The President of Sterling City Bank

President of Sterling City Bank

lllustration: Innshark

fiction by Darin Z. Krogh

The President of Sterling City Bank, Mr. Virgil Edwin Penrose, was out cold. His head flopped to one side as he sat slumped in the chair. Masculine voices brought him back to a groggy consciousness. Mr. Penrose made no movement except to slightly open one eye in the semi-darkened room.

One of the voices whispered, “Hurry, Bobby. Robbing banks gives me the jitters.”

“I can’t hurry until the timer shuts off. The vault is still ten minutes from opening.”

“We should have shot that guard.”

“He’s tied up in a straitjacket. We taped him up good. Relax, Curly. If you want to be nervous, worry about hidden alarm sensors.”

“I wish this vault was open and we were out of here.” Curly looked into the dark corners of the room. “I feel like someone is watching us.”

“Shut up, so we can hear the latch release.”

But Curly wouldn’t shut up.

“What are you gonna do with your share of the loot?” Curly asked Bobby.

“Lay low for few months. Maybe skip the country for a year then head back to Los Angeles and live like a kings We can’t take no chances on getting caught.”

Curly grunted in agreement. “Yeah. We’ll play it cool. Wait a couple of months before spending the money. And take our time selling the jewelry. We’ll make the jewelry pay for our retirement.”

“Curly, remember, when we’re in the vault, I’ll decide what jewelry to take and what jewelry gets left here. My bag is for the money. Your bag is for the jewelry. Some complicated decisions will have to be made in that vault and there won’t be time for you to look things over.”

“We should have brought another bag,” Curly said, laughing nervously.

“One bag each will be all we want when we’re crossing rooftops to get away from this place.”

Bobby studied a diagram of the vault. He shut his eyes and muttered locations of the drawer placement from his memory.

“What’s that?” Curly said in a shaky voice.

“The dinner bell.”


“It’s the vault latch.” Bobby punched a code into the handle and swung the massive metal door open. They picked up their bags and moved into the vault.

The two men worked fast. They emptied drawer after drawer until both bags were crammed full.

Curly hefted his bag, then looked at his partner’s satchel.

“Bobby, maybe I should take a couple of those money bundles in case this goes south and we get split up? I might have to hide out on my own for a while.”

“Nothing’s going to happen. We’ll divide the money up at the cabin.”

“But we might be separated for a long time.”

“I thought you wanted to get out of here?” Bobby said in a disgusted tone. “You’ll get your money. Later.”

“Gimme a couple bundles of the loot. Now.” Curly said, holding out his hand.

Mr. Virgil Edwin Penrose scarcely breathed as the two bank robbers argued. He heard the sound of scuffling and a dull thud as one of the thieves fell against a table. A gunshot sounded. Then a shadowy figure ran from the vault. The bank president was startled at the sound of marching footsteps coming closer to the door behind him.

All was still for a moment until Mr. Virgil Edwin Penrose jerked his head around to look. Suddenly he felt a painful sensation in his hip. Virgil reached down and pulled up the remote that had become squeezed between the chair and his buttock while he was sleeping. He pressed the POWER button. The screen went dark just before Mrs. Penrose walked into the room.

“Why are you sitting here in the dark?” his wife demanded.

“I’ve been pondering security at the bank, my dear. Darkness eliminates distractions.”

His wife had laid down The Law before going to bed hours ago. The Law decreed that if Virgil ever dozed off again while watching television at night, his bedtime would be moved up to eight o’clock. That meant no more late-night television. Virgil loved late-night TV.

Mrs. Penrose had not witnessed her husband’s violation of The Law. Without further scolding, she signaled him to come to bed. Edwin Virgil Penrose, president of Sterling City Bank, had dodged  a bullet.

Darin Z. Krogh is a lifetime Spokane resident, aged but not decrepit. He has stories published in various newspapers, anthologies, and magazines during the last 25 years. He lives high on the Sunset Hill overlooking the daily lives of Spokane citizens below. Darin took eight years to graduate from a four-year college. He is curious but innocent.

This article originally appeared in the April 5, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.