The Hold Up

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Inside, Joe scratched at the heat rash on his neck and looked around the bar. What a dump! No wonder the place was empty. If he didn’t need the money he’d be gone. Gone from moaning Mona. Gone from the divorce lawyers. Gone with a smile on his face and happy fag in his mouth. Yeah, that’s what he wanted right now as he sat back and closed his eyes – a smoke.

Outside, a man in a hoodie nervously shifted from foot to foot, his right eye twitching. The scar was painful today… his next dose would fix it. A dose always fixed it. He fingered the gun in his pocket, waiting for the right moment. It was three in the afternoon, but the place was dark. Perfect!

It was now or never. He charged into the bar and yelled, “Give me all your money.”

Joe’s eyes sprang open. A pistol was pointing right at him.

“Sure, sure… calm down… here ya go.” Joe emptied the till and shoved the money forward on the counter. “It’s all here.”

The pistol was now waving madly. Joe stepped back and put up his arms. “Calm down pal… calm down.”

The man in the hoodie had his head down and started stuffing the money into his pockets.

Joe squeezed his eyes shut and grimaced. God, is this how it ends? In a grimy bar. Take all the money! Just go. I’m not looking at you. I don’t want to know who you are. Just leave!

All Joe could hear was the hum and click of the ceiling fan. He cautiously opened his eyes. Out of the void a voice said, “Keep the change” as a twenty floated to the floor.

It was a voice he recognised.

Writing prompt:
A man with a nasty scar over his right eye enters a bar, points a gun and says, “Give me all your money”. He is wearing a hoodie and needs a fix badly. The bartender is on a minimum wage, getting a divorce, and badly wants a smoke. It’s three in the afternoon, but the bar is dark. A ceiling fan is pushing the hot air around, and the place smells. As the robber leaves, he drops a twenty-dollar bill on the floor and says, “Keep the change.”

© Inara Hawley 2018

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