I walked down the block smoking the end of my cigarette, fiddling with my silver hoop earrings I found in the pockets of my skirt. I didn’t even realise that I owned big silver hoop earrings, maybe I didn’t. I wasn’t even entirely sure the skirt I was wearing belonged to me or if I had forgotten to give it back to a friend months before.
I reached the outside of the bank, it was huge and daunting and I was finally beginning to feel a bit nervous. I stubbed my cigarette out against the carved stone wall of the bank, noting my hands were still stained with oil paints from a drunk epiphany of creative inspiration.
“Dios mio,” I breathed to myself before bracing myself and walking in to the shiny bank. Stepping inside I stared at the bank wondering where in the hell I had to go and what I had to do. I was only twenty years old, I wasn’t ready to have responsibilities and be an adult and have to do things like run my own finances yet. Why couldn’t I have been born to a rich, white republican family where everything would be handed to me on a silver spoon up until my coming of age when I get married and tell them I’m prochoice which is when they would cut me off and abandon me completely. I would be ok with that.
I waited in a queue to ask the white lady with the brown hair where the fuck I was supposed to go for this ‘assessment’. My head was still pounding and I was glad that people stayed relatively quiet in banks because I hated waiting in line surrounded by all these stiff necked broads and if they had been being loud it would’ve just been too much for me.
That was when it all started to happen. There was a loud rat-a-tat-tat that split through my head like someone shoved a hot poker in my eyeballs as a gun went off. People began screaming – cue more intense pain in my head – and began running to the walls or dropping to the ground.
“THIS IS A ROBBERY EVERYONE ON THE FLOOR!” A man with a black ski masked yelled. I rolled my eyes, real original, I thought to myself as I dropped to my knees. For fuck sake if I don’t get my loan because of these fuckers… Damn I should’ve stayed in bed.
Women were sobbing loudly near me, in hysterics and shaking like a leaf. Stupid white people.
“GET DOWN! GET DOWN!” There were seven of them wearing all black and ski masks like they were in some fancy, yet cliché action movie. Three members of bank security tried to corner the men with the 9mm guns raised. The robbers didn’t even give them a second to back down, they had bigger and badder guns and they shot every single one of them in the chest.
Well, shit, these guys aren’t messing around, I thought to myself, lying down and putting my hands on my head. God damn, this might be my only clean top and now I’m rubbing it all over some dirty ass bank floor.
We were just lying on the floor for a good ten minutes while the robbers murmured amongst themselves and any fear I had been feeling had now dissipated and I was bored. I could still hear some women crying and at this point quite frankly, I was pissed off. Had no one called the cops? Honestly. Had no one even noticed? Cue sirens that caused an intense pain in my head. This was really just not my day.
“This is the police, we have the place surrounded. Come out with your hands up.” Could be heard from a muffled megaphone outside the bank.
There was more mumbled conversation between the robbers themselves and one of them nodded towards me, pointing his gun in my direction. Oh hell no, this was not happening. The guy next to him walked over to me and pointed his gun at me.
“Stand up.” He barked.
“Are you for real?” I asked him.
“Do you think this is some kind of fucking joke? Stand up, bitch!” He nudged me with the butt of his gun.
“Alright! Alright! Don’t get your ski mask in a twist,” I snapped as I stood up being roughly aided by the robber. “Honestly, you’ve got a room full of white people and you pick the only Latina. Are you stupid?”
He didn’t reply instead shoving me over to the man who seemed to be in charge. I rolled my eyes at him and he grabbed my arm too tightly and began to drag me towards the door.
“Hey, hey, easy there big boy,” I cried out as his fingers dug into my arm.
“We have a pregnant woman,” he shouted through the door, pointing his gun at me. “You will give us three hours and if we are not given a free clearing to leave in three hours she will die. After that we will shoot someone every fifteen minutes until we are given a chance to escape with the money.”
“Hold up – pregnant? Who the fuck do you think is pregnant, coño?” I tried to pull away from the robber and he tightened his grip on my arm, pulling me in closer to him. I gasped in frustration. Fucking asshole! What did he think he was doing? Did he think I was pregnant? Was I that fat? I was on a diet for like, the past two days. I had emptied my stomach just this morning, I should’ve been looking slim.
