Borrowed Truths


Borrowed Truths


“Five-thousand, that’s apiece right?” “Five grand, total, take it or leave it.” “Come on, man, there’s a dozen brand new televisions in there, the van alone is worth five times that much.” “Better than nothing Stan, what are we going to do with it, take it and let’s get outta’ here.”

This one had not been planned, Stan and Ernie had just happened to meet downtown, saw the guy pull up in the delivery van, and when he had run inside a donut shop for a minute, they thought, why not. They had pulled a few jobs together, mostly stuff like this, a van or truck with something inside they thought they could make a couple of bucks on, half the time they weren’t even sure what was inside, sometimes the pay was good, sometimes not. Stan preferred to work alone though, Ernie was an alright guy, but Stan wasn’t big on trusting people, everybody was out for themselves, and he had done time more than once because of making the mistake of trusting somebody. They split the cash and the cab, and after a few too many drinks in the bar back by where their cars were parked, said their goodbyes. The money wouldn’t last long, Stan knew that, it never did, but what the heck, he could always get more.

Stan had found out at a very early age that stealing was much easier than work, let the other people sit at the grindstone, he could make more in ten minutes than most of them made in ten weeks. The kids in school had always been willing to pay half price for a candy bar or a carton of stolen smokes, even as time went on, some of the teachers who didn’t want to be seen in the seedier parts of town were more than willing to fork over some pretty good money for the drugs that they didn’t want others to know they enjoyed. In his younger days the cops would simply call his old man when he happened to get caught, everyone in the area knew the big, burly father of Stan would take care of business, and Stan had been given some horrific beatings by the big man. Stan’s one older sister had run away right after her sixteenth birthday, Stan was out the door for good before he got that far, the street was a better life than a dad who spent most of his time gambling and with hookers and a drunken mom who spent her days in front of the television until she passed out.

In and out of juvey three times before he was eighteen, and five times in prison before he hit thirty, Stan knew the life, convenience store robberies at two in the morning, running drugs for the local crazies, and parcel truck heists, all small stuff to Stan, and he was getting tired of it. The money was gone on booze and hookers before he knew it, and it was starting to get old, he wanted a big score, and always dreamed of the one heist that would set him for life, no more small time, he wanted out and he needed a lot of money to do that. Stan had been part of a four man crew in a jewelry heist once a few years ago, but since he was just the driver he had gotten the smallest cut, just over twenty grand, he had lived an incredible life on that money for almost three months, and he wanted that taste again, but this time he wanted it to last.

“How about you son, a good hot meal, fine preaching from the Word of God, what do you say.” Stan just glanced at the man standing outside of the mission as he walked by, crazy Bible thumpers, always trying to get you to believe there was some kind of free ride available, didn’t see many of them hanging around the finer parts of town though, did you. His aunt Janet had been one of them, always pretending like she cared, telling him all those Bible stories, she was the one he could always count on after those beatings his dad had given him, the small woman would put her finger in her brother’s face and tell him what Jesus thought of that type of behavior, but it never seemed to do any good. She had been good for a place to stay and a meal every once in a while, as long as he could put up with all the preaching, but that wasn’t the life for Stan. Janet had given him a small Bible once, he had even read some of it a few times, but had finally just tossed it in the trash one day, things didn’t seem to go much better for the people in it than they were for him, being nice to folks, even healing them and feeding them just so you got yourself nailed to a cross wasn’t exactly the life Stan wanted, and as for coming back to life, well, he would believe that when he saw it. Besides, even though Aunt Janet seemed like she was happy pretty much all the time, she was dirt poor, and that was not the life for Stan, if this Jesus loved his aunt so much, why didn’t she have a bunch of money and nice things.

All these thoughts ended abruptly as the armored truck pulled up in front of the bank, exactly 2:15, right on time, every Monday and Wednesday, just like clockwork. He had been watching this show from the same street corner for the last three months, and it had played out exactly the same every time, Stan even knew the amount of steps that each of the two men took, where they looked and did not look, it was like watching the same movie over and over again. He had never killed anyone before, but he had been present when other people had, and if he could think of a way to get around it he would, but these guys were professionals, they probably wouldn’t back down even with a shotgun pointed at them. Stan figured he could carry three of the bags of money, maybe four, down the alley to his waiting car and out of town before anyone knew better, he figured the haul to be a quarter-million, maybe more, but what he hadn’t figured on was the off-duty cop who put a slug in his back after Stan had shot the second armored vehicle fellow.

“Tell me about this Aunt Janet of yours Stan, sounds like she was a fine God-fearing woman.” “Ten minutes pastor.” “Alright, thank you Benny.” Ten minutes to live, not including the time it would take to walk down the hall, get strapped into the chair, and listen to some more hollow words before he rode the lightening. “Yea, she was alright I guess, but what’s that got to do with anything, believing in your Jesus isn’t going to get me out of here, is it. He hasn’t paid any attention to me for thirty-two years, why should I pay any attention to Him now?” Stan heard words about love, compassion, mercy, some eternal life stuff, and about the cross thing again, but he wasn’t really paying much attention. He got some somber looks from the other prisoners as he walked towards the shiny steel door at the end of the hall, even a couple of “Good lucks,” but he really wasn’t paying much attention to any of it, all he wondered about was if it was going to hurt much when they threw the switch.

Stan couldn’t see anything thru the thick, black hood they put over his head, but he thought he heard somebody calling his name from very far away, real soft like.

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