I shouldn’t have just walked out like that. Benjamin thought to himself for approximately the millionth time since he’d quit his job with all of the dignity of a furious child. As if he’d ever sexually harass someone. Fuck HR and their meetings. He’d quit a week before rent was due. He hadn’t expected them to hold his last check for walking out.

Of course they would, I should have known. Seven years of working there didn’t mean shit. He thought in white hot syllables that burned their way through his head, All of it bullshit.

Now he was late on rent, which he wouldn’t have been able to cover even if he had his last check. The internet was still out so it wasn’t like he could look for work from home- fucking cable company won’t even give me another extension.

And of course his boss had blackballed him on every employment sight. Talk about a real monster. So now he was triple fucked. No job, no money, no prospects.

I can’t even sell bud anymore. He thought with shame. He owed more to the plug than he did to the landlord. He’d smoked the last of the herb this morning to help him come up with the plan. He’d left still high, the morning sun just risen.

“The Plan” had been born out of desperation. That didn’t mean it wasn’t a good one. The plan is going to fix all of this.

He wasn’t just late on rent- after the eleventh the apartment complex filed for eviction with the local courts, and on the fifteenth he got the court summons on the door. On the seventeenth he got two letters; one from the IRS the other from the NCDOR.

My fucking taxes. Fuck. Fuck. He’d completely blown off filing his tax returns for the past few years figuring he didn’t make enough money for the government to waste its time going after- especially considering how underfunded he’d heard they were. How are they going to go after a small fry like me!?

I don’t even have wages for them garnish!  Benjamin thought in dismay. Which only reminded him, Fuck, if the Department of Education doesn’t get their money they’ll come for my kidney.

So he was completely fucked.

Hence, the plan.

The gun in his waistband was only there for show and insurance in case something went wrong. But nothing would go wrong.

The gun was a cheap thirty-eight special he couldn’t even remember the brand of. He’d bought it for insurance and show in a misspent student loan fueled youth.

Like a degree would even help me now anyway; not the sort of paper the landlady wants for rent. He’d studied “stuff” a couple of times, dropped out a couple of times- he’d gone just long enough to figure out BSs were just that and BAs were Bullshit Awards.

That’s a sixty thousand dollar and growing lesson. State school hadn’t been good enough for him, he’d gone across town to the private university to do his dropping out.

It didn’t matter. The plan was going to work. He was third to next in line and he had his line rehearsed like he’d done it a few times before. He always knew he should have been an actor, maybe even a writer.

After today he’d have enough money to fix all of this.

The door chimed- someone else was walking into the bank lobby.

Fuck. He swore to himself. He didn’t want to do this with anyone behind him- what if they noticed something while his back was turned, what if he couldn’t control the situation?

That's what the gun is for. He reminded himself. He was cool. He was calm. He glanced behind himself to check out the new comer, the first thing he noticed was the oversized purse she was carrying. It was almost the size of a beach bag but looked empty.

And then he couldn’t help but check her out.

Jeeeezus..

She was gorgeous, she was glorious, beautiful from head to toe, red hair tumbling to her back, freckles, black glasses framing green eyes looking right at-

Oh Shit.

Her eyes weren’t so much looking right at him as through him. He blushed as he turned around. She chuckled like windchimes.

He was second to next in line. In the next few minutes he’d have more than enough money to make a woman like her more than chuckle.

“That’s a little sexist, don’t you think?” A woman’s voice chimed in his head.

Benjamin’s heart nearly stopped, but somehow he knew exactly who it was-

“Don’t turn around, play it cool. And give me some credit,” The redhead behind him said in his head. “I noticed you the second I walked in.” The ‘sound’ of her thoughts to him matched up with the chuckle she’d let out earlier.

You can hear my thoughts? Benjamin thought.

“And then some; but that’s not how I noticed that “package” in your pants.” The redhead replied. The sound of her high heels echoed across the tile floor. Benjamin’s chest swelled with pride.

“No really, if you’re going to make a habit of this get a better holster and a smaller gun.”

Benjamin blushed, brought high and low near instantaneously by what was now just embarrassment.

And here I thought you were a size girl. Benjamin thought to her.

“Oh honey, I’m sure it's a really nice gun, but let's keep this strictly business.”  The redhead thought to him. Benjamin could hear her chewing gum from behind him.

Business?

“Yeah, business. Stick to your script, I’ll watch your back, and we split the take fifty fifty.” The redhead thought.

Benjamin’s heart stopped beating, she’d seen the gun but NC was a concealed carry-

Benjamin, I can read your thoughts. I’m talking to you in your head.” The redhead thought to him. “I know about ‘The Plan’ already. My name is Melanie if it helps you trust me.”

He was next in line at this point and doing everything he could not to sweat bullets. Out of the corner of his eye something floated up abo-

DO NOT NOTICE IT

When his head cleared Benjamin wondered exactly what the fuck had just happened.

