Happy Saturday! Today we have a special collaborative story, in response to this week’s prompt:
An undercover alien and an intelligent animal are caught in a bank robbery.
We have something a bit different this week, as a group of our writers collaborated to write a joint story. Each person took a different point of view.
Our Bank Robbery Victims:
Veteran with a prosthetic leg – R. A. Gates
Little Girl- Karen Blakely
Teen – Mattias Bergman
Cranky old woman – Cheryl Mahoney
Someone expecting an important call – Magnus Victor
Intelligent Cat – Ingrid Victoria
Undercover Alien – Kelly Haworth
Why isn’t this line moving? There would seem to be enough tellers to process everyone through in a sufficient manner. You would think banking transactions would be pretty easy. I mean, you’re either depositing money or withdrawing. Maybe the occasional transfer of funds but that shouldn’t take that long. Ah, finally, we get to move up a foot. Whoopee.
Ugh, I hope that kid in front of me doesn’t touch me with those sticky fingers. And why is she staring at me so much? Hasn’t she ever seen a woman with a prosthetic leg before? Maybe if I glare at her she’ll leave me alone. That got her to look away. Yeah, clutch your mom’s leg and get your chocolaty mess on her jeans. At least she still has a—
Why is someone yelling? A gun! Shit, I don’t have mine on me. Get down kid. Stop crying and listen to your mom and lay on the floor. There’s three of them. At least they seem like they know what they’re doing. Very coordinated. Impressive. This must not be their first robbery. The blond teller looks scared. She should be. Just do what the man says. The police will be here shortly. They better be. I don’t really want to stop them myself. I haven’t quite got the hang of this new leg yet.
Mommy told me to hide and not let the bad men know I was there. I tried to argue with Mommy; I was wearing my Wonder Woman dress, after all. But she gave me her ‘do it or you won’t get dessert’ look, so I hid. But I didn’t like it.
The men didn’t look very bad to me. They were all wearing silly masks and were waving around pretend guns. At least, I was pretty sure they were pretend. They looked just like the guns on Daddy’s favorite TV shows.
One of the bad men stopped right near where I was hiding behind the big ugly pot with the fake bush. It was dusty, and I thought I was going to sneeze. Mommy would be really angry if I sneezed, so I managed to hold it in. I kept very still so he wouldn’t hear me, and watched carefully, wondering if I should jump out and bite him on the ankle. Then I realized it wasn’t a bad man at all. It was a bad woman! It had been hard to tell with her ugly pig-face mask.
I didn’t think she really wanted to be there. Her hands were shaking and she couldn’t stand still, like I did when I had to go potty. I wondered if she was afraid to tell the other bad men. Did being a bank robber mean you weren’t allowed to go potty?
I would wait for now, but I wouldn’t let them hurt my Mommy.
OMG, this is so cool
Bunch of old farts fighting about, like money, man, as if that’s important. Waving his gun around like it makes him some sort of really big muckety-muck. Bank manager sweating – man, does he look like an idiot! And the clerks, worrying about other people’s money as if it really mattered to them. What should they care?
My ‘rents are no better, lying on the floor and closing their eyes, just like the good drones society tells them to be. What is the big deal, anyway?
At least that one clerk, the one that opened the safe, seems to have it right. She didn’t look like she cared at all. Give the robbers what they want, that’s the idea, so that they’ll just leave.
Yeah, leave, and stop bothering me. I’m only here waiting for the old man to get his money out. Fat chance of that now.
At least, hope my friends are catching this on facetime, at least, as long as the idiot robbers don’t catch me. Give us something cool to talk about later. Maybe even up my cred a bit, if I can get the camera just right.
Yeah, this is cool.
If it wasn’t bad enough that I had to wait in that long line, there had to be a bank robbery. I mean, I had already been here a good twenty minutes longer than I wanted to be anyway when the robbers came bursting in. Granted, I wanted to be here about two minutes, but never mind that. They could at least offer a senior citizen fast line. Discount at the movies, sure, but a quick line at the bank? Nope.
My back is killing me. Any kind of decent bank robbers would get me a chair. No, it’s all, everybody sit on the floor in that corner. This wall has no lumbar support.
I’m definitely going to miss Senior Yoga at the community center. Which will not help my back at all.
Oh grand, now the bank robbers are trying to figure out how to unlock the bank vault. Competent thieves would have been in and out by now. It’s like they’ve watched a lot of movies about bank robbers, and not the good ones. They’re so much more Woody Allen than Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Hmm, wouldn’t mind so much being held up if it was by Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Bet they’d get me a chair too.
What were the odds? Given seventeen banks in the town, say one robbery per two years, assuming equal distribution of robberies per 24 hours – weren’t criminals more active at night? — and figure that I spend one hour per week in line here, and—
“Hey, you! Hands on the back of your head, I said!”
