Thanks to everyone who entered the Truth is Stranger Than Fiction Contest that Vic (aspiring_x) and I hosted! We read all of the entries and actually both agreed on the two we chose for first place, second place, and third place! Today, tomorrow, and Wednesday, the winners will be revealed!
Today, congratulations goes to DONNA HOLE, my third place winner!
Benny didn’t set out to rob The Bank Of America. What he set out to do was to retrieve his truck from impound.
Except; he didn’t have the thousand dollar fee that the last five days had racked up.
But he did have a plan.
His grandmother had opened him a savings account at Bank of America, and invested $1,000 towards his future. Since he didn’t graduate high school, it never occurred to him until now the money could be used for anything but college. His mom had told him she had to borrow some money from it over the years, but he was sure she’d put all the money back just as she’d promised. Who knew how much interest had built up in the 22 years since it’d been opened.
When he arrived at the B of A, he was surprised that so many people were in line. It was the middle of the work day after all.
Trying not to look stealthy, Benny strolled to the Plexiglas info stand near the center of the reception area. He pulled out a withdrawal slip - and stared at the requested info. ACCOUNT NAME he could supply, and did, printing in large, block letters. And signature was easy enough. He used bold, sweeping strokes to impress the teller with his suave.
He couldn’t remember the date.
All the shops he walked past had Christmas sales posters in the windows, but it was only a couple weeks ago he crashed a Halloween party. And two nights ago he’d succumbed to hunger and the cold and spent the night in a shelter. They were all talking about the Thanksgiving feed and invited him to come back for it.
His mind reeled. What the hell was the date? He looked pleadingly at the customers between the red ropes; but most were talking on cell phones, writing in day books, or reading. There was one woman in jeans and sweatshirt, fussing with a stroller. Benny approached her, cleared his throat, and asked what day it was.
“Thank you,” he said, returning her toothy grin.
He returned to the stand and wrote the date on the slip. Then stared in mute fascination at the last area to fill out. The account number. He couldn’t make a withdrawal without an account number.
He crumpled the withdrawal slip and stuffed it in the pouch pocket of his Lakers sweat shirt.
He began to imagine how much money should be in that account by now. Way more than the thousand he needed to retrieve his truck. The account was his, and he’d never withdrawn any money from it, so it should all be there for him to access in his hour of dire need. He turned over a deposit slip, tightly gripped the chained pen and in neat block print wrote: “This is a stick up. I have a gun in my pocket. Give me all the money in your till.”
Good, he thought; then he moved over to the customer line. He held the note for a few minutes, then worried someone would be able to see the message, so he stuffed it in his pocket.
Ten minutes later he was only three people closer to the tellers; with six people ahead of him in line. And everyone seemed to be staring at Benny as if they knew his secret.
With exaggerated motions, Benny pushed up his left sleeve, stared at his naked wrist, then loudly declared he was late as he rushed out the doors. By the time he managed to break free from crush of pedestrians, he’d crossed the street, flowed with the walking traffic down the sidewalk, and finally extricated himself in front of the Wells Fargo bank. He took it as a sign his plan could still work.
Benny entered the lobby, and was relieved to see only two people in line, and what looked like five open teller stations. He took his place in line, and before he had a chance to think about what he was doing, he had stepped up to a teller and slid the note across her counter. He stood with what he hoped was an intimidating scowl on his face, hands tucked into his pocket pouch.
“Is this a joke,” she asked, no hint of humor in her voice.
“Oh,” he answered, exchanging the wrinkled withdrawal slip for the deposit slip.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t accept this,” the 30 something red head informed him. “Its written on a Bank Of America deposit slip. You’ll have to go to that bank to make your intended withdrawal.”
“But, there’s a long line,” Benny complained.
“If I may suggest Sir, the nearest Bank of America is only a couple blocks up the street - South, and on the other side.”
Benny blew out a frustrated breath. “Thank you,” he said politely, and made his way towards the door.
He stopped at the Plexiglas podium that held exactly the same account brochures, deposit and withdrawal slips, and looked back to the helpful teller. She shook her head slightly, and wiggled her fingers towards the doors. She was right of course, he did have the note already written out on the B of A slip. He’d just have to wait in line like everyone else.
The walk sign at the intersection seemed to take an unusually long time to change. He wasn’t halfway across when he heard the sirens. Intent on his mission, he didn’t immediately register that the sounds of squealing tires and smell of burned rubber had surrounded his crosswalk. Until he heard his full name called from a bull horn.
“Drop your weapon, and put your hands on your head.”
He stopped and looked around. Several people were lying prone on the pavement, or curled in a fetal position with hands over their heads. The streets were empty except for squad cars with flashing blue and red lights.
, he wondered, delving deep in the pocket for the incriminating robbery note.
* * *
What I really liked about this entry was the way that we watched the character's life spin completely out of control within a few minutes... the minutes that would change his life forever. I liked how Donna showed his desperation and how it led to a few too-quick bad choices that would completely throw his life off-course. You don't want to watch but you can't look away...
Congratulations, Donna! Please email me your address for your prizes! :D Don't forget to check out Vic's blog today for our other third place winning entry by Donea Lee!