Joe saw the man and woman, both holding guns with silencers attached and realized that Iola, who’d been picking up the paper that had fluttered to the floor, would be blocked from their view.
“Stay down!” he whispered to her. As he listened to what the thieves were saying, he also mapped an exit strategy for Iola. The way the shop was laid out, there were a number of island glass display cases as well as counter displays scattered throughout. Iola could stay out of their view all the way to the back area. There had to be an exit to outside there.
“Shut up and listen up! Silence!” the female thief yelled after she’d locked the door. It was already absolutely silent in the store.
Joe rolled his eyes. The thieves were definitely into the drama of the situation. When he saw the cruelty in their eyes, though, he had no doubt how bad this was. He unobtrusively tried his phone, but it had no signal in the store. The phone itself worked so he started the microphone as well as the camera. If only he could stream it to Frank. Or get to the store phone or to the computer.
Iola also kept trying her phone, but there wasn’t any reception. Zero. She closed her eyes for a second, just breathing and praying. She, too, felt the chill in the air that had nothing to do with the actual temperature.
“We are going to rob this place. Everyone drop your phones on the floor and kick them CAREFULLY over here. YOU!” The female thief pointed at Mr. Snoots. “Start filling this bag.” She threw the bag at him, which hit him and fell to the floor. “PICK IT UP!” she yelled. She aimed her weapon. “I didn’t plan to spill blood this early here, but-“
That motivated Mr. Snoots into action. Joe wanted to kick his phone and take out one of the thieves, but the other one would start shooting, so he complied with the demand. The six customers visible to the thieves did, also.
But they weren’t moving quite fast enough for Ms. Personality. She lifted the gun she held in her hand and pointed it at the ceiling. Then fired it.
Joe would tell his family and friends later that he managed to hold back his laughter as the small showering of particles from the ceiling filtered down on Bad-Personality Girl. Wanting to make sure Iola was safe helped Joe mute the laugh he felt.
Mr. Snoots began opening display cases and filling the bag. While the thieves’ focus was on that part of the store, Joe whispered to Iola.
“You can stay out of sight and get to the back room, the door to it is open, then get to the exit.” Joe kept watch on the two hyper thieves. “When I give the signal.”
“Joe!” Iola didn’t want to leave Joe there. “Maybe we could both make it out without them seeing.”
“I don’t think so. Get ready.” Joe waited until both of the thieves’ attention were on the other side of the store. The male thief was about halfway into the store, sweeping his weapon back and forth every little bit. He had just done that and was back to watching the bag fill up.
“Go!” Joe whispered intensely. His prayers followed Iola as he mentally imagined her trek past the display case to the nearby counter. Then, keeping low she would travel the short distance to the opening for the back, then to the exit, and hopefully to safety. Careful not to draw attention to Iola, Joe gave the appearance of being nonchalant.
Right then the female thief asked Mr. Snoots, “What’s in the back room? More jewels?”
“Yes,” he mumbled, still busily putting the expensive jewels in yet another bag.
Iola would be in the back room now, so Joe decided to draw attention away from that area. He had no problem doing so, he just spoke up.
“Is this like maybe your first job?” Joe decided to get some information at the same time.
“Of course not!” The female swung her attention – and weapon over to Joe. She glared. “What makes you ask that?”
Joe shrugged and leaned against the display case behind him. “Just wondering.”
“We’re going to be more famous than Bonnie and Clyde,” the woman snarled.
“Infamous, you mean.”
“They’re our idols,” she said. “In fact, you can call us Bonnie & Clyde.”
“They weren’t worthy for anyone to aspire to be like them. And their big finale was getting killed in a shootout.” Joe hoped these two didn’t have the disregard for human life that Bonnie and Clyde were guilty of.
“They were very successful!” the woman said.
“They were losers.” Joe shook his head.
“We’re going to make the news.” The female thief was quite sure of that.
Hurry, Iola, Joe mentally encouraged his girlfriend.
“You two are good examples of why gun control isn’t the answer,” Joe noted. “The kind you have are illegal, yet you still got them.” Joe held to a sensible policeman’s philosophy that gun control hurts law-abiding citizens and strives to keep innocent people from being able to defend themselves and deter crime.
“Yeah, we got them and we used ’em on two jobs already,” the male thief bragged. “One yesterday and this one today.”
“So this is your second job?” he asked in amazement.
“Yeah. We’ve been working on this since we graduated college last year. We have it planned perfectly and not nobody’s gonna stop us.”
Joe smiled a little. “It’ll probably be someone instead of nobody.”
“Shut up, idiot!” the female thief told him.
“Hey, do you think Bonnie ever talked to Clyde like that?” the male thief asked.
“Yes!” she snapped. She waved her gun at Mr. Snoots. “Move it!”
“Say, if you’re going to be infamous and you want people to know who you are, you should tell us your real names,” Joe suggested.
“If we kill you, you won’t be able to tell anyone, so that won’t help us,” the female thief said.
“Wouldn’t that be just too bad.” Joe was surprised she’d reasoned that out. “So don’t kill us so we can tell the reporters your names.”
“And we can spell them for you so they’ll be sure to get it right,” said the male thief.
“You really do have it all figured out.” Joe’s sarcasm, however, again was lost on the two crooks.