So this weeks WordPress weekly writing challenge is …
‘This week, we’re asking you to consider things from a different point of view — to walk a mile in someone’s shoes. Leave your moccasins and bunny slippers at the door, and tell us a tale from a fully-immersed perspective that is not your own.’
So, I thought I would try a bit of flash fiction, looking at an event from a range of different perspectives. I hope you enjoy reading it ….
You can do this, just go in there and show them who’s boss. I’m standing outside, psyching myself up. My sweat coated hands slide over the barrel of my sawn off shotgun, as if stroking it will calm my nerves. Beads of sweat are forming on my forehead, as I overheat from the thick wool balaclava that covers my face. My heart is pumping adrenaline around my body and I am feeling giddy and sick. Ah man, how did I get myself into this? My legs jittery, I am close to collapsing I am so nervous. Taking a deep intake of breath I close my eyes and think through the plan again. Have I definitely got everything I need? Gun – check, Balaclava – check, getaway car in place – check, kit bag – check … yep, I’m ready to go. It’s been a crazy year. At the beginning of the year I had a good job, loving family and a nice house. Just a month later the job was gone. Made redundant after 10 years of working for the same company, with nothing but a lousy redundancy cheque to pay me off. It had been 8 months now and there was still no job in sight. I was either too old or over-qualified! They wouldn’t even give me a job in fucking McDonalds! Up to my eyes in debt and about to lose my home and family I had to take some drastic action. Come on Greg, let’s do this.
My booted foot kicks the door open and I barge through dramatically. My entrance isn’t as I expected it … no-one has even noticed me come in. Bloody marvellous, I can’t even rob a bank properly! I know what will get their attention. I point the barrel of the shotgun up to the ceiling. My finger almost slipping off the trigger, I just about manage to fire a warning shot. Everyone stops what they are doing and turns to face me, with confused looks on their faces. That’s more like it. ‘Everyone on the floor, NOW.’ I shout. They comply like lemmings, worry and fear now breaking through to the expressions on their faces. I find myself enjoying the unusual feeling of power and control. I walk over to the cashier desk, gun in one hand and kit bag clutched in the other. I shove the kit bag under the glass screen, using my gun to signal the cashier to move. Shit, I know that woman. I realise that the cashier is one of my daughter’s friends. It completely throws me. How did I miss that? Stupid, stupid … She pauses for a bit and I worry that she may recognise my voice, so I start to hurry her along. ‘Come on. Move. Get the cash. Quickly,’ I instruct her. She reluctantly takes the bag and starts stuffing bundles of notes into it. My eyes light up at the sight of the money. This is going to make everything okay. Seeing the end in sight, I start to relax a little. I’ll be out of here any minute, and I’m going to be loaded! Just then I hear sirens outside. There is a commotion as the doors burst open … ‘STOP. Police,’ they shout. Realising everything has gone tits up, I drop my gun and raise my hands in the air. My wife is going to kill me!
I find myself looking at the clock again, willing the hour hands to move faster. This day is really dragging and I can’t wait to finish and get home. Only another 2 hours to go. I look up from inspecting my recently manicured nails. Glancing across to the queue of customers I call ‘next please’. I wonder what monotonous request this customer has. Maybe they might want something different for once; rather than the usual cheque cashing, paying bills and withdrawing money. I really need to start looking for a more interesting job. A heavily pregnant lady waddles over, with a young boy in tow. He looks like he has been crying and has a sullen look on his face. You’re day can’t be as bad as mine. ‘Mummy, I want some sweets,’ his voice penetrates through my head. Remind me never to have children. I don’t want to end up looking like that huge fat whale! ‘How can I help you madam?’ I ask, in my perfect customer service voice.
Just then there is a loud noise from the back of the bank foyer. I look up with a start, wondering what it is. Just then I see a man dressed in black from head to toe walking towards me with a gun. Oh my god, are we being robbed. This is so cool. Stuff like this never happens to me. I try to look calm, although there is a bit of panic making it’s way to the surface. Does that gun have real bullets in it? I wonder what the man behind the balaclava is like. I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help but think he is some devilishly handsome bad boy. Maybe he’ll think I am really brave and cool and we end up hooking up. When he gets to the desk, he shoves a bag at me and waves his gun in the air. I am a bit confused – I was expecting him to say something – and when he doesn’t it takes me a minute to realise what he wants. ‘Come on. Move it. Get the money,’ he shouts at me. Bloody charming. It doesn’t hurt to show a little respect you know. I have brave thoughts of shoving that gun somewhere the sun doesn’t shine. You don’t know how lucky you are that there’s a thick piece of glass between us! I do as he asks, taking my time a little. I feel a bit smug, because I know I have one up on him.
