“There’s no need for you to get hurt” said the Wal-Mart cashier icily.
“Just put the money on the counter and step back”
The gun snapped with a flick of her wrist, the order was clear, one inch from my face.
The click of the hammer being pulled back got more of my attention, I swallowed hard.
“I don’t have time to argue with you” she said, nodding her head over my shoulder “There are other customers behind you waiting”
I snuck a quick glance over my shoulder and saw a man reading a National Enquirer and a frazzled young mother in a green sweatshirt and pink bike shorts repeatedly taking objects from her 3 kid’s small hands that they kept insisting with increasing teeth scraping pleas that they really needed.
Not one was paying any mind to the threat I was facing….
I turned back and looked at the cashier.
“Yes’’ she said “I do…”
“Just let me take something back, I ain’t paying this, let me go look around some more and see if I can find something cheaper” I attempted a smile.
“PUT THE FUCKING MONEY ON THE COUNTER!!” The cashier shrieked, pushing the muzzle of the gun against the tip my nose.
I noticed that her teeth were sharper than normal and there was a small trickle of foam at the corner of her mouth.
“Okay Okay!” I replied throwing my hands up again.
She just stared at me….
I started to drop my hands and reach for my wallet…
“Slowly….” She said.
I very slowly reached around and pulled my wallet from my pocket.
“Slower….” She said.
I very much slowly brought the wallet in front of her and pulled out a $100 bill.
I laid it on the counter….slowly.
“Step back” she said, the gun muzzle pushed me back like an invisible hand.
I stepped back….slower.
The Wal-Mart cashier, her left eye twitching, picked up the money and opened the cash drawer.
She turned back to me and handed me $10 in change.
“You have a nice day now” She smiled as she tucked the revolver back into her apron. Losing interest in me, her gaze turned to the frazzled mom behind me and said “Boy, those kids are cute”
I picked up my little damn Wal-Mart bag and headed out of the store. I snuck quick glances over my shoulder to see if anyone had noticed that I had just been fucking robbed in Wal-Mart.
No one was looking or seemed to even care.
They were all standing in line waiting their turn.
“Sheep…” I thought
I saw a couple of handguns brandished at a few customers but no one was arguing with the cashiers like I had.
They just smiled and handed over the money.
I did see one unmoving man lying in a pool of blood, a big hole in his forehead, the two cashiers rifling his pockets were laughing and counting out the money they had found sewn into a hidden money belt the man had under his shirt.
The dead man’s foot was still twitching….
I had the Wal-Mart bag hanging from my arm as I exited thru the sliding ‘entrance’ door, hoping that the security cameras would catch my parting act of defiance.
All of a sudden I remembered something as I stopped just outside of the door…
I broke into a run…
The shouting and gun blasts followed me, the sonic boom of high velocity bullets whip-cracked past my ears.
I bobbed and weaved as the deadly rounds dug up asphalt and ricocheted with whines and sparks spraying off parked cars and shopping carts.
I seen an old lady go down with a leg wound.
“Medic!” she howled as I sprinted past her, head down!
“You lying bastard!” I heard a young girl scream thru the hail of hot lead and echoing death….
“You said when you got change you’d buy some cookies on your way out!!!” another girl screamed from behind me….
She jerked a round into the shotgun she held at her waist….
More shots and Girl Scout cursing chased me as I threw myself to the ground and rolled under a car.
There was already someone else under the car…..A man.
He looked at me, I looked at him.
He asked “Do you have food?”
I looked out from under the car for pursuers.
Not hearing or seeing anyone following just now I turned back to the man and said “Yeah, some bread and pickles, I dropped the steak when I had to run for it”
He fumbled with the jar of pickles I pushed over to him… “Thanks” he said as he hungrily shoved two pickles into his mouth, chewing with relish…
I waited for a pause in his mastication and asked him “How long have you been under here?”
He just looked at me, a tear trickled from the corner of his eye.
In a shaking whisper he said “Since this morning, I think I blacked out for a little bit”
“I went by there on my way here” the pickle chewing man said “The Salvation Army is set up at both doors and a high school cheerleading car wash is in the parking lot”
“Damn” I muttered under my breath.
“We’re not getting out of here alive….are we?” the man asked, his hand gripping my arm.
“Shhhh!!!” I hissed.
There were little sneakered feet approaching the car….
The man’s eyes grew wide with fright, then narrowed.
“Sorry dude” he said, a shit eating grin cracking his lips.
I heard a couple of shouts and then more gunfire.
There was an anguished cry and I seen the pickle chewing man go down in a shower of bullets, blood and pickles splattered over parked cars….
“Poor son of a bitch” I thought.
I seen a shadow fall over my hiding spot…..I tensed.
A little girl peered under the car at me, a smoking .44 magnum clutched in her tiny fist.
She smiled at me, one tooth missing in her evil little Brownie grin.
I fumbled with my wallet under the small confines of the car and shoved a $10 bill across the asphalt to her.
She looked at it….then looked at me.
I got the jist of it….
I shoved another $10 toward her.
She smiled, a question in her eyes.
She said “Thanks mister” …….She hurried away, pony tail bobbing.
I let out a shuddering breath…..
Live to shop another day…..
I need a diversion….
I needed a hostage for this run…