I stuck the gun sights in front of my aiming eye. The casino security guard stood beyond the barrel, shaking in his shoes, completely unprepared for the idea that his fifteen dollar an hour job might one day put a bullet into his head.
"Sorry pal. It’s just business," I said to him.
I pulled the trigger and he crumpled. A chorus of screams sang all around me, each one cut short in fear that their scream might be the longest, the most attention-drawing, the most annoying to the gunman. This little Indian casino on this tiny rez was full of frail old white people just looking to burn through their social security check. They never asked for this, but I'd give it to them anyway. I turned the barrel to the gal at the till inside her little booth. The door to the booth was already open thanks to the sorry sack leaking blood and brain matter onto the carpet.
“Why? Why why why why…” she rambled, already loading straps of cash into duffel bags.
“Why? Because some people are born with a piece of the pie crammed in their mouths. This is me, cutting my own slice,” I told her.
She filled three duffel bags, and I decided that was enough. I slung the bags over my shoulder. I kept the .45 panned across the crowd of gamblers and geriatrics. Just to keep them from spawning any bright ideas, I dumped six rounds into the ceiling.
“If you didn’t have any stories to tell your grandkids, you do now,” I said. “You’re welcome.”
I backed out through the fire exit. The alarm sounded like a slot machine paying out. Jackpot, baby.
There were no security cameras on the back side of the casino. Just some dumpsters and employee parking. Kim was waiting for me there in the pickup. I dumped the three duffel bags in the rusted-out bed and hopped in the cab. She kissed me. I tasted whiskey.
“God damn, you’re sexy,” she told me.
“You think I don't know that? Hit the gas, babe,” I said.
* * *
They say crime don't pay. I say it pays too well. We spent two days blowing money and jumping towns. Clothes. Booze. A Dodge Charger I bought all in twenties. We were two states away and the duffel bags never seemed to get any lighter. As far as pulling it off, we got lucky. There was no Ocean's 11-style plot. There was no plan beyond, "Pull the truck around back and keep the motor running." How was I supposed to know it would be that easy? Who knew a little podunk casino in the middle of nowhere would have so much cash on hand?
So there you go, kiddos. Crime pays. It paid me.
I sat in the cheap desk chair in the even cheaper motel room we’d rented somewhere north of Brainerd. I was dressed in a tailored suit, double woven silk tie, Rayban sunglasses, and shoes polished to look like funhouse mirrors. The .45 sat in my lap, still loaded for bear.
Kim was jumping on the bed in just her undies and my Motörhead t-shirt, throwing the hundreds around like confetti. She only stopped to spill whiskey down her mouth and all over my t-shirt. Sounds like the perfect woman, but you don't know Kim.
She choked down more Crown Royal. "Get over here you dapper son of a bitch and give me some of that high class love. This shit ain't no trailer park pussy anymore."
Her eyes were lit up. My shirt draped off her shoulder and exposed her silk smooth skin below her collarbone. Her nipples were poking through the thin black fabric of my shirt, just below the text, "Born to Lose." The way she held that bottle, her fingers fumbling but delicate. I admit it. She looked good enough to eat. Maybe I'd show her a good time on that bed with the cash all around us like in that one Demi Moore movie. There was enough of it.
She peeled off my thousand dollar suit. I pulled off her underwear and lifted up the Motörhead shirt. We got filthy with each other. The money stuck to our sweaty skin. The .45 bounced on the mattress with the safety off.
Kim loved this. She was a millionaire in that moment. Nevermind we were living in a motel overrun by mites and bedbugs and other people's dried up filth. Nevermind what we were going to do with all this cash tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that. She loved the idea of being a millionaire but had no idea what that really meant.
What were we supposed to do, take this cash and invest it in a CD? A mutual fund? Settle down? Buy a house? Get married and have kids? Man, if I wanted to do that, I wouldn't be out robbing casinos to begin with.
We laid on the bed, catching our breath. She turned to me and whispered, "We did it, babe. We made it. We're set for fucking life."
"Get off the money," I said.
"Why? Where are we going?" she asked.
"I'm going to burn it. All of it," I said.
"Cause fat lions don't hunt."
We drove out to an abandoned camp site. I popped the trunk of the Charger and pulled out the three duffel bags and a plastic gas can. Kim got out of the car but just stood next to the passenger door. She managed to put on a pair of daisy dukes when we left the hotel, but she was still wearing my t-shirt.
"You're just fucking with me. I know it," she said. "You don't have the balls."
She watched me dump the cash in the fire pit and douse the pile in gas. I waited for her to realize I wasn't bluffing.
"You light that match and we go right back to where we started. A pair of losers. Nothing but two jobless white trash chumps slumming at a fucking campsite," she said.
“You can stay a chump here, but I’m leaving a champ,” I said.
I flicked open a Zippo and held the flame up between me and her so she could see it. Then I tossed it over my shoulder. The flames lit up the woods and cast my long shadow out in front of me. A wave of heat enveloped my back. I walked away. She screamed. We passed each other, me strolling back to the Charger, her charging to the burning cash.
I got to the driver's door and turned around. The flames must have been fifteen goddamn feet tall. I thought the whole forest was going to burn down around us. Kim was on her knees in front of the fire pit, reaching into the flames, pulling out stacks of twenties or hundreds with each fist. She was still screaming. Crying now. Her skin was boiling off her arms. Her pretty blonde hair caught flame. She thought the money was permanent. She wanted to save it. She never counted on getting more money down the road in the next town. For her, this was a fucking 401K.
I came back to our little camp fire with the .45. She didn't even notice me put the barrel to her head. I shot her through the back of the skull and kicked her onto the heap. She loved the money so much, she could go straight to hell with it.
What a damn shame. I loved that t-shirt.
I pulled up to the bank in the Charger, still decked out like an American Outlaw James Bond. I left the car running and the Raybans on as I walked through the doors.
Forget casinos. Sure, they paid well enough, but they were low class. It didn’t feel right stealing from poor people anyway. No. It was going to be banks for me from that day forward.
It was broad daylight out. I didn’t bother with a mask or gloves. I wanted the cameras to see my face. Let the evening news tell the whole country about me.
I cut the line and went straight to the teller.
Someone got offended and said, "Hey, buddy!”
I pulled out the .45 and fired a shot into the ceiling. Plaster and asbestos fluttered down like snow. The next thing I know, everyone was lying on the floor and the women behind the counter were filling sacks with cash. I didn’t even have to say a word.
About then, I noticed the teller on the left. She looked through my polarized lens. Blonde hair. Fire-lit eyes. I looked at her and saw no fear, but hunger instead.
“Ever been with a self-made millionaire?” I asked her. She shook her head no. Of course she hadn’t. That’s why she was running a till at the local branch.
“Do you want to?” I said.
She didn’t smile, but blushed in a way that told me she did.
“Come on, babe. Let’s go for a ride.”