July 20, 2011

My work day began as most others. A part-time gig that had turned into mostly full-time. My feet were throbbing, I was supposed to leave for my lunch break in 15 minutes. Lunch times were staggered. Having been hired only four months previous, I was low woman on the totem pole, so mine was to be 2:30 – 3:00 pm. I was starving! Just one more customer.

Looking back I wondered how in the world did no one notice this guy? It was one of our only ‘hot’ days that whole summer. Tall,¬†African-American, with a heavy, dark-colored jacket over a sweatshirt. Dark jeans. Dark boots. Black stocking cap covered all but a rounded, 30-something face.

As I thanked the customer in front of me, he slid into view and with gloved hands (the word ‘Mechanix’ across the knuckles of both) placed a worn, yellow piece of paper onto the counter. It read:

100’s

50’s

20’s

DON’T PLAY

I looked up in confusion. Was this a deaf person who’d tried to describe their desired transaction? Was it someone from a retail store nearby wanting to pick up their order of cash? Just like in the movies, time slowed down. Yet a split second in reality. His eyes were dead. Yet, was there a hint of remorse there?

Before I had a chance to say anything he leaned closer to me and said, in a deep, low voice, “Hurry up. Don’t play. Hurry.”

I was being robbed.

(To be continued…)

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