 “Sorry, kind of a blanket effect on everyone. We were already talking so you kind of ‘heard’ it a little clearer.” Melanie explained in a way that told Benjamin nothing.

“Look, just don’t worry about the cameras. They’re all gummed up.” She thought to him.

“Next please.” The teller said. It was time for Benjamin to rob the First Citizens Capital Bank.

He stepped up to the desk, placed the note on the counter, and placed his hand in front of his shirt as if to lift it up.

ALL OF YOU, DO NOT PANIC.

The teller was a man in his fifties, the fear in his eyes shifted to a dreamy glazed over look. He took the note in his hand calmly, read it, and then smiled up at Benjamin.

“Oh of course sir. Right away.”

The old man turned around and walked away from the counter with the note in his hand. Over the teller’s shoulder was an old boxy video camera pointed at the lobby. Not that it mattered with the lump of pink bubble gum stretched over the lens. Ben didn’t have to glance around to know the rest were done up the same.

DO NOT PAY ATTENTION

“Good thing I’m here to get you into the vault.” Melanie thought to him.

What are you talking about? This is MY plan.

“And your plan is stupid. At best you could have expected to walk out of here with the few thousand in the drawers.” Melanie thought. She was laughing, actually laughing, out loud.

Everyone else in the bank was moving around in a dream like state. The five other tellers finished helping their customers, the customers left without noticing anything.

COUNT UP YOUR DRAWERS.

All of the tellers except for the young lady who had walked into the back sleepily opened their drawers and began stacking up their contents in front of them. It was beginning to creep Benjamin out how long the whole process was taking. The fact that no one had come in the bank since Melanie-

“I locked the front doors when I gummed up the cameras.”

Benjamin glanced to the front, and sure enough a half dozen or so people were waiting patiently, silently, between the two sets of double doors between the bank and the outside world. The winter sun was setting outside, the bank would be closing soon.

Wait, what happened to the day? Benjamin thought. And how are we at the Piedmont Credit Union?

DON’T THINK ABOUT IT

Benjamin wasn’t sure what he’d been so worried about, here came the young lady with the cart of cash.

He sniffed, and reached up to find his nose was bleeding. His head was aching. He couldn’t wait to hit the plug with some of this cash and get some sweet sweet herbal remedy.

“Put the money in the bag.” Melanie thought to him through his foggy head. She was walking away from him towards the gate to the back to meet the young lady. In front of him her oversized purse was floating open, waiting for him to take it.

He didn’t worry too much about it and made his way down the line of desks. Sure enough there was only thirty thousand dollars between all of the tellers, and that included the cart girl’s drawer and the drive through. At some point one of the zombie tellers had counted up the untended drawers.

Benjamin shook his head. He wasn’t sure what he was missing, but he went ahead and added the 30k to the rest of the money that was already in the purse. He couldn’t help but notice how small a stack of bills 30k really was, and just how much more money was already in Melanie’s-

DON’T THINK ABOUT IT

When Benjamin’s vision finally cleared he was empty handed. Melanie took the bag out of her hand as it floated to her. On the cart in front of her was a stack of money Benjamin couldn’t even believe. Never in his wildest dreams had he ever imagined this much money, It must have been,

“Millions.” Melanie confirmed, “you’ve done really good work today.”

Benjamin was too confused to think back a response. When the money started floating bundled stack by bundled stack off of the cart and into the bag Melanie was holding his jaw dropped to the floor. After a moment Melanie slung the nearly over flowing beach bag full of cash over her shoulder, where it floated in the air.

The woman that had pushed the cart, and all of the rest of the Tellers were sitting patiently at their desks, staring a thousand yards away at the wall. The other customers in the building were still waiting silently staring.

Every person in the bank had a trickle of blood running unnoticed from one nostril.

Benjamin shuttered.

The only sound in the whole bank was cash landing in the bag, and the second hand on the clock on the wall.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Benjamin could feel the blood pouring from his nose now, it had covered his chest. He looked down in horror, when he looked back up Melanie was walking away from the cart, towards the first set of glass double doors.

The golden winter sun shone through the glass as it set. It set her strawberry blonde hair on fire as she parted the crowd of people in front of her. The lock on the front door opened without her touching it.

“Hey Ben, you might want to hurry up and grab your cut.” Melanie thought to him without looking at him.

A sharp knife of fear cut into Benjamin’s gut. The money on the cart in front of him was still easily in the millions. The cart was the only way he had to get it out of there, he hadn’t planned for all of this.

He looked up and Melanie was gone, the door swinging shut behind her. The customers in the foyer started shaking their heads, as if waking up from a fog.

People began reaching for their bloody noses, quickly transitioning from drowsiness to shock and confusion. They began to look around as they came to their senses without memory of what had happened.

Benjamin ran to his cart of loot, drew the gun from behind his back and fired a round into the air.

“Nobody move!!” He shouted into the ringing clamor and screaming wails of the confused people around him. He grabbed the cart with one hand and began to push it towards the door, aiming wildly as he ran.