By David Larson
They had always been lucky, but it was dumb luck, the optimal word being dumb. Bobby and Jimmy Janes fancied themselves as brilliant criminals. They called themselves the Janes Brothers Gang. They didn’t even realize that two didn’t constitute a gang. The brothers looked like tweakers, skinny, dirty, with bad teeth, and a bad attitude. And they had little in the way of smarts. While they lacked brains, they made up for it in luck. Even while committing and botching crimes, they had never been arrested.
They specialized in auto theft and small-time burglary. Tonight the plan was to steal a truck and drive through the front window of a check-cashing business. A crash and dash.
Not wanting to use their truck, the brothers stole a black Ford 250 pickup. It was in the employee parking lot of a superstore, and their old Jeep Wrangler was left in its place.
Once in the Ford, “Damn it, Bobby, you stink.”
“Oh no, don’t blame me. If you’re sick, I need to take you to the hospital and get your butt sucked dry”.
“Me, you’re the one who messed his shorts.”
“Jimmy, stop rippin’ ’em in the truck. Those farts will get sucked into the seat and never come out”.
“You think an air biscuit will bounce around like little rubber balls in the cushion? How can they go through the leather seat? Wouldn’t they shoot out the bottom of the seat then also”?
“Those farts stay in the seat. If those CISSY guys take the smellers out of the seat, they can figure out who they belonged to”.
“CISSY guys? You’re making stuff up”.
“Don’t you watch crime shows? I think CISSY stands for Crime, Instigators, smelly, something, and you got caught”.
“I don’t remember any of those shows where someone could tell whose poot was whose. If the seat was full of growlers, it would explode. SBDs can’t go into the seat. You’re goofy”.
“Jimmy, do I have to explain condensed air? Bowel growls are like the air rifle you had as a kid, the one that shot BBs. Farts are like that. They shoot out with such force; they can go through almost anything. Once they are into the cushion, they lose strength and can’t come back out. But they still stink. Do you understand now”?
“I don’t understand how people think you’re the one with the ginormous cereal vortex. You couldn’t spell EyeQ if I spotted you the first three letters”.
“You don’t need to be smart to understand scientistical studies.”
“Okay, Bob, if you’re so smart, how do they get the stinkers out of the seat”?
“I can’t believe you haven’t seen them do it on TV. At least I thought I saw it on TV. The CISSY guys stick this needle into the seat and use something to hoover them out.”
“Once they suck the farts out of the seat, what do they do with them then”?
“They got national databases for things like fingerprints, spit, and smellers. They put the farts into the machine, and it prints out who pooted what”.
“What if twelve people had snorted one out on the seat. They couldn’t tell who did what”.
“No, but it would narrow the list of farters down to, I think, about a dozen, which is close to twelve. This truck still stinks. You say you didn’t cut the cheese, and I didn’t. That means we are smelling somebody else’s stink. And that person had something nasty die inside and shot the smeller into the seat cushion. They must have shart a greaser while sitting here. And those greasers are harder to get rid of”.
“No, someone didn’t die in here. There’s a cattle converter on the engine. When that thang goes bad, it gives off the aroma like when you let loose a deuce. I’m not riding in this truck anymore as we don’t want to stink like we messed our shorts all night”.
“I won’t be smelling up my shorts. I’m wearing a jockstrap. All my undies were getting crunchy. Pullover up at that job site. I got an idea”.
“You wear a jockstrap. Why? No, never mind”.
“Jimmy, you claim to be the smart one; what’s your great idea. Do you want to steal some lumber”?
“No, let’s steal this old dump truck. We want something large enough to plow through a front window. This dumper will take out the front of the building”.
“Do you hotwire a dumper like a regular truck”?
“Let’s check if we can unlock it first.”
“The door is open. What now”?
“Bob, I wonder about you. Were you born under a rock? Sometimes, they don’t bother taking the keys home. Who would steal a truck like this? You can’t hide it easily. Check under the seat or above the visor”?
“Well, aren’t you smart? The keys were above the visor. But this truck is a stick shift with lots of buttons and knobs. Have you ever driven a stick”?
“I got learned that year we spent at the youth ranch. The guard Mel would let me drive the old pickup out to pick up trash”.
“I guess she made you a man when she operated your stick in the old truck. There was never any trash in those woods. She would take boys out and bring back men”.
