Bob Wilson was on vacation. It was a forced vacation; he hadn’t had a vacation in over two years and he really didn’t want this one. He really, really, didn’t want this one.
“You’re taking vacation time next week and that’s it,” Bob’s boss, Bill Sanders, had said last Friday. “Studies show everyone needs to get away once in awhile to remain productive. So, no arguments; have a good week.”
Bob had been embezzling from the company for over three years now. He tried to never miss a day because someone might find something if they had to take over one or two of his job duties while he was out. It had started small, but it had grown as he became better at it. He had taken about a hundred and thirty thousand dollars in three years and had it in cash, squirreled away in a small suitcase in the back of the closet in his apartment.
Over the weekend, because he would be off work for five days and was sure to be found out, he had decided to take his nest egg and head for Mexico. It wouldn’t last for the rest of his life, but something would probably turn up there to supplement it.
That a soft-spoken office worker would decide to rob a bank on his way out of the city showed how much his ego had grown out of proportion to his abilities. Bob had no idea how to rob a bank other than what he had read in novels or seen in the movies and on television. The embezzling was real; he had actually been quite good at it. The bank job was pure Walter Mitty.
“This is a stick-up; give me all the cash in the drawer,” Bob said under his breath, but with surprising authority. He had practiced that opening line on the way to bank until he had it right.
“If it’s a stick-up, where’s your gun?” asked the teller whose nametag said “MILLIE LANGSTON.” “You’re supposed to have a gun when you say ‘This is a stick-up’ and you should have probably just passed me a note. The woman back there waiting for the next available teller could have heard you.” Millie was what some people would call “a real piece of work.”
“Well, it is a stick-up and I’ve got a gun in my jacket. Now hand over all your money,” groused Bob, still ignoring the possibility of being overheard.
“Have you ever robbed a bank before?” asked Millie, raising her eyebrows and giving Bob a snarky smile.
“Well, not that it’s any of your business, but no, I haven’t. I did embezzle over a hundred thousand from my job, though, and after I rob this bank, I’m heading to Mexico. I’m all packed; everything I’m taking with me is in my car,” explained Bob.
“Take me,” whispered Millie, leaning over to be closer to the glass partition.
“What?” Bob whispered back to her.
“I said, ‘take me’.”
“You mean right here in front of everybody?”
“No, ya weirdo, take me with you to Mexico. Sheesh! Now, anyway, I’ll tell the manager I don’t feel well. We can go to my place and I can be packed in fifteen minutes.”
Once outside, Bob walked to the driver’s side of his car. “No, no,” said Millie, “I’ll drive. Just so you know, I’ll be making most of the decisions from here on out. You might be a good embezzler, but I think if we’re going to get to Mexico ahead of the cops, I’m going to have to be the brains of this outfit.”
With a smirk on his face, Bob meekly walked around to the passenger side and got in. As they drove off, he could hardly contain the laughter that threatened to bubble over and push him into hysterics. He’d robbed a bank, well, sort of robbed a bank, and was headed for Mexico to who knew what. He banged out a bongo drumbeat on the dashboard until, laughing, Millie begged him to stop.
When Bob woke up the next morning in their motel room, he half expected Millie would be gone with his car and his money. When she was still there in bed with him, he thought that maybe he had truly found his soul mate. He looked over in the corner by the television and saw her small attaché case next to his small suitcase. She had been embezzling just as he had been; she also had had no plan on when to quit and take the money and run. Bob’s forced vacation had been his push and his bank robbery attempt had been hers.
Later this week they would cross into Mexico. Millie would be in charge, but Bob was okay with that. He smiled. He still couldn’t believe he wasn’t sitting at his desk at work waiting for the ax to fall.
However, three days later in a motel in southern Texas, another ax was being hefted into place. A black and white pulled slowly into the motel parking lot. It pulled up behind Bob’s car and blocked it in. The squad had flashing lights, but no siren. Bob saw the red flashes strobe off the wall opposite the front window. He opened the space in the drapery a little wider and peered out. When he turned to go over to the bed to wake Millie, he was surprised to see that she was up and almost dressed. Millie had also seen the flashing lights on the wall.
“Get dressed, Bob, we’re getting out of here,” said Millie in even tone. She walked over to the door of the adjoining room and began to pick the lock.
“Gee, Millie, for a bank teller you sure have a variety of skills,” said Bob.
“Thanks, Bob, you’re a peach,” said Millie. “You carry both suitcases and stay close behind me. While that cop’s getting our room number from the front desk, we’re going to put a little space between him and us. First thing we have to do is get a car.”
“We’ve got the money, but how are we going to buy a car at 7:00 in the morning?” asked Bob.
“We’ll probably have to buy a car later, but right now we’re just going to borrow somebody’s to get out of the city. Mexico’s going to have to wait until we aren’t quite so hot.” Millie then did a reverse lock pick and locked the adjoining room door behind them. They went out that room’s front door and into the parking lot on the other side of the motel.
A few minutes later and a few blocks from the motel, Bob watched in amazement as Millie messed with some wires under the dash of a car that had been unlocked. The urge to giggle hit him but he suppressed it; he thought he owed it to Millie to at least try to be serious.
“I saw that grin, ya big dope,” said Millie smiling at Bob. “Go ahead and have your hysterics if ya have to, but get in the car first so nobody sees ya.”
Roy Dorman is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and has been a voracious reader for over 60 years. At the prompting of an old high school friend, himself a retired English teacher, Roy is now a voracious writer. He has had poetry and flash fiction published recently in Camel Saloon, Drunk Monkeys, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Yellow Mama, Black Petals, Near To The Knuckle, Flash Fiction Magazine, Shotgun Honey, and Lake City Lights, an online literary site at which he is the submissions editor.