CANDY’S SMILE - KEVIN MICHAELS
“If you love me, you will do this for me,” Candy said.
Bobby checked the clip in his nine millimeter and slipped it inside his jacket, thinking that love had nothing to do with it.
Candy’s red shirt had been unbuttoned and her head between his legs when she said that - with his Levi’s around his ankles, Bobby would have agreed to anything.
His black Chevy Nova was parked a block away, hidden in the shadows of the overpass where nobody could see it. Candy was in the front seat waiting for him, car engine running as fast as his heart was beating, holding out promises of things she was going to do once he returned.
She was a thrill junkie – a girl who got off on risk and danger.
Bobby was pretty sure he liked that.
He made his way across the street. Keeping his head down and eyes straight ahead, he walked into the all night convenience store with the gun in his pocket. He remembered that kiss, the adrenalin pumping to his brain and the blood rushing in his veins as her lips touched his.
The last thing she said when he got out of the car was “I like it when we get wild.”
There was a kid behind the register with acne-scarred skin and long, stringy blond hair – no older than him, wearing one of those red Kwiki-Mart shirts and a matching cap. He was busy refilling coffee pots and wiping away a night’s worth of grime from the counter when Bobby walked in. He barely looked up until Bobby got his attention by pulling out the gun and pointing it at his head.
“Empty the register,” Bobby said. “And gimme’ a couple packs of Camels while you’re at it.”
The clerk turned. Something in his face looked less like surprise and more like disgust.
“Out of Camels,” he answered matter-of-factly.
“So forget about the cigarettes,” Bobby said. “Just get me the money.”
The gun shook slightly in his hand but he sucked in his courage and pushed out his cool, the way he figured Candy would like.
“Ain’t got no time to waste,” Bobby told the clerk. “Give me the cash and that bank deposit bag underneath the counter, too.”
The clerk shook his head from side to side. “Don’t know nothing about no bank deposit bag,” he said.
Bobby braced his free hand on the counter and leaned forward, inching the gun closer to the kid’s face. “You don’t want to be dead, do you?”
With a weak shrug and a sigh, the clerk finally popped open the cash register. Bobby reached inside the drawer for a handful of tens and twenties while the clerk went underneath the counter.
Candy was the one who told Bobby about the money they kept stashed in the bank bag – it was cheaper than a safe and nobody except employees knew it was there. Bobby was thinking how happy it would make her that he remembered it when the clerk came up fast with a sawed-off double barrel and aimed it at Bobby’s chest.
“What the hell?” Bobby asked, dropping the bills.
“Boss got tired of getting robbed all the time,” the clerk said, curling his finger around the triggers. “Guess we got two ways this can play out. The first is you walk out of here and both of us forget this ever happened.”
“The second is me and you see who’s faster pulling the trigger. Take our chances that way.”
Bobby stared down both barrels of the shotgun.
Taking a deep breath he thought about Candy waiting for him in the Nova – how disappointed she would be if he came back empty-handed. That little pout of hers that said more than words. Bobby eased the Nine slowly into his pocket. He took a few steps backwards before turning quickly for the door, leaving the money on the counter and wondering what he was going to say to Candy.
He didn’t really love her that much.
Hell, it’s not like she ever told me about the shotgun, he thought.