General Fiction posted November 25, 2012

Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted
On ordinary guy picks up a fortune.

Mad Grab for Cash

by bluedragon776

"Did you see that!" my friend Jessica screeched. Her voice dripped with disbelief. I heard a loud crash and turned around to see what had caused the disruption. I must have blinked several times. But this action did not alter the vision before me.

At about a couple hundred feet away was an armored truck and a small yellow sedan faced each other in the middle of the intersection. The car was completely smashed up, the whole front end crumpled in upon itself like a closed accordion.

The back doors of the truck swung wide open to reveal many large red bags, many of them spilling money into the street. A gentle summer breeze blew money in all directions, littering not only the intersection, but the sidewalk with cash.

The driver of the small yellow car had not yet emerged. However, the driver of the armored truck stood befuddled next to the driver side door. He shook his head slightly as if to clear cobwebs. Soon his confusion turned to dread as he registered the scene that began to play out. A mob converged in the intersection and the frenzy began.

Men and women, both young and old swooped down onto the sidewalk like vultures on a dead body. They furiously scooped up money then shoved it in pockets, socks, shoes, purses--whatever they could find. A couple of teenage girls teamed up to carry a bag from the back of the armored truck. They held it as though it were a dead body, one carry each end. The pair moved swiftly, but methodically into the nearest alley. That was smart of them, I thought. Why scoop up bills from the street when you can take away an entire bag filled with money.

Wait, money? Beautiful crisp bills covered with the faces of dead presidents such as Hamilton, Grant and Jackson? May God rest their souls. There were bound to be lots of Benjamins too.

"Damn vultures," Jessica said. Those vultures, Jessica referred to shoved and bit and hit one another as they each accumulated small fortunes. Here I stood only a few hundred feet away my mouth hung open like a perfect idiot.

"Holy Shit, look at all that beautiful money," I yelled. Without permission from my brain, my feet ran towards the money, covering the distance in what seemed like a matter of seconds. By the time I got to the littering of money, several people including a little boy and an old man, with a wicked looking cane I might add, had pockets stuffed to the point of exploding.

The women, who with purses and shopping bags, had a slight advantage over the men. I fell into the latter category. Of course, all I had were my pants pockets. Like other men here, I jammed hundred dollar bills into my socks and shoes. Then a brilliant idea whacked me in the head. I tucked my t-shirt into my jeans and rammed fists-full of money down my shirt, both front and back, while shoving and elbowing for more.

I know I should be better than this. I should try to persuade the others against this despicable act, or at the very least, not take part in the robbery myself. Unfortunately, I am not that noble. I also do not want to get a beat down. That old man with the cane could probably put me in the hospital with just a couple swipes of his stick. Besides, I could catch up on bills and maybe save a bit of it for a rainy day. Of course, this was no excuse for stealing.

Even in my frenzy, I had the sense to keep a look out for the police. I knew someone, probably the armored truck driver, would have called this mess in by now.

I continued my frantic cash grab. Sure enough, the next thing I knew, sirens blared and brought me to attention. I looked up, colors of red and blue flashed like crazy blinking Christmas lights on hyper speed.

Once again, my feet did the thinking. I dashed to the nearest alley and ran until I was safely out of police range. I did not remember my friend Jessica until I was out of the alley and behind the store building. I looked around and saw a couple of teenagers talking among themselves.

The youngest, a dark-haired boy around twelve, straddled a red bicycle, the other a taller blonde boy around fourteen stood facing him. They both turned to look at me, but immediately lost and resumed their conversation.

I assumed the kids did not see the money exploding from my clothes. They would have rushed me for sure. After all, I have the police to hide from and can't take the chance of people talking. Relieved, I hid myself behind a nearby dumpster.

The stink of rotting garbage assaulted my nose and caused my eyes to water. I fought the urge to vomit. My t-shirt was roomy so I took out as many crumpled bills as I could and tried to straighten them out. I do the same with the cash in my jeans pockets.

