The Goblin with the Super Bee
Holding on to Nothing but the Wheel
Ghouls and jack-o-lanterns lingered in yards on that windy third of November. It was 1971, and between my career as a traveling salesman and my uncanny obsession with Halloween, I was a bank robber. Finding the ideal bank, creating the infallible plan, the electricity that raced through my body during the heist, it was my calling. Even a Picasso of the discipline couldn’t avoid the law forever, so tonight I was painting my final masterpiece.
My whole life I’d been a chameleon, moving in and out of environments without raising eyebrows. I chose my career on the basis of indiscernibility and the ability to stake out new banks. I traversed the country selling equipment to dojos. Gloves, uniforms, nunchaku, it was all the perfect cover, my background in karate an advantage. I’d already hit banks in eleven of the twelve Midwest states, and I sat ready to conclude the compendium with Wisconsin.
I only hit banks after Halloween. Daylight savings ends, it gets darker earlier, darkness is first-rate camouflage, and perhaps my beloved holiday is a marker of good luck. The tail end of the day is my timeslot. The last five minutes they’re open, less people to worry about. Winter is my only season. Cold weather states on the most frigid days where gloves and an oversized coat don’t garner attention. These simplistic rules have always worked for me.
My personal flair however, is a little more sophisticated. Select a remote location. This will often give a nice cushion of time before the police are able to arrive at the scene. A bank cannot be chosen unless it is bordering a heavily wooded area. Always be sure to know the layout of the woods thoroughly before the big night, as to avoid going in circles or getting stuck in constricted obstacles when the heat is on.
Being the seventies, this country is packed with hypnotizing cars, meaning witnesses will remember what someone was driving, versus who was driving. Therefore, I do not utilize a getaway vehicle in the traditional sense. I always park on the opposite side of the woods, and make my immediate journey from the bank on foot.
Which brings me to my next gem of intelligence. Always leave all your gear and the money behind the night of. This may sound preposterous but it is crucial. Find a well veiled area in the woods and prepare it as a drop-off point. Dig a hole, drop some PCV pipe, use sticks, or leaves, anything that will cover it up sufficiently. After completing the night’s mission, deposit the money, the firearm, gloves, disguise, or anything else that could possibly be incriminating.
A disguise is vital, the scarier the better. This is where my devotion to Halloween really comes in handy. Create a character to become and put-on a totally perturbing act. Find the most terrifying mask, demented clown, decaying zombie, anything that people will find menacing. They will be so concerned with the mask that will fail to notice other traits, such as height or eye color. Always wear gloves, aside from fingerprints, it stops anyone from sighting skin color or any identifying markings. Modify your masquerade frequently, and always commit to an astonishing performance.
My firearm, my paramour. Choose the right piece for the job, know the ins and outs of that weapon absolutely. Practice shooting until a precise shot. It is wise to shoot the leg to incapacitate someone, but a quandary if one blunders. Ensure the weapon is sparkling, rust free, and reliable. Have a backup weapon. Never fire, unless absolutely necessary.
A foxy blonde sporting bell bottoms and a crop top lowered her glasses and gave me a mischievous wink. It wasn’t anything I wasn’t used to; the broads dug my car. A 1969 Dodge Super Bee in ‘green metallic’ with a 440ci ‘six pack’ V8 and four speed transmission, donning uncovered wheels. It was a pleasure cruising the roads with her.
A wind-swept sign danced as I rounded a corner on my path to the bank. ‘Mulligan’s Magic Pumpkin Patch! Turn Here!” I continued on my route sporadically glancing at the clock, 7:30pm, right on schedule. My final bull's eye was just minutes away. The town was mostly shrouded in darkness now, the nearest Sheriff’s department nearly twenty miles away. This was going to be a cakewalk.
I veered to the side of the road, parking in an out-of-the-way spot partially covered by tamarack trees. I looked down the desolate road, not a car in sight. I affixed my headlamp, grabbed my duffle bag and swiftly disappeared into the forest. Identifying various landmarks, I quickly found my way to the hiding spot I’d set up earlier that week.
I thew off my jacket and began rummaging through my sack. I applied scent blocker to my face and arms, and then pulled on ghoulish hairy green gloves to my elbows. I adorned myself in a vibrant purple Willy Wonka-esque’ overcoat that I had already festooned with synthetic blood splatters. I dug further into my bag for the grand spectacle. An entrancingly demonic goblin mask that had spools of realistic hair coming off its head. I had come across this primo find a few weeks earlier in an unassuming shop in Wichita. I fastened my firearms and threw my jacket and the remaining contents of the sack into the hiding place.
Being in costume always got me psyched. I began leaping and galloping amongst the forest, as if I truly were a demented goblin. I even threw in a front flip for good measure. A part of me was downhearted knowing this would be my last time experiencing this elation. However, I had always promised myself in the beginning that I would never exceed twelve jobs. Whilst I was a virtuoso, one can only get away with something so many times before they’re caught. It is simple statistics. I was going to relish in the fruits of my labor, not get thrown in the joint due to arrogance.
