Life with Lucky by L.Z.

Hansen "Zoe… Zoe…" I hear a scared muffled whisper from the other side of the door to our apartmen t. I was counting change at the kitchen table and had stacks of dimes, quarters, nickels and pennies in neat rows. The sound of Tommy’s voice made me jump, spilli ng the coins over. "Who is it?" I playfully teased. "It’s me!" he said. ‘Me,’ was my boyfriend, and partner in crime, Tommy. We’d been together six months, bu t it seemed like forever. Tommy was a cool looking rock dude with straight straggly black hair, pale never seen sunlight skin, and the skinniest legs imaginable. We borrowed each other’s clothing, read the same books, listened to the same music, ate the same food; we even looked alike. We shared everything, in our perfect little Lower East Side haven. I opened the front door as Tommy raced past me, over to our single windo w that looked over Orchard Street, where he quickly pulled the blind down. "Baby what’s wrong? I asked, concerned. Tommy looked scared. His ghostly pallor wa s shinny from perspiration, his usually pinned eyes big as saucers. He lit a Newport cigarette and sat down on the edge of the couch catching his breath, and looked up at me. "Babe.. what the hell..?" I was becoming increasingly nervous. "I had a close call." He said. "You were meant to go and get our wake up hit. I don’t understand, wheneve r you go out on your own you always, and I mean always, seem to come back with s ome story. I mean babe, how hard is it to cop? I never seem to have these storie s when I go out to get our dope. I swear to god Tommy, its beginning to get ridi culous." "I ran into a snag…." Oh, a snag. That could mean anything. My blood press ure now rising, I took the cigarette from his mouth and dragged heavily on the w et filter. "I wanted to get a bundle.." "A bundle, ten bags? but you only had twenty bucks." "I wanted to surprise you." Those green eyes, that straggly hair, how could I re sist his lies? "I was up around Twenty Third Street…" "Twenty Third Street? What the hell were you doing up there? That makes no sense when all you had to do was go two blocks away…" "Well, you know that Chase bank, the one that wouldn’t cash that bogus che ck I got a hold of last week..? "Yes..." Oh no, this day was rapidly going down hill. "I had an idea, baby…" Tommy said. Oh no… not an idea… "But Tommy… babe… you promised you wouldn’t have those ideas of yours without me, to h elp you…" "But they pissed me off." He whined, sounding like a ten year old. "What, today, or last week?" "Last week, remember… I got that check from Jojo, the one he robbed from h is landlord. It was only for like, fifty bucks. Those bastards at the bank wante d ID and all this shit, and it obviously didn’t have my name on it, and I couldn’t g ive them my ID… I mean what’s it to them if I cash some shitty check? Its not like t hat teller is losing her money, is it? In fact it would probably be good karma f or her, had she cashed the check for me. She was so friggin’ rude babe, and she ga ve me that nasty bitchy look like I was some scum bag or something. I ain’t no scu m bag, baby. So I couldn’t get it outa my head that she had dissed me, so.. I thou ght I’d go and, I dunno… you know…" He said. "I’m trying to, but you’re not telling me what happened." I said. He went over to the window, pulled back the blind and peaked out, like a fugiti

