Randy steered the nondescript sedan through the mid-morning traffic. He was nervous. He glanced over at his 17 year old daughter in the passenger seat. She seemed calm and upbeat. Just like a kid, he thought. All young folks thought they were immortal, that nothing could go wrong, nothing bad could happen, no matter what they did. He had been like that once. Now, of course, he knew better.
“You seem pretty calm, Julie.”
“Why wouldn’t I be? We’ve rehearsed this over and over.”
“Yeah, but there’s always the unexpected.”
“It’ll be fine, Dad.”
Randy drove carefully. The last thing they needed right now was to get stopped for some minor violation. He took a deep breath, then said, “You don’t have to go through with this, you know. It’s not too late to change your mind.”
“But I want to do this. In fact, I can hardly wait.”
“You may want to—but are you sure you’re ready?”
“The state thinks I’m ready. Got the license right here,” she said, patting the glove compartment.
“You know that’s not what I meant. Are you ready in your mind and heart? The thing about doing this is, you can’t have any hesitation, none at all. If you do, you’re doomed.”
Julie gave a little laugh. “After all the training you gave me, all those times out at the race car driving school? I’m as ready as I’ll ever get. Plus, I loved it. And it wasn’t just the lessons. I loved making you proud of me.”
“Julie, I’ve always been proud of you and I always will be, no matter what happens, no matter what choices you make. Like out at the driving school. On the track. Skid pan, bootleg turns. Man, you were fearless.”
“It was so much fun. It’s hard to be afraid when you’re having the time of your life.”
“Real world driving is way different, Julie. You’ll soon find out.” He sighed. “I just wish your mother could be here to see you now, all grown up. But events don’t always go the way you plan.”
“It’s okay, Dad. I’m sure she’s proud of both of us.”
Randy’s eyes grew misty. “I’ll never forget when you were born. Sure, I had hoped for a boy.” He smiled. “But when I saw you the first time on the other side of that thick glass, I fell in love. And when I finally got to hold you, I knew I was the luckiest man alive.”
Julie reached over and squeezed the hand that rested on the console between them. “I’m the lucky one, Dad. It’s not every girl that gets so much attention from her father, at least whenever you were home. You took me everywhere, even to the bar. How you got away with that, I’ll never know.”
Randy gave a laugh. “Ha! Even your mom might have drawn a line at that. But she was away herself right then.” He paused. “We’re almost there. Once last chance to back out.”
“No way. I’m part of the family, and I’m in.”
Randy drove slowly through the parking lot, looking for the ideal space. He found what he wanted and reversed into the slot, with the car nosed outward. He closed his eyes to gather his courage, but only for a second. He turned once again to Julie. “Ready?”
Suddenly, he saw the grown up woman she had become. He knew he could trust her the way he trusted her mother.
He exited the car and Julie quickly slid over to the driver’s seat. The engine was running, the passenger door slightly ajar. Randy yanked the ski mask down over his face, gripped the gun in his jacket pocket and burst through the door of the bank.
Lida Bushloper writes and publishes confession stories, short mysteries and poetry. Her work has appeared in True Story, Mysterical-e, Kings River Life, The Lyric and The Formalist.
Visit her website at http://lidabushloper.wordpress.com
Copyright © 2015 Lida Bushloper. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of the author is prohibited.