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TEN BUX BANDIT
June 10 2009

TEN BUX BANDIT

Carolyn knew she ought to understand the owners position. The owner on the other hand was the bandit here, not her. All she had done was use the damn change machine and it had malfunctioned. The bleached blonde owner on the other hand was being a bitch, and Carolyn just wasn’t in the mood for it. All hell was about to break loose in this one horse town, and Carolyn was going to be at the reigns of that horse.
Carolyn looked around pensively. This was her new home. Probably the one where she would live out the rest of her life. It was small, she liked that. There were no super highways or bypasses, and life was fairly slow. It was a strange place for her to choose given her occupation,
but then again she lived most of her life out incognito so no one should have reason to doubt who she really was. If she kept a low profile, just pretending to be a normal person everything should go okay. But, that was something she wasn’t in the habit of doing. Keeping a low profile up was hard work for a physic/writer. Word would get out, the lady at the post office would mention all the big brown envelopes from and to publishers and soon everyone would know. They might not know her pen name, or her physic name but they would know she wasn’t just plain ole Carolyn Wyatt. They would ask questions, would pry a little too deep and soon, everything would just jump out and it would be as if someone had taken an airplane up and advertised in skywriting.
There would be no peace from that moment forward and she knew it.
As Carolyn approached the young girl who was bent over a book behind the desk, she looked up at her and smiled sweetly. The younger girl wanted to be a doctor. Her mother had worked in this very same place when she was raising her children. She was still in high school and helping her mother now by working there also. She had a fabulous personality and great smile. When Carolyn first met her several weeks before, the girl had told her, “ this is just a temporary thing for me, I am going to be a doctor someday. “Can I help you”? she asked as she put the book aside. “I put in a 10 dollar bill and it didn’t give me my quarters.” Carolyn responded. The younger woman let out a long sigh. “You know as well as I do that she isn’t going to give the money back to you. She says these machines never malfunction. But, I will call her. It’s happened twice already today. You would be better off to call the cops.” Carolyn looked at the girl, “Well, then call them, and then call the owner and tell her I said to call them. I don’t have my phone on me. May I use your phone for a second. I need to call my mother-in-law, I want someone down here with me when they get here.”
“Sure, what is her number, I will dial it. Oh, do you have another dollar on you, maybe if we put in another dollar, it will give us 11 dollars in quarters and none of this will be necessary.”
Carolyn reached in the shirt pocket and gave the girl the dollar. She put it in and got out a dollars worth of quarters. “Great, now the dam thing is working. Let me call her and the cops, because there is gonna be trouble if she has to come down here.” The young woman knew her boss all too well. She wasn’t gonna give up that 10 bux without a fight. And this lady wasn’t going to either. Better to have the cops on hand, before things got out of hand.
“What is up”, the younger officer asked as he entered the door of the laundromat. The young lady and Carolyn recounted the story to him. The owner stood beside him. She rolled her eyes.
“Look lady, you’ve done this before. I am not giving you the money back. Now, somewhere, you have hidden the quarters so just get your clothes and get off of my property.” Carolyn starred at the woman. “Yeah, you are right, we’ve been thru this before. Only last time, your other employee threatened to beat the crap out of me, because you had told her that you were making this a wash at your own risk place. My husband was here, and you ended up firing the employee for calling you and giving me the money back that was put in the washing machine that didn’t start when the money was inserted. You fired her because she told you she saw me put the money in there. Now, there is one dollar bill in that change machine. This employee put it in there, and I gave her the bill to do it. Here are the quarters that came out. Under that one dollar bill there is a ten dollar bill, and the quarters for that ten dollar bill are still in the machine. Either give me the ten dollars or give the quarters. All I want to do is wash my clothes. All you have to do is open up the machine and you will find the ten dollar bill. It is one of the newer ones, not one of the older ones. I am so very sorry I don’t have the serial numbers to it to give to you. I really didn’t think it would be necessary to write them down, usually you put in a bill you get the quarters out. But not this time. I have only this one pocket, no purse, you can check my vehicle, you can frisk me and you can see that the machines have not been started. What do you think, I ate them? Or stuck them in my bra? Just give me my damn money back and don’t call me a thief or I will sue you for defamation of character. Now open up the machine.”
“Ma’am, will you please step away while she opens up the machine?” The officer looked at the owner , “well, open it.”
The owner took out her keys, and opened the machine. She jerked out the money, looked under the one dollar on top and found the ten. She removed it, replacing it with an older ten dollar bill, and inserted it. The quarters fell out. She then took them out, looked at Carolyn, and stuck them back in the machine. “See, I told you it was working.”
The officer looked at the owner, “ that bill was one of the newer ones. There has been some problems with them working in change machines. Why don’t you just give her back the ten, she obviously isn’t lying.”
“Fine, I want your name and phone number and don’t you ever come in here again. Now get your clothes and get out of my place of business.” Carolyn took her clothes out of the machines and left. She had only been in town a few weeks, and hadn’t even had time to buy a washer and dryer. So that is how Carolyn became known in her small town as the “ten bux bandit”, and started driving 15 miles to the next town to wash her clothes. A few weeks later, the owner divorced her hubby and ran off with a local preacher. Life in small towns sure can be interesting.


© A. J. Angerstein 06/2007
Article views: 5159


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