A Nutty Bank Job

“Put all the money into this bag,” I said. I tried to keep my voice steady; it wouldn’t do for it to break and for me to squeak my demands. I turned my head slightly so she wouldn’t notice the acne around my nose but would focus on the dark sunglasses lending me an air of authority.

The bank teller looked at me and smiled. She glanced down at my open palm cradling some candy peanuts and then at the open sweet bag in my other hand. “Are you trying to hold up the bank with peanuts?”

I nodded.

“Wouldn’t a gun be more appropriate?”

“You might think so,” I said, “but then you don’t realise the damage I can do with this little lot.” I popped one into my mouth and crunched down for emphasis. That was cool!

She chuckled. “I’m sorry, young man, but I really don’t understand the joke.”

“Young man?” I tried to snarl but I squeaked. I hated people not taking me seriously. Her smile broadened and I could feel my face reddening. “Fine, I’ll show you.”

Sometimes nothing works like a demonstration, I thought. I concentrated on the peanuts in my hand and mentally manipulated the quantum boundary around their hard, sugary shells. They shot away from my hand at close to the speed of light. I was never sure if it was the kinetic energy which produced the damage or if the warp field around the peanuts created a destructive wormhole. It didn’t matter really.

The side wall of the bank disintegrated. A concussive wave spread outwards and shattered windows across the street, but the peanuts did no further damage. I had found the effect to always be short range and, again, I don’t really understand the reasons. I’m failing Science at school.

I poured some more peanuts into my palm and held them out. “Put the money in the bag.” I definitely sounded more commanding this time, I felt. The teller began stuffing handfuls of cash into the bag without saying a word. She looked terrified.

I glanced around the bank foyer and was happy to see that all the waiting customers were cowering on the floor. I was finally getting noticed. I was being taken seriously for the first time in my life. Then I noticed the guard pointing a revolver at me. He seemed old and frail, at least he had grey hair and his hands were shaking as he held the gun out towards me. “How did I not realise the bank had an armed guard?” I asked myself. I was certain it only had a silent alarm and I intended to be long gone before the police arrived. But here was a doddery old man threatening me with a gun.

He will have to be forcibly retired, I thought, by quantum nut!

“Son, drop the…,” stammered the guard, “… drop the sweets.”

I looked at the peanuts in my hand and concentrated on the quantum boundary surrounding their hard, sugary …

The first bullet hit me in the chest, the second high up on my shoulder. I lost focus, then control of my bladder, then my legs began to wobble, they buckled, and I collapsed to the floor.

This wasn’t supposed to happen, I thought. I was going to show the world what I was capable of, how I could create an Alcubierre warp drive by bending the space-time continuum around a peanut. I knew all about the Mexican physicist’s theories from a late-night documentary: bend space-time around an object and the speed of light seized to be an impenetrable barrier.

I can do that, I thought. I can bend space-time.

I tried to explain to the guard. I tried to say, “do you know what I can do? I can change the world forever. I hold the key to exploring the stars and to mankind colonizing the galaxy.”

All I could manage was a gurgle. I could feel warm liquid in my throat and tried to cough it out, but I couldn’t lift my head off the floor.

The guard slowly walked towards me, still holding the gun pointed at me in his shaking hands.

I guessed what he would say to me: “Son, you have an impressive skill in quantum manipulation, but you can’t go around robbing banks. I’m sorry I had to shoot you but we’ll get you fixed up and you can claim your Nobel prize.”

I would reply: “I understand why you fired, Mister. I didn’t want anybody to get hurt. I just wanted to have some good things in my life. A fast car, smart clothes; maybe impress some girls at school. I figured I deserved it when I’m about to change the world.”

And then he would say …

The guard looked down at me with something akin to contempt. “Freak,” he said. “You’re going to prison, son, or maybe just the nut house.”

The guard guffawed at his own joke as I passed out.


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