The flashing lights of cop cars surrounded the bank. Spectators gathered around to see if anything was happening, and mostly stayed behind the yellow tape, save for the usual idiots who wanted a closer look. Officers stood by with their clubs ready if anyone crossed the line.
Frank pulled up into a handicapped parking space and placed the police department parking permit in the window. Joe’s phone chirped. ‘It’s a text from Titus,’ he said. He says: ‘What the fuck is this shit downtown?’ ‘
‘He must be down here somewhere,’ Frank said as they walked toward Ferris, standing by the bank door talking to two cops and some flustered people who must have been in the bank.
‘What’s up, Pops?’ Joe asked, as they ducked under the yellow tape, flashing their Bay City Police Department junior badges, as if it was necessary. Ferris looked pissed off.
‘Another goddamn robbery, that’s what,’ he said angrily. He motioned to a cop and pointed to a woman leaning against the bank wall.’ Jake, get her story.’
‘You got it, chief.’ Jake took out his pad and paper and approached the nervous woman.
‘Anyone get a good look at the suspect?’ Frank asked, thankful for the feeling of Xanax flowing through his system.
‘It was a woman,’ Ferris answered. ‘Apparently she was acting alone, or at least she had no one with her. Red hair, sunglasses, Yankees hat, a large back and an even bigger gun, according to several bank customers. She was a pro- in and out in four minutes.’
‘Sounds like you, Frank,’ Pepe said, nudging his friend.
‘Let me guess, ‘ Skippy said. ‘She fled in a black car with salmon-colored stripes.’
‘No,’ said Ferris. ‘It wasn’t the Pinkmobile.’ Skippy grimaced. ‘But it was a black convertible.’
‘We know where it is,’ Pepe chimed in. ‘ She smacked it into a tree by Skip’s house, and then snatched his car. We also think she was the Murchison burglar too.’
‘At least that’s our theory.’ Joe added. ‘ She can’t be from around here. but she seems to know the area. She’s been busy.’
‘Good work boys.’ Ferris said. ‘ Can you take Jake and Sam here to the car? They can check it for anything and hopefully get some prints off the steering wheel.’
‘Sure thing,’ Frank said. ‘Let’s go.’
A haze of cigarette smoke suddenly appeared by them, followed by Titus. ‘What the fuck? What’s the deal?’
He fist bumped the boys and shook Ferris’s hand, taking another drag off his cigarillo.
Again, the Hardleys repeated the events of the last twenty-four hours. Joe thought about Lorraine and nearly pitched a tent in his pants. Stupid Xanax, he thought.
Titus was one of the few black teens at Bay City High School. His father was a history professor at a nearby state college, and his mother was the city assessor. Titus was obsessed with the unlikely tandem of 15th-century philosophy and firearms. Not many people in town could quote Spinoza one minute and discuss assault rifles the next. His gun collection, while most likely illegal, was almost a large as his library.
When the Hardleys finished their story, Titus exhaled a large puff of smoke and stomped the cigarillo butt into the sidewalk.
‘That’s the problem here,’ he said. ‘Too many white people with too much time on their hands. There are ways to get at the system from the inside, not this crazy daylight robbery bullshit.’
‘And how would you attack the system, Titus?’ Ferris asked.
‘I wouldn’t, of course, Mr. H. I just read a lot.’
‘Well,’ Frank said, let’s lead the officers to the car.’
‘I’ll follow you on The Rage,’ Titus said, referring to his souped up motorcycle that was most likely not street legal. Since all of Joe and Frank’s friends that helped solve crimes seemed to skirt the law, Ferris accepted their cooperation with the department and looked the other way in cases of shaky legal ground.
The officers, Jake and Sam followed the SUV, followed by Titus. Ferris stared at the crowd and kicked the pavement.’
‘Goddamn rubberneckers,’ he muttered.