Part 1

Cathy didn’t know what to do. Neither did the white-haired store clerk; her gum, white against her teeth and pale pink lipstick, was frozen in place as they stared at each other. The safe was there. Easy pickings. This frail woman ought to give her no problem; she must be malnourished, she’s so thin and wiry. Her hair was pinched back into a sloppy wad at the nape of her neck, teeny wire glasses barely hanging on her nose, as her eyes widened, realizing Cathy wasn’t going to let her just go. Not yet.
Cathy motioned to the woman’s right with the gun she was holding. Not saying a word, the two of them played the game the way it was supposed to be played. The seemingly older woman knelt down, hands behind her head, and squirmed against the wall as Cathy closed in, gun closer to the woman’s forehead than she’d ever held a gun before. In all seriousness, Cathy was just hoping that this would be over soon, that she could get out of here, not get seen on camera, and leave with nobody caring about much more than the fact that they were still alive. She checked her hat to make sure it still covered her face – it was still there.
She knew it was dark in this corner, having seen the place the day before when she came in to look for chips and a soda and use the restroom, just across the walkway. She also saw how much foot traffic came by and how many people came in from this busy sidewalk. This tiny place must do a lot of business, she thought. She knew if she was going to make her deadline, tonight was the night, and this was the place.
She truly hoped she wouldn’t have to do anything that might hurt this old woman. Or herself. She needed to keep up her strength so she could deal with her fence – “Roller” was how he was known here – and she was already tired having spent a near-sleepless night in the practically unused janitorial closet. He wasn’t exactly happy with her already, and had collateral; her son was too vulnerable and too young, to know who to trust right now, and he was giving the boy everything he wanted. For the moment. She just had to get into this safe.
With the woman down on her knees and unarmed, she glanced sideways and contemplated the next step – she wondered how she could force someone to open it for her – she’d caught her a few moments early, just before she played with those damn buttons. Her jaw clenched and she drew her eyebrows together, as a desperate feeling grew in the pit of her stomach. The other employee was in front, completely oblivious to what was going on in the office room. But it wouldn’t be long before he asked for help out there – it really did get jumping first thing in the morning in this busy city.


Part 2


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