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So Close

by Quiet Boy

Cold air whooshed into the bank as I pushed the door open. It was pleasantly warm inside, and seeing the snow falling through the glass front of the bank looked peaceful. I walked to a slightly-to-smiley employee. I smiled at her, and her smiled stretched almost painful far. "Yeah I just want put this check in savings."

"Ok, can I have your name please?"

"James Algren"

"Ok, and your I.D.?" I handed it to her, and looked up. The roof was covered in mirrors. A skinny 17 year old looked back down at me. His hair was messy and brown. His eyes were green. "Here you go. Sir, your transaction was successful"

"Yeah, uh thanks, have a nice day"

"You too!"

As I walked away, my phone buzzed softly in my pocket. I took it out. It was from Tracy. The text read 'hey can you call me if you aren't busy?' Tracy, that lovely, lovely boy. I'd liked him for years, since like high school. But we'd always just been friends. I mean...why would someone as great as him like me? So we'd always just been friends. Of course he'd gone through a continuous stream of boyfriends, while id had a measly two. I suppose part of the reason was how much I was crushing on him, making it hard for me to get excited about other guys. I walked over to a chair near the corner, where no one would be able to eavesdrop. I called him

"Hi" he said when he picked up.

"Hey, is something the matter?"

"No of course not! Do I have to have an issue to call you, hun?"

I laughed softly"no, but normally if you want to tell me something, you just wander over to my house"

"Oh, well I did, but you weren't there."

"Well ok, what's so urgent then?"

"Well, so you know how a couple of months ago Steven broke up with me right?"

"Yeah, you're not going to try and get him back are you! That guys a jacker!"

"No, nothing like that. I just...well I've been thinking. We've known each other for like ever, and you're my best friend..."

"Yeah?" my forehead grew hot. Could this be what I was thinking it was?

"Yeah, well I'm thinking that I like you more than that."

"R-really? Like you're serious right now?"

He giggled nervously"I've liked you since 8th grade. But I was always afraid you didn't like me so in ever asked you out"


"Sorry if it's weird, I understand if you say no."

"No! No I like you! Ever since that one time when we watched predator, and snuggled because 'it was scary'"

I can imagine his cute little blush when reminded of that lovely shirtless snuggle "that was in like 7th grade. Oh fuck, don't you see what we've done? We've both wanted each other all this time, but we were both to scared to say anything about it. you want to go to a movie tonight?"

My heart hammered in my throat"yeah! Yeah, that sounds great, does seven work?"

"Sevens great. I need to go get ready. I'll pick you up ok?"

"Ok" I said, breathlessly. "Talk to you later" Oh god, this was happening! I'd wanted this for so long, and now it was happening! I wondered if he would kiss me. Maybe as soon as I opened the door to let him in, he would put an arm around my lower back and pull me close into him and kiss me. Or perhaps at a powerful point in the movie we would catch each other's eyes, and I would lean my head onto his shoulder, and he would look down into my eyes, and then our lips would gently meet. Or maybe it would be when I walked he walked me to my door. Or maybe it wouldn't happen at all. We had all the time in the world for that kind of thing. I felt like jumping around like a 5 year old in sheer mass excitement. I needed to get home, take a shower, change into something sexy, and straighten my hair. Or maybe I would make it stick up at all angles with gel. He liked my hair like that... a large man walked through the door of the bank.

He wore a nascar hat, and a flannel shirt. He was holding...oh fuck he was holding a gun! He pointed the pistol toward the roof and let off two shots. Holy fuck! It was loaded too! Everyone freaked out, which I suppose is an appropriate response. He spoke loudly" ya'll get on your knees now!" he accented this with another shot. Everyone, of course complied. He walked up to an accountant of the bank"open it!" he shouted, pointing at the monolithic steel doors of the safe. She started to talk and her voice cracked"I can't. I'm..." you could hear a sob building behind her words. "Please, they don't give the employs that kind of stuff."

"Then who the HELL Can open the safe?"

"The bank manger. The company. But the manger is out right now."

"But he'll get back, won't he?"

She was sweating heavily"no...In fact the police will be coming soon"

He hit her heavily with the gun"you called the goddamn police, bicth? I'm gonna blow your brains out!"

She was on the ground from the blow, and crying heavily"oh god no, please, it wasn't me, it was the cameras!"She pointed at the small black box with the red light "it was that." He kicked her hard in the ribs. I heard the crack from across the room. She whimpered and curled into the fetal position. But he didn't shoot her. He walked away. It had been about 5 minutes now. Already I could hear sirens in the distance. Maybe this would all turn out fine. I mean the cops probably spent all day talking down whackos who tried to rob banks...right? He waited for another five minutes while a seeming sea of vehicles and people assembled outside of the banks glass front. A man with a microphone stepped forward "please come out of the building to negotiate, sir." The guy had us all huddled together in the center of the bank. He grinned nastily at us"the police ain't got no proper manners no more! Makin' a man go outside in this here weather? Well it'll be a much better stroll if one of you joins me. How about... you!" He grabs a boy, 12 at most, by the shirt collar and presses the gun painfully into the base of his skull. "Now you just walk where I guide ya, boy, and I won't hurt you, hear? But you pull any funny bullshit, and I'll kill you real fast, ya hear?" the terrified youth just nodded and looked shocked. The man walked to the door of the bank, pushing it open. The man with the megaphone said"what do you want, sir?" the man yelled back "well, see here, it ain't complicated what I want. Just give me the numbers to put in that fancy vault in there, and then I just want to stroll on out of here with one of my pretty little hostages plenty of cash, and drive off to the good life? See, I just want what every man in this here country does! So how bout you give me those codes and this all can go very smoothly."

