Melody was looking down the barrel of a gun into the eyes of a bank robber. She smiled warmly and he looked startled.
Mel was very pleased because her morning had been exactly like all her other mornings and she had thought that today would be like all the other days in her well-planned life. She had gotten her two children out the door to school (a boy and a girl like all well-planned families) and kissed her husband of eleven years goodbye. She drank coffee while she read the newspaper, planned dinner and made lists. She was glad she decided to run her errands before cleaning house today.
“What are you smilin’ at lady?”
Mel shrugged her impeccably clad shoulders. “It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?”
“Well, it’s sunny. It’s still a bit cool, but it will probably warm up a little—“
He thrust the gun toward her nose and waved it a little. “Are you on something?”
“No, but I’ve been reading up on prozac. All my friends take it and maybe I need some too—“
The thief rolled his eyes, or what she could see of them through a ski mask, and he shook his head.
“Ok, nutball, you’re drivin’”
It was Mel’s turn to look perplexed. “What? Drive where?”
“We’ll discuss that after we get into your car. You can drive, right?”
Mel nodded mutely and backed slowly out the door. Fear was finally sinking into her brain. She wasn’t glad to have a gun pointing at her—what was she thinking? Guns shot explosive projectiles and this gun was pointing right at her face.
“This your car? Nice.”
Mel fumbled in her bag for her keys.
“Oh, my God, you locked your car to go into the bank?”
She could hear them rattling at the bottom of her suitcase sized bag, but she couldn’t see or feel them. Just as sirens filled the air she pulled out a mound of keys and fumbled the car door open. Mel jumped into her seat, stuck the key into the ignition and fired the engine. She slammed her door shut and flew into reverse.
“Oh, shit.” What had she backed into? She didn’t see anything in her rearview mirror, and she didn’t see a bank robber anywhere. Should she just keep going? But what if she killed him? That did it—she wasn’t going to hell for some stupid thief’s death. She put it in park and got out—there he was; sprawled on the pavement behind her car. Her stomach quivered into her chest and she turned her back on the scene.
A woman peeked her head out of the shiny glass revolving door like a groundhog afraid of her shadow.
“Is he dead?”
Mel didn’t get a chance to answer over the sirens blazing into the parking lot. She thought she was going to pass out—her heart was pounding so hard that her vision blurred a little. Oh, god, I’m too pretty for prison she thought.
Three cop cars and an ambulance screeched to a halt just feet from where she stood not looking at her murder victim.
“Are you okay, ma’am?”
Ma’am? Were they joking? She was probably younger than two of them at least—she was incensed.
“Ma’am? I think she’s in shock!” The stocky cop yelled to his compatriots.
Mel nodded dumbly while a handsome paramedic wrapped her in a blanket. He led her to the curb past his partner checking vitals on her victim. She watched him out of the corner of her eye as they bundled him onto a gurney and attached a neck brace. She released her breath when they rolled him into the ambulance without covering him with a sheet.
People started to slowly seep out of the building one by one. The first was groundhog lady.
“You are a hero. Thank you.”
“Really?” Mel replied. “It was an accident.”
“Oh, don’t be modest, sweetheart.”
Most of them ignored her, but a few came to shake her hand or give her a hug and thank her for being so brave. The police took her statement and then the local news crew came and interviewed her and a few others.
“Don’t forget to watch channel 29 tonight at 5 o’clock!”
When all the excitement was over and they let her leave, it was time to pick her kids up from school. After they bundled into the car, she told them all about her day—embellishing it only a little here and there.
“Wow, mom, that’s cool.”
“What kind of gun did he have?”
“Can we buy a gun?”
The kitchen was still a mess when she got home so she did the dishes and threw in a load of laundry. She listened anxiously for the front door to open and her husband to walk in.
“I had the best day today—it was so exciting!” She threw her arms around his neck and kissed him hard on the mouth.
“Uh huh, that’s nice”, he craned his neck around her. “Where’s dinner?”