Turk and Molly weren’t the brightest cookies in the toolshed. They, however, were convinced they possessed genius minds. While bemoaning their poverty over a shared milkshake at Big Betty’s diner, Molly offered a solution.

She lowered her voice for Turk’s ears only. “Let’s steal a purse from a car at a gas station. It’s the hottest job going. Women are stupid. They leave their bags in the front seat when they’re filling up.”

Turk reached out and squeezed Molly’s hands. “You’re a woman and you’re not stupid, Moll. You’re smarter than me, even.”

She returned the squeeze. “Thanks, hon.”

“So, when exactly do we grab the bag?” he asked.

“Shh, waitress coming. Let’s talk back at your place.”

Their waitress slipped the bill on the table. “I’ll take that when you’re ready.”

Always one for being friendly, Turk checked her name tag. “Hey, Alice,” he said, handing her four dollar bills. “I’m sorry. We’ve only got four bucks between us so your tip’s just a couple’a pennies. We’ll leave more next time—when we’re rich.”

Later, in Turk’s basement room, they planned their crime. A simple robbery, Molly reasoned, should still be “well-strategized.” Turk was impressed with Molly’s vocabulary. “I learned it on Law and Order,” she told him. “That, and how not to get your license plate caught on security cameras.”

The next day, per their flawless design, they staked out a station that allowed for a quick getaway. Their target would be a woman driving an older car. That was Molly’s idea. Because, “a chick in a beat-up set of wheels isn’t gonna figure someone’ll steal her stuff.” Turns out, they didn’t wait long. When a dirty blonde got out of a weathered, slightly dented sedan, Turk said, “That’s the one. See you on the other side, partner.” He got out and moved toward the station.

The timing was divine. Molly pulled slowly along the adjacent service road out of video-detection range, while Turk glided by the passenger side of the sedan, opened the door, snatched the perfectly-waiting bag, and kept right on walking until he met up with Molly again. Pleased with the brilliant execution of their heist, they laughed and laughed all the way back to Turk’s basement bedroom.

They hadn’t exactly hit the jackpot: two nickels, five pennies, a lip balm, an unopened pack of gum, three keys on a ring, a tacky watch, and a credit card. But they were high from the adrenaline rush. After a celebratory romp between the sheets, Turk wanted to use the credit card for dinner.

Molly shook her head. “Not smart. We wait a day or two.”

One day later, Turk was hungry. “Now, Moll?”

Molly said yes.

At Big Betty’s they were seated at Alice’s table, which Turk took to be a good sign. He had wanted to make good on his promise to tip her well. They ordered an appetizer basket of onion rings. Molly got Betty’s Biggest Burger with avocado that was a dollar extra, and Turk had the rack of ribs with mashed potatoes. They were too full for dessert, but split a chocolate shake anyway.

When Alice gave them the bill, Molly handed her the credit card. “Service was great.”

“Yeah, Alice.” Turk winked. “You’re gonna like your tip today.”

Alice looked at the card. She looked at Molly. She looked at the card again.

“Something wrong?” Molly challenged.

“Nope. Nothing wrong,” Alice said. “I’ll be back with your receipt.”

Time passed, no receipt. Turk and Molly grew annoyed with their wait.

“The food came faster,” Molly grumbled.

“If she’s not here in the next minute, don’t leave a tip, Moll.” Turk huffed. “Screw her.”

Molly’s eyes widened as two policewomen strutted through the front door of Big Betty’s and over to Alice at the register.

Turk turned to see what had Molly so concerned. He couldn’t hide his surprise either. “Whoa. That’s wild. I wonder if she’s been stealing from the customers or something.”

Of course, they weren’t there to arrest Alice.

Turk and Molly’s favorite waitress, Alice B. Wichowski, was relieved when police eventually returned her other stolen items. She had never cared about the credit card—that had been closed down minutes after the robbery. The watch was another matter. Her boyfriend had given her the diamond Rolex for Valentine’s Day. She’d felt so stupid for leaving it in her purse. That would never happen again.

Karen Cantwell is the author of several published mystery short stories. Her most recent, “Sunset Beauregard,” appears in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies (Wildside Press). She also writes the bestselling Barbara Marr Murder Mystery series.

Copyright © 2019 Karen Cantwell. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of the author is prohibited.