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On the Robbing of Banks
by D C White

I burst into the lobby of the bank and ran to the teller’s counter. “Righty-o!” I yelled, “This is a stickup!”

There was a pause.

“No,” replied the teller, “It isn’t.”

This threw me somewhat. “Yes it is,” I explained to her, “Please don’t argue. You’re breaking my concentration.”

The girl fixed me with a stare which seemed to indicate she’d had a long day. “Do you even know how to rob a bank?” she asked.

I looked around. Rather than cowering in fear the customers and other staff were all watching me. Lovely, I thought.

“Yes,” I replied, “as a matter of fact I do, and I’m doing it now. Please give me all the money.”

“Or what?”

This time, I paused. “What do you mean, ‘or what’?”

The girl sighed. “Look,” she explained, talking slowly, “I have to have a reason to give you the money. You can’t just walk in and demand it.”

I scowled at her, deflated. “Well what would you suggest then?”

To her credit, she gave the matter some thought. “Off the top of my head, I should probably be in fear of my life. Perhaps if you were physically intimidating?”

I pulled myself up to my full five foot, three inches.

“That’s not helping,” she said, “Did you bring a weapon or something?”

A weapon! I struck my forehead with the heel of my hand. Hurriedly I reached into my trouser pocket and pulled out my gun. I was proud of my gun, which I’d designed especially to get through airport metal detectors. It was a gun in disguise.

I waved it about so that everyone could get a good look. Behind the counter the girl appeared resolutely un-terrified. “That’s your weapon, is it?” she sighed.

“That’s right,” I said, giving her my best Jimmy Cagney impersonation, “Now, hand over the dough, toots.”

“That,” she informed me, “Is a rubber duckie.”

Behind me, someone giggled.

“It may look like a rubber duck,” I said to the room at large, “but it is in fact a .38 calibre handgun.”

“Pull the other one,” said an anonymous voice from the back of the crowd, “it’s got bells on.”

“Go on,” called another, “prove it.”

This put me in a quandary. I could certainly prove it, but this would empty the duck of its only bullet. Due to its rubberised construction it took a while to reload: about two hours. All in all, this wasn’t going well. I decided to make a dignified exit.

“Right,” I said, “I’ll be off then.”

The jeers as I exited the lobby did little to cheer me up, but already my mind was made up. All I’d done, I told myself, was bring the wrong weapon. I ran back to the car, opened the boot, and pulled out my semi-automatic loofah. This time, I thought with a gleam in my eye, they won’t be laughing so hard.