“Kiss me before you go,” Janis said.
I grabbed her and forced my lips onto hers.
“Christ! You need to relax, baby,” she said. “Loosen up. Kissing you is like kissing a brick wall.”
I got out of the car. She leaned across the seat as I closed the door. “Get out of there as fast as you can. Don’t dawdle! And if it looks like it’s going bad, wave at me so I can figure out our next move.”
I nodded. I knew what “our” next move would be, Janis leaving and me dealing with the aftermath.
I walked into the Currie Valley Savings and Loan. The Tom Jones version of Prince’s “Kiss” played as I walked past plastic plants, free coffee and the “Please Wait Here For Next Available Teller” sign. No one else was around, just me, a guard who had probably boon on the job for the last thirty years and a pretty, middle-aged teller named Marie.
“How can I help you today,” Marie asked.
I pulled the gun out of my waistband and pushed an empty duffel bag towards her. Marie knew what I wanted.
“You can have it all,” she said. “Just don’t hurt anybody.”
Marie started filling up the bag with money. I was sweating, the air in the Savings and Loan hadn’t been adjusted for the warm, spring weather. While I watched Marie, I thought about Janis.
This was her idea. Grab some quick cash and then get out of town. Somewhere warm, somewhere exotic, somewhere romantic. Romance – it was the opposite of what Janis and I had.
We’d met at Puzzles Pub, down by the river. A Wednesday – All You Can Eat Spaghetti Night. I was alone, she was my waitress. Blonde hair, stout but supple lips and curves. We went back to my place. She moved in a week later and quit her job the week after that. Now if we went to Puzzles, she got drunk and caused a scene, talking about how she climbed out of that Hell-hole.
Crawled out of one Hell-hole to create a new one – my life.
Janis lived like a pig; dishes piled in the sink, clothes thrown all over the apartment, wet towels slopped on the bathroom floor. She slept most of the day and stayed out most of the night. And if Janis didn’t have anything rotten to say, she didn’t say anything at all:
“Why don’t you clean this dump?”
“Try not to embarrass me when we go out tonight.”
And my favorite, “Is that it?” after sex.
Everything we talked about, every discussion we had turned into an argument, usually going on for hours and usually ending with Janis telling me I was a retard.
“Take it,” Marie said, bringing me back to where I was and what I was going. “Take the money and please don’t hurt anyone.” The duffel bag was bulging.
I nodded politely, took my bag full of cash and headed for the door. The security guard was standing in front of it with his gun drawn.
“Folks leaving with a duffel bag in one hand and a gun in the other is a red flag,” he said.
I stopped. His gun was aimed right at me, mine was down at my side. No way he could miss.
Outside, through the glass doors, I could see Janis sitting in the car, drumming her fingers on the steering wheel. As I watched, she got an annoyed look on her face and started honking the horn.
“Is that your ride?” the guard asked.
“Sounds a little impatient.”
I looked out at Janis again. Anything seemed better than getting back in that car with her. I looked back at the guard.
“Don’t do anything stupid, son,” he said, seeing something in my eyes. “This is the end. You can’t get past me.”
I lifted my gun. The guard was ready. He fired. I smiled as I fell.
As the hole in my chest leaked onto the cold marble floor, I brought my hand to my mouth, turned my head and blew Janet a goodbye kiss.
It was better than talking things to death.