A lumpy pile of soft pink yarn sat at Mrs. Brown’s feet as she clacked away with a pair of knitting needles. Awaiting a coat of buttercream frosting, a carrot cake cooled on the kitchen counter.
The front door opened. “Honey, I’m home,” called Mr. Brown.
Mr. and Mrs. Brown, of 280 Applewood Street, are a very nice elderly couple. Just ask anyone in the neighbourhood.
Mr. Brown: white-haired, has a moustache perched on his upper lip, wears large glasses, always humming as he works. He enjoys gardening, which is evident in the jewel-toned tulips, velvet-petaled carnations, and cheery yellow daffodils that ornament the front yard. Every year at the Applewood Fall Fair, his pumpkins win the ‘Most Impressive Produce’ prize. Apart from tending to his plants, Mr. Brown’s hobbies also include fishing and ice-skating.
Mrs. Brown: also white-haired- but she wears hers in short curls- tiny and fragile-looking, has a closet full of hand-knit sweaters. When she was younger, Mrs. Brown had her own cooking show, ‘Baking with Beatrice Brown’, and in her retirement, she continues to foster a love for baking. Mouth-watering aromas of blueberry pie, chocolate fudge cake, and oatmeal cookies can often be found wafting drowsily from the windows of the Browns’ kitchen. When she’s not baking, Mrs. Brown enjoys knitting clothes for the Browns’ cat, Mimi, and volunteering at the local soup kitchen.
The pair of them have been married for over fifty years, and have a son and a grandson. Thomas Brown, the grandchild, is the light of the Browns’ lives, their pride and joy. He was senior valedictorian in high school, awarded numerous citizenship awards for his humanitarian ways, and got a full ride to the best university in the state. However, he’d had to decline the scholarship, due to the fact that his true calling was to be America’s Greatest Superhero.
“It’s been so long since Thomas called, don’t you think, dear?” Mrs. Brown put down her knitting, walked to the kitchen, and began to ice the cake.
“Honey, I’m sure the young man is busy, what with being America’s Greatest Superhero.” Heaving a sigh of satisfaction, Mr. Brown relaxed into his armchair and picked up a gardening magazine.
“Yes, I know, but couldn’t he find the time to give his grandparents a call once a month? Just once a month, yes, that would be nice.” A glob of buttercream smacked the cake. “I know he’s very important, saving lives, fighting crime and all that, but, well, he’s our grandson. And one visit every Christmas just doesn’t cut it.”
Mr. Brown slowly closed the magazine. Like always, his wife was right. “Well, honey, what do you think we should do about it?”
A few fervent dollops of buttercream icing later, Mrs. Brown responded, “You know, dear, I have just the thing in mind.”
Later, the cops watching security footage would be baffled by clips of the single car in the bank parking lot. The quaint vintage Volkswagen beetle that pulled into the empty lot didn’t seem the appropriate vehicle for criminals, and the elderly couple that bumbled out of the car weren’t exactly prime candidates for felony.
The chief of police puzzled over the hazy footage, watching the old couple enter the bank over and over. There was no denying it. It was…
“Mr. Brown!” A young teller greeted the Browns as they entered the Regal Bank.
“Mitchell, it’s good to see you. How did that Musky hunt go?” Muskies were a species of huge freshwater fish, among the most difficult to catch. As a regular fishing expert, Mr. Brown had been offering coaching to young men in the area.
“Fantastic, sir, thank you so much,” Mitchell gushed, “Me and a couple other guys headed out to the lake on Saturday. The weather was just beautiful that day, wouldn’t you agree? Mr. Brown, you would’ve been so proud of us- Jimmy didn’t even forget the bait bucket this time! The conditions were just right- you should’ve been there to see how nice the lake looked, sir- and I was using my new rod, the red one, and-”
Mrs. Brown quietly cleared her throat.
Although he was but twenty-five, Mitchell had a wife at home, and therefore knew the wisdom of listening to women. “Anyway. Mr. Brown, me and the boys will tell you all about it on Friday.” His youthful face grew businesslike then. “Now, welcome to the Regal Bank. How may I help you?”
Smoothly shifting in front of her husband, Mrs. Brown took charge. Her frail old-lady hand slid a piece of paper across the polished wood surface of the counter. “Mitchell, dear, we’d just like to withdraw some cash. Is that alright?”
