Derek headed to the kitchen in the early morning. He and his friends planned on heading out to the mountains to do some snowboarding. Only thing was, Kody had texted him that morning saying that Mrs. Lamb needed Kody’s car. Damn.
“Mom?” Derek found her in the kitchen making out with Dad. “Gross you two!”
They broke away and Dad grinned. “You’re awake early this morning.”
Derek shrugged. “Have some plans.” He looked to Mom. “Can I borrow the car? Kody, Brandt, and I want to head to Blue Hills for the day.”
She shook her head. “Sorry. I have to go into work. One of my nurses called in.”
Damn. “Dad? How about the truck?”
“Nope. I’m working too.” He bit into an apple.
“Can’t you take the sub?”
Dad snorted. “Um, no. I earned that truck and I am going to drive it.”
Derek was getting frustrated. “Ugh. Why can’t you just get me a car? You let me get a license.”
“Like I’ve been telling you since October, you get a job, earn the money to buy a car, and you can get a car. We aren’t made of money.”
Derek didn’t want a job though. He wanted to spend the rest of the year having fun, not working his ass off at some Hogan’s. “Come on, please?”
Dad shook his head. “No. You have to earn it.”
“This is totally not fair.”
“Tough. Look, you want a car? How about you come and work at Marv’s for the next few months after school? You can work until I close up. That’ll give you almost four hours a day, and you’ll get paid minimum wage.”
“That’ll take forever.”
“I’m not finished. You earn and save a grand, and I’ll help you buy a used car. It might take a few months, but you’ll have earned it.”
“By then the slopes will have melted,” Derek whined.
“This is all I have to offer. I know you wanted to do something fun on a holiday, but Mom and I both have jobs.”
“Fine. I’ll take the stupid job.”
It had been three weeks of working for Marv’s and it was so boring! No one came in after three most of the time, so Derek usually sat on his ass or did his homework. He worked the front desk while Uncle Marv and Dad worked on repairs and shit.
Dad had offered to train Derek in working on the cars, but Derek wasn’t interested.
“See ya, kiddo,” Marv said as he came through from the back.
“Yup. Taking Olivia out for her birthday.”
He rolled his eyes. “Happy Birthday.”
Uncle Marv laughed. “I’ll mention your enthusiasm.” Thank fuck Uncle Marv or Dad didn’t push Olivia or Derek into working out their differences. When it was apparent that they hated each other, both Dad and Uncle Marv shrugged it off.
Derek was bored. So…fucking…bored. He wanted to go home, but Dad was still working.
The door opened a little while later, and Derek pulled his head up from the counter. He had barely closed his eyes too.
The sight of the barrel of a 9mm had Derek jumping to his feet.
“All your money! Now!” He tossed a bag to Derek.
Derek was numb. His heart was pounding out of his chest. He’d seen and even held different caliber guns and even fired a few at the range with Grandpa. Yet, he had never been on this side of the barrel.
“Are you fucking deaf!” the guy said coming forward. Derek’s eyes widen. “Fill that fucking bag up, or I’m gonna fucking kill you!”
The door to the back opened. “What’s going on here?”
The armed robber turned and rushed over to Dad, pointing his weapon at Dad’s chest. “On the fucking ground, now.”
“Easy now,” Dad said holding his hands up and getting to his knees. “You really don’t want to do this. Trust me.”
“Fuck you!” The robber turned back toward Derek. The barrel of the gun was again aiming at him. He felt the piss flow down his pant leg. Was this really how he was going to die? “Get me the money, bitch!”
“Point your gun at me, not at my son.” Dad ordered. When the gunman listened, Dad spoke to Derek. “Ric, give the man his money.”
“Do as I say.”
Derek pulled out all the cash from the register, and put in the backpack the robber had tossed at him. He pushed it back over to the gunman.
“Now, take the money, and leave. You got what you came for.”
The gunman motioned to the backdoor. “What’s in there?”
“Just a couple of cars that are being repaired. You wouldn’t get far without a transmission or a set of breaks.” Dad stood, hands still up. “Look kid. I ain’t afraid of you. If you want the money, you’ll walk right out that door and run. You’re not getting anything else from this shop. And if you’re lucky, you’ll make this a one time thing. Cause trust me on this, it ain’t worth it.”
