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The Robbery

Not all those bohemians were trust fund babies, you know. 

Down in the Gutter, some of 'em earned their living the old fashioned way.

The Robbery by Johnny Strike

Eddie moved in with Mark to save on rent. They planned the robbery after Eddie made a few more visits to the restaurant at different hours. They secured the proper tools for breaking into the office door, and desk drawer. They bought dark hooded sweatshirts,  Zorro masks that looked kind of crazy but worked, special gloves from a gun shop, and a backpack for the score money. Finally, the target night arrived.
The inner restaurant looked dark except for a couple of dull night lights. Eddie was in a hyperaware state. He could hear the sound of vehicles whooshing by in the outer layers of his consciousness: night sounds, electric sounds, everything exaggerated now. They removed their masks. Mark looked a bit nervous and against Eddie’s instructions had imbibed more than a few belts of vodka. Eddie was looking at his shit smile in the near dark, wondering if he was the best partner after all. Mark slid the key in, turned it, and like the night they had pre-tested, no alarm went off. They stepped into the back hallway. They stopped and listened for a couple of minutes. They made their way to the office door, found it unlocked, but Eddie was suspicious. He whispered in Mark’s ear that maybe someone was still here. Mark’s scrunched expression said that he didn’t think so; he started to go for the desk, but Eddie stopped him. “Wait, goddammit,” he hissed, and sure enough they heard someone walking inside the building, walking heavily too. A flashlight coming from the adjoining hallway made Eddie close the door quietly, they ducked behind the desk, then the door opened. A flashlight swept the room once, and then the door shut again.
They waited what seemed a long time, and then heard a door being shut somewhere, more walking, talking, two voices, and then quiet, real quiet for a good, long spell. They listened and it remained quiet. Eddie told Mark to stay put. Out in the foyer he peered over the window sill by a slight space the curtain failed to cover. There was a car idling out front with two people in it. It pulled off. He sat there a while longer until he was sure they were indeed alone. Still he crept back to the room, turned on the light. “Okay, which drawer?” Mark emerged still showing some fear in his eyes. He seemed to be having trouble expressing himself, but managed to point to the deep bottom drawer. It was locked. Eddie pried it open with a crowbar, breaking the wood, making a loud noise. 

Eddie was thrilled because there it was: a canvas money bag, and by the looks of it, stuffed. He looked inside and saw a lot of green. “We got it! Let’s get the fuck out of here!” He packed the bag into the knapsack, strapped it on. 

Mark was laughing. “See I told you fucker.” 

They let themselves out the back way, hoods up, masks on and only removed them once they traversed all of Seawall Drive, and had passed not one vehicle.
$42,448.00 was spread out on the glass coffee table. Eddie and Mark stared at it, took turns hitting a joint, exclaiming: Fuck yeah! Far fucking out! Eddie broke his vow, did a couple bumps of Mark’s blow. They sipped brandy. “Far fucking out!” Mark kept saying walking around the money viewing it from different angles. Once the jubilation had died down they became serious again, divided the funds, and a certain level of paranoia set in. An “it’s too good to be true” feeling settled over them and neither ended up sleeping much. The next day they had the thrill of reading about the robbery in the paper: “an undisclosed amount was stolen.”
Three days later Mark departed on a flight to Honolulu. He gave Eddie the name of a place he liked to hang out there: a way to get in touch if he should ever decide to visit. Mark sang all of the island’s praises, but when Eddie considered Hawaii he always thought of his crazy old mother taking hula lessons at the Y in the cold Pennsylvania winter months. The wacky island music coming from the bedroom where she practiced. Mark made it sound interesting, describing its perfect beaches, warm surfing waters, and throngs of pretty girls. Once Mark was gone Eddie would become an avid viewer of the TV series Hawaii Five O, and indeed develop a yearning to one day visit the archipelago. Mark left him with a so-so one bedroom apartment, a battered stereo, a coffee percolator, dishes, silverware and some books by Carlos Castaneda that Mark had never cracked. Eddie did, and they led to more esoteric thinking.

Johnny Strike, is an American writer, mostly known as songwriter, guitarist and singer for the proto-punk band Crime based in San Francisco.Headpress published Strike's first novel in 2004, Ports of Hell, with a blurb by William S. Burroughs. Strike also interviewed Paul Bowles, Mohamed Choukri, Herbert Huncke and traveled, with extended stays in Morocco, Mexico, and Thailand where he set his fiction. His writing has appeared in Ambit magazine and Headpress Journal, and in 2008, with artist Richard Sala providing illustrations, Rudos and Rubes published his short story collection: A Loud Humming Sound Came From Above. His new book, The Exploding Memoir, is available now.