The Hoxeyville Bank Heist

Okay, so every month Writer’s Digest does a writing competition and sometimes it requires writing a short story (750 words or less) based of a prompt that they provide.  The prompt for last month’s competition was, “Mommy, I don’t like this.”  That’s it.  Below is what spewed forth from my brain.  I hope you enjoy it.  If you don’t… well.. you’re not alone because it didn’t make the top five for the competition.  I’ll assume it took sixth place….

                                                                             The Hoxeyville Bank Heist

In and out.  The job was supposed to be in and out.  What the heck happened?

My feet paced the marble floor trying to keep up with my mind.  It all happened too fast; everything was a blur.  It’s been hours now and all I can figure is the teller hit a silent alarm.  My heart’s still racing.  I’m suddenly aware of how ungodly hot my ski mask feels.

“Mommy, I don’t like this,” comes a small voice from the group of five, kneeling on the floor.

I lose it.

“SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!”  Before I know it I’m rushing toward the group, thrusting my gun in their faces.

“Marcus Scott! Don’t you point that gun at my son!” yelled the boy’s mother.

I stopped cold; surprised by my own outburst.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Daniels. I overreacted.” I begged sheepishly.  The words further dampening the wool covering my sweating face.

“You’re darn right you did.  And let me tell you…”

Her words were cut off by a sharp knock on the front door glass. It was about time they sent the negotiator.  I’d seen enough movies to  know not to go near the windows or the front door, so I surveyed the hostages.

“You. Kid. Since you can’t keep your mouth shut, why don’t you go answer the door.”  I gave a sweeping motion with my gun toward the door, being careful not to aim it at him.  The boy looked at his mother who nodded reassuringly.  He walked cautiously to the door and pushed it open.  In a flash, all I could see was his back as he sprinted through the parking lot toward the parked police cars.

“Dang it!”  My look of disapproval toward Mrs. Daniels was met with a shrug and a smug smile.

Before the front door could fully close, it landed in the paw of a large man in an even larger police uniform.  Chief Hardy was the size of a bear and I chuckled to myself as I pictured a bear in cop’s clothing.  

“Focus!” I muttered to myself.  “Stay back!” I yelled to the Chief.  “You’re not the negotiator.  Why didn’t they send a negotiator?”  I sputtered a little as the wool from the mask got stuck to my lips.

Chief Hardy gave a half smile under his bushy black mustache.

“Who’s ‘they’, Marcus?” He didn’t wait for a response.  “What are you doing here?”  He motioned to the four remaining hostages, his powerful fist still clutching a half eaten bearclaw; the irony of which was lost on me at the time.

“What does it look like I’m doing?  I’m robbing the bank!”

The Chief took a nonchalant bite of his donut before responding.

“What exactly are you going to take, Marcus?  There’s no money here.”

“Of course there’s money here, its a bank.” I spat.

“You think anyone in this town has enough money to keep in a fancy bank? Everybody ‘round here is just as broke as you are, son.  Even if they did, you think they’d just hand over their hard earned cash to somebody they don’t know?”

“Well how’s the bank stay in business, if nobody’s using it?”

“Loans, obviously.  Ain’t nobody got any money, so they have to take out loans to buy stuff.  The bank makes money off the interest.”

“What interest?”

“The interest from the loans.”

“I’m not interested in loans, I came for cash.” I barked in frustration.

The Chief sighed and motioned to the hostages.

“You’re all here for loans, right?”

Everyone nodded, including the teller and the bank manager.

“See,” he nodded to the vault as he continued.  “Look for yourself.  Vault is wide open.”

I sidestepped quickly to the vault, keeping my eye on the bear.  I was beyond panic now and was glad the mask was hiding my agony.  The Chief isn’t right though.  There has to be money here.

I turned into the vault and the wet wool muffled the whimper that escaped my lips.  The piles of cash I expected were none existent.  The room was empty.

I turned to face humility just in time to see the bank door swinging shut and the backs of my four hostages as they ran to safety.  The Chief, his bearclaw gone, checked his wristwatch impatiently.  I put my plastic gun on the counter next to the silent alarm and removed my sweaty mask.

“Have you gotten new handcuffs yet?  Those old one’s pinched real bad.”

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June 18, 1831 – Morris Code Is Aneurysmed Into Existence

On the morning of June 18, 1831, the world was introduced inadvertently to the first rudimentary form of “texting” through an event that would ignite communications technology development spanning almost two centuries. I’m speaking of course about the creation of the Morris Code, which, though similar, should not be confused with the more commonly known Morse Code, which was created a full five years later.

That fateful morning in 1831, Dwayne Morris, a  well respected New York City prosecutor, suffered a series of minor ordinary inconveniences (i.e. spilled his coffee, stubbed his toe, ran out of toilet paper, etc).  On any other morning, these events would have only soured the lawyer’s mood, but due to mounting pressure from a high profile case he was working, these became the catalyst for a debilitating mental breakdown.   Seconds before he was to give his closing arguments, somewhere in the area of his brain that controlled  speech, a wire became crossed as a fuse burned out and Morris’ speech was reduced to a series of high pitched beeps and erratic screeches.  As you can imagine, those who witnessed this event immediately labeled Morris insane, costing him the case.

