April 29, 2021
The wind howled as early morning began. The winter season had no thoughts of mercy and the snow continued to fall without stop for the second day in a row.
“It’s about time you showed up!” Howard shouted as the wind blew against his face.
Howard stepped back against the back of a vacant building trying to shield himself against the wind.
“Keep your voice down! It took me long enough trying to sneak out. It’s freezing out here!” Seth jogged over to Howard and dug his hands into his pockets to escape the snow.
“You think? I’ve been waiting here for half an hour for you just to come barreling by. It’s three in the morning! You didn’t even try to be quiet.”
“All right, all right. Enough of this. Just get to the point. Where do we enter?”
Howard pointed at the back of the store just around the corner. It was a small shop, yet in the small town it stuck out. The owners came from a different country and were trying to buy the land here to expand their business.
“Let’s just keep this simple. We’re not professionals. I go in the back and I’ll get the money. You just need to go in the front and if anything happens, I need you to distract. Got it?”
Seth fidgeted with his hands and shook his head. They had been friends for almost two years yet never had an idea like this.
“Are we really going to do this? I mean, what if something happens?” He bit his lip and looked down.
“What do you mean, “what if something happens?” Something will happen. I mean, c’mon Seth, what did you think? You think I’m just going to sit here in the snow thinking? What is with you—Seth?” Howard rolled his eyes and took a few steps back. He looked down at Seth noticing his closed off body language and sighed. “Seth, what’s wrong with you? You were all ready yesterday! Did you think I wasn’t going to follow through?”
“Look, ma isn’t too well, okay? I just, what if she thinks less of me? What if I do this job with you and it doesn’t work out? She’s going to know!” He kicked at the ground avoiding his eye contact.
“So I’ve been freezing out here, waiting for you, just for you to come over and tell me you don’t want to? I’ve been out here praying no one sees me waiting for you and when you finally do come, well look what happens!”
“I’m not doing this Howard!” Seth looked up at Howard. “Look, just listen, man. I-I’m not going anywhere in life. I don’t want to ruin it even more by doing this! I don’t want to go to jail for the rest of my life, H. I just want to help my ma. I’m leaving.” Seth got up from leaning against the wall and looked back where he came from.
“Seth, come here. Look, I didn’t want to do it either, but I need the money. I lost my job last week. That’s why I’ve been so hard on you. They told me not to bother coming back to the brewery and I don’t have any more options.” Tears welled up in his eyes as he continued. “Seth, we could do this some other time. Look, maybe we could find a job for old Larry for awhile, doing, I don’t know, gardening?”
They both gave a light hearted laugh before becoming serious again.
Seth smiled. “Man, you might be onto something. We could be gardeners or maybe we could help Joseline. I mean, with twelve people living there I bet she could use some help.”
“This is crazy, we came here to do this. To rob them here. Yet, here we are talking about being a gardener! I know that we could rob them and get away with it. How do I know being a gardener would work out though?” Howard scratched his neck.
Seth looked at Howard with a new perspective. Howard was desperate and Seth knew that they would find a way and that way would be easier than robbing a store.
“We don’t know and we won’t know until we do it. If we did rob them, I know I wouldn’t sleep at night. The owners are nice people, Howard. I wouldn’t be able to do it. I wasn’t raised that way and neither were you.”
“Seth, you’re crazy. You’re crazy but I think I’m crazier for going with it.”
Howard glanced back at the store almost unsure about it all. He rubbed it off and started back home with Seth.