By Vito Delsante
We were outnumbered forty to one. Bobby had already took one in the shoulder. I wasn’t feeling too great, either. Holed up in a motel in some shitty burgh called Kittanning, I picked that moment to tell him.
“Bobby, I’m pregnant.”
Bank robberies, he said, are for the stupid. Bobby and me, we went after Sheetz stores. Why? No security except for cameras and they always hired kids and retirees that could barely tie their own shoes. The first one, we got off with $7,000 easy, no fuss. How did we get so much money? Bobby figured that everyone would be leaving town on Labor Day morning, so they’d need gas. Their deposit wouldn’t be made until the next day. We waited until 4:00 PM and then walked in, showed our guns, and walked out. An hour later, we were doing the horizontal tango in some empty trailer we found on a back road in Shaler.
We hit another Sheetz. And another. And another. I thought Bobby had some kind of hard on against them, like maybe he was fired from working at one or something, but no. He actually liked their hoagies and coffee a lot. I couldn’t understand it. We’d knock off one, and then get dinner at another one 50 miles away, using the money we robbed. We never got motel rooms or nothing; we just broke into empty houses and played “house.”
“What are we gonna do with all this money?” I asked him one night.
“I don’t know,” he’d say. “Whatever we want.”
“But we ain’t spendin’ any of it,” I’d tell him. “What’s the point of stealing it if we’re not gonna use it?”
We both came from similar backgrounds. My mom had left my dad when I was nine years old, preferring the company of some ice cream man to my mushroom mining dad. Six years later, he got farmer’s lung and died, and I moved in with my grandparents. That’s where I met Bobby.
Bobby was one of the three foster kids my grandparents took in, not including me, since I was their kin and all. He was three years older than me at the time, and we’d always gotten along fine. For those three months that I lived with him, he never treated me like a little sister, or a cousin or what have you. He just treated me with kindness, distant but friendly. He graduated from high school that year and I didn’t see him until I after I graduated. We saw each other at a party at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He didn’t even recognize me. We were drinking, playing stupid drinking games, and well…one thing led to another. A few days later, we were at my grandparents’ house, living under the same roof again, sneaking kisses and more. A month later, we were on the road, running from that first Sheetz.
“I guess it’s just there if we want it,” he said. “Like how folks save up for a rainy day.”
He was so beautiful and so stupid at the same time.
We slept in someone else’s bed, fucked on someone else’s sheets. We used someone else’s water to clean ourselves and then walked out of someone else’s front door. We didn’t have anything but money and we didn’t even have that. We kept getting more and more, spending the bare minimum we needed to get to the next job. Then it hit me; we were working like normal people. We punched in with our guns, we did our shift, and then we went “home.” We were just like the other assholes that worked in cubicles or in mail rooms and we started to fall into the routine of our daily lives, accepting the fact that we would die at our “desks.”
And then, I missed my period.
That morning, I walked to the nearest drug store and got a test. I peed on it. Plus sign. I kept on thinking, “What do I do now?” When we pulled into the Sheetz parking lot four hours later, we saw them; three squad cars, state police. Bobby peeled out, leaving a trail of burnt rubber out of the lot. The locals caught wind of us and put their sirens on. Bobby didn’t stop. We ran red lights, fishtailed, and jumped a few curbs. We pulled into a hilltop plaza, into a Comfort Inn. Bobby started shooting. The state boys shot back. Bobby hit one of them. The cop went down.
We left the money in the car.
“You’re what?” We were ducked down behind the front counter. We were panicked, and we were scared as shit, but I think my revelation put the fear of God into the beautiful idiot.
“I’m pregnant, Bobby.”
He looked around. The sun was going down. The police siren lights flashed reds and blues into the demolished hotel lobby. In the changing lights, I could see he had tears forming in his eyes. When we started the day, we didn’t think we’d die on the job, but here we were.
“We left all the money out in the car,” he said choking back the tears.
“I know,” I said.
“What would you have spent it on?”
“A trip,” I answered.
“To where?” he asked.
Artwork by Dave Stokes.