—and it would have to happen while waiting for my call back from the AmStat. At least the thug wasn’t talking to me.
I know I’d gotten all the I’s dotted and t’s crossed on my paper submittal, so the AmStat shouldn’t call back with any problems. Even if they did, they’d give me more than one chance, right? They’d call again?
So: robbery. At least I had been far back in the line for withdrawals, so hopefully the gunmen would be uninterested in me — or my wallet. What were the statistics for hold-ups, again? I think I’d reviewed a paper on that for last year’s conference, or something. I should be safe, so long as I stay on the floor over here.
Eh, still probably safer than the drive home. Cross-town traffic at this time of day?
He sat back, watching the chaos unfold in front of him, repressing a sigh only because it wasn’t worth having the robbers’ attention turn to him. He found this society’s methods of gaining personal wealth to be strange enough, but at least he’d learned how to live with it rather than trying to break everything.
Now one of the robbers was shouting louder, spewing profanities and leaning over the counter to get his face closer to the terrified clerk. It would be a pitiful display of dominance if it weren’t for the gun in the robber’s hand, but perhaps that was why the robber was so insistent about it.
One of the robbers’ friends shouted at him to stop, twisting back and forth to try to keep his own gun trained on the line of panicked customers even as he clearly wanted nothing more than to go smack the robber until he submitted. The other customers whimpered and shrunk back, a few crying, a few praying, clearly unused to this type of base interruption of their society’s normal operation. As if they’d forgotten the underlying rules of survival.
No matter. They were more reliant on the operation of this bank than he was. Perhaps he’d need to find a generous-looking soul and fake affection to get his dinner tonight, but his pride had taken worse blows. He knew how to respond to force, even if these large, clumsy people didn’t.
Especially not these robbers. They thought everyone else was like these mewling customers? No, the more dangerous people, the ones who kept all the strong weapons to themselves, they’d take care of it. And they cared little for show or restraint when reasserting their dominance.
When the three large humans burst into the bank and told us all to drop to the floor, I figured this was an ordinary Tuesday on Earth.
You see, when you grow up sneaking vids from Earth with your friends, situations like this seem so exciting. The “robbers” come in, and do exactly what these humans had done, and the innocent bystanders cower until the Hero comes to save them, usually dramatically, with punches and possibly a bit of magic.
So I did as I was told, and crouched next to an older woman—I knew she was older because her skin had started to sag, something that I couldn’t imagine happening to my outer layer—and waited for the Hero.
What I didn’t understand was why the people around me were leaking water. Sorry, crying, it’s called. Again I can’t imagine that happening to my real layers. But didn’t they also know that a Hero was coming? Or were they putting on a show for the cameras?
I realized that I, too, needed to act my part in this bank robbery. So I shouted, “Please don’t kill me, I have younglings at my dwelling! I mean, house!”
But the looks of shock and anger from the innocent bystanders around me made me wonder if I was not doing a good job.
“Pull it together, Jyrixna,” I whispered. I had to make sure I looked good on my report to home world tonight. They’d be amused reading this on my report, but only if I acted my part and Blended In. So I sucked nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide into my lung layer, and waited for the Hero to Save The Day.
Then I noticed that Wonder Woman had arrived! She was shorter than I expected, and still planning her angle of attack while hiding partially behind a plant. I wiggled my body around a teen with their pocket computer out and an adorable furry tabby cat—resisting the urge to pet it as I didn’t think it would be appropriate in this situation—and waved my hand at Wonder Woman until I got her attention.
“Wonder Woman! You need to get your Lasso of Truth out! You could handedly take on these robbers!”
But she frowned at me, glancing at a woman crouched next to her, and whispered, “Mommy made me leave my lasso at home!”
That was a grand shame.
“Can you contact Superman? My species has tried reaching out to his people for some time and have yet to hear from him!”
“Hey, you! Shut up!” One of the robbers yelled, brandishing his projectile weapon in my direction. It would only damage my outer layer if used on me, but I was supposed to act scared in reaction to it, so I gave Wonder Woman an apologetic smile—at least I hope that’s what I got across—and scanned the bank for any signs of the Hero. Perhaps through that wall, or that window?
One of the customers was staring at him. He didn’t like it. This one was strange, even for a human, with staring eyes that blinked even less than his did. And now it was edging past, whispering to the smaller human hiding behind a plant.
He tried to keep his tail from twitching. Why couldn’t this human understand its own societal role? If it spooked the robbers too much, they could get violent and aggressive. And they were much bigger than him, after all.
The human mentioned something about a weapon, and his ears perked towards them. Was it really asking the small human to fight? She was no wolverine, to attack creatures far larger than her. She was hardly weaned, and these humans had pitiful plant-eater teeth.
A robber shouted. So they had heard the silly humans, after all.
