Authors: Gemma Halliday
|Confessions of a Bombshell Bandit|
A SHORT STORY
All Carrie Cabot ever wanted was a little freedom - sandy beaches, tropical breezes, drinks with little umbrellas in them. Instead she got an overbearing landlord, a booty-grabbing boss, and a repo man just waiting for her to park her car in the open. But Carrie's lifetakes a drastic turn for the worse when she's not only fired from her job at L.A. Mutual Bank, but also robbed by the sexiest bank robber alive and evicted from her apartment all in the same day. That's it. No more Miss Nice Chick. Carrie hatches a plan to take back her life - involving skimpy bikinis, semi-automatic weapons and one big bank heist. If Carrie can pull this one off, she just might realize her island dreams after all. That is, if Mr. Sexy doesn't beat her to the big score....
Predators & Editors Readers' Poll Award - Best Mainstream Short Story
Here’s what critics are saying about
Confessions of a Bombshell Bandit:
"I adore Gemma Halliday's 'Confessions Of A Bombshell Bandit’… another short story that has me putting the author's name on the top of the list the next time I go book shopping because I love this author's voice! I love unrepentant Carrie in all her glory and I love this story."
- Mrs. Giggles, Book Reviewer
"Gemma Halliday’s story will leave the reader howling with laughter! This delightful tale is exceptionally clever as the reader is lulled into accepting Carrie’s viewpoint. Well done!"
- Kwips and Kritiques Book Reviews
Here’s what critics are saying about
Gemma Halliday's books
"A saucy combination of romance and suspense that is simply irresistible."
- Chicago Tribune
Smart, funny and snappy,
SPYING IN HIGH HEELS
is the perfect beach read!”
- Fresh Fiction
"Gemma Halliday writes like a seasoned author leaving the reader hanging on to every word, every clue, every delicious scene of the book. It’s a fun and intriguing mystery full of laughs and suspense." - Once Upon A Romance
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CONFESSIONS OF A
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Copyright © 2006 by Gemma Halliday
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
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CONFESSIONS OF A BOMBSHELL BANDIT
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All I ever wanted was a little freedom. They say money can't buy everything, but that's not entirely true. Money buys you freedom. Freedom from worry, freedom to retire, freedom from the mortgage monster. Freedom to pick up and fly off to the Bahamas, should you get the tropical urge. Or, in my case, freedom to park your car on the street without worry that the repo man will tow it away by morning.
My best friend, Quinn, majored in psychology at UCLA and she says my obsession with this whole money-equals-freedom thing probably stemmed from a deep rooted issue in my childhood. She could be right. When I was four years old my father went to prison for holding up a convenience store in North Hollywood. He robbed the Indian clerk at gunpoint and left with thirty-two dollars and sixty-one cents before his Volkswagen Beetle sputtered and died two blocks away. He got five years for armed robbery.
While inside, he got into a fight with another inmate over the Sunday mystery meat and stabbed him with a plastic spork. They added another five years to his sentence. While he was serving those out, a riot broke out in my father’s cell block, which ended up with a guard getting killed and everyone in cell block D got another four years.
By the time I was eighteen and finally leaving my mother’s cigarette-stained doublewide on the college scholarship I’d worked my butt off for, my father was doing his last six months in San Quentin. That is until he was caught smuggling contraband bubble gum into the yard and held over for another eighteen months. Which quickly stretched into three years when he refused to do the mandatory ten minutes of jumping jacks per day, resulting in an altercation with an overweight guard who couldn’t do a jumping jack to save his life.
So you see, the price of my father's freedom was thirty-two dollars and sixty one cents.
As for me, my trappings are less penitentiary but no less constraining. I thought a college education would buy me some freedom. Nope. Just student loans. Quinn, who rides public transportation – an almost unheard of phenomenon here in Los Angeles – says that having a car gives me freedom. Nope. Just a car payment that I can't afford, gas prices that go up every three seconds, and a game of cat and mouse with a repo guy who looks like Harvey Keitel in coveralls. And Lynette, my co-worker with a mortgage, an out-of-work husband, and two kids in diapers, says that being a single twenty-something renting a one bedroom apartment in Chatsworth should be all the freedom any woman needs. To me it just means having to cash in my meager paycheck the first of the month, signing 90% over to the apartment manager, Mr. Chen, and spending the remaining 10% on lots of Top Ramen for one. Not my idea of footloose and fancy free.
Then again, neither was an eight by nine cell, which is why I made Quinn go over our plan one more time.
You’re going to leave the car idling, then we loop around on Pico and take La Cienega straight down to the ten. No stopping.”
Quinn nodded, her eyes shinning as her hot pink bangs bobbed up and down in the seat beside me.
