Open 2021 Open Stories - Dennis Piszkiewicz


Cash Transactions
By Dennis Piszkiewicz


The car comes to a stop in the bank’s parking lot. It’s a classic muscle car from the last century. It was once money green, like Steve McQueen’s Mustang in Bullitt; but its finish has weathered into something that resembles a skin disease. Its two occupants have a view through the wind shield of a lineup of ATMs that are staring back at them.

“You chickening-out on me?” she says. She’s in the driver’s seat.

"Course not,” he says,“but I don’t want to go to jail.”

“You won’t if we follow our plan.”

“Right,” he agrees.Thenhe repeats her instructions: “We go in loud and fast. We scare the crap out of everybodyand don’t have to shoot nobody. We’ll do it just like that couple did it in Pulp Fiction.”

“Yeah,” she says. “Pulp Fiction was great, but Tarantino got one thing wrong.The couple in that flick stuck up a Denny’s, for chrissake. There’s no money in that, even if you include the tips.”

“Banks is where the real money is,”he reminds himself of why they’re parked outside the bank. “We’re doing a bank job, just likein Reservoir Dogs.”

“That flic was about a diamond heist,” she corrects him, “but the idea’s the same.”

“Didn’t everybody get killed at the end?”

“That’s beside the point. Do like I tell you, and we’ll be in and out with the money, just like Bonnie and Clyde.”

“Who are they?” he asks.

“Never mind,” she says, not wanting to take the time to explain.

She opens the driver’s side door.

“I love you, Honeybun,”he says.

“I love you too, Loverboy,”she says as they both get out of the car.

They enter the bank. It looks more like an upscale restaurant than what they had seen in every bank robbery movie they had watched. A few steps back from the entranceis a podium. Standing at it is a young woman who might be a maître d’. She’s wearing a beige business suit hat matches the bank’s interior decor.

“Good-morning,”she says with a smile.“How can I help you today?”

They pull out their guns, matching Saturday-night specials.

Honeybun shouts, “Put your hands up in the air, you further muckers, or we’ll paint the walls with your brains!”

The young woman at the podium is the only person in the vast open space that once housed teller’s stations. She looks around for help from someone, anyone else, to take charge. “Let me get my manager. I’m sure he can help you.”

“HolyTrump!” Honeybun wonders as she takes in the view of the almost empty bank. “What the Funk is going on here?”

The maître d’ galwalks through a field of comfy chairs and coffee tables into one of the glass-enclosed cubicles that line the walls. Moments later she returns, still smiling, accompanied by a man with thinning hair, wearing fashionable glasses, and a banker-blue suit.

Both Honeybun and Loverboy are pointing their guns at the bank manager and his associate. With her free hand, Honeybun gives the banker a plastic bag with Wal-Mart stenciled on its side. “Put all your cash in the bag,”she says.

“I’m sorry,” he says. “We don’t have cash in the bank anymore. We phased out cash transactions years ago.”

“What do you mean no cash?This is a bank, isn’t it?”

“We encourage electronic transactions by all our clients: direct deposits, automatic monthly payments, credit cards. Today everything isdone with apps or online with virtual currency. It’s more efficient. You can do it too,” he says with a salesman’s smile. “Just download our app to your cell phone.”

Before either Loverboy or Honeybun can pull a trigger, the bank manager sums up his pitch by saying, “Nobody uses cash money anymore.”He says cash as if it’s a four-letter word, filthy and suitable only for illicit transactions, like buying street drugs or paying-off hookers.

“Hand over your money,” Honeybun says, “NOW, before I do something you’ll regret.”

The banker takes a deep breath, then gives in. He reaches for his wallet and says, “I may have a couple bucks for times when nothing else will do.”He holds out a few limp bills with the image of George Washington on them and another with Lincoln’s portrait. He drops them into the bag.

The young woman who welcomed them, trying to be helpful, says, “I might be able to chip in a couple more dollars, if I can get my purse from my cubicle.”
Honeybun’s and Loverboy’s gun-hands slump towards the floor.

The banker says, “The last time we were stuck up was… let me think … about twenty years ago, just after I came to work for the bank. That didn’t work out well for the robbers. The cops chased them all the way to L.A. before they ran out of gas.”

“How much did they get?” Honeybun asks, meaning the loot.

“About twenty years each,” the banker says, meaning something other than money.“Robbing banks is a federal offence, you know.”

Only then, amid all the excitement, does Loverboy realize that the ringing in his ears is an alarm. He says, “Maybe it’s time for us to go.”

“If you really need cash,” the banker says that filthy word again, “you can get it from the ATMs. Some people still use them. You’ll find ours on your right as you go out the door-- although you would need an account and a bank card, which I don’t suppose you have.”

Honeybun and Loverboy run out of the bank and jump into the old muscle car. Honeybun is behind the wheel. The motor coughs and wheezes a few times before it roars to life, but not loud enough to drown out the sound of approaching sirens.



Dennis Piszkiewicz from US had a long career as a teacher and scientist. Along the way he began writing. He started with a textbook and followed it with a few more books on historical topics that grabbed his interest. Recently he has been writing short fiction.


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