I was looking super busy at my First City National Bank teller window one day, which means I was scowling at Facebook like it was a very important spreadsheet. Now and then I'd hit random keys on my adding machine.
That's when the three bank robbers burst in.
They wore zombie masks and yelled lots of loud commands all at once, like they were really angry. One of them smashed a glass display kiosk with his gun, and it made a loud crash.
My jaw dropped. My heart pounded. Instinct told me to stay very still…but I also really wanted to Instagram it.
But then one of them said, "Put your hands where we can see them!" And he was just growly enough that I put down my phone and raised up my hands.
In addition to the masks, they wore business suits and leather gloves, and they moved with military precision. There were only three of them, but it seemed like they were everywhere, the way they took the place over.
Customers and co—workers cowered. People cried. These were my people, my neighbors, and I had this urge to get in front of them and protect them. I so didn't want anybody hurt!
But at the same time, I secretly approved of the way these robbers were trashing the bank.
Because any enemy of First City National Bank was a friend of mine. A BFF bestie.
Hank Vernon and his evil bank had destroyed my family. Relentlessly, cruelly, methodically destroyed us.
The one robber broke another glass thing and then he looked at me like he wanted me to be scared, and all I could think was, dude, you are acting out my deepest fantasy.
He had scowling green eyes, and his body language was designed to menace, but I just found it all really hot, and I was starting to think that he knew it.
They commanded all seven of us tellers to keep our hands up—so we wouldn't push any silent alarm or panic buttons, I guess.
What they didn't know was every single one of us tellers at First City National Bank of Baylortown, Wisconsin hated bank owner Hank Vernon with a passion—a seething, lava—like passion churning deep in our bank teller hearts.
Any one of us would've loved to see his bank go down in flames, hopefully taking all of the greedy, predatory Vernon family with it.
I was the queen of the Bring—Down—Hank—Vernon Brigade, being that I had more Vernon—inflicted wounds than all of my co—workers put together.
The green—eyed robber ordered the other tellers to throw down their phones and march around and join the customers on the floor, but he pointed at me and said, "You! All the money. In the sack."
I nodded, taking the sack from him, wondering how I could get the maximum amount of Hank's money into it, and also, in the sack? Was he being humorously suggestive?
"Touch anything else and you're dead," he said.
"Don't worry, dude. I'll do whatever you want."
He seemed to still right then. His gaze intensified. Excitement shivered across my skin.
Did that sound sexy?
Yes, it sounded sexy, and I'm pretty sure we both thought it.
It was official: a zombie—mask—wearing bank robber and I were having a moment.
Adrenaline pumped through my veins, one of my favorite feelings in the world. It reminded me of being on top of a ski jump. The delicious point where you take off and you're careening out of control.
He gestured at the sack with his gun and I started grabbing money.
More yelling out on the floor. "Down! Fingers knit or I blow your heads off!" As if to emphasize his point, one of the robbers kicked the coin counting machine over onto a glass table, making an insanely loud crash. Somebody whimpered. I frowned. These poor people didn't deserve to be frightened.
"Send us off with tracking devices or exploding dye and you're dead," my guy growled at me. "We'll come back and mess you up." Then he grabbed the flowers out of the little vase at my station and ripped them up and threw them on the floor.
I moved to the next drawer. "I'm telling you, don't worry. I'm into it. Tell Scary Spice out there not to shoot anyone and we're good."
His green eyes blazed. Was the '80s reference a little too obscure? "I make the rules here. Not you," he growled.
My belly tightened; that was a little bit hot, the way he said it. Did he know? Was he being hot on purpose?
"Ten—four," I said, finishing the job, cleaning out drawer after drawer.
My breath sped as I gave him back the bag; his leather glove brushed against my bare skin and his eyes locked on mine. I had this feeling that he was looking right through me, that he recognized me. Not personally—I'd have known those green eyes anywhere—but like he knew how excited I felt.
And I really, really liked the feel of his glove on my skin.
This robbery was working for me!
Years ago, my mom showed me an article that talked about how thrill—seeking people like me are missing a brain chemical, and that we make up for it by taking risks. She showed it to me hoping I'd stop taking so many risks, but all the article did was to make me feel glad to be missing the brain chemical. I can't imagine going through life without leaping from the cliff over Mucklanaho River, or racing down the abandoned ski slide, or getting excited about green—eyed criminals with their competence porn commands and sexy gloves.
"The safe." His gaze glowed behind his mask. "Who can get us in?"
"Oh, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised," I said. "It's open." Hank had left for the day, and the rest of us weren't exactly conscientious when he was gone.
"Thor!" He waved his gun at one of the other two robbers.
A guy in a blue zombie mask jumped over the counter with startling athletic grace and said, "Three minutes twenty."
"Thor? As in the Norse god?" I asked.
That pair of green eyes bored fiercely into mine.
"Lead us back."
I turned and led them back, straight into the walk—in, and pulled open the money safe. My big, green—eyed robber ripped the camera from the wall and tossed it to the floor like it was nothing. Then he pulled bundles of money off the shelves with fast, efficient movements while Thor held the bag. These men had done this before. It was so badass. My stranger sex fantasies would never be the same.
"Three—five." Thor pressed a finger to his headset.
"What?" the big green—eyed one asked.
"Nothing. Traffic," he said, probably listening to the police scanner.
Suddenly I came to my senses—I was missing a couple of major destroy—Hank—Vernon opportunities here.
I caught Thor's eye. I held up a hand—stop—and put my finger to my lips—shhh— then I pointed to the listening device on the shelf. Hank planted it there to catch employee grumbling. We all knew about it.
"Zeus." Thor pointed to it.
"Please don't shoot me," I warbled in my best fake—scared voice. "Please." I pointed to a section of bills—fifties. I ripped off the seal, displaying the trackers for them to see, and I pointed to all the bundles that had trackers. They had little red marks and we were supposed to leave them there in case of a robbery. I felt like a lady on the shopping channel demonstrating the features of a new product. If they had a shopping channel for badass robbers in zombie masks who named themselves for gods.
Thor and Zeus exchanged glances. I expected them to throw the trackers onto the ground, but my green—eyed Zeus pocketed them. Clever. He was getting sexier by the second. I also liked that these guys had named themselves after gods. It demonstrated confidence.
And I had something more to show them.
The Vernons had started investing in gemstones as a hedge against the economy; Hank and his sister had recently acquired a collection of loose diamonds at an auction, and they were supposed to bring them to one of the branches with safety deposit boxes, but if there was one thing you could count on, it was Hank's laziness. My gaze fell on the strongbox shoved way back on the floor. Could the stones still be in there?