“Do you ever just wanna do something so…”
I looked up the moment her mouth started to curl into a playful smirk as she continued her sentence.
“…reckless?” she asked, almost in a whisper so that none of the customers could hear us.
“How do you mean?”
We were on our 15 minute “smoke break”, sitting on the curb of the gas station like a couple of children with no money, which, technically, wasn’t wrong. We shared a pastry as we finally had a moment to talk as humans and not co-workers.
“I don’t know, man. Like, I want to just go do something. Like, just take off and never look back.”
“You want to elope.”
“Nah, goofy, I’m not even engaged.”
I went to say something but shook my head. “Anyway, yeah, I feel you. Been thinking about doing something reckless, too.”
She looked at me. I looked at her.
“Are you not going to tell me… or… nah…?”
“What are you TALKING about?”
“I just told you what I wanted to do!”
“Nigga, everybody wants to run away to the fucking coast because they think beach life means easy living! You tryna rob banks, my nigga?”
Her eyes got wide and glossy before she shook her head, getting out of her imagination.
“Don’t be so loud,” she whispered.
I rolled my eyes and stood up, heading back inside to finish the shift.
That smirk came back in full force near closing time as I rang a man out.
“Party tonight?” I asked, ringing out one of the six 24-packs he wanted.
He grinned and I felt something shift inside myself. His eyes poured into mine, a deep giggle escaping from my lips that only he and I could hear.
“Just feeling a bit–“
The air suddenly grew cold and still. Everything seemed to stop moving as we continued to look into each other’s eyes. The customers, the coolers, the items that were riddled behind him seem to fall into darkness, his body turning into a spirit, bright and electric red. It hovered towards me, its scoundrel energy making me laugh even harder.
“–reckless…” it finished.
I felt myself fall into a star, the heat of a million feelings burning my clothes. I screamed in hysterics, tearing my skin from my flesh, throwing away the old that kept me from living. I tugged at my flesh, throwing away the bullshit living in this town that had seeped into my body. As I tore apart my bones and tossed my skull into the bright abyss, I finally felt whole, the red spirit making its way to my floating heart and burying itself inside it.
My coworker was running late a few days later, so I had to stay an extra two hours. It was a fine, slow night for a weekend. It was close to 11:30 PM when I felt the store change. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was, but I suddenly got excited, like I was about to start a new job, and couldn’t wait to show my employer what I could do. At 11:42, I got to show off.
I never had a shotgun in my face before.
There were 4 of them; the mastermind, two brutes and–
The one with the shotgun in my face nodded at me, talking to me with their eyes since their face was covered in a ski mask. I nodded back and ducked down, swiping my badge into the safe and entering the management code to let whoever gave a fuck this was a robbery and not a money drop. The door sprung open, the mastermind with the gun tossed a bag at me, I filled it with the cash and handed it back. They nodded once more, their eyes flashing that electric red that snuck its way into my heart.
The two brutes and the mastermind hurried out of the store and I, the “unknowing” safecracker, started to cry.
I had collapsed behind the counter when my coworker and the police showed up 10 minutes later. When they got me up and on my feet, I just shook my head, denying any attention, just wanting to go home. I denied any rides, grabbed my coat, tossed my badge on the floor, and walked out.
It wasn’t until I got a notification from a money app on my phone that I started laughing. It wasn’t until I saw four zeroes behind a one before I howled like a wolf at the moon.
A van pulled up to my side, the inside light that electric red that I would grow to value and know.
My recklessness of letting my former job get robbed impressed my new employer.