“What do mean she? Mel was a man. He made me uncomfortable as he was always pinching my butt”.
“Jimmy, if you’re so smart, how did you not know Mel was a woman. The other guards called her Melissa or Meleena or something simular. She did all the boys at the ranch. Oh hell, she didn’t do you; she probably thought you liked boys”.
“Oh, hell is right. Mel must have thought I liked boys. I now know why the guard who kept singing show tunes would come into the shower and wash my back. But how did you finger out Mel was a woman? She had a body like a keg of beer”.
“Didn’t you think it funny when she squatted to pee in the woods? And if you asked nice, she’d let you feel around under her top. You had to remember not to be grabby. She didn’t want any bruising”.
“Forget Mel. Let’s start moving. I think I need to push in the clutch to start this beast up”.
“Jimmy, I’ll hop out to help you back up.”
“You’re dipstick. So you can drive out the gate”.
“Listen closely, Bobby, I ain’t backing up. I’m going straight ahead. I’ll knock over everything in our way”.
Jimmy got the engine started and found the first gear after a few tries. He got the truck slowly moving forward. The big machine bounced over parking blocks and knocked down a fence before going over the curb into the street. The truck made a crunching sound as Jimmy tried to shift gears. At last, the truck lurched forward and died.
“Driving this is easy. But I am having a bit of trouble shifting out of first gear. If you don’t mind the whining noise, we can stay in first”. Jimmy got the truck restarted, and it began slowly moving down the street.
“This is fun. I’ve never been so high up in a truck before. I bet I can find a button to massage our butts.
Bobby started turning dials and flipping switches with no luck. When he flipped the red switch on the control panel, the truck stopped moving forward. And the bucket on the back of the truck started to rise.
Jimmy kept pushing pedals and trying the switches to start the truck moving again.
“Bob, I’m not sure what you did, but we’ve got to dump this dumper. I can’t finger out how to lower the bucket and move again. The cops will find us cuz they’ll realize we can’t drive this thang. We’re a couple of blocks from the bars near the factory. Let’s go check there for a truck. Climb out. We can walk”.
They arrived at Gunney’s Tap to find a parking lot full of pickup trucks.
“Bobby, every truck we look at has some protection system instilled. Have you found one yet that doesn’t”?
“Yeah, here’s one of those old, big-ass Nissan Titans. But it’s got a big-ass protector inside”.
“What do you mean”?
“It means I see a big-ass rottweiler inside.”
“Let me see. Oh, he is a biggun. At least the window is cracked so poochie can put his sniffer out the window for some air”.
“Tell me, is the truck unlocked”?
“No, but I think I can reach in through the open window to unlock the door. But if I do, I might lose my hand.”
“Jimmy, go ahead and try. Your hands are skinny. The dog might prefer something with a little meat on it and ignore you”.
“The dog is looking at me like I’m a bone. I ain’t reaching in, you do it”.
“Don’t be a pussy. If the dog has a tag on its collar, it means it got one of those shots for scabies. You’ll be fine as long it doesn’t grab your throat”.
“I’m going to keep looking around. That dog looks hungry and horny, and I don’t want to be part of either thing it’s thinking”.
“No other truck is unlocked. We’ve got to finger out how to unlock this one”.
“What if we jump up and down in the back so the alarm starts beeping. When the owner comes out, we jump him and take his keys”.
“You got two problems. Jimmy, having the keys doesn’t help you being afraid of the dog. Second, you got a pant load of trucks in this lot. And a pant load of big-ass owners of big-ass dogs who’ll come out the door and wonder what we are doing. We need something else”.
“How about I go inside and buy a couple of hamburgers to give to the dog. Once he’s munching away, we open the door and throw another one and say fetch”.
“People in the bar will remember you bought a couple of hamburgers and didn’t drink? And tell the police what you look like”.
“Well, you look a little like me. Maybe they’ll think you bought the burgers, not me”.
“Jimmy, here’s the plan. I’ll make faces at the dog from one side of the truck, so it barks at me while you reach in and unlock the door on your side. Then you open your door, climb on the hood. Once the dog jumps out after you, I’ll open the door on my side. You come over the hood while I crawl into the driver’s seat. The dog will be running around the truck trying to grab you. But you climb in the truck, and we can race out of here”.
“What if the dog bites me”?
“Shoot a stinker at it. Dog’s love when you flaturbate”.
