Honor Among Thieves
by Alexis Kypridemos
The two men outside the bank inhaled the last of their cigarettes, dropped the butts on the ground, rubbed them out, put on their ski masks and walked to the entrance.
The leader, in the red ski mask, pressed the button on the door, the light above the handle turned green, and both men entered. The door locked automatically behind them. Through the glass of the door in front of them, they could see the bank's interior, clerks and clients, and in the back, the safe.
A pre-recorded female voice said to the two men, "Please look up to your left." The men turned their heads and stared into the security camera. The light on the second door turned green.
The men pushed through the second door and into the bank. They pulled out their bulky revolvers and pointed them at the cashier.
"Okay," the leader said, clearing his throat. "Uh, this is a stick-up?" The cashier, the clerks and the clients waiting in line stared patiently at the two robbers.
The cashier and clients pointed to a small sign stuck on the glass divider on the counter and read it aloud, in unison, "The bank is monitored by close circuit television. The safe locks with a time lock."
The leader turned to his assistant, in the orange mask, and said, "Bummer." They lowered their guns.
"Uh, you wouldn't happen to know where there'd be a bank around here without a time whatever?" the leader asked the cashier. She smiled and rose from her seat behind the counter. "Of course," she said, and led them outside.
Outside, on the pavement, the cashier gave the robbers, still masked and armed, directions.
"Take the third left, and you should see it right in front of you," she said, pointing down the street.
"Thank you," the robbers said, waving their handguns in gratitude as they moved on.
Fifteen minutes later, the robbers pushed through the door of the next bank, which had not yet installed a safety entrance. Once again, clients and clerks stared at the two masked, gun-toting men.
"Okay," the leader said. "Open up the safe, and make it fast, 'cause we're boiling with these things on." He pointed the barrel of his gun at his mask.
A regulation bank clerk, about thirty, anemic, with short, slightly thinning hair, and a shirt and tie which did not exactly fit him, stepped in front of the robbers, his fingers intertwined in front of him as if in prayer.
"I regret to inform you," he said, "that you are late. The last consignment of cash was just picked up by the armored car."
The leader robber lowered his gun and grunted, "Oh, nuts."
"Would you care for some lemonade? Orange juice?" the clerk asked.
The robbers and the clerk sat at a tin table in the small yard behind the bank, sipping lemonade. The robbers had lifted their masks over their heads to enjoy the cool breeze. By way of conversation, the leader asked, "This bank thing, you do alright, huh?"
"Oh, yes," the clerk said, "we charge eight and a half percent interest on mortgages-"
The leader nudged his assistant. "And they call us thieves!"
Author Notes: "Honor Among Thieves" is part of "Fiction Fix," a collection of 46 short, funny stories, available at http://www.fiction-fix.com.