There’s time to remember. Remembering’s a big part of the thrill.
Playboy. It was the pinnacle of our pre-teen fantasies. We’d often looked longingly at the upper row of magazines, but in September of 1979, Derek and I saw the brunette on the cover of Playboy, dressed in a short-short yellow cheerleading outfit and knew we had to have her. We pooled our money- five bucks for a magazine was unheard of. I had three bucks left over from cutting lawns, and Derek had two he’d swiped from his mom’s purse.
If the clerk had been willing to take our money, things may have gone very differently from that day on. Fat Enos, however, was having none of it. “These books ain’t for you!” he snapped, all rubber lips and sweaty jowls. “Get outta here.”
We left, dejected but not defeated. Derek immediately started plotting, “We’re going to get that book, Jeff.”
I nodded, “What’re you thinking?”
He told me and I thought he was a genius.
Three days later, which was lots of time for Enos to forget about us, we went back. My hands were sweaty and cold all at once. I checked my back pocket again for the money, and rubbed them dry on my jeans in the process.
Heading for the magazine rack, I picked up Guitar Monthly, Teen Beat and, as nonchalantly as possible, the prized Playboy. I shuffled them around, pretending to be interested in a cover story about Leif Garrett, before placing them back on the bottom shelf- Playboy now sat hidden behind the Guitar mag. Next, I turned to the cooler and started sorting madly through the milk, pretending to search for a jug with an extra five days on its expiry date.
Derek had gone to the other corner of the store, and was browsing comic books. He was spinning the racks so vigorously the comics started to fall onto the ground, just as planned.
“Hey… Hey kid... Damn it- quit messing up my racks!” Enos slapped down his copy of The Enquirer hard enough for me to hear it at the back, and he started his three-hundred-plus pounds to shuffling out from behind the counter. In the brief moment that his vision was obscured, I made my move, spinning around, grabbing the Playboy, and tucking it into the back of my jeans. I flipped my shirt over it, and walked straight up to the counter.
Enos was bent double, hands on massive knees, picking up comics and giving Derek four shades of shit- both activities making him wheeze. I thumped a hand on the counter. Keeping him off balance was a major part of the plan.
“Hey, Enos,” I yelled, “I’m buying some milk here. Why don’t you haul your fat ass back to work?” I played my part brilliantly. He was so pissed off; we could have ripped off just about anything without him noticing.
Enos pointed at Derek. “Leave those funny books alone, and get out of here. Don’t come back, neither.” Lumbering back behind the register, he rang up my purchase.
“You too,” he snarled at me. “Stay outta here. Your ma wants milk, she can come herself.”
Derek gave him the finger, and stormed out. We’d never be back.
I took my change and followed behind. Picked up our dirt bikes, we pedaled to the park as fast as we could, wind blowing our hair back, both of us grinning like maniacs.
We sat down by the big elm tree near the jungle gym and pulled out the magazine. We were both breathing hard, and the book was sweaty from being against my lower back. With the reverence you’d show a sacred text, we opened the magazine.
I’ve been with dozens of broads in my life, and seen them all naked, but I’ve compared every one of them with Tina Black. Derek and I studied every curve of the centerfold, lingering over the soft grapefruit swell of her tanned breasts with their small, dark nipples that peeked out from the yellow cardigan. We gazed in awe at her long, taut legs and finally, at the carefully shaped, natural blonde thatch between them. I won’t say it was like seeing God, but it was damned close.
And for me, the thrill of the taking made everything ten times sweeter.
Jump to ten years later -- Derek’s the assistant DA, and I’m a “person of interest” in thirty states, and four provinces. Last year, I found my centerfold girl and took her to bed.
Sometimes in life, you do get what you want. Even more rarely, it’s everything you hoped for. What I didn’t count on was falling for her. Tina’s personality puts her body to shame (and she’s still got that body.)
The watch has stopped, but I won’t be wearing it in twenty minutes anyway. The news ticker on the Watson Centre says eleven-fifty-eight. Time to go.
The guard is no Enos. His eyes move casually, but deliberately. I feel the easy weight of the P11 pistol in its holster. If all goes well, I’ll walk out with the six thousand dollar twin to the piece of shit around my wrist. If it all goes south, I’ll be the bad-boy: gut the register, put a bullet in the guard’s face, and maybe the clerk too- she looks like a screamer.
It won’t come to that.
I’ve done this gig a dozen times. It’s never gone ugly. If it does though, I’ll make it count and “that,” as they say, “will be that.”
Tina’s waiting for me. I think of her smile; how she smiles at me, and the old rush comes back.
“Can I help you with something sir?”
“I’m interested in that watch.”
It’s heisting Miss October, all over again.
Chris Allinotte lives in Toronto, Canada. He writes mainly horror and dark, bizarre fantasy, but is learning to love the seedier side of crime-writing.
His stories has appeared online at Thrillers, Killers n' Chillers, Flashes in the Dark, and in anthologies by Pill Hill Press, and Static Movement Press.
Visit Chris' blog at http://chrisallinotte.blogspot.com/.
Chris is hosting a flash fiction challenge called Madness in March. Deadline for stories is 4th March 2011. Check his blog for full details.