"And that's exactly how it went down, Mr. Jane," I said. He sat there with his arms cross, staring me down. I hadn't felt this nervous since basic training. I was more worried about telling her Father than talking to the police because I don't look the criminal type, at least I don't think I do. But telling Mr. Jane wasn't the same. His disgust transferred heat to my face, and my fingers turned cold to the touch. "Are you going to call the police?"
"What do you think, you idiot? I could have you thrown in jail like"--he snapped his fingers--"that. Is that what you want?"
"I think you're going to be a good father and not call the cops?" I said, questioning even myself. It wasn't like Mr. Jane was the role model parent. And it wasn't like Mr. Jane was the most honest doctor. He'd been arrested for overprescribing opiates five years ago. His high-profile lawyer got him off with a lesser charge and no jail time.
"I can't believe this shit," Mr. Jane said. "What you did was stupid as fuck. And to top it off, you didn't even get much money."
"I'm not a career criminal," I said. "But I kind of robbed a bank." I raised a sly brow and opened and closed my hands. "Just one, so far."
"How much money did you get? Because I can go straight to the cops with this information, and you're looking at a lengthy sentence, buddy. Unless..."
"Unless what?" I asked. "I really don't like where this is going."
"Look, I need some money."
"I don't like where this is going."
"If you rob one or possibly two banks," Mr. Jane said, using his fingers. "Things might disappear from my memory. Like the time you slapped my daughter in the face."
I swallowed hard. "I thought you're a rich doctor?" I raised both hands and circled the room. "I mean, look at this place."
"Looks can be deceiving. With student loan debt and paying for a house we can't afford, the bank is breathing down my neck. I need some cash quick." Mr. Jane placed a firm grip on my shoulder. "If you do this for me, I won't tell anyone about you being an accessory to murder."
I raised my hands in front of my body. "Wait, now hold on just a minute. I didn't actually kill him, though."
"You were there," Mr. Jane said. "In fact, you would be sentenced to death. Do you want a death sentence? Hell. Jenna could be the helpless witness who you kidnapped. Do you know what they do to kidnappers in prison?"
"Prison?" I said loud enough for only Jenna to hear. My mouth hung open, not closing. I couldn't decide if this place was bugged and the cops were seeking to pull a confession out of me or if I was being blackmailed, or both.
Jenna looked at me hard. "Dad's right. If you go to jail for this shit, I'm done."
Jill and Jenna and Mr. Jane stared me down. I could decide if I wanted to leave and take responsibility for my part in the crime. Fuck, what was I thinking? I can't go to prison. But robbing another bank might put me in jail anyway. I weighed the pros and cons. I'd never gotten a break in life; I can't hope a judge would have mercy on a nobody like me. Besides, what are a few more banks? It's not like it's their money anyway. And bankers don't exactly spend the cash legally either. So what if I take (or steal) some cash. Big deal, right?
"Fine," I said, waving my arms. "I'm going to need help, though."
Mr. Jane slammed his eye shut and squeezed his fists as if he'd just won the Super Bowl or some other end-of-season game. "I knew you had it in you. And look, if you play your cards right, I might let you marry Jenna."
My eyes stretched their sockets. Marry Jenna? I'm all fucking in now.
"You did say you'd do anything for me, didn't you?" Jenna raised a sly brow. "It should be easier the second time."
Well, I did say I'd do anything for her. I should have said I'd do anything but that. And that could have been whatever the fuck I wanted it to be, like rob a bank. I sucked in a deep breath and blew out a sharp sigh. "A bank, though, really?"
"Dad does need the money. In fact, that's what I've been upset about. It isn't us I'm worried about; well, at least not as much as you think. " Jenna slammed her fists on her hips, and her eyes became crinkled slits. "You going to do it or what? Don't tell me you're too scared?"
"Why didn't you tell me about their money problems before?" I said, widening then closing my arms. "All you had to do was--"
"Will you two shut up," Mr. Jane said. "Are you in or not? We don't have much time. The bank needs the money in one week. So, if you could hit one or more banks, we can think about a future with you and Jenna."
"Fine, I'll do it," I said, waving my arms in front of my body as if to bat away the tension. "I need a getaway driver."
"Why can't you do it like last time, just you?" Jenna asked. "Just use the mask and stuff?"
"I didn't use a mask last time. I didn't want to draw attention. I simply went in, normal, and walked up to the clerk. I slipped her a note, and she returned with cash. It was that easy. It wasn't like the movies where a shootout takes place. It was like going to the store to purchase a gallon of milk. In and out."
I slammed my fists on my hips, giving each an unrelenting stare. "Either we do it my way, or not at all," I said. "Got it?"
Jenna scratched the back of her neck. "Just tell us what to do."
"I need you to dye your hair or get a wig," I said.
"Why me?" Jenna asked.
"Look, do you want to do this or not?" I said.
"I'm going. I'm going."
We switched tags on the F150 to that of an old Chevelle. And, in case I needed to flash it, I placed a pellet gun in the small of my back.
What was becoming of me? Robbing banks and killing strangers wasn't in the cards, but maybe this is my fate. Maybe robbing banks was my cross to bear. I wasn't sure of anything anymore. Reality had become a blur.
YOU ARE READING
Guilt Is For The GuiltyShort Story
On the way to Jenna's grandmother's funeral, Ben, her boyfriend, have a tire blowout along a highway with little traffic. Jenna and Ben argued over who's to blame. An old hotel rests five miles from the car. While there, Ben witnesses a robbery gone...