“Fuck you.” The guy held the gun up to Eli’s chest.
“Dad,” Derek took a step forward, but stopped when Dad held his hand up toward Derek.
“Derek, don’t move.” Dad stared down at the kid. “Take a hard, long look kid. You’re staring at someone that’s been in your shoes, and I ain’t afraid of that gun or you. Now, do yourself a favor, take the money and get out of my shop before I rip your arm off.”
The gunman must have heard some truth in the threat, because he ran out of the shop, bag in hand.
Dad came over to Derek and checked him out. “You okay?”
Derek shook his head. No, he was not okay. He was fucking terrified. His entire body was shaking and he couldn’t calm his heart.
Dad caught him and pulled him into a hug. “I got you. You’re fine. It’s over. Calm down.”
Derek held on to his Dad and shook. “Easy. Shh. Calm down, son.”
Once Derek stopped his shaking and his heart beat calmed, Dad took a step back. “Better?”
Dad nodded. “Neither am I. Go sit on the bench. I have a call to make.”
Dad grabbed his phone. He wasn’t sure who Dad was calling, but it was plainly obvious once he started to speak. “Yes, I like to report an armed robbery…Marv’s Auto Repair…My son and I were here…No, we gave him the money and he took off…thank you…yeah, I’ll stay on the line.”
Dad covered the receiver. “Text Grandpa and tell him to check with dispatch and have him come here.”
Derek pulled out his phone and with shaking fingers texted Grandpa.
Derek glanced down to his pants. It was then he remembered he pissed himself. “Dad?”
“Hmm?” Dad turned.
“I pissed my pants.”
Dad nodded and motioned to the back. “There’s a few coveralls in the lockers in the garage. Just change into one until we get you home. Marv’s might fit better than mine on you.”
“Dad?” Derek asked after getting dressed. “How were you so calm? You…you kept him from shooting us.”
Dad shook his head. “Trust me, I wasn’t calmed. I was terrified he was going to kill you, and I just made sure he had an easier target. When I heard him in the back, I wanted to run out and kick his ass, then I saw the gun and realized it’d take a fraction of a second.”
Dad sat next to Derek and patted his knee. “I’ve been in his shoes. I knew what he was thinking, and I used that to my advantage. But, I wasn’t calm. I just hid my emotions better.”
“I learned how to never show fear while I was in prison.”
The cops arrived shortly after Derek cleaned up, then Grandpa. Dad was talking and answering questions while Derek sat on the bench.
Grandpa sat next to him. “You okay?”
Derek shook his head. “No.”
“I know it’s scary, and I know you don’t want to talk about it, but we need you to. Can you answer some questions?”
Derek shrugged. “I can try.”
“Good. Can you tell me what happened?”
“I think so.” Derek started to tell what he remembered to his grandfather and another officer that was writing as he spoke. He couldn’t remember a ton of details. “I remember his voice was sort of hard and rough, but other than that, I couldn’t tell you.”
Dad finally came over to them. He must have been listening to him. Derek didn’t even realize that the cops Dad had been talking to were now doing other things.
“Like I was telling the other detective, Grant, the kid wasn’t much taller than me. He wore layers of clothes, so no idea if had any tats. He did have blue eyes, and they were also blood-shot and red. Probably hopped up on some drugs or something. Also he was darker skin than me, more like my mom and Aaron.”
“Do you think this was his first robbery?” Grant asked.
Dad shrugged. “Hard to say. He was somewhat confident. Like he really believed he held all the power, but his hand was shaking. That could be the drugs…but I don’t know. I do know the first two robberies I pulled my hand shook, but the last two, I was pretty steady.”
“You robbed five stores.”
“Four. I didn’t do that liquor store up on Ninth Street, and I will keep denying such things.”
Grant shook his head. “I got the conviction.”
“Yeah because I was a dumb-ass kid.” Dad took a deep breath. “Can we not argue about this again right now? Derek and I just had a gun pointed at us.”
“Right. You’re right.” Grandpa stood. “I’ll look into this, and make it a top priority.”
Grant snickered as he shook Dad’s hand. “Can’t believe you were robbed.”
“Yeah, karma’s a bitch, ain’t she?”