Frank Joins the Dots

Frank’s career in improv didn’t pan out. There’d been a couple of gigs, sure, and there was always open-mic, but probably he shouldn’t have quit the bank. He saw that now.

Fine. Apart from the bills. The bills worried Frank. But everything happens for a reason and everything’s connected, Frank—actually—believed. He just had to join the dots. Frank trusted the dots, and trusted that they’d materialise any day now. When the time was right. Any. Day. Now. The dots would guide him.

Frank pulls his mean face and waves a couple of fingers over his head, a cocked thumb. “Everybody be cool. This is a robbery!” People hit the floor. Easy, thinks Frank, so fucking easy. This is his first bank job. He lowers his faux pistol, but keeps it cocked. He winds his way through bodies, apologises when he steps on a hand.

At the counter, Gloria says, “Jeez, Frank, bad career move.”

“It’s my first,” says Frank.

“You know, I thought that.”

“How am I doing?”

“Well, apart from hitting a bank you used to work at? Maybe a mask?”

Frank looks down, nods. He pinches the skin between his chin and throat. “So,” he says.

“Yeah, anyway,” says Gloria.

“We should probably, you know . . .”

“Yeah,” says Gloria, “let’s do this. You got a bag?”

Frank frowns.

“You didn’t bring a bag?”

“I left it in the car.”

Gloria sighs. “But you got an actual real-life car, right?” Frank doesn’t answer. “Let me see what I got here,” says Gloria. She fills an Aldi bag with used fives, tens and twenties. She throws in a couple of fifties for old times’ sake, hands the bag to Frank. “You should probably get going. The cops, you know.”

“Yeah. Much obliged, Gloria. Say hi to Hal.”

“You take care, Frank.”

Frank tips a hat that isn’t there, turns and exits.

Outside, sirens. Police cars screech to stop. Just like the movies, thinks Frank. He holds an imaginary hostage in a stranglehold, two fingers to an invisible head. TV guys film from the end of the street. “Nobody moves or she gets it,” shouts Frank. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you muthas.” Thick moustachioed cops look back and forth, shrug, a SWAT team takes up position. Frank paces left then right, “Don’t make me do it!” he shouts, “I swear I’ll do it!” A chopper overhead. Frank lets go a couple of imaginary rounds; more shrugs from the cops. A detective steps forward, holds up a white handkerchief.

“Eh,” he says, “Frank? It’s Frank, right? I’m Detective Devine. Wanna talk about this?”

Frank steps back, tightens the stranglehold.

“Come on Frank. Why don’t you just let her go. She’s got kids. How they gonna feel if Mommy doesn’t make it home?”

Frank steps back some more.

“Whaddaya say?”

“I say one more step, copper. One more and she get it.” The first bullet hits Frank’s foot. He goes down, reaches into his jacket for his invisibility cloak; then dark; then there they are—the dots—large and luscious and all around. They bounce and rise along the street, and Frank joins in behind.  

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