Every Stanley has his day.
Anna P. vel Amakat
Air conditioning, soft music playing in the elevators and a working coffee machine on every floor, plus nice colleagues and a decent salary. That may sound like a dreamjob to many, but not to Stanley. Stanley has been a bank clerk for fifteen years now and he still could not seem to get used to this idea. Sipping on his morning coffee and flipping through a newspaper, he looked just like a regular office worker; you would never say that he was wearing a t-shirt that read “I f***ing hate my job” underneath his suit. His break was ending, so he finished his coffee at one gulp and went back to numbers, statistics, banknotes and coins. There was already a line forming at his counter, so he took a deep breath and made a huge effort to change his facial expression to something between friendly and professional.
Why do people change their mind so often, is that some sort of a built-in function in all those morons who have been bothering him today? All of the sudden nobody likes the way their personal account functions, so they come in here and just assail him with their stupid questions. There comes another one, oh for the love of God… Stanley raised his head and saw a man wearing a stocking on his face. The next thing he saw was a gun pointed at his head.
- Everybody on the floor and nobody move! – yelled another man, also with a stocking on his face. “What are they, a gang of fetishists? That’s pathetic”, thought Stanley right before he obediently lied down on the floor. A very clean floor, by the way. Everything was squeaky clean in that place, he could not stand that, he has always had a problem with aseptic places. And those pastel walls, disgusting. And not a single scrap of paper under the desks, he could see it very clearly now that he was stretched on the floor. His mother was always crazy about hygiene; once she would fall into a cleaning frenzy, there was no rescue. She would probably love the pastel walls, and the incredibly annoying elevator music, and all those neat, clean, drop dead boring people all around. He loved his mother dearly, but she could be really unbearable at times, like this one time when she made him polish silverware for three hours until she could see her own reflection in each and every fork, knife and spoon. Why would he be afraid of some amateur terrorists now… Why is it so quiet? Is everyone dead or what is it?
For a longer while all he could hear was footsteps and some murmurs. No banknotes rustling, no coins clanging, no orders, no gunshots. “What kind of bank robbery is that?!”, he thought to himself when suddenly Eric Idle broke the silence singing “Always look on the bright side of life”. He did not recall setting this ringtone, it must have been his mother. Songs with a message were one of her favorite ways of trying to change her son’s attitude, as if he had an attitude problem, it was the rest of the world that was being problematic!
- Hello? – Stanley whispered hysterically into the phone – Mom? I can’t talk right now, I’m in the middle of something, I’ll call you back, okay?… No, mom… No, mom… Yes, mom… Yes, I made the bed, can we talk later?… Mom, Mister Bank Robber is pointing a freaking gun at me right now, can we discuss this later?!… I did not raise my voice, mother… I did not… Okay, I really gotta go, mom…
- Excuse me? - said someone over Stanley’s head – Do you have any idea where Lauren is?
Stanley looked up to see one of the robbers, this time without the stocking. He was looking quite confused, scratching his head with the gun he was holding.
- You’re gonna hurt yourself, watch out with that gun. – said Stanley with a slight note of contempt in his voice.
- What? – the robber was obviously unaware of what he was doing. – Oh, no. That’s a fake. Listen, we’re looking for Lauren, we’ve been told she works here, so do you know where she is or not? She is nowhere to be found, we’re going nuts here, can you help us out?
- So… So you’re here to get Lauren? – Stanley was more than puzzled now, but he was beginning to enjoy the whole absurd situation, maybe this job was not so bad after all.
- We’re not here to GET Lauren, this was supposed to be a bachelorette party foretaste, we’re strippers. Where is she? Please tell me we got the right bank…
- You did get the right bank, but Lauren’s on a sick leave. – Stanley could not hide the grin any longer. – I think it’s bronchitis. You might wanna call her at home, I have the number right here, too bad you cannot strip over the phone, right? Can I get up now?
Three hours later Stanley was describing the day in his diary (which he was going to turn into a screenplay one day), still smiling. The “robbers” were arrested, because someone had managed to press the hidden alarm button before the whole joke was revealed. One old lady had a mild heart attack and she was taken to hospital. One kid got so scared that he peed on the floor, which was probably the best part from Stanley’s point of view, as it made the place no longer aseptic, even if only for a while. Lauren passed out by the phone when she found out what had happened. And Stanley’s mother let him have a snack in bed, just this once, because he deserved a treat after surviving such a stressful day. Life was quite tolerable, at least until next morning.