Despite the existence of this story, I remain poor.


Saved By the Bell, or;

The unexpected Virtue of Sarcasm

So there I was, coming out of the Mall of the Millennium with an arm full of Christmas presents, just about to reach the snow bank next to my parked car, when I felt the grip of a pistol smash into my skull. I watched the gifts tumble out of my hands as I hit the ground, where they scattered into the long shadow of a fairly beefy looking man. Turning around, I saw that there was, in fact, a fairly beefy looking man right behind me, holding a gun in his hand and a self-satisfied smirk on his lips.

I put two and two together and yelped.

"Random gift search," the man said. "Gotta make sure you ain't stealin."

"Um," I said, staring at the gun. That smirk got a little toothier as the gun pushed forward, and there was steam shooting out from between his teeth. I felt like wetting myself, I won't lie to you. Picked a hell of a day to wear light brown khakis I did.

The man with the gun said, "I ain't an expert or nothin, but I'd be gettin up if I was you."

He made a convincing argument, so I stood up. He didn't even need to tell me to put my hands behind my head—I was way ahead of him on that.

Still smiling, he said, "So here's what's gonna happen sir. I'mma take your wallet, maybe your watch, and a couple of these here presents for my poor starving children, and if everythin goes to plan, I'll be kind enough to let you keep the rest." He pulled back on the hammer. "We clear?"

"O-oh yeah," I said. "C-crystal clear."

"That's good," he said. "Real good. Now let's start with—"

He paused, long enough that I thought God had answered my prayer and he was having a brain hemorrhage. Turns out, not quite—what he was doing was looking over my shoulder at the two girls standing behind me. One of them wore glasses and was bundled up in a green coat, the other had on a red sweater and pure black leggings under her shorts. I saw the man with the gun frown, then he moved closer to me and trained his gun in their direction.

My eyes followed him, and by the time he was at my side he must have cheered up an awful lot, since he was smiling and all.

Then the smile turned back into a smirk. "Bitches leave," he said.

The two girls looked at each other, shrugged, turned their eyes back on the man and I.

"No," said the girl with the glasses.

"Nah," said the one in red.

The man looked shocked a little—same as me really. That's not normal behaviour when a gun's pointed at you. My reaction was normal, or at least I think it was.

So the man waved the gun a bit next to my shoulder and said, "I'm not askin, I'm warnin. Skeedatle or you'll get hurt."

"See," said the girl in red, "we're kinda wondering how this all turns out now."

"Also," said the girl with the glasses, "we haven't come up with a good enough reason to abandon this man."

"Wait," I said, turning to the gunman. "You're gonna rob me but just you're just gonna let them go free?"

I saw the glasses girl frown. "Yet," she added, and her friend rolled her eyes. I felt shame, but mostly I felt warmth on my leg.

The man managed a chuckle, finding the whole thing to be the kind of funny that I guess I just don't understand. "Ah," he said. "Look at the brave little birdies. Go fly home kids, my business is my business."

They didn't move. The Glasses Girl said, "Little birdies?" with the kind of tone you'd hear from a dumbstruck babysitter, and the one in red rolled her eyes even harder.

"See? I told you watching nothing but old noir movies would rot your brain."

"You're assuming he has a brain," Glasses Girl said. "I remain unconvinced."

"I-I'm convinced!" I said bravely. "I-I think you're mighty smart!"

The man with the gun was even less impressed now than he was earlier, despite my psychological distraction. "Shut up!" he hissed at all of us, and the gun started waving wildly in the air. "Alright? Just shut it! I'm taking this guy's wallet. I've got the gun here, I can d—"

"Did you remember to put bullets in it?"

He stared at the glasses girl. "What? 'course I did you idiot!"

"Ouch, hurtful words," the other girl said. The glasses girl crossed her arms and began tapping her foot on the ground.

"I'm just asking," she said, "because anybody who'd steal a man's wallet after he just went Christmas shopping is probably a little short on neurons."

"And frankly," said the girl in red, "that might not even be the stupidest thing you've done today. It's impressive really."

"Yeah. You might just be dumber than Kevin."

"Yikes."

"Are you two nuts?!" someone said. Turns out it was me. I couldn't help it—it just came out. There was a gun at their heads and they were snarking off like Statler and Waldorf! Never mind that the snarking was saving my wallet. And life, I guess.

The gunman agreed with the whole flabbergasted thing, I think, because a weird stuttering noise left his lips. The gun was still pointed at them, but more at their feet and less at their heads.

"Shut up!" he said. "Shut up all of you! I'm serious! I've killed plenty 'a chumps before!"

"Hey! Whoya callin chumps, see?" the girl in red said. It was a fairly good mobster impression I thought—granted I wouldn't know an accent from a cough in all honesty.

Either way, the gun was fully pointed at the ground now—the man was using his finger instead, jabbing away at where the girl with the glasses was standing. She didn't move. Same goes for her friend. They just stared and looked on all unimpressed like.

"I-I just…do you not see this thing I have in my hand? Do you?" He waved the gun at the two of them again, but the muzzle was still aimed at the yellow line next to my car.

"Oh we see it," the girl in red said. "We're just not afraid, what with it being backwards and all."

Another sputter left his mouth. Same with mine actually—clearly it wasn't backwards. In fact, I accidentally vocalized that, or part of it anyways—I got to it before the man with the gun screamed at me to shut up, and the two girls gave me the same look my history teacher gave me whenever I answered a question wrong.

Through the sputters, he said, "It's not backwards dammit! I know how to use a gun I'm not some kinda idiot!"

"Really?" said glasses girl. "Try turning it around—we'll see which way looks better."

"W-why you little—"

"Of course, I still think you should check for bullets. Wouldn't want you firing blanks or anything."

