I cased it for a few nights. Timed the regulars, knew their patterns. The brand of snuff they bought, the 40’s they sucked down. This was supposed to be easy. Too young girl working the counter, this late at night. Already knowing where the money box was kept. Knowing that no weapons were under the counter. Having worked here a few years ago, already knowing the owner was a drunk who often forgot to pick up the drops to take them to the bank. Leaving that much cash, with a cute just-out-of-high-school girl, the only thing stopping someone from stealing it.
I’ll admit. She was a distraction. Her dark brown bob, dancing as she swayed her head to the house music. The way she smiled at every customer as if they were friends, genuine. The artwork snaking up her slender arm. A little too much make-up that she didn’t need, but she had a style and it was intriguing.
Thirty seconds is all it should’ve taken. Pop in, gun out, mask down, loud, scary and demanding. Keep her from thinking straight by yelling and smashing things. That’s the way I’d usually do it. But honestly. I didn’t want to startle her. I didn’t want her crying and hysterical. I didn’t want to see her bottom lip quaking, the thick eyeliner running down her cheeks. So, I went in smooth, suave. Ball cap pulled down real low, sauntered up to the counter. Asked real polite for the money in the register and the cash box, placed my loaded gun gently on the counter.
As I watch the blood pool around my feet, I know were it all went wrong. Why the fuck did I take my hand off the gun? Days watching her operate, all cute and bubbly, flirty with no attitude. I never expected her hands to be so fast. Her demeanor so cool. Sure, I didn’t want her frightened into hysterics, but I never expected the ease at which she would gun someone down.
She got two shots off before I knew what was happening. I fell back into the chip display. I tried to apologize for causing such a mess but forming words while choking on your blood is difficult. She’s on the phone now, talking to the police. Still cool, no quiver in her voice, just relaying the chain of events. All the way staring right at me, no tears in her eyes.
I never expected to die, sprawled out on a blanket of bloody snack foods, a bag of potato chips jammed in my armpit.
Jason Melvin received a gimmicky T-shirt from his teenage daughter on Christmas with a picture of one large fist fist-bumping a much smaller fist. The caption read, “Behind every smart-ass daughter is a truly asshole Dad”. It fit. He can be found on Twitter @jason5melvin and on his website at www.jasonmelvinwords.weebly.com.