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There isn’t much time.
Several attempts on his life already – Colt .45, carbomb, mad mother with empty baby stroller bowie knife attack on steel bridge, sharptooth blowjob. Time to head for the hills. Change cellphone, register in false Russian name. Must finish quickly, finish final draft, get to printer immediately, immediately. He stops. He has to rewrite the sentence.
I need to get out and get a burrito. He throws on the green corduroy and drives down the hill and into the city. It’s getting dark, already. He finds a parking spot immediately in front of his favorite Mexican spot. He sees Pixie Storm walk up to the joint in his leather jacket, big beard and pointy glasses. Pixie, he shouts. Hey, I was just going to get a burrito. What? Me too. They embrace. They walk in together, as if they had planned it from the start. They order then sit down next to the window by the ATM. Two dollars they would charge me to use this thing, he remarks, on top of what my bank would charge me. That’s three-fifty per transaction. Fucking criminals. These people are criminals. Order number seventy-six? Devin runs up to the counter, and sits back down. Where’s the chili? Green chili? Devin looks over at the ATM and remarks on its flimsiness. It would be so easy to just grab one of these things, and take off with it in a truck. It’s like a small refrigerator. Cheap construction. You know, I had a friend, Pixie says, who was in the hospital with a bleeding finger. He looked down the hall and noticed there was an ATM there. Then he remembered he had a screwdriver in his bag. So he goes down the hall, there’s nobody there, he pries the thing open and sees the stacks of twenties inside. He rushes home, grabs a couple of garbage bags, gets back to the hospital and starts piling the money in the bags. He’s thinking about buying a ticket to Tahiti, sit on the beach, drink a martini, when five security guards rush in and arrest him. He shouldn’t have waited so long, Devin says. Right, that was his mistake, says Pixie, and he stretches out his legs kicking the ATM door. Holy shit. Devin. He leans over the table and whispers to Devin, the door to the ATM is wide open. Devin raises his eyebrows, and looks over his right shoulder. He can see it’s cracked open, he can see a few stacks of bills. How many, it’s hard to say. But he sees a very thick stack resting on a metal shelf. He looks back at Pixie. Pixie looks at him. He can't believe it. That kind of synchronicity gives him instant vertigo. It’s as if they planned it from the start. And to think, you were just telling that story, just now, he says. I know, I know. Devin gets up to order a to-go burrito for Dana. He’s on his way to the airport. No, no. He needed a break from his writing. That’s what he writes. He needed a break from the writing, and he just remembered he agreed to get Dana at two-thirty. Then he runs into Pixie, at the burrito shop, and they discover the ATM is wide open. I’m still not totally convinced it’s open, Pixie says, I can’t believe it. If you could see it from this angle, you could see just how open it is, says Devin. They laugh about it. They laugh about how easy it would be to take the money, the door would swing open far below the counter, no one would notice, but they would have to wait until it’s slow. When no one else was around. It would be the world’s simplest robbery. But they couldn’t do it. Of course not. The risk is too great. It’s just begging for us to do it, it’s completely unlocked. They’re driving to the airport to pick her up. I could write a chapbook entitled, Thirty-three Convoluted Solutions For the World’s Simplest Robbery, he says. It would detail the scenario, two guys in a burrito shop stumble on the perfect crime. But instead, they plan all kinds of tricky ways to pull it off, none of which would work. Like one of them has amazing pectoral muscles, he would just pull the ATM out of the wall and burst through the glass, then drive away in a truck without changing the plates. Or he would throw the ATM through the glass, and of course the ATM would be open, spilling the bills all over the street. Or they would see that the ATM is open, then burrow in from underneath with high-powered chainsaws, during the lunchtime rush. This is going to be the premise for my new book. I’m telling you, this one is going to be good. Maybe not a bestseller, but who cares. Anyway, we’ll be rich. No, no. I’m not really thinking about it. Not seriously. Are you? He looks over at Pixie. He shakes his head. Yes, I am thinking about it. Are you kidding? But no, not seriously. Not really. I’m just playing with the idea. It’s too easy to get caught, and anyway it’s probably only a few thousand bucks. But the fact that we were talking about it, then it happened to be open, is amazing. Yes, Devin agrees. Truly suspicious. No, I’ve got it. So, the character that plays me in the book, right, he gets really paranoid. Say they’re driving to the airport. And they start talking about these various scenarios, and he gets to thinking that someone wants to frame him for a crime he doesn’t commit. He knows he left his prints on the bathroom door, for example, and he flips out. Then I would have to kill you, says Pixie. No, he would tie you up and leave you in the car, in plain view. Then he decides to go back to the place, just to make sure no one else notices the open door, and robs the place – he thinks they would pin the blame on him. So he parks in front of the building, and watches from across the street. Or better yet, he goes in and orders another burrito while you’re tied up in the car. He brings a book. He sits there with his book until closing time, that’s his plan. Just to make sure nobody robs the place. But he can’t stand it. He starts calling all his friends, every fifteen minutes, leaving messages on answering machines, saying I didn’t do it, I didn’t do it. Then he rationalizes it in his mind, somehow, because he’s a little crazy, like me, you know, he hears voices. He figures he’s going to get caught and framed for something he didn’t do so he might as well do it. Logic has a way of swirling around in your head and coming up twisted when you’ve got time to think.