NOONDAY ROBBERY AT BOONEVILLE SAVINGS AND LOAN
So yesterday, I kid you not, a guy dressed like Darth Vader walks in, black boots, black helmet, black cape swaying, pulls out a gun, and robs the bank. It was lunch hour. I was there.
I'm standing fourth in line with the weekend deposit from the beauty shoppe in a zippered bag, lucky he didn't take that, and the little kid in front of me tugs at his mother's shirt, saying "Is that Darth Vader?" His mother says, "Looks like it." "What's he doing here?" the kid asks, and his mom says, "That's the million dollar question, isn't it?"
I doubt it was a million, maybe a couple thousand, probably red from a dye pack by now. They haven't caught him, and I'm kind of glad, you know? Not much happens in Booneville, especially on a Monday.
The guy was tall, maybe six two. I've been looking around, I mean maybe he's somebody I know. I'd date a guy like that, a guy with real imagination.
Not like Scotty, who just sits around watching football, drinking beer, maybe takes me to the Dew Drop Inn for a few beers on a Saturday, maybe Sizzler once a year on my birthday. It gets old, you know. I mean, okay, he's hot--blond hair, tight ass, great abs, just a little belly from the beer. He lifts weights, and he's pretty strong.
But where's the future there? If we get married, it will be the same old, same old, probably without the Dew Drop Inn, maybe with an added trip to Sizzler on our anniversary each year. Or hell, maybe to The Captain's Table. Just once, I'd like to get more than fourteen miles out of Booneville.
Darth Vader could take me places. I just know it.
Note: Originally published in 2010 at Staccato Fiction.
"Noonday Robbery" started with an item in the newspaper that I read over my morning coffee. I keep a folder of clippings and photos, and I have other stories that have started there. A failed robbery attempt where the perp got stuck in a chimney (which happens more often than you'd think). A guy dressed up as the Statue of Liberty to advertise Liberty Tax. An Easter egg hunt that turned into a brawl. When I read that someone had robbed a bank dressed as Darth Vader (which has happened three times, in different parts of the country), I knew there was a story there. The scene at the bank, the hair salon employee who admired his imagination and audacity emerged in a flash when I sat down at my desk after breakfast. I turned on the computer and didn't get up until the story was finished. I love all kinds of flash fiction, maybe particularly flash that "takes me places."
Jacqueline Doyle's flash has appeared in PANK, Monkeybicycle, Sweet: A Literary Confection, Vestal Review, The Rumpus, Café Irreal, Literary Orphans, Front Porch, Corium, and other fine online journals. Her flash sequence on Freud's Dora is forthcoming in Nothing to Declare: A Guide to the Flash Sequence (White Pine Press, 2016). She has earned two Pushcart nominations, a Best of the Net nomination, and Notable Essay citations in Best American Essays 2013 and Best American Essays 2015. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she teaches at California State University, East Bay.