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Desperate Measures This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Bang! A body drops to the floor in front of me, dead. How many is that, three maybe four?

“I said nobody move!” shouts the robber. He is a middle-aged man, in his forties, with gray hair uncommon for his age. It is severely disheveled, strewn in random patterns on his head and clumped with sweat, so it appears a charcoal color. His facial hair has grown ripe, nearly filling his neck and face. He wears tattered clothing: a flannel jacket with holes over a stained white-shirt. There are patches on his pants and he grips his gun tightly in his hand, as if he were afraid he might lose it. His eyes dart around the room, ready to shoot at anything that moves. I stare silently as he backs his way into the other room, and drops to his knees in an attempt to unlock the safe. His hands are soaked and they shake as he puts the pick to the lock. He tries and fails to open the safe, and eventually the pick snaps. I see the man stare at the broken pieces on the ground, and wait for him to erupt, but he doesn’t. He cries, slowly at first, and then he starts heaving great sobs that stream down his face and soak his shirt.

As I huddle down under the safety of an office desk I hear him mutter to himself.

“It’s over,” he whispered, “I’m done.”

I watch as he regains his composure, and stands back up. His face has grown red from the tears, and as he stands our eyes meet. They are a gorgeous deep blue, speckled with bits of gold and green, and they seem to glow from the inside. Our eyes meet for but a brief moment until he looks away and stares at ground. He then walks up to the window and looks out and up at the sun, and mumbles something that I cannot decipher. He looks at the gun in his hand.

Slowly, he pulls the hammer back.

I close my eyes.



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This article has 15 comments. Post your own!

gilly1994 said...
Apr. 9, 2013 at 12:02 pm:
The gun really brings you into the story.
 
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Conner E. said...
Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:58 am:
I thought the physical description did alot to help give perspective,  it gave the man a back story without having to tell it. 
 
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SageElizabeth said...
Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:44 am:
I like how the piece starts off by dragging in attention, and I like how the piece ended. I didn't expect it to end that way, but it was  good.
 
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Bailey W. said...
Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:41 am:
I love how it both begins and ends with a gunshot, it is very dramatic. great description of the man.
 
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Kelsey W. said...
Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:40 am:
The details were amazing. I really liked this like line  "grips his gun tightly in his hand, as if he were afraid he might lose it."  I could really picture it and it said a lot about the character
 
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Hannah L. said...
Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:39 am:
This piece has a great intro that makes the reader want to keep reading to find out what happens. The build up is suspensful and I like how the ending keeps the reader guessing, does the speaker get shot? or does the robber kill himself? 
 
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EmilyBau said...
Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:35 am:
I feel as if I am watching the story unfold.
 
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Rebecca P. said...
Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:33 am:
Such character description! I love the story but am even more drawn in by how it is told. 
 
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caseyt said...
Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:32 am:
I love the ending! Really interesting
 
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tildenr said...
Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:27 am:
The introduction is great! It pulled me in and kept me engaged through the whole story. 
 
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DesireeAmy said...
Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:26 am:
The Details in this piece are incredible. I also like the ending. 
 
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JamesFerris said...
Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:19 am:
After reading the story I wanted more and more.  I wanted to know what happened prior to the attempted robbery.  Very nice writing.
 
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louisarstrothman said...
Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:13 am:
The build up to the last line made the ending so meaningful. It made the compassion for the man so deep, and it left me with a different thought about where he shot than it might have if there had not been such detailed focus on the man. 
 
SallySunshine replied...
Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:18 am :
I also liked the build up in the last line.
 
ChrisM replied...
Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:58 am :
I agree, I thought the build up throughout the enitre piece made those last couple of lines that much better.
 
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