JUST THE TWO OF US
“Hands up.” The man, all in black, including a mask, was of average height. Baggy clothes hid his body shape. His big gun looked deadly, but he wasn’t holding it very steady.
Justin Sherrod gripped his store’s glass jewelry counter, swallowed a gasp, then shot up his hands. His stomach twisted in knots. A light fixture hummed because it was about to go out. The clock above his head ticked ominously.
Thank goodness, his one employee was off today. Now at eight-thirty, it was getting dark, and he was the only one here. Except a woman was pushing the door open. Out of sight of the gunman. His heart leapt. He had to say something. “Why are you pulling a gun on me?” he said loudly and raised his hands higher.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the door close and the woman disappear. He let out the breath he’d been holding.
The gunman turned his head as if to guess what made the noise. Justin kept his eyes on the man.
He knew this could happen.
He’d planned for it.
Rehearsed for it.
Where was that damn button?
He must be standing right next to it. He dared not look down.
There. He stepped on it. Now it was time to stall.
He kept his hands up. “What do you want?”
Aiming the gun at Justin’s chest, the robber pointed to the glass case between them. “Those rings. Set them on the counter, and you won’t get hurt.”
“Easy, man. I just have to unlock the case.” Keeping one hand up, Justin struggled to dig for his keys. He pulled them out and flipped through them. He caught a glimpse of the burglar’s impatient glare. Finally got the right one.
As he inserted the key, he inadvertently pushed the button for the cabinet lights, which flashed off.
“What didya do to the lights?” the burglar demanded. “Did you set off some alarm?”
Justin shook his head. “I accidentally hit the switch for the case lights. They make the diamonds sparkle even more.” He turned the lights on again. “Which tray do you want?”
“All three, you son of a bitch. Hurry the hell up.”
Justin’s phone jangled.
“Answer the phone. If that’s the cops, tell them you’re good.”