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Myself and I rob a bank This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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“Mr. Smith your check bounced so there will be a small fine atop of the checks amount.” The teller told me at the US South Branch Bank in Salem. I moved hand to take the little slip of paper that described my punishment for this bounce when a load scream came from the back door of the bank. The scream didn't startle me at all; in fact I expected that scream to come and I knew how this would unfold. Storming in from the back was a person dressed in black pants and shirt with a ski mask on had a gun to the manager's head. He let out a vicious threat with an extremely familiar voice.

“EVERYBODY GET THE F*** DOWN ON THE GROUND NOW” I still felt very safe and unsurprised with this outburst. “I want the safe open right now and all the money in it or I will make sure this manager will only have half a skull to run this bank.” Everyone was on the ground with their hands over their heads. They were all taught in this situation let the robber win, don't be a hero, the money is insured so they will get it all back. No bystander would risk their lives for a bank anyway so this man should get away with this quite easily. But I didn't get on the ground. I knew he wouldn't kill me. His voice was load but it wasn't threatening. He was angry, he was scared. There is no way he would shoot me. He noticed me standing up at the teller's desk looking at him and his instant reaction was to yell again. “I SAID…GET THE F*** DOWN.” I didn't flinch. He was getting more frightened with my opposition to his commands. He pointed his gun at me and started to shiver. He opened his mouth to yell again but I quickly cut him off with a question,

“How many Super Bowls did the NFC win in a row before the Broncos snapped the streak in Super Bowl 32?”

“What did you ask me?”

“You heard me” He took off his mask to looked at me

“What are you doing here?” He had the same face as me; the same eyes, the same nose, and the same red beard. He was me but with a gun pointed at me.

“I knew you would be here, I have to keep close tabs on you. You're not the most stable person.”

“And you are right? You are just the right guy for the job huh?” He retorted with a sarcastic inflection.

“I am the only one who knows you.”

“Bull S***. No one knows me. Not you and not anyone.” He sneered back at me.

“Why are you doing this?”

“Shut up…”

“Why? Are you angry?”

“I said…Shut up.” He forced out with hostility swelling up inside him.

“Why? There is no reason to right? You are doing this for no reason.”

“SHUT UP” He screamed as he quickly got right into my face and placed the metal barrel of the gun against my forehead. “You say one more word, I will kill you.”

“No you won't. You can't kill me.” His eyes started twitch. He knew he knew I was right. He couldn't force himself to pull the trigger.

“Your right I won't but why not him.” He whispered pointing to another hostage on the floor.

“Why him?” I asked.

“Because I hate him.”

“Why though? What did he ever do to you?”

“Oh spare your deep thinking bull s***, you were there you know what he did.” The man on the ground had a blue stripped shirt on his blonde trendy hair cut glistened in the sliver of sunlight through the window. He was face down. The gun was now in his direction, but he didn't seem to notice. He kept his face down oblivious to how unstable he looked with the gun. “He took advantage of you and you've hated him ever since. You're just too scared to say so.” He finished with a glare at the back of his head.

“He took advantage of both of us.” I said back.

“And what did you do about it? Nothing, you spineless pathetic wimp, he knew how you felt about her and he still took her.”

“He asked me first.”

“Right and you said ‘you really are my best friend' to him. He KNEW that you loved her. Do you regret saying that? Would you take it back if you could?”

“I don't want to answer that.”

“Why? Because you would lie to yourself like you have been doing? That's right you would suck it up for him even though he took her in his own selfish satisfaction.”

“You're wrong.”

“No I'm not, so why not just shoot him now. Look he doesn't notice me here. He never did. You never hurt him even though he ripped you apart. Who did you love Dexter? Who was it?”

“Shut up, you are the one pointing the gun right now.”

“No you are too. Who was it Dexter, tell me.

“No.”

“TELL ME OR I WILL SHOOT.”

“JENNIFER.”

“Jen, that's right, Jen who?