I am so tempted to count, but even though I was hidden by the dumpster it would be incredibly foolish to count this money here in the open. I flatten and fold the bills but the stack is too big so I have to divide it into multiple stacks which comfortably fit in my pockets.

My attention turned to the two boys nearby. Their proximity and volume of speech allowed me to hear them easily .

I again focused on the bills stuffed down my socks and shoes. Like the money in my shirt, I removed as many bills from my socks and shoes as possible, then smoothed, flattened, divided and folded the money into thick wads.

I did not have any more space in my jeans pockets, so I just shoved the stacks back down into my socks. I take off my shoes and lay a few stacks in them. I was careful to pull my socks up and over the money while simultaneously stuffing it down. I then pulled my pants leg down over my socks.

When I'm done, my bulging ankles and hips made me look at least twenty pounds heavier. My ears perked up suddenly. No talking. I peeked from around the dumpster in time to see both boys stalking towards me. One of them, the elder, stops in his tracks.

"What the hell, look twenty bucks!" He scooped up a crumpled bill in one quick movement. His friend furrowed his eyebrows and asked perturbed, "Where the hell did that come from?"

I held my breath as it dawned on me that a few bills must have escaped while I rearranged and re-stuffed.

Now they were all to curious about the man behind the dumpster. I looked past them to see a crumpled fifty dollar bill laying on the grass. Sensing trouble, I immediately get scared and my eyes wondered briefly for anything I could use as a weapon.

Wait, weapon against these kids? Great, now I have degraded myself from thief to child beater. But at least it would have been in self-defense. Unfortunately, there wasn't a stone or stick in sight.

"Hey mister, you behind the dumpster, you OK?" the older boy asked.

"Yes I'm OK, I'm just resting." I have been told what a horrible liar I am, and can see that these kids didn't buy anything I said.

The younger stared at me with suspicious eyes, while his friend and looked me up and down. There was no doubt in my mind that they knew where the money came from.

"We found this twenty just lying on the ground over there." He turned to indicate the spot where the money was found.

Now his eyes zeroed in on the crumpled fifty dollar bill rocked by the light summer breeze. The boy immediately abandoned his bike, raced towards the crumpled president Grant, scooped it up and shoved it in his front pocket.

"What was that Frank?" the older boy asked.

Frank shrugged and walked back to stand beside his friend. "A fifty," he said without looking at the other boy. "Got anymore?" Frank's eyes pierced through me.

"Give it to me," the other friend demanded.

"Hell no!" Frank declared. "Besides he has more," he shoved his chin in my direction. "Don't you?"

"Look, there isn't going to be any trouble here," I declared in a loud, clear authoritative voice.

"The hell there's not," Frank snickered. "Turn out your pockets."

"I don't have any money," I say as innocently as possible.

I looked around but there was no one to come to my aid. I think of just running but decide against it. For one thing, Frank has his bicycle, the older boy is tall and lean. I am at least twenty years older and even though I ran track in college, I have been out of practice for years.

Maybe if I reason with them..but how the hell do you I reason with psychopathic teenagers?

"You heard him," the old boy interjects. "Turn out your pockets, bitch!"

Well that's a new one, no one has ever called me a bitch before. "What's your name, son?" I try to get on a first name bases with my captors.

"I'm not your son," he takes a step towards me.

Well that went over well. I decided to try a distraction instead. "OK, you guys want money?" I pull out a wad of cash and wave it in front of them. Throw the untied wad above their heads. The wad unfolds, explodes and showers them with money.

I haul ass in the other direction and indulged in one look back. They did not chase me. Too busy stuffing their pockets with cash.

I made it back to my tiny apartment, not six blocks away, and locked the door behind me. I then proceeded to strip naked and put every last bill into a pile.

After I count the money, I organize it into piles of 100s, 50s and 20s. A nice sum of fifty grand lay on my carpet. I am over the moon, but perturbed that I had to give some up to those hoodlums in order to escape. I wonder how much I lost to them. "Stupid little shits."