ve on the run. "What the fuck Tommy?" "Ok… Ok I went into the bank, I said to myself, ‘Tommy-boy, go ahead teach t hem mutha fucks a lesson, let them know they can’t treat a person like some sort o f scum bag…you know… I was thinking about what you said before, not to let people pu sh me around… you know that self reserve or whatever…" I rolled my eyes. "Self respect, Tommy. Respect." "Babe, all you had to do was cop two bags…You had twenty bucks, I gave you the mon ey." I was already feeling sick, and even sicker now. "Do you wanna hear what happened…?" "I’m waiting…" "So, I had this plan, right. I needed to write a note, and I didn’t have any paper . So I dug around in my pocket and I find this receipt from earlier, you know, f rom the Gem Spa on Saint Marks, I bought breakfast…you know how I love snowballs a nd coffee. I like to peal off the marshmallow around the little chocolate cake i nside…" "Tommy babe, please… the story…" "Sorry, so I borrow a pen from some old man doing the crossword sitting…’ "Babe how long is this gonna take…" "So, I wrote on the back of the Gem Spa receipt‘Listen here… this is serious, I mean it and no one will get hurt. Give me all the m oney in your draw now or I’m gonna blow this fucking bank up! See I mean it!!! I g ot a bomb in my back pack, the one I’m holding.’ I stared at him. He looked back at me. Was this a joke? And who keeps receipts? "I had my back pack, you know the one with the cool skulls on the front patch, the one I’ve had forever." "Yes, yes, I know the one…" "So, I walk up to the teller, give her the note, and I wait. I’m like watching her babe. Then all of a sudden I need to piss, like I’m gonna burst. She looks at me real hard like she’s trying to see who I am. But I got my shades on babe, ha! She just starts putting these stacks of hundreds into the tray. I’m like whoo hoo! Yea h baby, this is my calling babe, its like what I was meant to be doing. This is like the easiest load of doe I’ve ever made." He looked so proud of himself recalling stealing all that money. I looked in disbelief. Had he gone mad? I squinted my eyes looking closely at hi m to see if he was having some sort of …brain problem or stroke, or something that could make you lose your mind completely. Maybe everything had all become too much for him, like our erratic lifestyle, the drugs, and he’d really gone nuts. Oh , poor Tommy. He looked so young and frail sitting on the edge of the couch. May be there was some insanity in his family background. "Baby I did it for you." Tommy said sweetly, squeezing my hand. He stood up walk ed over to the window, and peeked out again. I put my head in my hands. Oh god! "So I’m feeling good. This is my calling baby, I’m a bank robber, like Dillinger, ba by, I’m like… Bonnie & Clyde….well Clyde, you know not the Bonnie part. I’m like Al Paci no. Cool Hand Luke…Like…like… well, a bank robber… This is easy as… like… well its easy." "Wait, Al Pacino?" I said. "Yeah…Pacino…the great one!" Tommy stood in the middle of the room shooting at the w all with an invisible machine gun. Brrrrrrgggh! Brrrrrrrrrgggh! "Babe, he was an actor." "Oh yeah, well, I know, but he was so real in that movie. What was it…? you know t he tranny…um.. not Scarface…I love Pacino, De Niro.. all those guys… that was me babe, I felt like…." "Dog Day Afternoon." I interrupted. "Yeah that’s it!" "I’m trying to act all normal like, so no one gets suspicious. Now, baby don’t get m ad…I’m standing at the counter, and there’s all these people lining up behind me. So I’m trying to look natural, like I’m just a regular schlump at the bank. So, I’m lookin

g through papers in my back pack. ‘Cause I seen people do that while they are wait ing in line. You know, I’m looking busy, like I got business to take care of. I g ot our electric bill and our rent bill, and I’m flicking through these papers and mail I got in the backpack, the one …" "Yes, the one with the skulls…" "Then the woman starts piling up stacks of money, like hundreds. She looks a bit scared, so I told her not to worry, nothing bad is going to happen to her. You know I said it in a really caring way… I didn’t want her to think I was some lowlife scumbag, you know baby, and she even smiled at me...Then I can barely get the m oney outa the slot. I’m getting nervous, I put the mail I was going through, down, and I’m now stuffing the money into my back pack. I really need to use the shitte r. My gut is rolling over. I’m like… ‘God let me get this one, give me this one fair and square, and I’ll go straight aft er. Or I’ll get on a methadone program, maybe, well next week…’ "I grab the money, piles of it. You know, I think the teller giving me the money liked me, she’s givin’ me the eye… but don’t get jealous baby, she ain’t my type." Oh lord…! I’m looking at Tommy’s eyes full of brief life and excitement. "Tommy are you telling me that you’re flirting with the woman you’re robbing? Is tha t what you’re telling me?" I said jumping up, pacing our small cramped room. "What does ‘giving the eye’ even mean, grandpa?" I said snickering. "By the way I’m not jealous, and don’t be an ass, asshole." I said. "… Anyhoo, will you listen? I put my sunglasses on, you know, disguise…and r ace out the bank." He pauses. "I tear down Sixth Avenue. The sun is blasting in my face. I can’t see where I’m goi ng and I knock into a few people, who get pissed and yell at me, which freaks me out as I’m trying to be in-con-pictuous…in consectuious…" "Inconspicuous, maybe?" "Whatever… I’m racing, like flying. I’ve never run so fast, in and outa people. I’m zoom ing, left right, right left, zig zaggin’ you know… I reach Fourteenth Street. My he ad is all over the place. Baby, then the walls come closin’ in. I start getting pa ranoid, like everyone is staring at me, and everyone knows I’ve just knocked off t his bank. I start to freak out. I run into some Salvation Army building…you know t he one… that big place in the middle of Fourteenth Street… I thought I’d hide out for a little while. I thought maybe they’d take pity on me at the Salvation Army. I me an, they are supposed to take care of people in trouble right?…Isn’t that what they do there?" I just stared at him… What? "I’m running through the halls. That’s some big ass building babe, really big. Doors , closets, and winding stairs. I wanted to get lost. I thought maybe if I got lo st, somehow this whole mess would get lost too…" I looked at my Tommy, skinny legs, hair wet from perspiration. How could I not l ove him? He’d tried to surprise me. How loving. What a sweet caring boyfriend I ha ve. I must be one of the luckiest girls out there to have a guy who’d knock off a Chase bank on a Tuesday morning, just to make our wake up hit that little bit be tter. I smiled and sat down as Tommy continued in his dramatic detail. "Babe, I find the men’s room. I sit in a stall for a few minutes to collect myself , you know. I finally take that piss. The paranoia is killing me, baby. I’m wishin g I hadn’t done the whole thing at that point. I’m thinking about bad karma, and how our karma has been so good lately. You know the two of us have like the best ka rma ever, right babe?" I nod and smile. "Yes we do". "I think everyone is staring at me… they all know I just turned this bank over. I’m scared… I was scared…" I see the fear in his eyes. "I gotta get home, gotta keep going. So I run back out onto the street. I see a bus pull up right in front of me. Like a sign baby! an effin’ sign! This is it, I’m safe! I’ll ride the downtown bus home, down Sixth Avenue. I jump on. Then I sudden ly realize I got no change… but I got a bunch of cash." He winks. "I pull out a h

