Thomas Schwartz

“Do you think this is going to work?” Gwen had had a lacy, black, wide hat on; the kind that movie stars used to wear in the forties; also tall black shoes that gave her not only a look of elegance but rose her up from five and a half feet to nearly six feet tall. She carried a reversible purse, red on the inside, black on the outside, empty.  

“Alright listen…look at me so I know you’re listening!” Gwen took off her hat, tied her hair up and slowly turned her neck until she was eye to eye with Larry, her accomplice and former lover. “Go in there and give them this note. Put this fucking gun on the counter and act cool.” Larry shoved a loaded plastic bag into her purse. “I’ll call you when you get close to the counter. Is your cell phone on loud?” he asked. 

“Yeah, the ringer is on volume five. The Hall of the Mountain King, check it out.” She pushed the button on the side of her phone and a chorus of electronic chimes blasted the hundred year old composition. The ominous melody made them both shudder as people passing on the busy city street turned their heads. 

“Heh” he barked as he remembered a movie he saw on television that used that piece in a chase scene, “I hope this isn’t some foreboding piece of unsolicited premonitory foreshadowing or something.”

“What the fuck are you talking about?”
 “Shut up… Alright, quit stalling, let’s do this.” He lightly shoved her towards the bank as she turned around.
She turned back around and mouthed the words “call me”, sticking her thumb and pinky out to make her fist look like a phone as she backed up towards the bank. “douche-bag” she said and threw her middle finger up over her shoulder and walked towards the doors. 

Memories of boredom and Larry flashed through her head. He used to grunt and mumble orders at her. Then he would get mad when she couldn’t understand what he was saying. His Indecisive, incomprehensible, and angry demeanor is why she broke up with him, although lately it seemed like he seemed was at least trying to change. That was the only reason she agreed to work with him in this heist.   

She entered the bank and smiled towards the manager. He was standing behind the main desk talking to some angry guy who was flailing his arms and shouting about how the bank stole 150 dollars from him. Gwen walked up to the counter and her cell phone rang the tune of the Mountain King. She answered, “Hello…oh no I thought you took the kids to soccer practice.” Outside the bank Larry laughed, “So… how’s it look out there?” Gwen asked.

“No cops, just about a billion pedestrians. I don’t see any trouble, you’re golden eh.” Larry said with his Canadian accent that came out when he was nervous. “Do it!”

“Golden eggs? No, no you’ll just have to settle for chicken eggs, I’ll pick some up on the way home.” Outside Larry Laughed again. Gwen approached the bank teller and put a piece of cardboard on the counter; AS MUCH CASH AS YOU CAN FIT IN THE BAG IN 30 SECONDS OR YOUR LIFE, it said in thick black marker. She set a handgun on the counter next to the note and pointed it at the tall, grey haired woman. She looked down at the sign. 

 “You decide” She told her without taking the phone away from her face. The grey haired bank teller remained calm. Gwen got the feeling that this wasn’t the first time she had been robbed. Complacently and without speaking the grey haired lady filled up the purse with stacks of twenty dollar bills. “And don’t put one of those exploding ink packs in there with my cash or shoot you.” Gwen said calmly into the cell phone with her eyes fixed on the bank teller. Outside, Larry laughed again.

“That’s all I can get right now.” Said the banker, “Go away” 

She looked inside the purse and saw what looked like about ten stacks of a thousand dollar. She thanked the banker and walked briskly towards the door well aware that a silent alarm was probably tipped off and the police were already on their way. She passed through the bank doors and kept walking as Larry sidled up to her. 

“C’mon you need a new look pronto. They’ll be cops looking for a tall, stunning, brunette.” Gwen blushed, “We’ll go in there,” he pointed at a coffee shop, “you can put on these sneakers and this wig.” Larry took a blonde wig and a pair of white tennis shoes out of the black briefcase he was carrying. They went into the cafe around the corner. Larry ordered a coffee and sat down to wait as Gwen changed in the bathroom. He sat there sipping his cup and mulling over their past. 

 Their friends used to call the Gwarry because of how inseparable they were. Larry thought about how he wished that they could share the same body. When they had sex their bodies would heat up until they melted into each other like wax. Inevitably they cooled down and separated again but they still believed they could read each other’s minds. He hadn’t kissed anyone else since they split up four months ago. Larry was so lost in his thoughts of the old Gwen that he didn’t even recognize this blonde woman who sat down across the table from him and took a long sip from his coffee cup. 

 “I think I’ll dye my hair this color. Do you like it?” She asked
 “It makes you look like you haven’t got a clue.” He replied
 "That ways I’ll be able to trick them all.”
 “That dye will probably seep into your brain and make you forget your own name… people judge you based on appearance. You should never underestimate the effect of that.” 
 Gwen stared at Larry with disbelief. “How could you be so judgmental?” 
 “I’m not being judgmental; I’m just saying the rest of the world probably is.”
 “You have no faith in the common decency of humanity.” said Gwen.
 “Who’s decent?” He pointed at her purse, “and besides, I have faith in you right now, that’s all that matters. Give me the cash we got already so we can keep track of it.”
Slyly she handed the stacks of cash one by one under the table as Larry slipped them in his briefcase. Outside the café, the shrill whine of a police siren pulsed by. “Can we get the hell out of here?” said Gwen. 
 “Yeah let’s go to the First National Bank, it’s only three blocks east of here.” You can do that one too. 
 “Same drill?” asked Gwen.
 “Yeah, you’re fucking fearless baby!”
	Three blocks away a medium height blonde woman walks next to a tall man, with long black hair carrying a briefcase. They looked like they should be walking in slow motion with buildings exploding behind them. Larry lit a cigarette without stopping. People moved out of their way and turned their heads as they passed. 