The brothers got the truck open and hot wired. They drove off with the dog chasing them down the street.
“Jimmy, do dogs smoke cigars”?
“What kind of question is that. You got to be 21 to buy smokes. Dogs don’t live to 21”.
“The dog had grey fur on his face. Maybe he passed for 21”.
“Don’t be stupid. They don’t have thumbs to work a lighter”.
“Then the owner smokes a lot of nasty-smelling cigars. Don’t you smell it”?
“Yeah, it reeks a little. You remember daddy always smoked a good .05 cigar, so I kind of like aromanautic scents”.
“I think I’m going to be sick. Remember when we went with that little muff Peter and his dad in
his big old Cadillac. His dad must have smoked one of those .02 cigars cuz it stunk up the car.
I told him to stop so I could puke, but he wouldn’t stop, so I blew chunks right there in the back seat. Oh no, uuungghhh”.
“Ah hell. Bobby, this thing stinks worse now than before. Now it stinks of dog, cigars, and your upchuck. We’ve got to find something else. I’m not staying in this one”.
“Bbbllleecchhh. I guess my lunch of a grilled cheese with sardines didn’t sit well in my tummy. Sorry”.
The brothers abandoned the truck in a warehouse district and started wandering
“I don’t spot any security guards, do you”?
“We got nothing to steal here. Wait, something is around the corner of this building”.
Bobby peeked around the corner at the back of a warehouse. “Jimmy, I hope you aren’t thinking
what I think you are thinking cause what you are thinking is just stupid thinking. Don’t you think”?
“Bob, this is perfect. Who’s going to suspect an ice cream truck would be breaking into a check-cashing business. These got that refrigerator unit, so it’s heavy, plus, it should go faster than that dump truck we took”.
“Let’s check if we can unlock one of these trucks. We can lick some ice cream while we drive”.
“The side door on this one is unlocked. I’ll climb into the driver’s seat. Do you want a fudgie buddy or ice cream bar”?
“Just get us moving.”
Bobby got to the cab and unlocked the front doors. “Jimmy, don’t be pushing any button in here. We don’t want the back end to suddenly tilt up and all the ice cream to slide out into the street”.
“Now, you’re stupid. These things don’t tip up in the back. We’re a couple of miles from the check-cashing store. Keep moving; it’s getting late”.
“I’ll drive while you go check what kind of snacks are back there. I’ll check for a ball game on the radio”.
Jimmy went into the back and started looking in the freezer compartments. Bobby found what he thought was the on/off dial for the radio. When he turned it, the speaker system started playing, Three Blind Mice loudly.
“Bob, what the hell did you do. Every munchkin in the area is going to come running for ice cream. I bet they’re still outside playing kick someone’s can”.
“If we stop, we can make some beer money.”
“Shut it off.”
“What do you think I’m trying to do. Ah hell, a couple of kids is heading this way.”
“Bob, another fuck up on your part today. Pullover so I can throw the doors open and tell the kiddies to help themselves. They won’t care or remember who was driving”.
As the Janes brothers abandoned the ice cream truck, kids from everywhere were in and out of the vehicle with a treat. The brothers took off down the street, carrying about a dozen treats themselves.
“Jimmy. head to the sports bar on the right. Those bars attract trucks”.
“This place must like baseball. The sign says Balls And Bats. They must park in the rear. Let’s go back there and check it out. And if you barf from pigging out on ice cream, do it on some wimpy car”. The brothers stood between cars in the back row.
“This place is weird. And dark back here, and only a bunch of compact cars. There ain’t no trucks”?
“This place might be open late, and people don’t come here until after the night shift. Let’s watch and wait awhile”.
“Hey, a bunch of cars is pulling in. And not one is a truck, weird”.
“I was right, it is a baseball bar. The guys climbing out of those cars are wearing softball jerseys. Their games just ended”.
“Can you read the team names on those jerseys? Is that a flower on that guy’s cap”.
“I can’t read the front of the jersey, but the guy with the pink pants has the name Buns on the back of his shirt.”
“I wonder what position the other guy plays. His shirt says Mitts. Maybe he’s the catcher or first baseman”.
“Bobby, we need to move on. You don’t want to know what it means to be called Mitts. I don’t think there will be any trucks parking here”.
“Wait, a Dodge van is pulling into the lot. It may be small, but if we are going fast enough, it will bust through a window”.
