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Stay Cool

“Everyone, stay cool.”

Stay cool? It’s 80 in the shade what’s this fool blathering about? The queue at the rank is moving slowly, she rolls forward to the front. Ticket 53. Another day in the sun crawling the LA freeways, tourists with wide eyes and business execs late for meetings. Perhaps she’ll get lucky and pick up a good one, to Santa Monica or Downtown. She taps her lucky city map on its sun visor. One decent job, PLEASE.

“Stay cool, ok.” That shout again. Pushing through the queue.

She turns this time to investigate, sees her rear driverside door yanked opened and two guys in black balaclavas, lugging big black holdalls stuffed with cash and carrying pistols bundle in the back. Digicams on their heads, and one holding his phone out in front.

“DRIVE! Sister. DRIVE.”

Instinctively she slams her foot down. The yellow Prius glides silently forwards.

In her rearview mirror, she can see the queue scrabbling for discarded banknotes dropped from the open holdalls. Only in LA. Here it’s all about the story. The story and the money. The two things coliding before her eyes. People fighting over the errant notes.

“Now I don’t want no trouble, I’ve got family.”

“DRIVE. Don’t make me repeat myself.”

“Where to?”

“Anywhere, just get us out of here, ok? Do us right, and we’ll look after you.” The guy’s hand caresses the big black duffel bag on the seat next to him. “Cross us and...” He leaves that thought hanging.

“Did you see that teller’s face dude? She was bricking it as we filled the bags.”

“During the getaway? Now? Really?”

“What? It was funny, dude. Those little blue triangle earrings swinging, that fat, piggy face, she’ll need a wardrobe change, Mike, that’s all I’m saying.”

“Don’t call me Mike you idiot. What did we say? Mr White remember. Now zip it, Mr Black.”

“Yeah, I was never happy with that. You know Black Lives Matter and all. Can I be Mr Mauve?”

“Look Mr Mauve, Mr Lemon, whatever, let’s just focus on the getaway, ok? Job one.”

“How much do you think we got?”

“Five minutes, easy.”

Sirens in the distance.

Someone called it in.

Must’ve finished grabbing notes and done the right thing, she thinks.

The guys are in the back, silent now looking out the back window.

A police cruiser up ahead, spike strips, she deliberately swerves over them. Better end this fast.

Commands shouted.

“In the car. Hands out of the windows. Driver, with your right hand, open the door from the outside and step out.” Her shaking hand reaches for the door handle. She hears the back door open.

“It’s ok guy’s, it’s just a Pran..Kkk…”

She feels the bullet pass her cheek, hears its crack and a thud as something heavy and soft hits the asphalt behind her, sees his pistol spin towards her feet, water dribbling from its barrel onto the road.

“Um, April... Fools…?” Says Mr White.


496 words

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