Gwen walked through the revolving doors of the bank. Wasting no time at all she answered the expected cell phone call and moved forcefully towards the counter. With one swift movement she laid down her demands. AS MUCH CASH AS YOU CAN FIT IN THE BAG IN 30 SECONDS OR YOUR LIFE. The man across the counter was much more defiant then the grey haired woman. “You know you’re going to get caught for this.”
“Fuck you, who are you to be predicting the future, you going to be dead in three seconds if you don’t do what I say” Said Gwen as she whipped out the gun and shoved it in his face. “You have until the count of three to start filling up my bag with money. She put down her cell phone. “One” The man stood there defiantly, “Two” 

“Alright.” He took hold of her purse and started filling it with cash.
	“Oh God she’s got a gun” Shrieked a voice from behind her. She turned around to see a short man wearing a tweed suit. Without a word she put the gun to his shoulder and fired. A splash of blood sprayed across the other people in line as he whimpered and fell to the floor. 
“Anybody else says a word and they get one in the face.” She shouted loud enough for everyone in the bank to hear. The banker cleared his throat to get Gwen’s attention.  The purse was sitting on the counter. She grabbed it and ran out, pointing the gun at every one who looked at her on the way. When she met Larry outside, she saw that he looked anxious. 
 “You weren’t supposed to get off of the phone! I was trying to warn you. Didn’t you hear those sirens?! Let’s get outta here.” Larry had already hailed a cab and had it waiting a block away from the bank. They ran to it and got in.
  “Take us to Bank of America on East Ave.” he said to the driver. 
  “That was messy back there. I shot someone.” 
  “I saw that from outside, did you kill him?”
  “Nah, I just blasted him in the shoulder. This is getting hardcore. Remember the ending to Bonnie and Clyde?” Gwen said, remembering the dozens of times they watched it together.
  “Hey what did I tell you about foreshadowing?” Larry snapped. The driver looked warily in the rearview mirror. The cab rolled along, block after block. Larry reached out his hand and grabbed Gwen’s. She responded by kissing him on his cheek. They sat in silence a while, holding hands and feeling the adrenalin rushing through each other’s fingertips.
“Hey Tuff boy, remember when we used to have jobs?” Larry felt butterfly’s rush through his intestines. Tuff boy was the old nickname she would use for Larry when they had sex. 
  “Yeah… I remember”
  “We used get out of bed early every morning and slave away at that restaurant.”    
  “Yeah we were suckers.” They both laughed and looked out the windows. 
  “No charge” said the driver with a quivering voice.
  “No, no I insist. How much is it?” said Larry.
  “Ok… Fare’s twelve dollars,” the driver said.
  “Here, keep the change” Gwen handed him an uncreased twenty dollar bill from her purse and opened the door. There stood the coliseum of banks. Greek pillars stood like warrior guards along the front of the building. The first story alone seemed to stand a hundred feet tall. 
“Alright, screw this cell phone bullshit. This one… we go all out.” Larry said. 
“Oh God Larry, after this is over I’m gonna ride you like a mechanical bull.” Larry grabbed her by the waist and kissed her so hard they both forgot where they were for a second. 

       It was turning out to be an average day at the Bank of America. The guard stood by the door daydreaming, the manager stood at his counter at the front of the store, bank tellers made transactions with customers. The staffers were all thinking about what time they would be let out of work. With a crash the door flew open and a man stormed in and knocked the guard over the head with the butt of his gun. The guard fell to the ground with a clank as his belt hit the floor. Gwen rolled him over and grabbed his gun from the holster. Larry shouted at the manager, a fat man with a comb-over hairstyle. “Listen motherfuckers, this can go real smoothly or you can all end up dead. You’re all getting a bag.” He said to the bank tellers, “Fill it up with ten thousand dollars each as fast as you possibly can.”
  “I’m going to shoot the last banker to set our bag of cash on the counter.” interjected Gwen. Larry looked to her and smiled. She winked back at him. The manager at the front desk gave a cockeyed look at Gwen and then looked to Larry. Larry opened his briefcase and took out a bunch of plastic bags and handed them to Gwen. She walked down the velvet rope lane and laid one on each counter while pointing the guard’s pistol in at each banker she passed. While the bank tellers stuffed the bags with cash Larry noticed the manager disappear under his desk. 

“Gwen! Watch out!” Larry yelled as the manager popped up with a shotgun and blasted a round in Gwen’s direction. He missed. Larry raised his gun and fired two shots directly at the chest of the manager. “Shit… Gwen, grab the cash, we’re moving.”
Gwen grabbed up the sacks of cash that the bankers had laid on the counter and ran passed the unconscious guard, out the tall front doors of the bank. 

  “This isn’t good, the cops will be on our trail by now”, said Larry as the started running down the street.
  “Stop running and drop your weapons! It’s the police!” they heard from behind them. 
  “We can take ‘em Larry!” Gwen said. She turned around and opened fire on the dozen officers in pursuit. Larry saw at least one cop go down. 
  “No Gwen, there’s too many!” Larry said. He looked and saw Gwen’s back explode in half a dozen spurts of blood. “No!” Larry bellowed at the cops. “You motherfuckers!” he said as he dropped his gun and fell to his knees. He crawled towards Gwen. Tears ran down his face as he crouched over her twitching body and buried his head in the small of her neck. Her breath was faint and he could feel her blood ceasing to flow. She tried to utter a sound. 
  “Larry…you shoulda ran” were Gwen’s last words. Larry couldn’t run. He couldn’t move. He kneeled there paralyzed watching the life flow out of the eyes of his accomplice; his lover and his best friend. He knelt with his head bowed, not hearing the demands of the cops, or the screams of the people on the street until an officer came over and shoved his face into the ground and cuffed him.