"Sir, we cannot give you those codes, the bank company has not given us those, we cannot open the safe even if we wanted to. "

The man shrugged"ok, I see how it is. But mind you I'm killing someone in that bank if the door ain't open in five minutes"

"Sir, I would advise...." the bank door closed as the man walked back inside, muffling the reply. He pushed the kid back toward the circle. For five minutes we waited. Nothing came from the police line. The man checked his watch"well, my pretties, looks like I'm gonna be killin' one of you!" he used the barrel of his pistol to shove up a young man's chin so the guy had to stare into his eyes "you look like a working man, you understand right, nothing personal. I'm just making a day's wage!" he through his head back and laughed insanely. He walked around the circle, deciding. It was like some sick game of duck, duck, goose. He stopped by an older gentleman. "and why, I ask ya, shouldn't I use your brains as pretty paint for these boring walls? Hmm? Give me a goddamn good reason!"

The man stammered, sweat gathering above his thick glasses "I...I'm like two weeks away from and my wife are going move to Ireland and finish off our lives together..."

"Well, that's a mighty fine reason to go on livin'" he walked on to the next person.

She was a lady, 30 or forty "you?"

"I found I'm pregnant this morning."

"Prove it"

"Prove it?"

"Yes, you deaf little bicth, I want to see the Goddamn positive!" she cautiously reached into her bag and rifled around. She pulled out a small white device. "Here."

He looked briefly at it, then tossed it to the floor" well, I hope you have a very pretty little baby, miss"

He comes to me. "So, tell me your story, green eyes"

"I'm in love"

This seemed to please him "oh ho, so that's what we've got here! You got a pretty little girl you're planning to wed, is that it! What's she look like, boy?"

"It's not a she...his name is Tracy"

The grin slid from his face, revealing a look of disgust under it. "You some kinda fucking fag" he said, dangerously quiet.

I suddenly felt hot all over my body "yea, I guess you could say that"

He walked away without a word. He brought a chair over to near the group. "Stand on it"


"I said stand on the fuckin' hellish chair you little ass fucking faggot! Do it or ill kill every fuckin' one of them" he waved the gun at the group. I looked at the older gentleman, so close to retirement, with dreams of Ireland. I looked at the woman, who had a tiny life inside her. I looked at the scared little kid. I got up and stood on the chair. He took a telephone cord from one of the offices. He started tying it with a large loop at the end. He put the loop around my head. Around my neck. He then looked up the ceiling was like 12 feet above us, and smooth. I smirked at him"forget something, dipshit?" his fist hit me squarely in the nose, breaking it, blood rushing out of it. "Get over by the door, fag" I tumble off the chair onto my knees on the floor. He drags the chair over to the doorway, and stands on it, breaking the small window above the metal doorframe. He stands on his tiptoes to be able to secure the noose to the doorframe. The pregnant woman grabs my arm"I'm so sorry. You're so brave..." I whispered back" the kid? Name it Tracy please..."

The man walked back over and dragged me by my hair towards the chair. I stood on it again. He tightened the noose to my neck. He kicked the chair away. I fell about 6 inches before the cord caught me. I felt my throat crush. The man spoke behind me, but he sounded distant "this is for good measure" I saw more than felt three shots emerge from my suspended torso. Curious how I didn't feel anything. The glass panes in front of me exploded from the shots he had fired. There was a certain prettiness in the falling glass, mixed with snow, some of it flecked red with my blood, I thought to myself. An odd thing happened. I was pushed back, and I had the vague knowledge a police sniper must have shot through me to kill the man. Good. About time the police were doing their jobs. A thought pulled at the back of my mind. Black swam around my vision.

Oh yes, Tracy would be upset I would be late for our date tonight. But he would still take me even if I was a bit late. I mean he loved me. He really loved me...he really...really loved me...I do hope he kisses me at some point...I have for so long wanted to kiss Tracy. My mind flashed back in time to a scene in black and white, a memory from last year.

It was valentine's day, sophomore year. I had a rose and a note explaining how I felt, in case I screwed up the words, and Tracy was coming over for the evening. He knocked, and I laid my rose and note on the table beside me. He burst through the door when I opened it, and attacked me with a hug. "Ohhh James, you won't believe it! That guy I'm into, he likes me too!" my heart fell into my stomach, but I smiled and said" oh hun. That's so great." He hugged me tighter. He pulled back a bit. I could see his lips. My hands trembled. If I could just finish the 3 inch gap between our faces, it would be happily ever after. I started to and stopped. Another time, I would try. He was smiling, and that's all that matted. Another time, we had so much time. He said "I'm sorry dear, I know you had a movie and some dinner set up for us tonight, very romantic of you, by the way "he grinned and winked "but would it be to dreadful if I cancelled?"

My heart snapped in two. I smiled and said it was fine, that I hoped he had fun, that he would have to give me the details later. I spent the rest of the night crying into my pillow about how fucking unfair it was. Only one memory of dozens of similar situations, all in which I'd come close to telling him, but then didn't. I'd had so many chances in the past.

But none of that mattered now, I thought, as my mind came fuzzily back to the present. Because we were going on a date, finally. I wondered again if he would kiss me, not that it mattered. I mean, we had all the time in the world, I could kiss him as many times as I wanted, among other things, hehe...but right now I just had to take a tiny I closed my eyes and fell asleep one last time.

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