It’s usually still dark when we leave in the morning. CeeCee has to be at work by six to start the coffee and make sure the grill and the fryer are clean and all. And they’re pretty strict there: you get in late, you get fired. The end. We can’t afford that, so we always make sure we leave on time.
See, we got big plans, me and CeeCee. We’re going to save some money, buy a place, I mean a real place, get out of this dump. I’m going to get a good job, too. I’ve never been to college or nothing, but there’s plenty I can do to make a living. I was thinking of getting a security job in a club or something, maybe work my way up to bartender, even buy a club or bar of my own. Yeah, we got plans.
So, anyways, we left right after five-thirty this one Sunday morning, just like always. On the way to drop CeeCee off, we passed by this really nice development. You know, the kind where they have a security patrol, and you have to have a Benzo or a Beemer to even go there. The kind we can’t afford. CeeCee said, ‘Damn, I’d like to live in a place like that!’
‘We will, babe. Promise.’
CeeCee smiled at that one. She dreams big, too. And we will. She’s sick of working at that dive, and I don’t blame her. All the guys trying to hit on her, and the cheap deadbeats who stiff her. And I’m sick of packing boxes at the warehouse. The job’s not so bad, but I work with a bunch of idiots, and the foreman’s a kid who has no idea what he’s doing. They keep promoting kids, and I’ll never get a raise.
So, anyways, I dropped CeeCee off, and since it was Sunday and I wasn’t working that day, I thought I’d stop and pick up a couple of lottery tickets on the way home. The Powerball’s up to 200 million bucks. They sell them at Jimmy’s Market, so that’s where I went. I got out of the car and was heading for the store when I felt something hard poke me in the back.
‘Pull your hands out of your pockets and turn around real slow,’ a voice said. I may not be all that smart, but I know better than to fight a gun. I did what the guy said. He had on one of those whatchacallits that go over your face, so I couldn’t see what he looked like. But I could sure as hell see the gun he was pointing at me.
‘Your wallet. Now.’
I stood there a second. No way was he going to get the twenty bucks in my wallet. It was all we had for the next four days. Think big, I told myself.
‘Take a look at me,’ I said. I think he was surprised I didn’t just hand over my stuff. ‘Do you really think you’re going to get anything worth it? I’m chump change. You won’t even get a pack of cigarettes out of what I got.’ He thought about that for a minute.
‘You want to do this,’ I waved a hand towards his gun, ‘You got to think big. Go for the money. You don’t want to waste your time on a loser.’ I even surprised myself with that one, but it seemed to work. I licked my dry lips and watched him for a minute.
‘What do you mean, go for the money?’
‘What it sounds like. You know that new development – I think it’s called Lakeview Ranch?’
‘Yeah, I seen it.’
‘OK, so those people have money. You seen their houses? Good cars, probably big TVs, the whole thing.’
He nodded. He was starting to see what I meant. So was I, come to think about it. And it might mean I would stay alive. ‘Let’s get something to eat and talk about it. My name’s Drew, by the way.’
And we did talk about it. We went past the development a few times, too, to check it out. Not so much that anyone would notice my car, but enough to see how things were done. It wasn’t going to be easy, because the place has a security patrol. But we made it work. The first time, we pretended to be landscapers. Another time we pretended we were delivery people. That’s all Mike’s department. He’s the creative one, even if he is kinda stupid sometimes.
So, anyways, me and Mike hit that rich place a few times and got some good stuff. Then last night, we went to this one house. We figured it would be our last stop at Lakeview. You can only hit a place a few times before people start to put two and two together. The house looked dark, so we went to the back and peeked into one of the windows. Looked like it was a kitchen. Good enough. The people who lived there had left the kitchen window unlocked. Nice of them. I’m smaller than Mike, so I got in first and opened the back door, and then Mike came in.
We looked around the kitchen for a minute, but there wasn’t anything there worth taking. I touched Mike’s arm and pointed towards what was probably the living room. He nodded and we went that way. We just got to the living room door when we saw it. There was a dead man laying on the floor. And a lot of blood. Whoever it was, we didn’t want nothing to do with a dead body. I was just about to point to the kitchen when I heard someone coming down the stairs.
‘What the hell!’ he said. It was a big guy, even bigger than Mike. You could tell he’d guessed we already saw the body.
‘Good timing,’ the guy said. ‘Now I’ve got a perfect story to tell the cops. You losers came here to rob me. You saw my buddy here and killed him.’
I hated to do it, because I like Mike. But like I said, me and CeeCee got plans. We dream big. So I shoved hard against Mike. Pushed him right into the other guy, and that gave me just the break I needed. I didn’t like the way he looked at me as I ran. But I had no choice. Let Mike be that guy’s alibi.