Here, Carrie.” Lynette reached her arm between the console and handed me a .22. I checked the chamber. Fully loaded.
Lynnie handed another gun to Quinn, who twirled hers like a wild west sharpshooter, almost dropping it on the upholstered seat of Lynnie's mini van.
Ready, ladies?” Quinn asked.
Lynnie and I nodded as one.
Quinn pulled her Marilyn Monroe mask on. Lynette and I followed suit, becoming
Mamie Van Doren and
Jayne Mansfield. My vision instantly blurred as I tried to see out the tiny plastic eye holes.
Just like we rehearsed,” Quinn instructed. “They’ll be so distracted, they won’t even know what hit them.”
Right,” I said. Lynette nodded.
Then we all stripped down to the matching black and pink polka dotted bikinis we’d purchased at Wal-Mart the day before. We tore open the mini van doors, streaking across the parking lot of the Los Angeles Mutual Bank on Fairfax and Pico, guns drawn.
Quinn was the first to hit the front doors. She plowed in, her gun stuck out in front of her like an Al Pacino movie.
Everybody on the ground, hands behind you heads! Nobody moves, and nobody gets hurt. I’m fucking serious!” She waved her gun in the direction of a guy in a Jerry Garcia tie and Dockers who was making a move for his cell phone. He froze, dropping to the floor along with the other people in line on their lunch break.
Lynette came in a close second behind Quinn, aiming her gun at the security guard by the door who looked like he’d just started shaving yesterday. His wide eyed gaze bounced between Lynette's boobs, barely contained by the triangles of polka dotted fabric, and her gun, leveled at his chest, not sure if he should be scared or turned on.
I came in behind Lynette, making my way across the floor of stunned people to the third teller window on the left. I set my plastic, flowered beach tote on the counter and pulled it open.
The man behind the counter stared at me, his jaw stuck in the open position, eyes looking from the tote to my generous size C chest, the one thing I’d been happy to inherit from my mother.
Hi, there” I said. “Empty the drawer into my bag, don’t even think of pushing your panic button, and keep your hands where I can see them. And,” I added as an afterthought, “stop staring at my tits.”
Score one for the Bombshell Bandits.
* * *
We were making good time, the warm desert sun beating down on my face as the wind flipped my loose hair back over my shoulders. Not that we had a schedule. Not that we were really going anywhere in particular. The man in the seat beside me held the tiniest hint of half smile on his face as he looked at me across the console.
"So," he said, his eyes laughing, "you're telling me that you just woke up one day and decided to start robbing banks?"
I bit my lower lip and looked out the front windshield, watching the barren landscape fly by us. "Well, no. That's not exactly how it happened."
I could feel him watching me, his eyes intent as his hands gripped the steering wheel of his black jeep. The top was down, warm, dry air swirling around us as the speedometer registered ninety. "So?" he asked.
"So, spill it. What made you turn to a life of crime?" I could hear the hint of humor in his voice again.
"It's a long story," I answered truthfully.
He grinned at me, gesturing to the wide open stretch of road ahead of us. "We've got all the time in the world, baby."
I couldn't help it. I felt the corners of my mouth curve up. We did, didn't we? "You really want to know?"
His eyes crinkled. "I want to know everything."
I took a deep breath. "Okay. You asked for it."
* * *
Banks have always been some of my favorite places. I love the hushed tones, the calm in the air, the smell of crisp dollar bills being counted out in neat little piles. In a world where everything is debit cards, travelers checks, and automatic transfers, real money is hard to come by. Unless you're in a bank.
Between a father in prison and a mother in a doublewide, cash was scarce growing up. And what we did have didn't take more than an empty Folgers can to hold. I was seven the first time I went into a bank. My great aunt Harriet had choked on a Dorito while watching
and died at the ripe old age of 94, leaving my mother her collection of glass rodeo clown figurines and four hundred dollars in the form of a check from her estate attorney. I remember standing in line with my mother waiting to cash her check and staring at the wall of brochures that touted the bank's services. Retirement plans. College loans. Home loans. 'Finance your next vacation with a second mortgage' the brochure advised, showing a picture of two happy people, hand in hand on a white, sandy beach that belonged in a Corona ad. I decided then and there that banks were the places where dreams were made.
It's not surprising that as soon as I graduated from college I took a job at Los Angeles Mutual Bank, home of the famous L.A. 'Moo' dancing cow ads. And I would have probably been content for many years with my just-getting-by life there, too, if it hadn't been for Mr. Leeman.
"So," the woman across from me said, leveling her even gaze at me above stylish wire rimmed frames. "What exactly is the issue you have with Mr. Leeman?"
I looked down at my hands, twisting themselves together to gather courage. "He's inappropriate."