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Jonathan Woods
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Bus Stop

 

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 blue ones.

            “Hi,” I said.

          “Hey.”

          “Waiting for the bus?”

          “Yeah. And you?”

          “Same.”

          “Cool.”

          “What’s your name?”

          “Robin.”

          “Robin what?”

          “Robin Banks.”

          “You’re kidding?”

          “Why should I be?

“It’s just weird.”

“How so?”

          “That’s what I do.”

          “What?”

          “Rob banks.”

          “Yeah, right.”

          “God’s truth.”

          “And I suppose your name’s Robert, Rob for short.”

          “Actually, it’s Bill, short for William.”

          “Now that’s funny.”

          “Yeah, a hoot.”

          “Actually, it’s not that funny.”

          “No?”

          “I just discovered my boyfriend, another Bill, is sleeping around.”

          “What’re you going to do?”

          “Nothing.”

          “You’re just going to let it go?”

          “Yeah, fuck him. As soon as I get some dough together, I’m moving to Florida. Start fresh.”

          “I get that.”

“Do you?”

          “The same thing happened to me once.”

          “What did you do?”

          “I went to visit my mother.”

`        “Did it help?”

          “She was terminally ill. It was the least I could do.”

          “But what about your girlfriend?”

          “Actually, it was my boyfriend.”

          “Oh.”

          “Are you surprised?”

          “A little.”

          “Yeah, how 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 slump.”

“Well, there’s a bank across the street. If you’re for real, you should hold it up.”

“I’d have to case it first.”

“I knew you were bullshitting me.”

I unzipped my sports duffle and held it open. A .45 semi-auto rested on a fresh T-shirt.

“Proof enough?”

“Oh, a big bad gun. You must have a tiny dick?”

“What?”

“I dare you to walk across the street right now and rob that bank. Then hijack a car so we can amscray outta here with the loot.”

“We?”

“Yeah, we. I’ll even let you ravish me.”

“As if I’d be interested in that sort of thing.”

“Oh, right. I forgot.”

“So what’s in it for me?”

“I make a mean spaghetti and meatballs. Your slump would be over, and we could get a motel room with a kitchenette.”

“Hmmm. A bottle of Chianti, a 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,” she said. “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 dead meat.”

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 duffle.

“Do nothing. Otherwise, I’ll 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.

 “It’s your 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 MexicoKiss the Devil Goodnight, and the forthcoming pulp gothic western Hog Wild. His stories have appeared in 3:AM Magazine, Plots with Guns, Thug LitDallas 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).

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