Smash and Grab

Nancy and Jake woke up with a sudden jerk, naked legs still entwined under the bedcover. It was dark. Nancy slipped swiftly out of bed and made for the bathroom. Pulling a long purple shift over her head she wandered into the kitchen, shaking loose her mop of auburn hair. The tiled stone floor was refreshingly cool.

Jake stretched out like a sleepy cat, enjoying the space left by Nancy. The warm sheets still smelled of sex and perfume.

Somewhere in the distance he heard Nancy’s voice; “Come and join me, I made some coffee for you.” The flavour of fresh coffee eventually drifted into the bedroom, and Jake couldn’t resist any longer.

“Morning”, said Nancy a bit too cheerfully when Jake came shuffling in like a newly-wakened sleep walker. She was sitting at the kitchen table, hands cradling a blue mug. He put his arms around her from behind and nuzzled her soft warm neck. “Mmmm”, was her only response, “coffee’s out”.

“What’s the time?” were Jake’s first words of the day.

“Almost five. D’you see, moon’s still up”.

The thin curtains let in enough moonlight for them to see each other across the kitchen table. There was a warm sense of familiarity between them. It felt homely.

Jake lifted the curtain and squinted to see out in the early light. Outside it was deserted, street lighting cowering in the deep shadows cast by the waning moon. Empty buildings surrounded the square like a solid black wall.

“All quiet” said Jake as he let the curtain fall back into place. He sat down again. Nancy was smiling to herself in a sleepy sort of way. He was about to say something but Nancy hushed him up: “Don’t, don’t say anything.” He frowned slightly and took a long sip of coffee. Nancy reached across the table to take his hand in hers, and just held it gently. He didn’t resist.

Outside the deep rumble of a powerful engine disturbed their quiet intimacy.

“Bit early for delivering fruit and veg” said Nancy. “Must be market day.”

Jake took a look and could just see the outline of two dark shapes crawling along the opposite side of the square, without lights. “You’re right, delivery vans, at this time!” he confirmed.

Nancy reached out again and cupped his hand in hers. ”Can you stay, Jake?” Her voice was unsteady, a combination of sleepiness and uncertainty. She didn’t want to push him too hard.

He looked straight into her eyes, but gave no answer. His silence was drowned by the sudden loud revving of a heavy engine, a screeching of tyres and then a loud crash of metal and glass. Jake jumped up, spilling the remains of his coffee on the tablecloth.

“What’s happening, Jake?” asked Nancy as she stood up.

He strode to the window. The sound of two more crashes echoed around the square, metal against metal, glass shattered. He pulled back the curtains just in time to see the rear end of a black pick-up truck* disappearing through the demolished entrance to the shopping centre in the square. Two dark hooded figures sat on the bed of the truck, ski masks reflecting what little light came from inside the shops.

“It’s a robbery, smash and grab” he whispered loudly.

Nancy joined him at the window and Jake put his arm around her shoulder.

“Can you see anything?” she asked.

“They smashed down the entrance doors and drove into the shopping centre. Two of them were sitting on the back of the truck, dressed in black. Must be breaking into some shop in there.”

“Terrible”, said Nancy, her voice wavering. “Not the first time either!”

“See that van waiting outside?” asked Jake. “Must be proffs, done this before.”

“Look”, said Nancy, there’s another one leaning against the van. Engine’s running too”

“Probably the lookout with the getaway car! Just like in a film”, said Jake a little too impressed for Nancy’s liking.

From inside the shopping centre they heard the truck engine revving up again and then an enormous crashing sound. The truck squealed as it reversed and then came another crash. This activated an alarm which started to wail, but in vain. No security or police in sight.

“Now they’re making a run for it”, said Nancy, as three lithe black figures came running out of the shopping centre. “Look, they’ve got big sacks of stuff with them.”

“Not wasting any time” said Jake. The van started rolling slowly as the three robbers heaved their sacks into the back. It was already getting up speed as they jumped in and slammed the doors. The van disappeared in the shadows along the darker side of the square.

“Where are they now?” exclaimed Nancy.

“Must be making for the road down by the church” guessed Jake, as the red brake lights flashed briefly to confirm his hunch.

Silence descended once more over the dark square. Even the alarm had given up its wailing.

“And that was the end of our early morning entertainment, folks” proclaimed Jake in his mock radio voice.

“Shouldn’t we phone ‘bout it?” wondered Nancy.

“Who? Police you mean. Nah, bit late now, all over bar the shouting” was Jake’s view.

“You gonna’ stay then?” asked Nancy in her soft voice, shivering nervously.

“Yeah, I’d like that”, said Jake, moving closer.

“Come on then”, said Nancy, smiling as she gently pulled at the greying hairs on his chest.

He let the curtains fall back into place while Nancy turned out the light.

They slid into the still-warm bed, lying close, holding each other tight. Jake pulled up the covers and soon they fell fast asleep.

*Pick-up truck: A motorized vehicle with over-size tires, enough horsepower to rescue a three ton elephant from quicksand and a glove compartment filled with country and western CD’s. (Urban Dictionary).

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