"If only his girlfriend was as careful as we are," the girl in red said.

"Please," said glasses girl. "Blow-up dolls don't count as girlfriends. Even Upchuck's not that pathetic."

While all this was going on, and as the man turned into a tomato, it suddenly donned on me that he wasn't pointing the gun at the girls anymore…through some fluke miracle. Now was my chance! I could take the gun from this bozo, turn it around on him, and make him grovel! Yeah, all I had to do was stand up, grab his wrist, and yank…

So I stood up and grabbed the guy's wrist. So far so good. Unfortunately he was a bit stronger than anticipated, and I obviously didn't tug him hard enough since the arm moved about an inch or two down. I heard the glasses girl say something about a son and a bitch, but I couldn't quite make it out since the man with the gun was yelling a lot louder.

"Hey get offa me man!" he said, and the gun hit me in the head a second time. I went down and the gun went up—aimed at the two girls while a size 6 shoe (loser) pushed down on my face.

You might have thought it was hard to hear seeing as how one ear was smushed into the pavement, but he was yelling really loud at that point so I got most of it more or less cleanly. With the gun trained on the girls he broke into a monologue that was kinda whiny, not going to lie. Probably the shoe size, I think.

He said, "Alright. That's it! I'm taking this wallet, I'm taking all his presents, and then I'm gonna do something to you two just to make me feel better about all the BS you've pulled since you got here? Understand? This is a goddamn robbery—you don't get to just dick me around like a couple-a high school assholes when I've got me a goddamn gun and a goddamn desire for greenbacks, understand?"

The glasses girl said, "Greenbacks haven't been issued since the Civil War…"

"Shut up!" he said. "Whaddre-you, some kinda brain?"

"Ohhh, he's good," said the other girl.

"You shut up too! Now I'm gonna count to three, and then you two are gonna lay on the ground and spread your goddamn hands, kay? One. Two…"

Something happened right then, because all of I sudden I could see red and blue lights, and a church choir of voices were shouting for the gun-guy to drop his weapon and step away from the hostages. I didn't think I was a hostage, but I enjoyed not having a foot on my head anymore, so really whatever name works.

Turning around, I saw an army of cops with their guns drawn had surrounded us, along with a second army of onlookers and TV crews. The two girls were smirking as the man put his hands up and dropped his gun.

"Remember when my friend said that you robbing a man after he went Christmas shopping wasn't the dumbest thing you did today?" she said, the smirk growing larger. "She was talking about you robbing someone in the middle of the parking lot, first and foremost."

Don't quote me, but I'm pretty sure the man said something like "D'oh!"

An extremely large cop waddled over with a second, less fat looking cop, as the man with a gun turned around. "You have the right to remain silent and stupid," he said, and he let out a chuckle. The other cop pulled out a pair of handcuffs and slapped them on the man's wrists.

"C'mon tiny feet," he said. "I'll read you the rest of your Miranda Rights on the way to the car."

"Goddammit…" the gunman said. The girl in red turned to her friend.

"Oh, this one's a sinner," she said.

"Damn heathens."

I heard the gun-idiot mumble something. I, on the other hand, stayed on the ground. It was cold there and frankly that coldness felt good. But I watched as the fat cop walked over to the two girls and started playing with his belt.

"Someone called it in a couple-a minutes ago. Said something about a big stink. Guess they weren't wrong huh?"

"How long is a 'couple-a minutes ago," asked Glasses Girl.

Oh five…fifteen minutes, maybe."

"Fifteen?" the other girl asked.

"Well we got a bit lost in the parking lot, but uhhhh we got here. We got here."

"You're a real American hero, you know that," Glasses Girl said.

"Thanks ma'am, but uh, just doing my job." He tipped his hat and walked towards the throng of cops. "Right boys, throw the clown in the back of the cruiser—now that we're here we might as well do some Christmas shopping!"

Getting off the ground, I looked at the girls. "I hate this place," the one with the glasses said. Then she turned to her friend. "Are you—?"

"Sweaty as hell?" she said. "Yep. You?"

"Drenched," Glasses Girl answered.

I didn't know what to say, so what came out of my mouth was more a noise than words. They looked at me, and thankfully very little judging took place.

"How you feeling?" the girl in red asked.

"Mppfffht," I said.

"He makes a good point," Glasses Girl said.

"I'm…uh, fine," I said eventually. "Confused as hell, but fine."

"Oh, right—don't worry about that," Red Girl said. "We're just off-duty superheroes. It's what we do."

"Except on Saturdays," the other girl said. "We don't work on the Sabbath."

"B-but," I said. "How did you…I mean you guys just…"

They smiled at one another, then smiled at me.

"Listen," Glasses Girl said. "We know from experience—when someone takes themselves way too seriously, the best course of action is to relentless mock them until they shut down."

"And luckily for us," Red Girl said, "this particular specimen was dumber than a sack of acorns."

"It was still stupid."

"So don't try it at home."

"But for other non-life threatening situations—"

"And the occasional encounter with a wannabe Hans Gruber—"

"It'll do…"

And off they went into the afternoon. I never caught their names, but I'll be damned if I ever forget them (baring dementia or something like that—they guy did hit me pretty hard. Twice.)

Anyways—that, Dad, is why some of the presents are missing. Alright?

So don't blame me—blame the idiot with the gun.

FIN


I didn't rebrand! You rebranded! Fucking sell-out...

Also I don't know who the POV narrator is, what he does, or how he's important. He'll never show up again. While I consider myself to be utterly and totally pathetic, this isn't a self-insert.

If it was me, I'd have demanded he pulled the trigger. Especially if I was out shopping on Christmas.

Oh yeah, Happy Holidays. Enjoy the suck-fest that is 2016, cuz 2017 is gonna be a hell of a lot worse I tell ya.