The van parked at the end of a row, and two men climbed out, also wearing baseball jerseys.
“Jimmy, do you think they are wearing purple pants. The first bunch of guys had on pink pants. What kind of teams wear colors like that”?
“Bob, as soon as they get inside, we check out the van. We might be lucky with the doors open.”
“Jimmy, can you tell what color this van is”?
“I’m not sure, purple.? You think they use this to make deliveries. The name on the side says Ben & Buddy’s Blossoms, and I’m pretty sure blossoms are flowers. At this point, I don’t care if the van is painted with polka dots. The back door is open, so let’s crawl in and hot wire this thing”.
“Bobby, I don’t think this was a good idea. The inside smells funny”.
“So what? It has the brickette of flowers and perfume. This sweet fragment is better than driving around smelling cigars and my puke on the floor”.
The brothers hot wired the van and left the parking lot. “Bobby, turn on the air conditioning to blow out the stink.”
“Why don’t you man up.? We’ve got a couple of hours to finish the job.”
“I don’t think I can. You remember mama had that smelling disease. She got head hurts from sniffing flowers. Mama would then tell us to shut up and went to lay down in the bedroom with the lights out”.
“I remember. Mama would bitch us out for talking. Then poppa would say the cure was for him to do his husbandly duties. I could never figure out what that meant as mama moaned loud and talked to god when he did whatever he did. He must have hurt mama in some way to take her mind off the head pain. Do you think he intentionally hurt mama”?
“Bobby, I think I’m getting one of those head hurts as mama got. The exhaust of flowers and perfume in here makes me see stars; I might puke this time; it’s too bad daddy is dead, or I could ask him to do a fatherly duty for me and make me feel better”.
“Forget about the flowers and perfume. We’ve wasted enough time tonight”.
“No, let me out here. I’ll walk back to our Jeep. I think I remember where we left it. This night isn’t working out as we planned. You go and hook up with your girlfriend, Wendy the whore”.
“She’s busy tonight. I already checked. As for you, you’re a baby. We need to keep on with our plan. Climb out and sit on that bench and suck in some fresh air. I’ll be back with another truck”.
“Me a baby. You were puking like a baby less than an hour ago. Do you need your diapers changed? It was you that was stinking up that first truck we took”.
“It was the cattle converter, not me.”
“You conflunced me that it wasn’t you. I’ll wait here, go find something with an air conditioner that works. And one of those little pine trees hanging from the mirror”.
Bobby drove by a buy-here-pay-here used car lot when something caught his eye. Several used Post Office delivery vans were for sale, and the USPS markings had been painted over and obliterated. He waited across the street until someone turned off the lights and drove off.
He left the flower van and walked across the street to check for unlocked doors. “Jimmy, I wish you were here. You do better at picking locks. You might be able to tell me if this thang is big enough to go through a store window”.
He checked several vans before finding one that had an unlocked door on the left side. He slid the door open, “What the…, there ain’t no seat in here. Wait, why is the seat on the other side? I thought this was an American van, not one of those limey ones”. He climbed in and over a center console to sit behind the wheel.
Still talking to himself, “If I get this started, Jimmy will be pissed with just one seat in here.”
After pulling wires out from under the dash, Bobby hot wired the van and got moving. While it had an automatic transmission, it also had a governor, limiting the speed to 25 mph.
Bobby eventually got back to the bench where Jimmy sat and pulled up next to him, lowering the window.
Looking in the window, “Bob, why are you sitting on that side of the van. Hold on. The steering wheel is also on the right side. What did you do, steal some foreign vehicle? Do you even have a license to sit on that side of a van? I think you better find something else. This thang ain’t safe”.
“Now you’re the stupid one. This was an official Uniformed States vehicle. You don’t need a foreigner’s license, just an American one”.
“I guess I’m feeling better. Let me drive”.
“No way. You sit on the floor since you didn’t want to ride in the flower van. And this thing must be safe to protect our boys in uniform”.
“Does that mean they don’t protect the women in uniform”?
“Let’s go find Mel and ask her. She wore a uniform. She might remember us”.
“Riding in this is weird. I guess I need to stand. Bobby, start driving. We need to hit that place before midnight when all the factory workers go in to cash their paychecks. It’s only nine now”.