“…Ellison, Jen Ellison. But who cares now? I don't love her anymore I love someone else.”
“I know, you haven't needed me for a long time but you have never forgiven yourself for how you handled the whole thing. I know how you felt, you wanted to hit him. You wanted to pummel his face into mush. You wanted to strangle him until his face turned blue. You wanted him to suffer like you did every time he turned the corner.”
“No I didn't, you did. I knew that wouldn't help she would have hated me for that and then what?”
“At least you would feel good for standing up for yourself. The same thing happened with her.” He said pointing his other hand to the other side of the room. A sixteen year old girl was there facing away. Her long hair was being tussled with the breeze. I looked at her. “He told you that he kissed her in the elevator, well after you told him you liked her. He did that to make you unhappy. He just waited until he knew what you wanted so he could steal it. You knew this and what…you stayed in your room with watching football with anger filling you up. You just wanted to hit him right you just wanted to-” He cut himself off by firing the gun. The bullet barley missed the man's head.
“I don't care about him anymore. He has an awful life now and look at me.”
“You can have the happiest life in the world but you will never be able to trust yourself completely now Dexter. Sure you don't care about him, but Beth?”
“…Why are you doing this?” I asked getting anxious as if he was about to spill a dark secret.
“Why are you still worried?”
“I am not anymore.”
“You mean you don't want to be Dexter. You still have that twinge in your stomach. You don't trust yourself to not be worried. What did you think was going to happen to her Dexter?”
“Nothing…Nothing would have happened. I trust-“
“DEXTER WHAT WERE YOU WORRIED ABOUT?”
“THAT SHE MIGHT KISS SOMEONE ELSE OKAY.” I screamed back in a furious rage. He grinned evilly as if he had pried me open to my darkest fear. “WHEN I HEARD SHE DRANK AND I WAS 3000 MILES I WAS SCARED THAT SOMETIHNG MAY HAVE HAPPENED.” I had run out of breath but I had to keep going. “I knew she wouldn't. But who knows how you would react the first time you drink so I was scared that she would hurt herself or kissed someone without even knowing it.” Tears had formed in my eyes and my breathing started to get faster. “I can't even imagine her drinking and thinking about it freaks me out because what if she did kiss someone? I would have been absolutely crushed. She makes me happier than I ever thought I could be during high school and just thinking about this time without her is utterly heartbreaking. I know she didn't and I know we love each other but YOU are always there to tell me otherwise.” I continued jabbing my finger at him. “Why do you have to make my head jump to the worst conclusions?”
“I don't idiot. You do. Why do you think of the worst things Dexter? No need to lie because I already know the answer. Tell it to everyone here.” He hissed glancing to everyone in the room.
“Because…what if they don't love me?”
“There you go.”
“I want people to love me but I have a hard time being convinced that they really do. When I was in Ireland a lot of my friends had parties where some of them drank for the first time. I heard they had a great time and thought it was the best vacation ever. They are always bored here but when I am gone suddenly they are having a blast. And hearing my girlfriend was drinking for the first time just felt like a dagger into the chest. What if they were having more fun without me? I want people to have fun here and I always feel guilty for letting people down. I want to make everyone happy and if I fail to make someone happy I feel guilty for their unhappiness.”
“See…you can't even trust yourself in dealing with an experience like that. You have to cling on to those bad feelings that surround that experience. You should just let it go and enjoy your happiness with her. But why can't you do that Dexter? She wasn't drunk, just tipsy, she didn't kiss anybody, she loves you, and she missed you every second you were gone, so why so you feel so anxious and scared about all this Dexter? Why can't you just accept the fact that you have a good life?”
“…” I knew the answer but how could I say it? He was right, how could I let him be right? Why can't I beat myself?
“…Dexter…you have to answer me or I will,” He raised the gun to his head and put pressure on the trigger. His eyes were wide and his eyes twitched again with frustration.
“…You wouldn't do that, we would both die.”
“No no no, you would die Dexter. So tell me why you can't accept that you have a good life?”
“I don't know.”
“Dexter…I will pull the trigger.” Fear was swelling up in me and my fingers had started to shiver.
“I don't know, just put the gun down okay?”
“No Dexter not until you tell me” Panic had taken me over as his fingers put more pressure on the trigger.
“Just tell him!” A voice yelled from someone in the bank, then more followed. “Just tell him damn it” “Let it out” “You can't hide forever”
“Dexter…tell me or a bullet will go into our brain.” Sweat pulsed down my cheeks. My hair had become moist. My blood chilled with ice. “Dexter now.”
“Please I don't know, I really don't!” I pleaded.
“Fine…here goes.” He squeezed the trigger and a load shot went off.
“NO!” I yelled as I spun my head around. It was silent for a second until a small chuckle came from behind me. I looked back and he was still alive. The gun was smoking and there was a little blood trickling out his ear. “What?”
“The gun was full of blank shots.”
“Why?”
“Because Dexter you have never had it in you. You have never been able to trust yourself with all these relationships so how can you trust yourself to load the right bullets. Truth is Dexter you can't accept it because you feel like you are failing as a person. You feel like you aren't making Beth the happiest she can be. You know she is as happy as she has ever been with you but, you can't accept it because it seems like she had more fun when you weren't there. Beth is happy with you Dexter, and you are happy with her but you can't make yourself believe it because what if an Kevin Jacobs shows up again right?” I didn't know how to respond. How could I respond to the truth? I hung my head down and slowly slid to the ground. He stood above me, towering over like a giant. “You just have to learn to let go of those feelings Dexter. Just trust yourself with situations, trust yourself with other people, especially with people you love, like Beth. I know you trust her. I know she means the world to you; but now you have trust yourself to truly believe that. There won't be an Kevin Jacobs around every turn to steal your happiness away, so learn to enjoy your happiness. Learn to enjoy the beauty Beth brings to your life. Let all those bad feelings like Jen, Kathryn, and Ireland die away because they don't matter anymore. You have something so special in your life and you still feel anxious about an event that happened a month ago. You and Beth are happy together, and a stupid Ireland event shouldn't put your happiness with her on stand-by.”
“Don't you mean ‘we'” I chuckled back with a small smile.
“We what?”
“You said ‘You and Beth are happy together' don't you mean ‘we'?” I said looking up at him. He looked at me and for the first time he slid a smile onto his lips.
“No Dexter, there is no ‘we' in this one. It's only you.” He reached down and rubbed my shoulder. “Have fun for me okay.”
“Yeah…yeah I will.”
“Alright Dexter, you enjoy your poems, your Super Bowls, and your relationships. I know you don't know it, and hell I don't, but I am certain that all of them will make you a happy person Dexter…Just keep going and live to the fullest because you can do it.” He got up and walked out the door. I looked around and the people were gone. I glanced out the front door and saw him walking away. There was a woman there on the side walk in front of the bank. The Sun was casting a shadow in such a way I couldn't see her face. Her brown hair rustled in the wind. Her green dress fluttered in the breeze. He walked right to the side of her and looked back at me. She shouldn't see him. Only I could. He smiled, waved then passed her and disappeared into the crowd of people bustling along on the streets. She waved at me and even though I couldn't see her face I knew she was smiling. I knew for sure she was. It made me smile. I stood up and walked out of the bank to meet her.



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