Hostage Hilarity: Winning Fiction by Jodi Milner
Here’s the scene—it’s clichéd, true, but I know you can make it work.
Taylor walks into the bank, s/he has a busy day ahead and is in quite the hurry. S/he stands in line, grumbling as the elderly man in front of him/her fumbles over his change. At last, it’s Taylor’s turn with the teller. At that very moment, a masked person rushes into the bank, dressed all in black and waving a gun in the air. “Everybody get down, this is a stick-up.”
Based on this little snippet of the scene, you’d probably think you were reading a suspense, thriller, or even a drama—nope, this show’s a comedy, folks. I don’t how you’re going to do it, but the challenge is to make this hostage situation absolutely freakin’ hilarious.
Why is Taylor in such a hurry? Who is this masked person? What will go down during this bank robbery? I don’t know, but you better make me laugh.
The Winning Fiction:
If it wasn’t for the heels and pencil skirt, Taylor would have kicked the man in front of her, twice if the man wasn’t old. For the last five minutes she watched as dear old grandpa flattened the withdrawal slip against the counter, searched his pockets for a pen – not just any pen, the right pen – and then fill in the different fields with an agonizing precision. The teller, a young man with spiky hair and an earring, had resorted to sucking on one of the free lollipops. Taylor guessed it was to keep him from verbally abusing his customer. The other customers waited, one with the ear buds of an iPod shoved in his ears, another fiddling with her phone. They didn’t seem to even notice how long it was taking.
She was supposed to be in and out, less than five minutes. It was a brilliant plan, and it would have worked had the old man not been there. Might still work, her partner hadn’t burst through the door yet. If grandpa would stop counting each penny in the roll, complaining that the bank had short changed him three cents last time, then she could get to the counter. The device in her phone would only short the panic button if she was within a few feet. After her part of the job was done all she had to do was go home and wait for the money.
She fidgeted with the deposit slip, smearing the blue ink across the tips of her manicured fingers. If anyone with half a brain looked close they would see it her hands were rough from hard work, the smooth blond wig fastened to her head with bobby pins. She looked at her reflection in the glass of the manager’s office door, not quite believing how different, how good she looked. The curves age had left her had thankfully stayed where they were supposed to, she could get used to looking like this.
The door to the bank flew open with a bang, bouncing against the frame only to smack the man wearing a tight Spider-man mask in the nose before he could step inside. He clapped a hand to his face and waved a gun with the other. Taylor had to bite her knuckle to keep from giggling. He was supposed to wear a mask, but Spider-man? Really?
He waved the gun at the customers. “Put your hands in the air!”
The teller with the sucker shrieked, sounding almost girlish. The old man didn’t turn or react, he was aligning the bills in his wallet, making sure not a single corner was bent, probably didn’t even notice what was going on. The two other customers hands shot up, their faces pale. Taylor felt stupid putting her hands up, the tight fitting jacket kept her from raising them any higher than her ears.
Spider-man panned the room with the gun and inched forward until her was standing behind her shoulder. He whispered in her ear, “what are you still doing here? You were supposed to be gone ten minutes ago.”
Taylor fought the urge to take out her pent up frustration by stomping on his sneakered foot. The last thing she wanted was to look like they were working together. Had he had two brain cells to rub together he would have known not to single her out. “I don’t know you.”
The whisper turned to a whine, “what are you taking about? This was your idea!”
Taylor balled her fists, the plastic edges of her fake nails digging into her palms. “Shut up! Just shut up.”
“But what do we do now? Should I just try to take the money?”
“I can’t believe this.” She lowered one of her raised hands to wipe her face in frustration.
“So what do we do?”
Taylor couldn’t restrain herself any longer, a woman in heels could only be pushed so far. She slammed her elbow into his stomach doubling him over and then smashed him over the head with her purse. He crashed into the floor the gun skittering out of his hand and across the floor. Before he could get up she planted her knee between his shoulder blades making him grunt.
Applause and cheers erupted from the around the bank. Instead of hitting the jackpot with a bank heist Taylor ended up making herself a hero, not bad for a day’s work.