Sunday, April 17, 2011

Desperados (Satire) by John A. Ward

Spike pulls the left leg over his head and holds the other for his brother.

"Couldn't we have gotten ski masks, Spike?"

"No, Muggsy, this is our trademark. We're the pantyhose bandits."

They struggle to get out of their father's pickup. They try their own opposite sides, but that doesn't work. Muggsy concedes and maneuvers across to the driver's side. The gearshift pokes him below the belt. "I told dad he should have gotten an automatic transmission."

They stagger into the Stop-And-Go. The monitor catches Muggsy's attention.

"Look. Spike. We're on television."

Spike looks up. He sees a creature like a four-legged jack rabbit.

"Sheesh!" He grabs a pack of Double-mint and slaps a dollar on the counter.

"We don't have to buy anything to rob him," says Muggsy.

"Rob?" asks the clerk as he rings up the sale.

"Robert," says Spike. "My name is Robert. He calls me Rob."

"Oh," says the clerk as he pushes the change across the counter.

"Give us everything in the cash register." says Muggsy.

"You're new at this, aren't you?" says the clerk.

"Yeah. Do you have any tips you can give us?" asks Spike.

"Stay in school. Get a good education. Do something useful with your life," says the clerk.

"We want to be bandits. Is there a school for bandits?"

"Hold on. I'll Google it on my Blackberry."

The clerk keys in "Bandit School".

"Yeah, here it is. It's a school for goalies. They have camps in Grand Forks and Detroit."

"What do they rob?" asks Muggsy.

"They rob rinks. They steal hockey pucks. What do you want to rob?" asks
the clerk.

"We want to rob convenience stores and steal money," says Spike.

"Why do you want to rob convenience stores?" asks the clerk.

"Because they're convenient," says Muggsy.

"And that's where the money is," says Spike.

"OK, but if you're going to wear stocking masks, you should each get your own," says the clerk.

"We could only find pantyhose. We don't like to spend a lot of time in ladies lingerie. People may think were weird," says Muggsy.

"Then order them on line." The clerk keys in "stockings store." "Here you go. You can get anything from body suits to thigh highs."

"Criminetlies!" says Spike.

"I like the ones with the seam," says Muggsy.

"But these others come with a garter belt and they're two dollars cheaper," says Spike.

"No, that's just the garter belt," says the clerk. "The stockings don't come with it, and you don't want the Cuban Tiger heels. They're too distinctive. You can get these pointed heel seamed stretch stockings for five dollars less. How many pairs do you want?"

"How many in a pair?" asks Muggsy.

"Two," says the clerk.

"Yeah, we want two," says Spike.

"Right, two pair, give me your credit card," says the clerk. "I have to swipe it into my account and add shipping and handling."

"Why do you have to add shipping and handling?" asks Muggsy.

"Because this is a convenience store and I'm making it convenient for you. I have to make money somehow. Everything is more expensive in a convenience store. Do you want the garter belt, too?"

"Why?" asks Spike.

"Why not?" asks the clerk. "Give it to your girl friend. An unexpected gift at an unexpected time, women love it. Get her the Cuban Tiger heels, too."

"Put it on the card," says Muggsy.

"Double the order," says Spike. "I need the same for my girlfriend."

The clerk slides the card back across the counter. "I'll have it for you in four days. Stop back, boys."

"Thank you," says Muggsy. "If you don't mind me asking, where did you go to

"Joliet, class of 1999," says the clerk. "I majored in bunco. Now I'm in retail sales."

"Joliet, eh?" says Spike. "You're smart. I think we should go there."

"I think you should, too, boys," says the clerk. "Don't get your pantyhose in a wad on the way out."

Author bio:

John A. Ward was born on Staten Island, attended Wagner College in the early 60's, sold his first poem to Leatherneck magazine, and became a scientist. He is now in San Antonio running, writing and living with his dance partner. Links to his work can be found at Booger Jack

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