by Jonathan Woods
Call me Ishmael.
I waited for a bus on a modest
commercial street. You’ve been there a thousand times: car wash, taco truck, cut-rate
gas, a secondhand store, a small bank branch, no sidewalks.
One other person stood at the bus-stop—dark-haired,
rail-thin, mid-twenties or there about, a sharp nose, thin lips, black fingernail
polish, and stacked. Her sleeveless white T-shirt said: Fuck the Horse You
Rode in On. My eyes met her steely
“It’s just weird.”
suppose your name’s Robert, Rob for short.”
it’s Bill, short for William.”
not that funny.”
discovered my boyfriend, another Bill, is sleeping around.”
going to do?”
going to let it go?”
him. As soon as I get some dough together, I’m moving to Florida. Start fresh.”
“I get that.”
“The same thing
happened to me once.”
“I went to
visit my mother.”
“Did it help?”
terminally ill. It was the least I could do.”
about your girlfriend?”
was my boyfriend.”
“Are you surprised?”
many gay bank robbers do you meet at a bus stop?”
“If you rob
banks, where’s your fancy getaway car?”
“I’m in a
“Well, there’s a bank
street. If you’re for real, you should hold it up.”
“I’d have to case
“I knew you were bullshitting
I unzipped my sports duffle and
it open. A .45 semi-auto rested on a fresh T-shirt.
“Oh, a big bad gun. You
have a tiny dick?”
“I dare you to walk across
street right now and rob that bank. Then hijack a car so we can amscray outta
here with the loot.”
“Yeah, we. I’ll even
“As if I’d be interested
sort of thing.”
“Oh, right. I forgot.”
“So what’s in it for
“I make a mean spaghetti
meatballs. Your slump would be over, and we could get a motel room with a
“Hmmm. A bottle of Chianti,
Greek salad, garlic bread. Maybe a cannoli for dessert.”
“Your move, Bill.”
We waited for a break in the
traffic. Then scooted across four lanes.
“I’ll wait out here,”
“Keep an eye out.”
The bank personnel consisted of
two tellers and a manager on the phone. I pulled my cap low, walked up to the
window of the Latina-looking teller and leaned on the counter.
“How may I help you?”
“I’ve got a gun. Give
me all the
cash in your drawer and in hers.” I nodded toward the skinny white-girl teller,
who looked like she’d just graduated high school. “If you make a fuss, you’re
Her eyes went in circles.
But she did what I told her,
whispering to the other teller about what was happening before emptying her cash
drawer. The manager stayed on the phone the whole time, never looked up.
I swept the money into the
“Do nothing. Otherwise,
come back and kill you.”
I showed her the gun.
When I pushed through the glass
front door, Robin hit me in the head with a two-by-four. I went down like a
rock thrown into a pond.
Picking up the duffle, Robin
took out the .45 and pointed it at me. I figured I was done for. Dead. Kaput.
Then she glanced behind her. A bus, like a great
white whale, was pulling up to the bus stop.
lucky day, Bill.”
She turned and ran helter-skelter across the
street. A car honked and swerved. But she made it. Moments later, I saw her
silhouette moving down the aisle inside the bus.
Before the cops arrived, I got up and disappeared
into a neighborhood of small brick ranches.
Call me Ishmael.
Jonathan Woods writes his
crime and horror tales in an 1896 house in Dallas, Texas. His books include two
story collections Bad Juju & Other Tales of Madness and
Mayhem and Phone Call from Hell and Other Tales of the Damned,
and the novels A Death in Mexico, Kiss the Devil Goodnight, and
the forthcoming pulp gothic western Hog Wild. His stories have
appeared in 3:AM Magazine, Plots with Guns, Thug Lit, Dallas
Noir (Akashic Books), and other lit-zines and anthologies. He lives in
the existential moment with his pals, Miss Pinky (a Shih Tzu) and Little Ruffy
(a Lhasa Apso).
If Charles Addams, Edgar Allan
Poe, and Willy Wonka sired a bastard child it would be the fat asthmatic by the name of Michael D. Davis. He has been called warped by dear friends and a freak
by passing strangers. Michael started drawing cartoons when he was ten, and his skill has improved with his humor, which isn’t
saying much. He is for the most part self-taught, only ever crediting the help of one great high school art teacher. His art
has been shown at his local library for multiple years only during October due to its macabre nature. If you want to see more
of Michael’s strange, odd, weird, cartoons you can follow him on Instagram at mad_hatters_mania.