By Ruth Starr
People love calling me “old lady” and, since I had reached the lovely age of 85, I didn’t care. I had a gang I hung out with for years. One of our pleasures was to meet and relax in our complex Jacuzzi. Today my sweeties are all gone except me so I’m sitting in the Jacuzzi alone with my thoughts.
I look around the Jacuzzi and see them all there in my mind. Crooked Carol, Lazy Thelma, Jerky Marcia, and Boozer Louise. I always thought it neat that we had a Thelma and Louise in our group. And there was me, Smarty Annie. I, of course, was the leader and would make plans for our next adventure. Yeah, so the adventures were a bit shady. So far, we had only committed minor thievery – a few bucks here, a few bucks there. You might frown at taking the contributions box at your place of worship, but we did it.
My memories come flooding back to our one big heist. We were all in the Jacuzzi when I said, “Okay, Gals, listen up. There is this small town in Nevada that has a little bank. It’s on a corner so it’s easy to get in and out of fast. Every Thursday, like clockwork, the truck comes to pick up the dough at 1:30 sharp. They will have the money ready to go, and we, my girlfriends, will be there at 1 p.m. to save them the trouble. Any comments?”
Jerky Marcia asked, “Who is going to do what?
“Hey, Jerky don’t you think I have this whole thing planned out?”
“So, what’s the deal?” chimed in Boozer.
“Just drink up honey, I’m gonna explain it all and we will have trial runs to be absolutely sure we can plan our vacation in Costa Rica. Crooked and Jerky will go inside to find out how to start an account there. Lazy will be on the outside to watch for anything not planned. Boozer will be ready to drive when I come running out with the loot.”
They all wanted to know if I was going to use a gun, what I was going to say to the cashier, and what would happen if I shot someone.
“My daddy has a shotgun up in his attic from when he used to go hunting. I’ll go over to his house and find it. I ain’t gonna shoot anyone. I don’t even know if there are bullets in that old gun.”
Boozer suggested going to a local bar, shooting pool, having a beer or two to relax, and taking time to think more about our plan. “How ‘bout we play some eight ball with teams?” she said.
“That’s okay for today, but tomorrow we are going to have a practice run. We’ll drive up to Nevada, book some rooms for the night, and case the bank in the morning. Then, at 12:45 we’ll go downtown where the bank is and practice our plan. Are y’all with me? Costa Rica here we come – The Gang of Mine.”
“Time to get out of the Jacuzzi honey, you’ve been in there too long now.”
“Who the hell are you?”
“You know me Annie, I’m nurse Rae Check here at Haven Heaven. I’ve been taking care of you since you moved here.”
Ruth Starr has lived in SLO for 22 years near both of her children. She is an ardent storyteller, loves dogs, plays at golf, and has had many stories about people in this area published locally over the years. Ruth is a member of SLO Nightwriters, for writers at all levels in all genres; find them online at slonightwriters.org.