“Of course, Mrs Brown, I’ll just need your id-” Abruptly, Mitchell’s voice broke off, choking in the middle of his sentence. A single drop of perspiration beaded on his brow as he took another, more careful look at the writing on the paper Mrs. Brown had given him. Here was every bank employee’s worst nightmare come true.
Empty your till. We have guns.
Not daring to meet the hawk-like gazes of Mr. and Mrs. Brown, Mitchell stared down at the counter and contemplated what to do. All of his bank safety training had extremely inconveniently erased itself from his mind. Was he supposed to comply? Run away? Alert the others? Call the police? What if the Browns didn’t actually have guns, and were lying to get money? Was he supposed to protect the money? Would he be fast enough to call 911 before he got shot? His thoughts were like speeding cars on a crowded highway, all losing control and colliding into each other at catastrophic velocities.
In the split second Mitchell blanked out on the safety procedure, he started panicking. Then, he did as any other panicked person would do: he screamed at the top of his lungs.
“Help! They’re robbing the bank! They’ve got guns! Get down! HELP!” The young man’s voice ricocheted off the building’s walls like a wayward boomerang. The other tellers and customers in the bank whipped their heads around, looking like deer in the headlights.
“Well now he’s gone and done it,” Mrs. Brown muttered, and reached into her purse. Rummaging past stray knitting needles, a container for dentures, and a tin of mints, she grasped the icy metal firmly. Then, the little old lady pulled out her handgun.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
Chaos immediately consumed the Regal Bank as bullets soared, ceiling lights exploded, and people screamed bloody murder. Bodies dove under counters, thumping heavily against the floor. Thousands of tiny glass shards pelted down from the decimated lightbulbs in a shimmering hail, and the Regal Bank was plunged into a dusk-like dimness.
Flinching slightly at the ruckus (his hearing aids were turned on too high), Mr. Brown retrieved his own handgun from a pocket inside his jacket. BANG! BANG! He hoped that this would be enough. And that Mitchell would forgive him by the time Friday- fishing day- rolled around.
Rubbing his eyes wearily, the chief of police finally stopped replaying the clip of the elderly couple walking into the bank. Thankfully, no civilians had been harmed, and every last one of them had confirmed that it had, in fact, been Mr. and Mrs. Brown who had opened gunfire inside the Regal Bank.
The policeman opened a new tab on his computer. He hadn’t wanted to do this. This was the final measure, reserved for extreme circumstances. However, if such a nice elderly couple like the Browns could suddenly flip the switch and go nuts like that, who was to say that is wouldn’t happened again? Extreme measures had to be taken.
It was time to call in the big guy.
Contrary to popular belief, the prison door was neither rusty nor made of metal bars. It was a mundane, white-painted door, which led to a small, white-painted room. Sitting on the cot inside the cell, Mrs. Brown clicked away with a pair of knitting needles. She didn’t know when she would see her beloved Mimi again, but when she did, her cat was getting a brand new mint green sweater.
One of the guards unlocked the door. Mrs. Brown didn’t move, but she made a mental note to tell someone to oil those hinges. When the guard beckoned for her to exit the cell, a thrum of anticipation swept through the old lady’s chest. The two travelled down long, twisting corridors lit with harsh fluorescent lights, and stopped in the visiting room.
Christmas had come early for Mrs. Brown this year. She let out an ecstatic squeal, clapping her hands together in delight. She knew her plan would work!
The man sitting alone in the waiting room wore a navy blue bodysuit with shiny gold belt, and a billowing red cloak. America’s Greatest Superhero. He looked up, and said a single word that tickled Mrs. Brown’s little old lady heart.
I love creative writing. Characters, plot, angst, conflict, witty dialogue, clever conclusions- I’m all for it. Hopefully this story embodied at least one of the aforementioned qualities.
That said, thank you so much for sticking around to the end. (Extra thanks to the person who supplied me with inspiration for this piece, you’re a 5/7 pal). I hope you read the short story, but I don’t blame you if you didn’t. Sometimes I feel like the outro is most fun part of the whole blog post since it’s kinda like a rambly monologue in which I really let myself loose until the inevitable, shameless self-promoting segment. Oh look, there’s the rambling.
Speaking of self-promotion, if you have 30 seconds, I’d love for you to favourite this blog post, follow me here on WordPress, and share this post (doing all three is not mandatory, but does make my day a whole lot better). If you have not read last week’s post, here is ‘May Spotlight‘, and also my About Page.
Thank you so much for reading!