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He is Johnny Depp.

George Clooney, Brad Pitt... Channing Tatum. He is even Arnold Schwarzenegger, especially when starring in the Terminator movies... not knowing if he is good this time or bad the next... or maybe a combination of the two. He is an actor, and like all these actors he is a good one- Clever like Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean. Resourceful like George Clooney in One Fine Day. Scandalous like Brad Pitt in Ocean’s Twelve. Loving like Channing Tatum in The Vow... Evil like Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator.

At this particular moment, he is being Resourceful George, talking up some shopkeeper, trying to get some “casual” information- store hours, profits, night keepers- those sort of things. He is acting as a future store owner, wanting advice on how to keep a store going in a small town such as the one he so happened to land us in. It’s so pewny, I can see all the edges of it from standing here in this parking lot... if you can call a small piece of dirt a parking lot.

From behind the lenses of my cheap sunglasses and over the top of the most recent newspaper, I glance at him through the store’s propped-open door and I’m once again awed by his acting. He’s leaning up against the counter, laughing away at whatever joke the foolish shopkeeper had stiffled out. He catches me watching and sends me a secret wink. I flash him my murderous grin, the one I know flips his stomach. When he looks away, I wipe the grin off my face and go back to frowning at the newspaper.

“Thank-you!” I hear him call, but I don’t look up. I hear his footsteps come my way, hear them stop in front of me, hear his hesitation.

“He-” he starts to say, then stops speaking when he sees my raised finger, indicating for him to hold on, as I pretend to be absorbed in the front page story. I have already read it three times. What I am actually doing is watching him. Thanks to my sunglasses, he doesn’t notice this. I watch his face as it goes from patient to impatient, from excited to angry, from Resourceful George to Adam.

Just before I know he’s about to burst, I turn my head up a bit more and smirk. “How’d it go?”

His face is all red, probably from holding his breath. It thrills me to put him on edge, just a bit before he lashes out. A dangerous habit when it comes to Adam... dangerous but thrilling.

“He fell for the act-”

“Of course,” I interrupt him, holding onto my smirk.

He narrows his eyes. “He locks up shop around seven. No guards. We can come around eleven, take what we need, and move on to the next stop.”

I pretend to consider this, though I already have an opinion on the matter. “Let’s skip.”

I hear him suck in a breath. “Why?” he asks in a cold voice through gritted teeth.

My smirk disappears as I smack down the newspaper on the hood of our beat up car. “This,” I snap, stabbing my finger at the paper, “is why.”

I step back as he moves towards the car and watch him take the newspaper into his huge, scarred hands.

He reads allowed, “Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde. A series of robberies throughout the Midwest over a five month period have been connected to a couple presumed to be in their late twenties to early thirties. They seem to be targeting small businesses and banks in ratherly small towns. The following picture was captured by a hidden security camera at the latest robbery...” He trails off to study that following black and white picture. It’s us- a little blurry, but it’s us.

I tap my left foot as I wait for him to stop staring.

I’m expecting anger, blame for the police finally catching on, maybe even a slap in the face... though those were rare in public. But instead, he grins.

“What the hell are you smiling about? They’re onto us, you idiot. That’s bad news!” I yell, throwing my hands up as I do. I snatch the paper from his hands. “Bonnie and Clyde. We’re nothing like Bonnie and Clyde! They committed bigger crimes- they killed people. We don’t kill people!” I rip up the paper, breathing heavily.

“Shut up!” he hisses, glancing around. There was no one. “Get in the car.”

I refuse. I cross my arms, lean on my right foot, and tap the other with even more irritation.

He closes the gap between us in one stride, leaving just barely an inch. He towers a foot over me, causing me to feel pathetic and small. Despite the instant trembles that run up and down my arms, I stand my ground. He glares down at me and I swear his black eyes flash red.

“I said, ‘Get in the car,’” he growls.

“I’m not going anywhere until we discuss this; especially not with you,” I challenge.

“Get in the car!” he barks, yet still in a quiet voice.

“Is everything alright out here?”

