The street was empty and dark due to a broken street lamp. The moon and stars were hidden by a layer of clouds. The station wagon, with it’s engine off and its head lamps and parking lamps extinguished, coasted into a parking space across the street from a small grocery store. In the driver seat, a short stocky man glanced through his passenger side window at a large empty lot. Then he looked into the grocery store.
The store windows were lined with pictures of items for sale. The aisles filled with canned and boxed goods extended from front to back of the small store. The frozen and refrigerated items were along one wall. The cash register was on the opposite side hidden by a large sign in the window. But the sign wasn’t large enough or wide enough to hide the owner.
Patience. Have patience,” Jack slouched in his station wagon as he watched the owner handing change to an elderly lady. He slouched down low enough so the elderly lady would not see him as she carried her grocery bag out of the store and got into a small sedan parked in front of the abandoned factory next to the store. She placed her cell phone was on the passenger seat. A few moments later, she drove away.
Jack did not know the store owner’s name and he did not want to know. He wasn’t there to hurt anyone. He had not worked in a year. He had searched and searched for a job. His unemployment compensation ran out. The little bit of savings he had was drained. He had been doing small jobs here and there like cutting someone’s lawn or taking someone’s trash to the dump. It provided a little cash but not nearly enough.
Inside the store, the store owner was busy at the cash register and not looking out the window.
Jack removed a revolver and a liquor flask from the glove compartment. He had removed the dome light so the car would remain dark when he opened the door. He put on a mask that covered his whole face except his eyes and his mouth. After checking for pedestrians and traffic, he opened the door.
As Jack got out of the station wagon, he placed the liquor flask in his back pocket. After closing the car door, he walked across the street and into the alley between the store and the abandoned factory.
Inside the store, the owner removed his pistol from the shelf below the counter. Without exposing the pistol to anyone outside, he placed the pistol in his pants pocket. After emptying the cash from the register into an envelope, he placed the fat envelope on the counter. A few moments later, he picked up the fat envelope and walked toward the door. He approached the alarm control box mounted on the wall next to the front door. After activating the alarm he opened door and exited. He closed and locked the door behind him. Then he turned toward the abandoned factory.
A distant flood lamp glowed dimly just long enough for the store owner to see Jacks shadow. The store owner removed his pistol from his pocket. “Who’s there?”
Jack drank a little from his flask, put a little liquor on his shirt and then moaned. He started singing off key in a slurred voice.
Relieved that it was just another harmless drunk, the owner put his pistol away and started crossing the street. Jack came up behind him and hit him over the head with his gun. The owner fell to the ground. After grabbing the fat envelope, Jack ran to his station wagon. He opened the door and slid into the driver’s seat. He smiled as he examined the cash in the envelope. He put the envelope under the seat and started the engine. Then he turned on the head lamps.
Two blocks away another set of head lamps illuminated. A car pulled out of a parking space and proceeded down the road. As the car approached, it’s flashing lights came on. The car blocked the road in front of the store owner. An officer stepped out of the car and pointed his gun at Jack.
Jack put the transmission in reverse and began backing up.
Another police car with flashing lights approached from behind Jack and blocked the road. An officer came out of that car and pointed his gun at Jack.
Jack braked to a stop. He slowly opened the door and threw his revolver out. Then he got out of his station wagon and raised his hands above his head.