keeping my day job. Very
funny. It was then I decided to take action to rectify my economic status.
So here I am. It's Wednesday, my day. It's a sunny day in Seattle, rare, I
know. A good omen, I thought. Wednesday is cash day at the local Bank of
America branch. I'd been observing it for years. I'd noticed that every
Wednesday, the armored car delivered the weekly cash to the branch, right
around 10:00 AM. I'd also observed the head teller usually put the bags just
inside the vault door, to be counted and sorted after the lunch rush was
over. 11:00 AM would be my perfect time.
I'd pretty much covered all the bases. The surveillance cameras would record
a well-dressed woman, taller than me, with a slight limp favoring the right
leg. I must say that in drag, I made a damn fine looking woman. A note, a
threat, a bag full of cash, and my hasty exit. Call it my book advance from
Bank of America. So in I went.
As usual, I picked the slowest line, the one with the little old guy
counting out his pennies on the counter. I fingered my pistol as my hand
groped through my purse, looking for the note I'd written. I'd flash the
note and gun, give her the bag, and keep a close eye on the silent alarm
trigger. They'd get the message. The old guy finally shuffled off and I
headed to the counter.
"Yes m'am," the teller said.
That's right, you treat this old lady with respect, I laughed to myself. I
was just handing her the note when it hit. The floor shook, knocked me into
the counter. Someone shouted "earthquake", and the teller disappeared under
the counter. A hanging potted fern came down and hammered the top of my
head, knocking me to my knees where I rode out the rumblings and shakings.
People screamed, the building rattled, and then it was over. I felt a warm
trickle of blood on my forehead as a bank guard helped me to my feet.
"You okay, m'am?" he asked.
"Yeah, yeah," I muttered, "I'm just dandy."
Unhand me, young man. I made my way to the door. Outside, my getaway car
was now wearing a large concrete gargoyle on the roof that must have dropped
from the facade of the bank building, judging by the indent it made. Debris
covered the hood and trunk. Here I was, dressed as an old woman, armed with
a handgun, my robbery botched, my car crushed, my bank account still empty
and my heels were killing my feet. Not only that, I had a tear in my
stockings from landing on my knees. My life of crime was over.
I got home that night and my house was a mess, but my computer and keyboard
were still intact. I scrubbed off my makeup, put on my sweats and sat down
to work on my novel. "Page One," I typed. Then I blanked, as usual. If only
something interesting would happen to me to write about.