Robbing The Store

(I’m having my virtual release party on Facebook Friday, February 14, and in honor of that, I thought I’d give you another excerpt from Spree. Enjoy!)

Eddie threw the car in park and they piled into the store. There was an old lady working the counter. She had a small TV going, watching some soap opera or other and fanning herself with a sale paper. Even with the air conditioning on, it was warm in the building.

Steve hung back by the door as a lookout, and Eddie walked right up to the counter.

“All right, Grandma, hand over the cash. Nobody needs to get hurt.”

Who the hell did Eddie think was gonna get hurt? Steve looked around the store, but didn’t see anybody else, and Granny there didn’t look like much of a threat. Her eyes were wide as saucers and she was going for the cash register like it was trying to run away from her. She started slamming money down on the counter as fast as she could.

That’s when a guy roughly as big as the Library Tower in LA—the tallest building west of the Mississippi, Steve had heard—stepped out of the back room. No telling who he was, but he was young enough that he wasn’t Granny’s old man. At least, Steve hoped not. If he was. . . eww, gross.

“What the fuck’s goin’ on here?” the guy said.

“Leon, don’t.” The old woman was still taking money out of the drawer. “It’s not worth it, son. There, that’s all we have. Take it and leave.”

“Listen to her, dude.” Steve pointed the Beretta at Leon. Hopefully Leon didn’t notice how much it was shaking. “We don’t want to hurt nobody.”

Leon didn’t say anything. He just stood there, his eyes burning. If they’d been lethal weapons, their little cross-country trip would have ended right there.

“Leon, please.” The old woman was pleading.

Eddie picked up the money, backed toward the door.

“C’mon, dude, chill,” Steve said.

“Get out.” Leon never stopped staring at them.

It gave Steve the heebie-jeebies. Dude never blinked. He was like some Terminator or something.

“Let’s go,” Eddie said.

“Yeah, sure.”

Thirty seconds later they were burning out of the parking lot, headed for the freeway. Eddie was laughing like a lunatic, but Steve couldn’t get Leon’s eyes out of his mind. That guy was deadly. He turned and looked out the back glass to see a pickup tear away from the store and head their way.

“Um, Eddie, we got a problem.”

“What?”

“Look in the mirror, dude.”

A beat.

“Oh, shit.”

“‘Oh, shit’ is right. Pedal to the metal, dude.”

The race was on.

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