I had the money out of the cash register before the car came to a stop. I tried to keep my eyes on the ski-masked driver behind the wheel, but the overcooked hotdog rolling down the hood was hard to ignore. I hated my job, hated my parents for insisting I take it to “build character,” hated the fact that I was probably going to get shot over a couple hundred bucks worth of lotto and Cheeto money.
I maneuvered around the counter and slowly approached from behind. Through the car’s side view mirror, I spied a would-be-robber too small for the bucket seat of the Camaro he sat in. I knew from driver’s ed. that objects in such mirrors may be closer than they appear, but I also saw that what I had at first thought was a hand cannon on his dashboard looked more like a pellet gun. The driver slammed on the gas, but the hot dog cooker refused to budge.
The driver tried to force open the door, but it was pinned against a Twinkie display. Out of options, he lifted his ski mask in defeat. Underneath was a boy of maybe thirteen, tears running down his freckled cheeks. I went to the front of the car and put my weight on the dented hood.
“Put it in reverse,” I said, pointing to the gearshift.
The kid looked confused but did as he was told. The wheels spun in a puddle of pickle juice, found traction, and took hold. The car rolled out of the store and the kid found first, gone as quick as he came.
I followed, cash in hand, out the new Quick Stop exit he had made for me.
ADAM CARTER is a former criminal defense attorney from Indiana who now resides in Tampa, Florida, where he is pursuing an MFA degree at the University of South Florida. He would like to thank his Saw Palm cohorts for brainstorming this story. You can follow him on Twitter @CarterInIndiana