The laughing stock of the law world, Morris descended into a deep depression and refused to see anyone.  It wasn’t until a year later that Morris’ wife, in an effort to lift his spirits, hired a young painter/inventor named Samuel Morse to come to the house to paint a portrait of her husband.  After much beeping and screeching, Morris finally conveyed through exasperated arms that he would concede to having his portrait painted.  Now if you’ve ever had your portrait painted (which I’m assuming most of you have), it’s a long and grueling process to hold a continuous pose.  In an effort to make the time go faster, Morse, unaware of Morris’ condition struck up a conversation, only to be met with a frustrated tirade of beeps and screeches from behind his easel.  For the genius mind of Morse, it didn’t take long to recognize a pattern developing in the beeps and screeches and soon the two men were hard at work deciphering the meanings behind each sequence of sounds.  As the two men mastered the new language, a friendship blossomed and they even developed a shorthand of saying things which was remarkably similar to the acronyms used in modern day “texting”.

In the summer of 1935, Morse began telling Morris of his idea to convert his “beep/screech language”, which they had dubbed “Morris Code”, into a series of electric pulses that could be carried over wire for long distance.  He was certain it would be a communications breakthrough and make both men very rich.  Unfortunately, Morris had never been a fan of witchcraft, which he assumed this to be and he asked Morse to never speak of it again.  Only two weeks later, Morris arrived home to find his study in disarray and the notes and research that he and Morse had compiled to be missing.  Scrawled in large dots and dashes across his desk were four simple letters in Morris Code:  YOLO.   He never heard from Samuel Morse again.
Though it seems like a tragic end to the story of Dwayne Morris, he was not entirely forgotten by history.  A small group of Morris supporters still exist today and are unusually vocal about their disdain for the Morse Code (many still believe it to be witchcraft and Tweet about it constantly).  Most people don’t know, but the famous puppeteer Jim Henson was a “Morris man” and created his lovable Muppet character Beaker as a tribute to his hero.

The Ten Second Law

My fellow Americans, a little over a month ago I announced my bid for President of the United States of America.  When I initially made my decision, I assumed that seizing the role of Leader of the Free World would be a slam-dunk-cake-walk, which is why I’ve done absolutely no campaigning since.  As it turns out, this blog does not have the extensive reach that I initially thought, a fault I blame entirely on the lethargic nature of my readership who can’t seem to find the energy to click the “share” button on their Facebook feed, but somehow has time to take online quizzes to find out what Disney princess they’re most in tune with (I got Ariel because of my affinity for wearing undergarments made of sea shells).  Anyway, since my announcement, a number of other affable clowns have joined the Presidential race, not the least of which being Donald Trump who announced his bid this week, and it occurred to me that I may need to set myself apart from the Clinton’s and Bush’s of the world.  To do this I will begin to outline some of my key objectives to accomplish during my time in office.  I will not apologize to anyone whom the following may offend, but here are two planks of my Presidential platform which I believe to be hot topics of the day:

  1.  The “Ten Second Rule” to become the “Ten Second Law” – Some of you germaphobes are cringing right now as most of you are probably aware of the scientific theory that if you drop a piece of food on the floor, you actually have ten seconds to retrieve it before it becomes too contaminated to consume (the “ten second rule” becomes the “five second rule” when eating in public restrooms; for sanitation reasons, obviously).  By making this “rule” a law, people will be required to pick up any dropped food and consume it.  This will cut down on food waste and littering all in one.  And no, the rich will not be allow to hire others to eat their rogue food droppings for them.  It may sound socialist, but everyone is on the same level here.
  1.  Men’s Facial Hair Handbook – Under my regime… er.. I mean, administration, certain criteria will need to be met before men (or women, if they so choose) are allowed to grow large amounts of facial hair.  I remember the good old days when large beards were reserved for Special Forces soldiers, lumberjacks and desert island castaways, but today any idiot with the patience to do so is able to sport a beard.  My regulations and criteria will mainly be an attempt on my part to diminish the livelihood of “hipsters” who are currently overrunning our cities and towns with their ironic t-shirts and nifty hats.  The average person will not have any difficulty meeting the criteria set forth.   If you’re a male and you’re reading this, take a look at your legs.  If you’re not currently wearing skinny jeans, you’re probably fine.

Finally, before I leave you for today, I’d like to warn you about the dangers of voting for Rick Perry.  I’m pretty sure he’s the guy who made all those “Madea” movies and that this is just an elaborate plan to gain access to the White House to film “Rick Perry’s: Madea Goes To Washington” which is not surprisingly the prequel to “Madea Goes To Jail”.

I’m Brett Allen and I approve this message.