Thursday, April 21, 2022


(A product of my fevered imagination)

The man in front of me is one of the enlightened, I’m thinking, his nose and mouth are well covered. In fact, his whole head is covered in a ski mask and I didn’t notice any snow outside. He has just locked the door. All I’m here for at the bank is a roll of quarters. The laundry is in the rinse cycle and I need four quarters for the dryer.

The voice under the mask tells everyone to get down on the floor and shut up. He doesn’t say, This is a stick up. If he had used those words it would be a giveaway that he watches old Jimmy Cagney movies on TCM.

He is waving his gun. No, I can’t describe the weapon but I’ll take his word for it. I don’t know an Uzi from a water pistol. It’s just a gun as opposed to a bow and arrow. One of those phallic symbols called packing a rod in Hollywood.

He tells the teller to hand over all her twenties and above. He doesn’t say, denominations, which would have meant he wasn’t in a remedial English class.

The teller is frozen, pondering whether to press the panic button. I’m thinking NO, that will bring the police with helicopters and I’ll be a hostage, a human shield. I’ve never thought of myself as a shield before. I’m not fond of near-death experiences.

The ski mask is sweating. Give him the money already and get him out of here so I can dry my clothes. My pajamas will develop mildew.

The teller is behind bulletproof glass, still hesitating, probably wondering if it is really bulletproof. I’m wondering if I’m being recorded by the surveillance camera. I’m overdue for a haircut and probably should have got my nose fixed years ago. He shoots out the camera. I’m impressed. Should I be planning my afterlife or rehearsing some pithy last words that might go viral for the news cycle?

He's getting agitated as if up on cough syrup and cappuccino. If I survive the police will want a description. Were they Levi's or Wrangler'sWhat about his sneakers? Nike's or Reebok's?

I wonder if he has a getaway car with the engine humming. I’m trying to remember if Bonnie was Clyde’s driver or if they did their bank jobs together. Everyone needs a hobby.  A lot of extras got their start being gunned down. Imagine acting as a corpse. Hey Mom, I just got my first break in Hollywood.

Finally, a teller at the merchant window slips a stack of twenties under the glass. I’m thinking they must be marked bills with a GPS embedded in Andrew Jackson’s mane. The manager on the floor next to me yells, now go as if that hadn’t occurred to the gunman.

As he heads for the door he steps on my hand. Sorry man. His mother had taught him manners. Maybe he just wants to pay off his student loan. A simple matter of redistributing the wealth. Now his footprints are on my finger prints. Exhibit A. 


  1. I'm urging you to heighten the stuff you've done and send it to Shouts & Murmurs, perhaps ending with you telling the clerk you'd like two tens, instead of a $20, or something equally ridiculous in the face of having gone through this. All is needs is a bit more absurdity. Maybe start thinking that you might be late for a meal???

    1. Thank you, Sybil. Several friends took this as a harrowing experience so I'm glad you didn't and the humor wasn't lost on you. I'll take your comment under advisement. My impulse is to avoid the marketplace.

  2. Hi Norm, just catching up on your Norms. I love reading them
    XO, A