Billy Mack watched the clock above the bulletproof window and counted out the customer’s change. This Jeffery Dean was a funny guy. He had come in from the bar across the way wanting a room. His wife was with him. The poor bitch. Even through the window, Billy Mack could smell the whiskey on his breath.
“Write your number beside the last check.”
“What for, fella? I don’t swing that way.”
It was funny the first seven hundred times Billy had heard it. He still laughed. With a drunk, it is best to placate, to a certain point. Any further and they get wise. They get angry, and even through four inches of bulletproof glass things get messy.
Billy Mack felt sorry for the wife. What was going on with the drunks on the road tonight? Was there a convention? The bell above the door rang, as the couple exited. Silence again. The air cleared. Billy Breathed. No more customers tonight, I can hope. The bars are closed and the rest of the drunks are home. Make coffee at 5. Put donuts out at 6. Clean up at 7. Leave at 8.
Billy picked an old receipt off the floor. Tossing the receipt away, the doorbell rang. Billy stood up. What is this? Don’t make me laugh with this old one. A man in a mask was holding his hand in his coat pocket like he was holding a pistol.
“What’s this shit about?”
“This is a robbery, dumbass. Give me what you got in the safe.”
“Don’t have a safe.”
“Bullshit, you don’t. I’m not an idiot.”
“If you say so,” Billy said. He opened the register, first.
“Hurry up, man!”
“Why? It’s four in the morning.”
“You have a bad attitude.”
‘From the guy robbing me.”
“I could put this gun through that little hole in the window and kill you.”
“Really? Let me see your piece, kid.”
The gunman jerked his arm free and flashed the piece. It was a small, nickel-plated revolver. It was real. Billy counted the money. He stopped, abruptly. To hell with this twerp. He laughed then put the money back inside the register, even separating the bills by denomination.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m putting the money back, Sherlock.”
“What? I got a gun on you.”
“I want to tell you something. Try and open the door.”
The gunman turned facing the door. He pushed. He pulled. The door would not budge.
“Okay, go try the office door.”
The gunman pushed. He pulled. The door would not budge.
‘You’re a smart guy, huh?”
“These doors lock until I push the button back here. I have two buttons back here. Guess what the other one’s for?”
“You fucked up.”
The gunman crossed to the window. He fired four shots through the slot in the window. That’s when the alarm kicked. The clerk dropped. Along the counter, his bloody hand slumped and fell to the floor. The gunman pounded the door. He kicked. He reloaded and shot at the glass. The glass did not shatter. The bullets merely deflected. He felt like he was shooting at Superman.
There was light coming around the corner outside, blue and red light. Devastation. Mercury in the thermometer dropped. The gunman did the math. He had served 2 years on a robbery. He had served 6 months for felony possession. It was a 3-strike state. These numbers added up to nothing. Who inside will protect me? Where is my family & friends? (This is how a criminal mind works.) It all made sense now and there was no going back. One left in the chamber. He lifted his arm slowly to taste the metal. A young officer with his gun raised saw him.
The gunman laughed.
This is how true crime ends.
The police reviewed the surveillance footage. It was pornography. It was a snuff film.