undred. I hand it to the bus driver. I’m like …’step on it my man, it’s your lucky day! A hundred bucks baby!… But you know what he says? Babe, that dumb fuck tells me, ‘o h no you don’t, you gotta have exact change to get on the bus… One dollar, or a toke n!’ I tell him, ‘Keep the muther fuckin change my man, take the misses out tonight… ju st take me home… ‘ I beg him… and you know what, baby? He tells me to get off the bus! He wants the exact change, or nothing." Tommy pauses for a moment to breath. I’m in awe. I can’t believe what he is telling me…As much as I love him, in the back of my mind I always wondered if Tomm y was a bit mentally challenged, and yet he gets into these amazing predicaments and always seem to come out with no more than a few scratches. "Then what." I’m looking at him now in a whole different light, like he’s th e bravest, strongest man I’ve ever met, and at the same time confused at his choic es. "So I’m walking. I’m just walking through the back streets, trying to avoid cop cars and people. Plus, you know baby, I ain’t feeling so good…ya know…I’m over on the Bowery , coming across town. I see that old wasted asshole Scurvy who I owe twenty buck s to. He races up on me asking for his twenty. So I give him a hundred. I didn’t h ave anything smaller. I tell him my mom sent it to me. Get this baby – he doesn’t be lieve me! He throws it back at me and threatens to slice my gut up! What’s wrong w ith people? Why won’t they take my money? Why won’t anyone believe a person these da ys? I mean what’s wrong with society baby, what’s wrong with them…? I shake my head. "Who knows? " I say. "But baby, where’s the money?" Tommy goes to his backpack and pulls out a handful of new crisp bills. I take th em and fan myself with it, feeling the cool air against my cheek. The quiet shuf fle of crisp bills, the unmistakable smell of money. "Lets go cop. Let’s celebrate." I say, figuring we might as well. My boyfriend h as somehow managed to pull off the most ridiculous bundling heist ever. My mind drifts to the leather jacket I saw in Trash and Vaudeville. "Baby, can we go to Trash and get that jacket I wanted?" "I told you I’d get it for you." He says. "No let’s buy it, not rob it. Why risk a shop lifting charge after you got away wi th this." "You’re right baby, but first let me change my clothes and then let’s go cop." "Change?" "In case they recognize me, or come looking for me." Tommy looks at the floor an d gets quiet. "Who’s gonna recognize you? Or for that matter, know where to come looking for you? I ask. "Don’t yell at me… You know how I hate it when you yell at me, baby." "Yes, I know, but what’s wrong?" I can tell something is very wrong when he tries to avoid my eyes. "Baby… Don’t get upset, its probably gonna be ok, you know how we are really lucky… ri ght?… Did I tell you my mom used to call me Lucky as a kid… cause…when I was nine, I g ot hit by a bus on Avenue A, and I bounced onto a car hood and walked away fine. Just fine." I stare at him, constantly amazed by his stories of youth and survival on the s treets of the Lower East Side. "Yes, Lucky’s your middle name… I get it." I roll my eyes out of his view. "Well, I think… I might, just might have left our… well, your rent bill, and the ele ctric bill on the counter at the bank." Silence. I stare at him trying to understand what he’s just told me. Did he just say he lef t my rent and electric bills on the counter at the bank he just robbed? I must b e dreaming. This is one of those scary nightmares where I’m running from the cops, who are chasing me out of a dope house. I had chasing dreams every night. This was one of those. I squeezed my eyes shut, bit my lip…ouch! "You what?" I said. "You said you wouldn’t yell. I ain’t talking if you yell at me." I stare at him in disbelief,"

