The Nightly Grab
The Nightly Grab
By Tony DeLorger © 2013
Three times he hesitated, like jump-starting a car, lurching forward with half intent, unconvinced, indecisive. The gun was cold in his hand, one bullet in the chamber and two to spare, flailing about, sending customers ducking over and over like an erratic Spanish wave, all of them cringing, too scared to run, not stunned enough to remain still, and become a target.
The counter assistant stood facing him, wide-eyed in doubtless shock, his bottom lip jiggling, as if trying to say something, but nothing could come out, just an involuntary dribble from the corner of his mouth. The thief looked pointedly at the register, having suddenly gained control of himself, then stared at the assistant with a cold and determined expression. The assistant's hand shook as he pressed a key and opened the till drawer; neat piles of fifties and twenties curled up around the spring clips. It had been a good Saturday.
The thief shoved a black leather bag in front of him and he clumsily grabbed it without losing eye contact. The spring clips consecutively flipped up and the cash in handfuls was stuffed into the bag until the drawer was empty, save some coins. The assistant straightened his arm with the filled bag in front of him, as if to not get any closer than necessary. The thief nodded in acceptance of his compliance and snatched the bag aggressively, the gun now pointed at the poor assistant's head. He winced, his eyes squinting, his mind no doubt considering possibly his last moments.
The masked man held the expression for an unnerving twenty seconds or so, and the assistant's face looked like it might explode, his ample jowls quivering in nervous shock. The thief then calmly lowered the gun and nodded, slowly walking backwards toward the door. The customers were hunched together near the freezer, and looked like a human igloo all rounded and intertwined in a dome shape, their collective eyes popping. The man smiled under his balaclava and pushed the glass door open with his behind, turning once outside and making a break for the car. Throwing the bag onto the passenger seat, he turned over the engine and the spinning rubber spat dirt and pebbles as the car swung out onto the road and into the darkness of night.
Back in the store, the assistant slid down to the ground, his back against the wall, tears streaming down his plump face, his body twitching, his mind spinning with confusion. The customers consoled one another amid tears and relief, and someone called the cops. But no-one saw the face, or the car; not a word spoken. There was nothing to tell... just another nightly grab.
In America, more than one robbery is committed every minute. Although most people survive these robberies, the emotional impact can be devastating and have a long term influence on the victims.