Flash Fiction Short Story
published in the Sydney Hammond anthology - "RESET"
ROCCO and BERNADETTE
All of a sudden the doors flew open and Rocco came bursting out. He threw the pistol wildly into the air.
The Lieutenant shouted on his bullhorn, “Hold your fire. Nobody shoot.”
Rocco ran right at the pretty lady.
Everybody gasped. Everybody except the pretty lady and the Lieutenant.
But, let me stop here, and get you caught up on what led up to this scene -
A bank robbery at the First National Bank of Main Street.
As Lieutenant Harrison got out of his car, a man ran up “There's a lunatic with a gun in the bank!”
“Just one?” asked the Lieutenant.
“I was about to go into the bank when I heard a couple shots ring out. I wheeled around and ran back down the street.”
“You're sure it's just one guy?”
Just then another shot rang out. Everybody jump-crouched to the ground. And behind police cars.
The Lieutenant peaked around the front of his car.
The uniformed cop at the corner of the bank shouted,
“It's a monkey!”
“What?” yelled the Lieutenant.
“It's a monkey!” the officer repeated.
Sgt. O’Grady, “That makes sense. There was a traffic accident a mile down the road involving a van from the zoo. I remember seein’ it on my way here.
“Get back there and bring me that driver. I wanna know what the hell is going on.”
As the police increased the barricade around the bank, people started to gather.
Sgt. O’Grady, “It's gotta be right. This zoo driver said there was a chimpanzee in the van. During the accident it got loose. He says he saw it running down this way.”
The driver said, “I brought some bananas with me. That might lure him out.
The Lieutenant's phone rings again.
“Yeah, all right. Well, send him down here as soon as they get back.”
“That was the zoo.”
“The animal trainer was out of town. He’s on his way back. They're gonna send him down ASAP.”
“What are we gonna do till then?”, asked Officer Thomas. “Did they say how long it was gonna be?”
“Yeah. They said it could be about an hour or so.”
“Get me somebody from animal control down here.”
“I’m already here,” Tom said from behind the Lieutenant.
“You’re kidding me, right? You're telling me there’s a monkey in the bank with a gun?”
“That's what I'm telling you! Don't ask me how it came about. It just did.”
“This zoo driver thinks it might be lured out with some bananas. He says it’s not been known to be dangerous. In the past. At least that's what he thinks he remembers.”
“Tom, … do you wanna put a vest on and take some of these bananas to the front door?”
“Oh, hell no!”
“Look, we obviously can't call and talk to it. The zoo’s animal trainer isn't gonna be here for better than an hour. The flight was delayed. So it's gonna be a while.”
“You have some sort of idea that these bananas might lure the monkey out?” the Lieutenant asked the zoo driver.
With complete resignation, Tom says, “What the hell. Give me the damn bananas. But, you’re gonna owe me.”
With the vest on, and some bananas in hand, the animal control guy slowly starts walking across the street. As he gets closer to the door he starts going even slower.
Tom gets to the bank's doors. With peeled bananas in one outstretched hand, he opens the doors and enters the bank.
It wasn’t long before the doors reopened. And Tom walks out and across the street.
"Well?” Asks the Lieutenant.
“It's a monkey all right. And he does have a gun.”
"I don't think he liked me very much. Nor trusted me. He sure didn't like the guard.”
"He must've had a bad experience with someone with a gun."
“That's all I can tell you.”
“Nice job. I owe ya.”
“Damn right ya do.”
“That animal trainer here yet?” the Lieutenant shouts.
“No Sir. Not yet.”
“I wanna know the second he gets here.”
Finally, the zoo’s animal trainer rolls up in a squad car.
It was a lady.
“Hi, I'm Noel. I'm from the zoo. They filled me in on the ride here. So, you got one of my chimpanzees in the bank, huh?"
“Right. We tried to get it out. You see, Rocco, the monkey, he's got a gun. He disarmed the guard and fired a few rounds. So, our animal handler, Tom here, put a vest on ...
“Yeah,” interrupted Noel. “Actually, it's not Rocco. Her name is Bernadette. And she doesn't like guns much. Had a bad experience once."
“Anyway, Tom went over with a vest on. With some bananas. He was able to get inside and put them on a desk. Bernadette came down, got them, and then went back up to hide.”
“I gotcha. Well, let me ask you …” Noel asks, “does Bernadette know Tom?”
“No!” blurted Tom.
“Well then, she probably doesn't like him. Or trust him.”
“If only she knew him.”
“I imagine. Your point?”
“Let me show ya what happens if somebody knows ya, likes ya, and trusts ya.”
“Do your thing. As long as you can get Bernadette out of there safely. And nobody gets hurt. Dinner is on me.”
“Get me a vest.”
“Oh, I won’t need a vest.”
“I trust Bernadette.”
So, back to where we started this story …
… the pretty lady walks across the street.
When she gets about halfway, she yells out Bernadette's name.
And all of a sudden the doors pop open.
Bernadette the chimpanzee flies out. Flings the gun in the air and jumps into Noel's arms.
And the crowd goes crazy. It's like a scene in a movie.
As Noel walks by the Lieutenant, Bernadette in her arms,
“Luigi's. Tonight. 8 o'clock. Be there.”
“You got it pretty lady.”
If you need to tell a really good story, drop me a line.