That’s what the newspaper
called me. “The Bank-Robbin’ Deacon.”
Damn it, and I even had a
drink now and then at the VFW hall with the editor. The Minnetonka bank had
been hit for about eighteen hundred bucks. Not a big heist, but the teller took
a bullet in the shoulder.
“I was shopping at the SuperValu
at 2:30,” I told Sgt. Reilly after I was charged. “I think I still
have the cash register
receipt.” Reilly was a guy I’d gone to school with.
“Thing is,” he said, “we
got your picture. Standing at the counter. Holding a gun. Facial-recognition
match. The bank teller you
wounded confirmed it was you. Sorry,
Double damn. I needed
target practice and I didn’t think the crappy little bank had cameras.
Reilly apologized before
locking the cell door and pointing to a stinking jail mattress.
Next day the judge allowed
it was a “first offense” and could have been an “impulse crime.” My wife made
bail by emptying our bank account, cashed our savings bonds, and in 36 hours I
was back home.
“How could this happen?” Alicia
demanded. “You’re a church-going man, a good father. We don’t need the money!”
“That’s what I told the
police. And the court. And now I’m going to find a lawyer. Bob Mackenzie,
“He writes wills. He’s not
a criminal lawyer.”
“Alicia, I need to think. I’m
going for a long walk and then head down to the Cozy Corner for a coffee. I’ll
be back soon . . . and don’t worry. The Lord is with us.”
People on Walker Street
gave me the fish eye when I passed, or tried to make believe they didn’t see
me. I drank my coffee, alone.
Back outside I lit one of
the three cigarettes I smoke each day.
“Sorry for the shit dumped
on you ‘cause of the bank I robbed.”
An electrifying shock hit
me as I stared at the stranger. It was like looking in a mirror. He wore a
T-shirt and blue jeans, but otherwise was my exact image.
“What the hell?” I whispered.
“Yeah,” he said.
“Surprise. I said the same thing when I saw your picture in the paper.”
“Who are you?”
“Beats the shit out of me,
‘cept for one idea. I was an orphan. Got picked out’n an orphanage in Duluth. Coupla
years ago, I had a friend sneak a look at their books and found my ma. She was
a doper who died a year after dropping us on a church doorstep.” He held up two
fingers. “Two kids. Me and my twin.”
“Wait! Wait a minute. You
saying you’re my twin brother?”
“You tell me. Was you
adopted? You look like your folks?”
A chill ran through my
body. Both my mother and father had brown eyes, but mine were robin’s-egg blue—a
recessive gene. And Mom used to laugh at the dimple in my chin, saying she thought
her grandpa might’ve had one. “When were you born?” I demanded.
“’Bout February of 1984. No
birth certificate, so I made it the 29th.” He laughed. “Leap year.
I only age one-quarter as fast as
I inhaled sharply. “That’s my birth
date. I have my birthday cake on the 28th.”
“Guess our mama had
identical twins. So anyway, I just wanted to say sorry for the shit I got you
in. I’m out of here, now. Nice meetin’ you, Bro’. You’ll beat the rap.
Cops got no real proof.” He shot me a salute
“Wait! What’s your name—‘brother?’
“Call me Jimmy.” He smiled,
kind of brotherly.
“Well, Jimmy, stay in
touch, and happy trails. I’m the VP of Purchasing in that big foundry outside
I should have said thank
you. Now, on Monday, I could hit the armored car courier while he was getting
coffee, before dropping off our payroll. About 20 thousand, I figured.
If the cops questioned me,
I’ll know where to send them to find the thief. That facial recognition
photography sure is something.”
fiction has appeared in Bewildering Stories,
Big Pulp, Corner Club Press, CommuterLit, Connotation
Press, Every Day Fiction, Everyday Weirdness, Gumshoe Review,
InfectiveINk, Lunch Hour Stories, Mouth Full of Bullets, Mystery
Authors, OG Short Fiction, Over My Dead Body, Paradigm
Journal, Pif Magazine, Pulp Modern, r.kv.r.y, Short
Fiction World, Short-Story.Me, Southern Fried Weirdness, The
Short Humour Site, Wilderness House Literary Review, The World of
Myth and Written Word. Two volumes of short stories, Cruising the
Green of Second Avenue, published by Wild Child <www.wildchildpublishing.com
>, were available
from online retailers until his publisher
ceased operations. He served for three decades as director of
communications for Fortune 500 companies, helped publicize the Connecticut Film
Festival, managed publicity and programs for Western Connecticut State
University’s Haas Library, and moderates a writing group in New Jersey.
Christopher Goss, longtime
Black Petals and Yellow Mama contributor, has recently
made some lifestyle changes, moving from Del Rio Texas, where he made his
living building and servicing radio and TV towers, to Spearville, Kansas, where
he now works on giant generators on a 300-unit wind farm. He has also started
dabbling in some photo art, along with his dark fiction and poetry.