Short stories

A selection of stories about life

It’s one of those typical New York winter days, cold, bright, sharp. Things look good in this light. I feel good. I’m heading to the bank with money to put in. A good feeling. It isn’t always the way. There have been out only days. Then I don’t feel so good.

I push the swinging door open. Josh with the security guard. I see him on good and bad days, and we always josh. He likes it. I like it.

I fumble in my bag for the cheque and a pay-in book. Forgotten. So rare to be paying in, I left the little f’er behind. No matter. They have plenty of paying-in slips here. Banks like pay-ins, even if not paying.

I fill in the front. Not the back. I never fill the back. No need to go overboard for those bureaucrats.

For once, the tellers are neither busy nor filling their nails. I approach the pretty one. I usually do. In my mind I think one day I’ll ask her out. But that will never happen.

I push my pay-in slip and the check under her guard rail.

“How ja like the money?” She says. Her usual come on line.

“Singles,” I say, my usual witty riposte.

She smiles. Turns over the slip. And then her smile freezes. She looks up at me and for a moment I wonder if I said something without realizing. Then she says:

“Just a moment.”

This is off script. What’s she at?

And at that moment Hell Breaks Loose. What did I say?

She pushes a bell.

My friend the security guard is behind me yelling “spread ‘em Charlie!”

Charlie? Why Charlie?

What ever I said, it had consequences. I spread my arms and legs.

The whole place buzzes like a rush moment in the subway. Men are running everywhere. Police with guns appear and suddenly I’m in the back of a Panda Car. What did I say?

My friend the security guard looks at me in horror.

“You’s in big trouble. Biiiggg trouble!”

They take me to the precinct. Put me in an interview room and go.

What did I say? Am I getting Tourette’s? Did my lips babble with obscenities even though my ears heard nothing? This could have long-term consequences.

After an hour, a young man comes in. He is a detective; I can tell from the fact that he told me.

“Know what you did?” He asked. His voice as cheerful as a man asking for a Bourbon.

Obviously I say no. I take this moment to point out I have a lunch date and I’m going to be late.

He laughs.

“Yup, you’ll be late. But you’ll have a tale to tell.”

He is still laughing when he tells me that written on the back of my pay-in slip were the words: “Hands up that’s a hold up.”

I’m in the precinct and the perpetrator is not even a grammatician.

He laughed again when he told me this was the fourth time this had happened this week.

“Different bank though.”

“Oh! Well that’s all right then!”

When I get out, it is still a lovely winter’s day in New York.