After counting it a third time, still fifty grand, I stashed the cash in socks and hid them in the heater vent.

I returned from the local Chinese restaurant to find Jessica, the friend I abandoned at the cash grab, is waiting at my door.

"So how much did you get?" she asked through pursed lips.

"Not much," I say. I saunter past her, unlock the apartment door, and walk in. I left the door open, as an unspoken invitation.

"You want some?" I hold up the cartons of Chinese. "I have plenty."

"I'm not hungry."

I hear the front door close and a moment later voices emanate from the TV.

In the kitchen, I plate some Shrimp Chow Mein and an egg roll, then join her in the living room. I almost drop my plate. Jessica stood tip toe i on a chair and gazed intently into the heating vent as she angled her head from one side to the other attempting to get a better view.

"What the hell are you doing?" I asked. I could hear the nervousness in my voice. She teetered a bit but regained her balance and placed both feet firmly on the carpeted floor.

"Looking for the money you took from that poor Brinks guy."

"It wasn't his money and I only got around $2,000," I sigh.

"It wasn't your money either, and I just know you got more than $2,000."

"Why would I lie to you?"

"I saw you and those two kids behind the store." She shook her head, "All that money raining down on them like confetti at a parade. I managed to grab about $500 though. Covers some of what you owe me anyway."

"I thought you didn't approve of taking any of that money in the first place."

"I didn't, but when I thought about it, I figured why should I be the only one who doesn't benefit."

"Well you got $500 dollars of the money. I'll get the other $1,000 to you later.

"Why later?"

"I don't have it here in the apartment."

"Thomas Walters, you lying sack of shit , you expect me to believe you didn't come right back here after leaving those kids?"

I shrug my shoulders and place the plate of Chinese on the coffee table.

"I don't know what you want me to say."

"You can start by giving me what's left the money your owe me," Her hands made fists which rested firmly on her slender hips.

I chuckle at first, but it quickly turns to a belly laugh. Jessica's face was as unchanging as a statue.

"You forget that we grew up together and I know you better than most people," she said pointing to the heating vent, my hiding place. "I'll call the cops and the nearest Brinks office and turn you in."

"I'll pay you when I have the money, until then, get the hell out!" I reached to take her by the arm, prepared to throw her out. Then two things happen before I was aware, she wiggled out of my grasp, elbowed me in the ribs then she hits me on the back of my head. Everything went black.

A sharp knock jeered me awake and I find myself on the floor eating my carpet. The knocking continues until I realize that someone is pounding on the door.

When I move, a sharp pain bounces against the inside of my skull. I remember Jessica and the vents, but when I looked up the vents seemed untouched.

"Mr. Walters, open up this is the City Police," a man's voice commands. "Open this door or we'll be forced to break it down."

"Shit, Jessica turned me in!"

I struggle to my feet and open the door. Two men in blue uniform march in and close the door behind them. One of them was so tall that he almost reached the top of the door frame.

"We received an anonymous tip that you have stolen money from the Brinks truck looting earlier today," announced the shorter of the two.

"I don't have any money," I say rubbing the back of my head.

"Yeah, sure you don't," the taller cop rolled his eyes. "We have several eye witnesses and a traffic camera placing you at the scene."

He retrieved a screwdriver from his pants pocket and opened the wall vent. My heart sank and all I could do was stare helpless as he opens the vent to retrieve the sock. But instead he removed a small white piece of paper.

"What's this, some kind of joke?" They asked almost simultaneously. They both turned to look at me, but I just shrug. I'm at a loss for words.

"Is that a note?" I ask. "What does it say?"

"Thanks for paying me back my friend, when you get out in twenty years, I'll buy you Chinese to celebrate."

This Sentence Starts The Story contest entry


I have revised this story. I was originally a contest entry. I hope you enjoy. Please share your most honest opinions and criticisms. I know I have some problems with tense shifting and I tried to fix them. I also tried to fix any SPAG errors. Could I maybe submit this to a magazine for publication? If not what would I have to fix?
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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