Money, Guns and Mustard

Joey ran from the scene as quick as he could. Sirens were already blaring and getting nearer. As Joey pumped his arms (gun in the left, money in the right) he made a conscious effort to clear his mind and think of nothing but escape. He’d try to figure out what had gone wrong when he was safe.

Back at the bank, Sam and Tim were, in Joey’s opinion, making a fatal error. Joey bolted with what little cash he had as soon as the alarm sounded. Sam and Tim continued to fill their bags from the vault and were now waiting for Cedric to pull the van up to the door and get them out of there. As they wait, the police get closer.

Joey turned into an alley. He knows the town, having lived here a few years back. Right here should be, yes, there it is, a fire escape. He climbed quickly.

Cedric skids to a quick stop. The sliding door opens, the two robbers jump in. A police squad car appears around the corner behind them. The van begins to move even with its door still open.

Joey reaches an open window and jumps inside. He’s in an apartment. As he expected, nobody appears to be home. He wants a sandwich.

Cedric zigs and zags through the light afternoon traffic as more and more police cars join the pursuit. The van narrowly avoids being cut off by a newcomer, then turns, heading for the highway.

Joey finds ham and mustard in the fridge. There is also bread on the counter that appears quite fresh. He puts down his gun and money.

Sam leans out a window of the van and fires his pistol at one of the squad cars. Tim and Cedric shout at each other, arguing about which way to go.

Joey, using a knife from the dishwasher, spreads mustard on two slices of bread. He adds the ham. He sits down. He turns on the television.

Cedric reaches the onramp, and cuts off a white Dodge Shadow to get into the right lane. The police pursuit, now eight cars strong, continues.

Joey flips through the channels. He stops when he finds a cartoon. He begins to eat the sandwich.

The van cruised down the highway. Sam occasionally fired at the squad cars. Tim stuffed money into his pockets, thinking if he had to make a run for it, he didn’t want to lose the cash.

A mile ahead Brad drove his eighteen wheeler down the highway, eating a ham sandwich, dripping with mustard.

Joey looked up at the clock. 2:37. If her routine hadn’t changed, that old lady who lived here wouldn’t be home for hours yet. He contemplated making another sandwich even before finishing the first.

Cedric’s heart pounded. Tim’s eyes moved quickly, trying to find a means of escape. Sam’s finder once again pulled the trigger. This time, only a click.

Mustard fell from Brad’s sandwich and landed on his pants. The pants Martha had got him just last week. He felt like an idiot and reached for a napkin.

Joey finished the sandwich and counted the money he had. $720. Better than nothing, he supposed. He stood up.

The van began to slip out of Cedric’s contol. It was not meant to go as fast as it was.

Brad’s eyes never left the road. He grabbed a napkin and rubbed and dabbed at the mustard on his pants. Ahead he saw a lot of flashing lights. They were in the opposite lane, so Brad decided he didn’t need to pull over. He continued trying to clean his mess.

Joey found a pair of scissors and went into the old lady’s bathroom. He began to cut his hair as short as possible.

Cedric panicked and swerved the steering wheel. Tim had braced himself, but cursed. Sam fell out the still opened door and rolled. The van spun into the opposite lane.

Brad, being a professional, stopped before hitting the van. He then decided to position his trailer across the lane, leaving the van no escape.

Joey then found a razor and began to shave his head. He figured he’d make another sandwich before he left. He didn’t hear the door open.

Cedric was forced to stop the van. Tim was already running. Cedric fumbled with his seatbelt. The police cars that hadn’t stopped by Sam were now upon them.

Brad saw a man with a gun running towards his rig. He knew he had plans of hijacking. Brad grabbed the nearest thing he thought could be used as a weapon.

Chris had stopped into his grandmother’s apartment to give her back a movie he’d borrowed. He saw a gun on the coffee table next to a stack of twenty-dollar bills. He heard someone in the washroom.

Joey, while shaving, ran his tongue along his teeth and found a piece of mustard covered bread there.

Cedric got out of the van, raised his hands, and got to the ground. Wounded Sam was already being loaded into an ambulance.

Tim opened the door to the sixteen wheeler and pointed his gun inside. Brad drew his arm back.

Chris grabbed the gun.

Tim’s eyes widened.

Joey noticed movement in the mirror.

A half-eaten sandwich left Brad’s hand and hit Tim’s face. As he fell back, the gun fired twice into the air.

Joey spun around, already cursing his leaving the gun on the table. To think he considered himself a professional.

The cops surrounded Tim. Brad, shaken, couldn’t bring himself to look out the door of his truck.

Joey grabbed the scissors and got up against the wall. Maybe it had been a cat?

Chris was against the opposite side of the wall. He held his breath.

Joey moved slowly, looking in the mirror to see out the door.

Chris swallowed hard.

Joey jumped through the door and rolled towards the table. In an instant he saw the gun was gone. He turned.

Chris had started and nearly dropped the gun. He composed himself and aimed.

Joey threw the scissors. They missed their mark and stuck into the wall. Joey dove for the cash on the table as the first shot rang out.

Chris fired a second time as the stranger fluidly took the money and headed to the window. Chris didn’t want to hurt the man, but couldn’t let him get away.

Joey dove through the open window, hurting his shoulder when it hit the rail of the escape. A third shot rang out and he got to his feet.

Chris got to the window and saw the man running down to the street. Chris took aim and fired again. The man fell.

Joey’s leg bled. He was on ground now. He still held his money, but he couldn’t get anywhere wounded.

Chris was dialing the police, but it was unnecessary as officers who had been down the road at the bank had heard the shots and come running.

Joey crawled, trying to hide behind a dumpster, but it did him no good. He wished he’d made that second sandwich.

Tim, Sam, Cedric, and Joey all went to prison. Chris considered keeping the money on his grandmother’s coffee table, but couldn’t bring himself to do it. Brad’s pants were not stained. The end.

Patrick D Ryall, the D is for Germs
Originally posted on Contains2 Monday, 01 March 2004

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