We both look up towards the store where the shopkeeper was standing in the doorway. Adam transforms into Loving Channing and puts on a big, sloppy smile. “Of course! I’m just telling my wife about our future store. We’re really excited!” He turns to me, eyes pleading. “Aren’t we, honey?”

I had met Adam a year ago under unusual circumstances. We were both in a psychiatric ward in a hospital located in Colorado. He was placed in there a month before and when I showed up, I caught his eye. I had no intention of starting a relationship of any kind- I had just wanted to get better and get out. He had his own agenda, which I had soon found out was the norm for Adam. Once he finally had my attention, he informed me of the elaborate scheme of robbing small places across the West... and he wanted me as his partner.

“Why?” I had asked, in a dull, monotone voice. I hadn’t been interested.

“I’ve been watching you,” he had informed me, as if I hadn’t known. “You’ve got spunk. You’re smart, quiet. You seem to listen to people. Think about it...” he had trailed off with a smile and walked away.

Little did he know, the information he had so happened to gather was false. I’m smart alright, but I love to talk, especially argue, and despise listening to people. I had just been putting up a front- dealing with it all just to get out. Even so, his persistence caught my attention. Over the days that followed, his idea grew in my mind like a weed. I hadn’t liked it. I took weed whacker to that idea..

“You’ll have to find someone else. And you might want to find them somewhere else- not in a psychiatric ward. Once I get out of here, I’m living a normal life,” I had sassed to him.

He had laughed his evil laugh and countered with, “You think you’ll be able to live a normal life after this?” He gestured around.

That had been the plan. That is, until he uttered four simple words.

“Think of the money.”

I should’ve used weed killer.

I still need that money. Instead of turning and walking away like half of my brain was telling me to, the other half took charge, putting a smile on my face.

“Yes, we are!” I say to the shopkeeper. I turn back to Adam and give him a girlish hug, even though the shopkeeper was already turning back to his store.

When I try to pull away, Adam grips me tighter and whispers into my ear, “Thanks, baby girl. I know you’re worried. Don’t be. Recognition is a good thing. No one can take credit for our work now. It’ll all work out. I’ve got a plan... think of the money. I love you...” he trails off, waiting for the response he’s use to.

Adam may have a mean streak, may be rough around the edges, may be abusive. Yet, when he is calm, he’s loving... and kind... and caring. And he’s always followed through with these plans of his, as much as I can’t help doubting him.

Think of the money... “Love you, too, Adam,” I whisper back.

Little does Adam know, I’m an even better actor.

$

“Two more,” he insists.

“That’s what you said three months ago,” I mutter, leaning my head against the car window.

Adam’s new plan had seemed simple: Double the money we have by robbing the banks in small cities- a big step up from the towns we are use to. So far, we have stolen from three of those banks. “They’re not far behind, Adam. One tiny slip up and we’ll be locked away. What we have is enough.” Hopefully. “No more,” I tell him, in the firmest voice I could muster. In reality, I’m trembling with fear. He hasn’t been in a good mood lately. The last steal didn’t go so well, which I had expected. Adam had tripped an unnoticed alarm.

Adam doesn’t respond. I look over to him to see him clenching the steering wheel, knuckles white. I look to his face to find it red and see that he’s grinding his teeth.

“Adam. I’m done,” I say, only with less confidence.

Adam takes a sharp turn and stops the car on the side of the road. He turns to face me, but I keep my head down.

“Two... more,” he snarls through his teeth.

I look to the handle on the door. How easy it would be to just get out and leave him forever. I am losing that spunk Adam had noticed. It takes all my willpower not to reach for that handle. Think of the money. He has my money.

“Why?” I whisper. “We already have enough.” I hope.

I see a movement out of the corner of my eye and before I can react, I feel a stinging burn and my head hits the window. I’m not sure which to comfort first- the welt I feel forming on my head, or the left side of my face that just got slapped.

“We’ll have enough when I say when we have enough,” he yells.

He continues driving. I say nothing and instead, I fall asleep.

