Our news, when reporting crimes, usually reports on only the more serious ones because, of course, crime is a serious offence–especially robbing banks. However, as a former police officer, I can tell you of many humorous cases that makes the law department laugh. This story is fiction, of course, but it could have happened in your town!
“I tell ya, Clinton, this time it’s gonna be different. This time we’s gonna be rich!”
Clinton folded his arms in modest protest to Barton’s suggestion. “Yeah? Well that’s what you said last time, and all your smart thinkin’ did was get us three years in jail. And the reason we didn’t get more jail is ‘cause the judge and the cops couldn’t stop laughin’ at us ‘cause how stupid we was.”
“Ok, ok, I admit, last time I didn’t think it all the way through and we got caught. But, this time, I’m tellin’ ya, Clinton, this time it’s gonna be different! Those three years in jail gave me time to think and plan, and see where it was that I made a mistake.”
“Yeah, a good start in thinkin’ would be, this time, let’s not rob a bank.”
“You got somethin’ better to rob than a bank that has lots of money?”
“How ‘bout a jewellery store?”
“Nah! Jewellery stores is too hard. They got security cameras all over the place and, besides, then you gotta find a fence to sell the stuff to. Too much trouble! I tell ya again,” Brandon emphasized, “that bank on Fifth is our best bet!”
“Well … I don’t know.” Clinton spotted an empty pedestrian bench next to Bert’s Shoe store and sat down. “I gotta think more about it.”
“What more is there to think about?”
“Like, three more years in jail!”
Brandon could see that he wasn’t getting anywhere with Clinton, so he tried a new approach. “Hey, you gettin’ hungry?”
“What time is it?”
“How should I know. I ain’’t got no watch.” Brandon hailed a passerby. “You got the time on you, buddy?”
“Ten to twelve.”
“See? It’s almost noon. You getting’ hungry?”
Clinton became aware of his empty stomach. “Well—“
“Ya got money to buy yourself lunch?”
“Then with what you gonna feed yerself with?
“We could go to the Community Church soup kitchen—“
“Again? And what about tonight? What about tomorrow…next week? We always gonna eat at that soup kitchen? Soon everybody will say you’re just a good-fer-nothin’ moocher!” Brandon sat down next to Clinton and embraced him. “Listen, pal, we’ve been buddies fer a long time now, right?”
“Well, we’s gotta stop bein’ moochers. We gotta start havin’ our own money and support ourselves. Thems is the rules of society!” Brandon stood up, also pulling Clinton up. “Come on. Show you got some guts and that you ain’t just some kinda looser!”
“Somethin’ just don’t feel right, Brandon,” Clinton mumbled, “I tell ya, somethin’ bad’s gonna happen to us!” Although still filled with misgivings, he yielded to Brandon’s nudging him towards the Fifth Avenue Bank. They stopped at the bank’s front door where Brandon pulled out a folded piece of paper from his pocket. “See? I got it all writ down here.” He unfolded the paper and showed it to Clinton.
“What’s it say?”
Brandon snorted. “At least one of us can read and write. The note sez, I got a gun. Gimme your money.”
“But, I don’t got a gun!”
“They don’t need to know that. The note will make them think you got one, and that’s all that matters. Now you go on in there—I’m right behind you, and just hand the teller that piece of paper. That’s all you gotta do. You don’t need to say nothin’. She’ll start giving you all her money. Then we run out outa there and meet at the park. What could be easier?”
“Why do I haveta give her that note? Why don’t you?
“Cause I saved the hardest job for myself. See this bag I’m holdin’? I’ll be right behind you, passin’ this bag to her for her to put the money in. It takes teamwork to do a good job, so you gotta do your part, too. Remember, I planned it all out, and it’s gonna work this time!”
The clock in the tower of the Fifth Avenue Bank struck one o’clock. Most of the lunch hour customers had already returned to work, leaving the bank nearly empty. Brandon and Clinton stood, silent for the moment, in front of the teller. The teller, in return, remained politely patient, anticipating a request.
Clinton wished that he could be in the park feeding the pigeons rather than standing here in front of the teller, but he didn’t dare get Brandon angry, so he forced himself to slowly hand over the note to the teller. At first, the teller’s face turned ashen, as if she might faint, but color quickly returned and she gained complete composure. She paused for a longest moment, giving the appearance of having to study the note. What was taking her so long? Brandon pushed Clinton a little closer to the teller’s cage. Then her facial expression turned puzzling, as if she had found something wrong with the note—something that she didn’t understand … then abruptly shoved the note back to Clinton.
“I can’t give you any money!”
“Why not?” Brandon countered from behind Clinton.
“You misspelled ‘give me’”
You wrote ‘g-i-m-m-e.’ That’s not a word! What does ‘gimme’ mean?”
Clinton cast a timid glance back at his partner. “See, I told you your plan was—“
“Shut up!” Brandon turned back to the teller. “That note means we wants your money, lady!” He shoved the note, including the bag he was holding back towards the teller. The teller lurched back as if repulsed by the dirty bag. “That thing is filthy!” She animated.
“That bag’s the best we got, lady. Now, you gonna give us the money, or do we gotta use our gun?”
The teller paused again. Brandon could hardly stand it any more. “What you waitin’ for, lady?”
The teller ignored Brandon. She needed time, so she tried to give Brandon the impression that she had to steel herself to be able to touch the dirty money bag, let alone put money in it.
Clinton started to whimper quietly.
Brandon glanced around nervously. “You’re takin’ an awfully long time, lady. We ain’t got all day, you know. Now, give us the money!”
“Do you want the money in five dollar bills, or in tens—“
“Never mind! Just give us whatever you got in that drawer!”
“Maybe I should just call the manager and let him decide—“
“Well, well, well! Brandon and Clinton! You two still haven’t learned your lesson, have you?” Brandon felt a heavy hand on his shoulder. The voice sounded familiar. Yep, it was Constable Nelson, alright!
“Now, why don’t you two boys stop bothering this nice teller and come along with me.” The Constable’s voice was relaxed and casual-like, as if he were talking to an acquaintance at a dinner party.
Barton felt insulted and humiliated. Sure, maybe they got caught again, but why couldn’t the Constable at least have drawn his gun and yell at them—commands, like, “Stick ‘em up! Drop your gun!” like cops are supposed to do when they arrest someone? At least, that’s what they do on TV. Barton sighed. One of these days he was going to get it right!
Clinton started sobbing. “I told you your plan was no good! We shoulda at least worn masks! Now, when the cops bring us in front of the judge, he’s gonna laugh at us again, like he did last time!”