Sarah Smith wasn’t particularly special. Her plain stick hair hung around her pale face and dirt brown eyes. She worked the afternoon shift at the local grocery store.
It was the kind of town where no one knows their neighbor. Kind of like the big city, minus the blinding lights and endless opportunities.
When she was younger, Sarah dreamed of becoming a dancer. But she grew into a short neck and stubby fingers, so no one ever paid her much mind.
One day she was cashiering at the second counter.
This guy is trying to lose weight fast.
She thought to herself as the man walked away with eight pounds of apples.
She finished bagging two gallons of ice cream for the girl in sweats and crumbly mascara.
“Hi.” A man. Brown crew cut.
“Hi.” She repeated back to him.
He stared at her for a moment.
What does this guy want?
He finally set a bottle of Coke on the counter, and leaned over to grab a pack of watermelon chewing gum.
Then he stared at her again.
She scanned the soda, a little weirded out.
Plastic bag in hand, he still didn’t leave. He seemed to be making a calculation.
“I’m Jake.” He finally introduced himself.
He is not trying to hit on me while I am working.
“May I ask your name?”
Oh my gosh he is.
She waited a beat. “Sarah.”
“Are you busy tonight?”
He’s really asking me out? Well. I’m not doing anything. I’m never doing anything. And he doesn’t look like a total creeper.
“I could use an accomplice for a heist.”
“What time are you off?”
Why did I say that?
“Sounds good. I’ll meet you outside after you close up.” He flashed a smile and left, unwrapping a piece of gum.
Heist. What does he mean “heist”? It’s a joke, right? He was trying to be funny. I can’t even ditch him now. 6:30. Half an hour.
She started to count her drawer and watched the clock. When the little hand finally hit the twelve, she smothered on some lip gloss, keys jangling as she waved goodbye to her manager. She was throwing her name tag in her purse when she looked up to see Jake leaning against a yellow VW Beetle.
“You ready?” he called, straightening up, “I’ll drive.”
“Ok sir, look. I’ve decided I’ll come along, but you seriously have to tell me what we’re doing.”
“I did. A heist. We’ll be meeting up with some of my friends first, for a drop, and then head over to the factory to make the big haul.”
“Let me get this straight. You expect me to help you and your friends rob a factory? Because I wasn’t busy tonight?”
Honestly, it was funny at the beginning, but bro, let the joke die.
He laughs, “Yeah, it’s a little game my buddies like to play. We got bored of Tuesday-night-Monopoly, so we put the money in duffle bags and kicked things up a notch. It’ll be fun, Sarah, I promise.”
She knew she would most likely regret getting in his car, but on the off chance this could actually be worthwhile, she found herself in the passenger seat.
Jake kept fiddling with the police radio while his eyes flit along the street. He assured her it was just to make things more realistic. Eventually they pulled into a shadowy drive way next to the garage of a two-story. He handed her something black, then slid his own ski mask over his head.
“You’re serious?” she looked at him like he was mad.
“C’mon, it’s part of the game.” He got out and shut his door quietly, walking around to open hers with the same care.
Sarah shrugged, put on the mask and got out.
He used a hand to beckon her towards a door on the side of the house. It was unlocked, and on the floor inside were two black duffle bags next to a spray of shattered glass. There was a faint cough from some other room.
“Grab one and let’s get out of here,” He whispers.
She was starting to get concerned, but followed his directions nonetheless.
Back in the car, they put the bags in the back seat. Jake backed out slowly, but picked up speed once they got a street over.
“Just to be clear, this is a game, right?”
“Of course. Check the bags.”
She turned and reached over her seat to unzip one of the duffles. Yellow, pink, and blue Monopoly bills. She smirked, put at ease.
After a few minutes they were rolling in behind a medium sized grey brick building, with smoke coming out tubes at the top.
Jake checked his phone. “The bags should be ready for pick-up. The guys have already been through.” He parks the little yellow car behind a big bush. “You see that truck entrance? We are going to cut through there, and the room on the left should have the money. You’ve got to be quiet and follow my lead, got it?”
They crept their way through the concrete loading docks, and into the room on the left. Another two bags sat on the ground.
Then the gun shots started.
Those don’t sound like Nerf guns.
They crouched back against a wall as sirens came into earshot.
“Well, Sarah, it’s been a blast.” He kissed her, grabbed the bags, and made a run for it.
She was too stunned and confused to move.
After a moment she stumbled back through the doorway, catching a glimpse of circular taillights disappear as five cop cars surrounded her.
And that is how Sarah Smith ended up in prison. Unfortunate, but at least her cell mates like to watch her dance.