"Wait, let me get this straight. You took out the rent bill and the electric bil l, to do what, may I ask..? Were you going to open an account at the bank after you robbed it? Or you wanted to apply for a job, and they needed proof of addre ss…" "Now you sound mad, baby. Don’t be sarcastic, you know how it makes me fee l. I told you I was using them as props to make it seem like I was one of those straight dudes in a bank doing business stuff, you know, looking at my bills an’ s hit…." He trailed of quietly. "My bills, with my name on them? Now if you’re caught, and let’s face it, that’s pret ty much a given, I’ll have to testify against you." He looked wide eyed. "But I ain’t caught yet… Wait a minute, wait a minute. I got it! I got it." He springs up off the futon couch, leans over and hugs me. "Baby, if we get marr ied, you won’t have to testify against me." Oh my god, Oh my god. There’s no talking to this person. He’s just out of hi s mind. I watch him smile, looking proud as hell with his last statement "I got that from that TV series about the mob. Oh babe, where should we go on va cation to..? How about Puerto Rico? I hear they got some good shit there." "Babe, shut up, shut up for a minute will you please, this is serious. So you le ft the house bills there with our address on them. Are you sure… are you 100% sur e, you left the house bills with our address at the bank you just robbed?" "Umm… yes, but I don’t wanna talk about it..? Listen, it was my first time robbing a bank, I tried to do everything right. I don’t see you going out there ge tting money every day for us both. Its stressful, and I tried my best. You said you wouldn’t yell." "But, babe, our utility bills, really.. really?" "I don’t know what you mean by utilities… all I left was the rent and electric, now you’re putting words in my mouth." "Baby, you might have to get out of New York for a while. I mean the FBI could b e on their way over here to the Lower East Side. When a bank is robbed they call in the Feds to investigate. They must have seen our bills with the address on t he counter… Oh god! Oh god!…" Tommy and I stood staring at each other waiting for the other to do something. I couldn’t live without Tommy, and he certainly couldn’t without me…The room went still and silent, there came a loud thump on the door. BANG, BANG, BANG!!! I ran ac ross the room and fell into his arms we held onto each other tightly. I felt his heart beating against mine. I squeezed him holding on for dear life. I wanted t o melt into him. I wanted us to disappear. I wanted to rewind the last few hours . I looked at Tommy tears streaming down our faces. "Hello, miss?" a voice called. "I love you." Tommy whispered. "Miss…" When I heard a Hispanic accent at the door I let go of Tommy. "…I found your mail, miss, with your name and address in the bank, uptown at Twent y Third Street… Miss…?" I look through the peep hole and saw a short elderly man. "What?" I called out. "You found what?" "Miss, I live around da corner, I think you left your mail at a bank. I pick it up and I see da address is near my apartment. I think how you must be needing it , so I bring it to you. I put it under your door." I unlocked the door and stood shaking in disbelief as this sweet elderl y man handed me my electric bill and rent bill. "Oh My God! Um, thank you…. sir, wow! Thank you so much!" I beamed in tota l disbelief. I wanted to hug him so hard I loved every inch of that little old man. I was in total shock. "You welcome miss. I live in da next building, you welcome." With that he turned and slowly walked down our dark hall. Dumbfounded, I turned to Tommy who was standing with his mouth open in the middl e of the dark apartment. "Baby, I think you must be the luckiest man alive. I mean, who leaves their addr ess at a bank robbery? What kind of a person does that?"

Then I think, more to the point, who leaves their address at a bank robbery and gets away with it?

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