I never would have guessed in a million years we'd be caught up in this way of surviving.
She put on her coat. I put on my hat.
I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror, glazing over my eyes, only seeing the outlines of who I'd become. A thief. A thief in unassuming demeanor.
She put out the dog. I put out the cat. I lit my last cigarette and threw the empty pack on the kitchen table.
“I see you put on your red dress for me tonight honey,” I said to my partner in life and crime, attempting to add what little warmth I could to an otherwise cold-blooded way to live. Despite any attempt to romanticize the night, I am left with only the comfort of a pull from my last cigarette.
“We’re going on the town now,” she said while opening the garage door. “Looking for that easy money.” Offering me that stone cold tone of confidence and of manifest destiny … a tone one could only hope for coming from your accomplice.
The last patron had stumbled out of the saloon, and I knew the only one left in there was “the boss.” At least that's what they call him. I’ve been staking the place out for about a month, and I know if he escorts the last person out and locks the door, the next scene is he's counting the profits — not only from his liquor sales, but from the dirty deals he's doing out the back door. Twenty minutes later he's headed home with a bottle and a briefcase.
The last light inside the saloon is shut off. We walk arm-in-arm giving illusion that we are merely a couple arriving a little too late for their night cap. She reaches her hand into mine and whispers close, “There’s nothing to it, mister. He won’t hear a sound when his whole world comes tumbling down. And all them fat cats, they’ll just think it’s funny.”
With the last boost of confidence and blood in my stare, I watch him step outside and lock the door behind him. Clockwork … a bottle and a briefcase.
“Oh hey, any chance we could …” I say only to be interrupted by him now facing toward us half-annoyed,
“Closed for the night, come back tomorrow.”
We walk closer to him with one arm still in each other's and my other hand in my jacket pocket.
“Mister … sir. I don’t think you understand. I got a Smith & Wesson .38. I got a hellfire burning and I got me a date. Got me a date on the far shore where it’s bright and sunny.”
With my .38 pointed at him, and my other hand now free, I finish where I left off: “Dirty money stays dirty. Now hand over the briefcase. You can keep the bottle. We're going on the town tonight, looking for easy money.”
Story by Daniel Rodriguez of Elephant Revival based on "Easy Money" by Bruce Springsteen. Photo credit: Vince_Ander / Foter / CC BY.
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