I’m woken by a hard tug on my left arm. “Babe, wake up.”

I jump in my seat and look around. We were parked on the side of a street, and the sun was setting behind the surrounding buildings.

“Where are we?” I ask, stretching.

“Colorado. Doesn’t look familiar?” Adam tells me.

I look at him, and he winks. I look out the windows again, slowly taking in the city.

I gasp when I realize where we are. “Why are we here?” I ask, though I’m sure I don’t want the answer.

Adam transforms into Clever Johnny. “We’re going to rob the psychiatric ward- take all those pills. I know people who would pay big bucks for just a few pills.This way, we get money and sweet, sweet revenge.”

His face is glowing with pride.

Drug dealing. This is new. Revenge? Adam has told me multiple times he wanted it. He thinks it was a punishment, being in the ward. I’ve been wondering for a long time now what made the people there think he was ready to be released.

I try my hardest not to lash out on him and instead, I put on that murderous grin of mine. “Your intelligence always seems to baffle me.”

His grin widens. “So you’re in?”

Like I have a choice. “Of course, baby. You and me. Always.”

He kisses me hard. I try not to grimace.

“Wait,” I say, pushing him back. “So just one more?”

He makes a funny face. “No, two. I already said that. We’re hitting the bank a couple blocks away in a week. That should be enough time for me to clear up the details. We’ll do that during the day. Then, when all the attention is on the bank, we’ll hit the hospital at night.”

“During the day?” I whisper. “How are we going to manage that?”

Adam reaches under his seat and pulls out two hand guns. “With these,” he grins.

I can’t take my eyes off of what he holds in his hands. “But... we don’t... kill people.”

He puts them back under the seat- where I wish they would stay forever- and says, “Don’t worry, babe. We won’t kill anyone.”

I narrow my eyes at him. “Promise?”

“Promise,” he answers.

He smiles at me, the kind of smile all men should give their significant other.

He caresses my cheek- the one I am sure is already stained blue. His eyes fill with guilt.

“I’m sorry,” he whispers.

“It’s okay,” I say with a soft smile.

He means it. I don’t.

“I love you, baby girl.”

“Love you, too.”

He means it. I don’t.

He kisses me softly and after a second, I kiss him back.

He means it. I don’t.

$



I hear the door knob jiggle, hear him come in, hear the door close.

I spin around in the chair to face him. Leaning on the desk with one hand, gun in the other under the desk, I look up with my murderous grin.

“Hello,” I say.

The man snaps his head up from hanging his jacket on a hook. He doesn’t seem scared, but more confused. I continue smiling.

“Who are you? How’d you get in here?” he asks in a flustered tone.

“You... you read the paper?” I ask, raising my hand holding the gun above the desk. I pretend to study the black weapon.

Think of the money.

“Well?” I ask, looking up at him. He’s looking at the gun. I don’t blame him. Truthfully, I don’t want to be holding it. I want to hand it to Mr. Banker here, say “Good day,” and be on my way. “Do you read the paper, Mr....” I trail off, and raise my eyebrows.

“Um... uh... Mr... Mr. Jennings,” he stammers, and then gulps.

“Do you read the paper, Mr. Jennings?”

He nods quickly.

“So... you’ve read about Bonnie and Clyde?” I ask, looking back to the gun.

“Uh... yes, ma’am,” he answers.

“A pathetic comparison, if you ask me,” I say.

He gulps again.

I give him that grin. “Congratulations, Mr. Jennings. You’ve just met Bonnie.”

“Where’s your Clyde?” he whispers.

“That’s not important,” I respond.

“They said nothing about killing...” he whimpers, eyeing the gun.

I nod. “Let’s try to keep it that way. Where’s the money?”

Mr. Jennings points towards the door.

“Lead the way,” I order.

He leads me out the office and down three hallways to a door.

“No one else is here, correct?” I ask, though I know the answer.

“Ye-yes. Just me in the mornings,” he answers, fumbling for his card, which he scans with the keypad next to the door. He then punches in a few numbers and a beep goes off.