Just then, I hear the police barge in, shouting commands and pointing their guns. I smile to myself, knowing that I hit the panic alarm when he first came in. I can’t wait to tell my mates about this, they’ll never top this story.
I am exhausted. I can’t wait to get home to put my feet up. Today has been tiring and I wish this baby would just hurry up and arrive now. I feel like a huge hippopotamus and everything just takes so much effort. It doesn’t help that my 3-year-old is in full-on whingeing mode! If he asks for sweets one more time, I’m going to go mad. It seems like I have been standing in this queue forever. My feet hurt, my back is sore and this baby is having a full on football match in my tummy. ‘Next please,’ the cashier calls out. At last. I slowly plod over to the desk, dragging my toddler behind me. ‘Mummy, can I have some sweets now? Geez, give me strength. The cashier smiles kindly at me and I think how young she looks. She doesn’t realise how good she’s got it. I start rummaging in my bag, looking for my cheque book, when there is a huge commotion behind me. Before I have a chance to turn round fully, someone shouts ‘everyone on the floor. NOW’. Fear builds up in me as I realise I am right in the middle of a robbery. My little boy clings onto my legs, tears streaming down his face and fear in his eyes. My immediate reaction is to grab him and move him out of the way. I ease myself to the floor, lying on my side, as my belly is too round to lie on my front. ‘Luke, come here and lie down on the floor with Mummy. Let’s have a cuddle,’ I whisper to my little one. He lies down and cuddles up to me, sniffling. ‘What’s happening?’ ‘It’s okay hunny. Everything will be okay.’ I pray that we make this out of here safely. My son is too young and helpless for this to be happening to him.
Ouch. Oooh, what was that? I think the baby’s complaining. My mounting panic, now overcome with pain. The baby can’t come now. I daren’t make a noise. I am terrified that the gunman will hear me. I lay here, clutching my little boy, silently holding back the cries of agony. Next thing I know the police are barging in. Thank god. We are going to be alright. All I need now is an ambulance!
Greg’s been acting very strangely lately. I am worried about my husband. The last few months his behaviour has been quite odd. I thought we were a close family, but he won’t talk to us anymore. He keeps everything bottled up inside. I know he took the loss of his job hard and it’s been a while since he’s been working. But the time together as a family has been nice. Besides, he had a good redundancy payment, and we have been managing to pay all our bills, so it’s not the end of the world. I don’t understand why he is so quiet and thoughtful all the time. I have tried to talk to him about seeing the Doctor, as I’m worried he might be depressed, but he’s not having any of it. And he keeps saying strange things. Stuff about ‘if anything happened to him.’ It’s all very odd. Last night was the worst though. He was really jittery and just couldn’t relax. I’m sure I heard him rummaging around in the garage in the middle of the night. When he left this morning …. he wouldn’t stop hugging me and kept telling me how everything was going to be alright. I’m getting a bit worried. I am not sure where he has gone, and it’s getting late. Maybe I should ring someone. The local hospital, or the police, to see if anything has happened to him?
I really hope this coffee perks me up a bit. It’s been a long shift! I am sat in the police car with my partner. Just another thirty minutes to go before the end of another ten-hour shift. It’s been a busy one and we are taking a few moments to chill out and recuperate a bit. The police radio has been quiet for a while. ‘It’ll be good if we can get through the rest of the shift with no calls!’ my partner says to me, looking over with a tired smile on his face. ‘It certainly would. It’s tempting to turn the bloody thing off altogether,’ I respond. He knows I am joking though, as to do so would result in a very serious disciplinary. Taking in the busy streets around me, I people watch as I sip on my coffee. Some kid goes past the window, middle finger in the air, mouthing ‘fucking pigs!’ at us. I am sorely tempted to get out of the car and teach him some respect, but that could lead to hours of paperwork and we would never finish on time. So, I let it go.
Just then, the police radio crackles. ‘Calling all units. We have an armed incident reported at Barclays Bank, Greek Street. I repeat; an armed incident at Barclays Bank, Greek Street. Immediate response vehicles needed.’ Damn it, I just knew it was too good to be true. I look over to my partner and he reluctantly gives me a nod. ‘Constable CP178 receiving you. We are en-route to Greek Street.’ I start up the car, slamming it into gear and switching the siren and lights on. Bound to be some stupid drugged out kid again. Just what I need. It doesn’t take us long to get to Greek Street, where there are three other marked police cars already waiting. We get out of the car, making our way over to the armed response unit. ‘You ready to do this?’ the officer in charge calls out. This is gonna be a late one.