Bulletproof Glass

Flash Fiction

It was Bonzo’s idea to rob a bank. His big brother Jack picked the target. Time to get real and dump the gas stations, liquor stores, and all-night bodegas.

I shared the backseat with Bonzo while Artie handled getaway and Jack rode shotgun. Blocks from big time and our final heist. Jack and Bonzo already booked a flight for Las Vegas to live that dream. Artie left a deposit on a stock car to race the ghetto circuits down south.

With no plans to go show-off with the incoming loot, you’d think I’d consider the risk part of the score. My father cranked bits of hard time for strong arm and stick-ups. The career criminal, never getting ahead. Neon scrubs and that chump mug of his, eyeballing me through the glass of the guest module on visiting nights.

“Your mother tells me you’re finding trouble. You wanna end up in here, with me?” My father asked me one night.

Truth is, we weren’t all that fuzzy. During my father’s furloughs, he liked getting in my face. Riding me out and preaching a lifestyle change. Our low budget love failed to launch, so what’s the use?

Artie reached the bank and pulled over. Just like the movies, we entered and fanned out. Jack and Bonzo rounded up the brass, shoving them towards the vault.

I stood in the parlor, pointing a doomsday pipe at the tellers. A message to these moogs, me and my crew meant business. A teller, let’s call him Joe College, entertained my shtick. Despite my ski mask, I felt him looking right through me.

The same distance and pity my father must have felt the last time we met. The career con melting down from cancer, staring at his son through a pane of security glass. An awkward moment, where all the wasted time and baked dreams had finally washed out.

I looked back at Joe College behind his own bulletproof glass. Nothing personal, kid. Couldn’t hold a job if I owned the place. Welcome to the big bad world.

The brothers returned humping the milk and honey. Bonzo passed me an extra load from his shoulder. We left the bank in two flat, just like we practiced.

Once outside, the getaway plans hit a snag on account the police showed up. Boots on the ground, choppers in the sky, and the entire street in lockdown. They had us pegged for real cowboys, and not those fucksteaks from the scouting report.

When Jack and Bonzo tried to blast their way off the map, the snipers burned them down. Jack and Bonzo crashed departures all right. Stripped, broke, and bumped from Las Vegas with an upgraded red-eye to Hades.

Once my partners bit the deal, I dropped the power and joined the faith. Just as the SWAT team swarmed, I couldn’t help patching in the old man. His hapless mug uploaded on my brain’s wall. My turn for hard time and check-in at the heartbreak hotel.

The cops had Artie in clamps and the getaway ride surrounded. This escape boiled faster than one of Artie’s off-Broadway heats. You knew that already. So did my father, and he wasn’t there.