I skirted the edge of the forest. A quick glance at my watch conveyed that it was 7:55pm. Only two cars in the parking lot. Everything was picture-perfect.
I vaulted into the bank and assessed the scene. One teller standing behind the counter preoccupied with a stack of paperwork. Another breaking down the coffee section. Upon seeing me her eyes widened and a bucket of stale popcorn crashed to the floor.
“This is a robbery! Put all bills on the counter and no one will get hurt! No sudden movements!”
The employee behind the counter looked up frightenedly and froze. I didn’t have time for this. I wielded my firearm and pointed it directly at him.
“All bills on the counter now,” I growled.
He began fumbling with the drawer before commencing stacking bills on the counter. I proceeded to stuff them into my bag with one hand as I kept the gun aimed with the other. His eyes fixed on something behind me causing me to turnaround.
A brawny man trod in bracing a checkbook in one hand. Upon realizing what he walked into to, he furiously attempted to rush me. My fighting instincts kicked in and without thinking I dodged to the side. He darted past and I hurriedly grabbed him from behind and suplexed him. The woman teller sat cowering in her mess of popcorn, the male teller looked as if he was about to run.
“Don’t you dare”. I realigned my weapon with his head. “Finish filling the bag,” I gestured at the remaining money on the counter. The husky man groaned on the floor and struggled to regain his footing. I waited for him to fully stand before delivering a gnarly roundhouse straight to his face, knocking him back down immediately.
“That’s all of it sir,” the teller breathed.
“Zip it”. I eyed him pondering if anyone else was going to test me tonight. He zipped the bag with shaking hands and nudged it towards me. I slung the sack over my shoulder and dashed from the bank. I sprinted and soared over the natural obstacles of the forest replaying what had just happened. Of course, it was always plausible for someone to attempt a role as a small-town hero, but it was rare and always a vexation.
Upon reaching my hiding place I tore off my mask, and began the switch out. Within minutes I was changed, my money, weapons, and everything else ensconced with brush. I wrapped a camera around my neck, and clutched a bird watching book as I continued on my way.
“Sir!” Someone yelled as I neared my car. I turned around and saw an officer aiming his flashlight at me.
“Yes Officer?” I raised a hand to hinder the light from entering my eyes. “Is there a problem?”
“May I ask what you are doing out here at this hour?” He closed the distance between us and reviewed me.
“I was just doing some birdwatching, takings some photographs” I raised the camera slightly. “Time got away from me,” I shrugged. “My car is just over yonder.”
“Well,” the officer shined his flashlight through the brush, spotting my vehicle. “Why don’t we just head over there?” He kept his flashlight on me as we advanced.
“Is there something wrong Officer?”
“We just had a robbery a few miles from here. Just combing the area. This is a beautiful lady you have here,” he professed examining the Super Bee.
“Yeah, she sure is,” I grinned.
“Birdwatching huh? Sure, would be the area to do it.” His mood seemed to lighten. “You wouldn’t mind if I gave you a quick pat down and checked the car? Can’t be too heedful in these kinds of situations.”
“Yeah, no problem Officer, I understand.”
He gave me a hasty pat down before requesting I unlock the door, and then began a thorough search of the car.
“Now what is all this?” He called as he peered into the drunk. “Nunchucks, are they?”
“Yes Officer, I supply equipment to various dojos. I have business cards in my wallet if you-”.
“You know of Pander’s Karate Dojo about half an hour from here?”
“Yes. Actually, have a meeting with them this Wednesday. Been doing business with them for a couple years”.
“Been thinking about enrolling my oldest. The structure and physical activity would do him good.”
“I’d definitely recommend it. It’s a lasting skill that really builds coordination and strength.”
“Hmm,” the Officer nodded his head. “Alright then, I’ll let you be on your way.”
“Thanks Officer. Have a good night.
I exhaled as I got into my car. A close call but at least I’d been prepared. I turned the key and my engine roared to life, always a pleasing sound. A little way down the road I turned on the radio and “Running Gun Blues” by David Bowie filled my ears. I rolled down my window and nodded my head feeling the fresh breeze strike my face. It was a surreal night.
Two weeks later I returned to the hiding place to gather my loot. I held the goblin mask fondly in my hands and decided it was going with me. I almost always left my disguises, but this final job held a special place and I wanted to hold onto the memory.
After hours on the road, I checked into a hotel and emptied my sack onto the bed. Upon carefully counting the money I was amazed that it amounted to $20,000. By far the largest amount I’d ever gotten. I could purchase a house pretty much anywhere I wanted. I could live out my life on the beaches of Mexico. I could do anything.
Karl snapped shut the small black leatherbound notebook. He had become fully entranced in its words after discovering it in the attic of his new home. He grasped the eerie goblin mask and rubbed his chin whilst considering what he had just read.
About the author
M.R. Cameo generally writes horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and nonfiction, yet enjoys dabbling in different genres. She is currently doing freelance work as a writer, ghostwriter, copywriter, editor, and proofreader for various publications.