He jumped down from the desk and began padding over to the wall. Let the humans fight it out. It was none of his conce—
A lance of pain froze him in place as something crashed down on his tail. The loud robber strode past him, uncaring, still screaming threats that he was too physically feeble to possibly accomplish himself.
He didn’t even spare a glance at the cat.
That was it. With a bloodcurdling roar, he leapt at the robber’s face, clawing his way up the pant leg, dodging under the frantically waving arm as the robber’s screams turned to high pitched shrieks, and bit a chunk out of his nose. Now he’d learn who the real predator here was.
We’re ticking along towards the forty-minute mark and there’s still no sign the robbers are going to get us out of here any time soon. Wait, something’s happening—why is that woman (woman? Kids these days with their unclear clothing) encouraging that little girl to confront the robbers? Doesn’t she know that’s stupid and dangerous? We should just sit quietly and stay out of trouble and—ohhhh, great, here comes the robber yelling profanity. Doesn’t he know there are children present? Everyone just sit tight and stay out of trouble and we’ll all be—
A yowl of pain suddenly cuts through the tense air.
Did that man—he stepped on a cat! How dare he! It’s bad enough that these robbers are stealing someone else’s hard-earned money, keeping us all here, waving their nasty guns around, and making me miss my Wednesday yoga. No one hurts a cat on my watch.
I use my cane to push myself to my feet, back twinging. The poor cat is clearly terrified, panicking and crawling up the robber’s body with frightened meows.
“How dare you, sir, how dare you!” I snap, shaking my cane at him. “Stop frightening that poor animal!”
Oh, one of the other robbers is coming over now. “Shut up, old lady,” he growls.
I glare at him, and I’m feeling a rage come on that I haven’t given into in decades. “Don’t you speak to me that way. And don’t you let him keep hurting that cat! Oh sure, wave your gun!” I whack his hand with my cane, gun skittering across the floor as he yelps. “You, sir, are no Robert Redford!”
“Now’s your chance, Wonder Woman!” the woman in unclear clothing yells.
Huh. Animal attacks were rare enough — does this count as an animal attack? Animal self-defense? — but what was a cat doing in the bank in the first place? Security, by the looks of it.
That was one hell of a yowl, too. It’s got my heart running even faster, downright vibrating— wait, shit – that’s my phone. Well, everybody’s looking over at the one-in-a-million over there, so I think I can check the caller ID.
…yeah, of course it’s them. Why did I even bother considering the odds. Now, would anyone notice if I crawled into this cubicle, here? It should be sound-insulated enough.
With a distraction of that magnitude, most people won’t notice just another guy in a suit slowly moving out-of-frame.
There was a strange person telling me to get my magic lasso of truth. I didn’t have it with me because Mommy wouldn’t let me bring it. Besides, I was more interested in the kitty. I saw the stupid man step on her tail and nearly laughed out loud when the smart little kitty climbed up his leg and bit him. But now he was screaming that he was going to shoot her. Mommy had been right, these really were bad men! I’d always wanted a kitty of my own, but Mommy wouldn’t let me.
The mean man grabbed the cat and flung her on the floor. He lifted his foot like he was going to step on her again. And I had had enough. I leapt out from behind the stupid plant, ignoring Mommy’s yell, and ran forward. I grabbed the kitty and pulled her out of harm’s way, glaring up at the stupid cow mask.
“Don’t you dare hurt my kitty!” I yelled and stomped my foot.
Behind me, I heard Mommy moan. Uh-oh, I was in trouble.
Holy shit, this is great!
The robbers are distracted, so I sit up and get it all. Solid gold. Some weird crazy lady talking to the little kid, and now, best of all, some cat is going all postal on the robbers. A cat! How could this get better. I turn, getting myself into a great selfie with it. Need to get that.
Wow, that’s odd. I see my face, the robber and the cat just fine, but the crazy lady is just over my shoulder, and in the camera image she looks all fuzzy, kinda, and glowing. Great effect. I must be some kind of video genius.
Then some old lady whacks one of the robbers with her cane, yelling at him about some old guy I’ve never heard of, but the coolest part is, the guy’s gun goes clattering across the floor toward me.
Damn! I missed that on my video… that would really cap things off.
Need this to go viral.
I pick up the gun and point it at them, doing my best Grand Theft imitation. I turn the camera on them.
“Do that again!”
Ugh, these civilians have watched too much TV. At least the cat got one and the old lady disarmed the other. Foolish but effective. Great, now that teenager has a gun.
“Pass me the gun,” I motion to him but he isn’t paying any attention to me. He’s too busy getting all this on YouTube. The police will never get here in time. The third one is coming over here. That little girl is too busy smothering that cat. I guess it’s up to me. I unhook my leg and launch it straight at the robber coming toward us.
I hope you get this on video, kid.