The man reached in my leather jacket and pulled out a family planning pamphlet on unexpected pregnancies. Since when was that in my pocket? Was that mine? I didn’t remember getting that. When was the last time I was pregnant? Wait – I had never been pregnant. That couldn’t have been mine.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Dude, you’ve got it all wrong. That’s not even mine, I mean. The jacket is – I didn’t steal it. But I’m not preg-“ I was cut off by a sharp slap across the face and a hissed ‘shut up’. My ears rang and my head span a little. Jesus, what was shoved up his ass this morning? “Madre mia, someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed.” I had taken harder slaps from my baby sister. What did he think I was? Some upper class woman who was gonna cry at the first sign of danger? I was from Harlem. He’d have to do more than that to ruffle my feathers.
He shoved me towards a chair and forced me to sit down.
“Stay there.” He said. He nodded to two of the other robbers with big ass guns and they walked over standing on either side of me. Was he for real? I wasn’t getting out of this easily obviously.
“Two men to guard one unarmed girl?” I mocked. “I’m obviously such a threat what with my 5’3 and 115 pound frame.”
The bastard ignored me and walked over to the brown haired white woman and grabbed her, dragging her away with three of the other robbers while the remaining two kept their guns trained on the remaining people in the room. Well, this was just fantastic.
I sighed sitting on the chair utterly bored. If the cops decided that they weren’t going to give these guys a chance to escape I was going to die in three hours and yet I didn’t really give a fuck. It was just an inconvenience. I’d have to find a way out – I still had an unfinished painting at home I needed to get done before my finals.
Then I remembered – I had my cell phone! Que tonto. They had forgotten to take my cell from me. Wow, bank robber 101. These guys really needed to go back to school. Now I just needed an excuse to get away to make a call. I couldn’t just try and break away myself because there was too many of them in the room. I needed an excuse to get out.
“Mr I need to pee,” I moaned, grabbing my tummy and faking discomfort. One of the robbers looked down at me, uncomfortable. He shifted from foot to foot. What a fucking dope, was this his first heist? Honestly. I was walking the straight and narrow and even I could’ve done a better job than these guys. They were disorganised and stupid. Honestly.
“Can you hold it?” The robber asked. Can I hold it? Was he retarded? He’s holding me hostage, isn’t he supposed to say something smart and narky? Not soft and sweet, I wasn’t scared of him at all.
I moaned softly, pretending to be desperate.
“Look, Mr Rogers,” I was referring to his turtle neck sweater. “I’m kind of in a stressful situation right now and I just had a grande latte from Starbucks. My bladder is maybe a tall latte at best – I really need to pee. I don’t know if I can hold it in any longer.”
He shifted uncomfortably again.
“Alright, but no tricks,” he conceded. He grabbed me by the arm and began leading me towards the bathrooms.
“Do you think I would trick you? Don’t be silly, you’re way too smart for me,” I told him. I could see his eyes crinkle into a sort of smile under his mask. Oh God, I don’t think he realised I was being sarcastic. This was really too awkward, next thing you know he’d be asking for my number and telling me if they don’t kill me he’d really like to take me out for dinner. Gag.
He shoved me into the bathrooms and as I got into the cubical he shouted ‘five minutes’ to me. Five minutes? Was he for real? Who the fuck takes five minutes to pee? I was grateful for the extra time though.
Quick as a flash I pulled my cell out of my pocket and dialled 911.
“911 Operator please state your emergency.” I felt a sense of relief wash over me.
“I’m Ruby Rodriguez. I’m kind of being held hostage in a bank right now,” I whispered into the phone. “I’d really like to get out of here. I kind of have plans for later. Makes this a little bit time consuming. Don’t really have the time, you know?”
“Ma’am, calm down and listen to me.” The operator just told me to calm down? If I were anymore calm I’d melt into a puddle on the floor. She can calm the fuck down with my fist down her god damn throat in a minute. “Is this the Bank of America in down town Manhattan?”
“No shit, look lady I called 911 not 9-1-state-the-fucking-obvious,” I snapped at her.
“Ma’am, please stop swearing. This is out of our jurisdiction, I’ll put you through to the man in charge, this might take a moment.” She told me.
“A moment? A moment?” I hissed into the phone.
“Three minutes!” I heard a male voice call into the bathroom.
“Shit,” I hissed to myself as I listened to the dial tone. This guy better answer fast.
“Hello?” Oh thank the virgin Mary and her blessed vagina and all that is holy.
“Hi. I’m Ruby I’m being held hostage and they think I’m pregnant which makes me sad because I’m on a diet and they must think I’m fat, help me.”
“Ok, calm down. My name’s Ethan Hawk.”