“Just the door,” he says quickly, opening it.

“You first,” I tell him.

He steps in and I turn back to the hallway, letting out a low whistle. It takes a minute, but sure enough, Adam comes around a corner and heads my way.

“Everything going good?” he asks, going through the door, pointing his gun at Mr. Jennings.

“Yes, sir,” I say, grinning.

“Good,” Adam coos. “Open the vault, good sir.”

Mr. Jennings does what is told.

“Babe, hand me your bag. You stand guard.”

I take the bag off my back and hand it to him, then watch him duck into the vault.

He comes out a few minutes later as Scandalous Brad, with the bag on his back bulging. He hands me mine, which is also bulging, and when I put it on my back, I feel pounds heavier.

“Lead us out,” Adam says, pointing his gun at Mr. Jennings.

He leads us through five hallways until we reach the back entrance.

“Thank you,” I say to him, grinning. “Let’s go, Clyde.”

I start out the door and am stopped short by an explosion. My ears ring as I turn back to Adam, who is standing over Mr. Jennings.

“Oh God,” I whisper, as I drop next to the man on the floor. “You... you shot him.”

“Let’s go,” is all Adam says.

“You said we weren’t going to kill anyone!” I scream. “You promised!”

“Promises are made to be broken. Now get up, and let’s go.”

I can’t seem to leave. Mr. Jennings blue eyes stare up, dull and empty.

“Let’s go!” Adam yells again.

I close Mr. Jennings eyelids and follow Adam out the door.

Adam checks us in to a cheap motel and leads me up to the room. I feel as if I’m in a trance. The ringing in my ears won’t go away... the image won’t go away.

“You’re too soft,” Adam mutters, as he throws the bags containing our new prize onto the bed. We cheated to get it... he cheated.

“You said... we wouldn’t kill anyone,” I snarl, glaring up at him.

He’s facing the bed, counting his money, back to me.

My hands move without my thinking. I pull the gun out of the belt of my pants, and point it towards Adam.

“Adam, I’m done. Where’s my money?”

He must have known by the tone of my voice.

He turns around slowly. “What are you doing, baby?”

“Where’s my money?” I repeat.

“You aren’t going to shoot me,” he says.

“Oh really? You sure you want to take the risk?” I ask.

“Baby... I thought we were a team. You and me. Always. Isn’t that what you said?” he asks, almost as if he’s begging.

“Promises are made to be broken,” I tell him.

His face goes cold.

“Throw the bags over here,” I order.

He does as he says, “I didn’t think you’d have the guts to do something like this. I have to say, I’m a little hurt.”

“You’ve been wrong from the start,” I inform him, putting the bags over my shoulders while still aiming at him. “Where’s the money?”

“Inside the seats... in the car,” he mutters.

I go over to the phone, dial 911, and when there’s an answer, I say, “Clyde’s been caught.”

“Excuse me?” the responder asks.

All she hears is the sound of the gun.

$

My dearest Beau,


I’m sorry for all the problems I’ve caused you and our lovely daughter. I really meant to return home, but a better opportunity opened up for me. Inside this envelope, you’ll find a check for $55, 000. It should be enough to pay for the hospital bills for our baby girl, and of course, extra for whatever you or she needs. She’s doing alright, isn’t she? Her cancer is all gone? Yes, it is... I feel it in my heart. I miss her little blonde curls and her bright blue eyes and that bright smile of her’s. I don’t have to ask for you to take good care of her; I know you will.

I’m in a hurry, sweetheart. Be strong for her. Always remember the precious times we shared together...


I love you, forever and always.

Clareece







$


Beau opens the letter a few days after it was sent. Tears start streaming down his face as he begins to read the familiar handwriting.

He would never see her again. The news yesterday had revealed her suicide.

“Daddy, why are you crying?”

Beau looks up, wiping his face as he does. In front of him stands a spitting image of Clareece- those blonde curls and blue eyes. He wants to cry even more, but four little words hold the tears back.

Be strong for her.

“No reason, sweetheart. No reason at all.”



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