Once Jimmy had braced himself, next to the shelving, Bobby took off. “Step on the gas. Some kid on a bicycle, carrying a box of ice cream sandwiches, is passing us”.
“I am stepping on it. I think the president has told the governor that these vans can only go so fast. And I am going that fast”.
“Bro, we’re screwed. This thang ain’t got any weight, and it might not be able to jump a curb, much less bust through a glass window. We need to check if it can drive over something. Look around for someplace to practice”.
The brothers drove around until Jimmy spotted a covered bus stop bench. “On the right, that bench has a got a roof. Drive over the bench to knock down the roof”.
Bobby gunned the engine. The van lurched forward. Once the vehicle hit the curb, it bounced, and the forward momentum slowed to a crawl. The van hit the bench and came to rest with the hood popped open. The bench was scratched, and the roof intact. The radiator started steaming.
“Let’s leave this piece of crap here. I’m ready to call off the crash and dash for tonight. I should have checked with Wendy for my daily whoroscope. She would know today was a bad day”.
“Don’t tell me you believe in that asstrology stuff. What kind of whore can tell the future”?
“One who can read the stars. I pay for her services, and yes, if Wendy reads, it will be a good day for me; she makes sure there’s a happy ending.”
“Come on, you tard. Let’s head back toward our car. Hopefully, we will spot another truck to use”.
It was getting dark as the brothers walked back toward the superstore. They had worn dark clothing, so they could step into the shadows if they needed to hide.
They approached a bar called: Sharks, Snitches, and Serpico’s. “Bob, do you feel the same vibe as I feel about this bar? I think we need to keep walking”.
“Hold on. I think this is a cop bar. There are probably some cops here, but also some lawyers who drive big cars. Let’s take a peek and a leak. We can always bail if there are too many eyes on us. You know I like to whizz on cop cars”.
“I don’t feel good about this. I think a hospital is close by. You can always find trucks there. We could steal an ambulance. Let’s keep going”.
“Jimmy, are you starting to wuss out on me. It won’t hurt to look”.
“Bro, let’s not chance a cop looking over our shoulders. Wait. Look at that monster old Hummer sitting there. That bad boy will crash through a window like poop through a peacock”.
“What? How do you know what comes out of a peacock? I think you mean crap through a granny”.
“That doesn’t make any sense. The words must start with the same letter. Like turds through a turtle. Now that makes sense”.
“Who watches turtles when they poop? That’s why I won’t swim in a lake. Turtle poop everywhere”.
“I don’t care, so let’s just agree neither of us knows how to say it. Let’s see if we can steal that Hummer”.
The brothers got in the car and got it hot wired. “Jimmy, this thing is bad-ass. We’ve got some time. Let’s drive around”. After about twenty minutes of touring, “Hey, the cops are looking at the dump truck we took. They can’t finger out how it got there”.
“Little do they know you can’t operate a stick.”
“Eat something and die. I didn’t raise the bucket and stall it out. You did”.
“Bob, what’s that red light on the dashboard mean”?
“I’m not sure. Check to see if the owner’s Manuel is in the glove box”.
“Here it is, but I don’t read Mexican. Can you”?
“Now, who’s the stupid one. Turn it over. You can read American from that side”.
Bob,I founda pistol in the glove box. And a badge. This is a cop’s car”.
“Don’t bust a nut worrying. But keep the gun. It might come in handy. We’re fine. What does the red light mean”. The Hummer suddenly died.
“It means the car is low on gas.”
“We can’t keep sitting here. Let’s start walking again. My futile brain will come up with something”.
“I think you mean fertile brain. Fertile means something can grow, like a baby. And you ain’t had any pregnant ideas in weeks. I’ll get us out of this mess”.
They started walking when Bobby noticed something. “Jimmy, I think that’s the baseball bar up ahead. And there are several cop cars out front. I see three sets of flashing lights. Let’s cut over a block or two so we can avoid that bar”.
“No. I just had a stroke of brilloence. Let’s steal a cop cruiser. They usually leave the keys in the ignition. If we use that to bust into the check-cashing place, the cops will get blamed. I see some people on the sidewalk; let’s blend in with them”.
Sure enough, the boys found a cruiser, still running. So they climbed in and drove off. “This is great. We can listen to the police radio to hear some cop squeal he lost his car”.
“Bobby, see if you can find the volume knob and turn it up. I just heard something that I want to hear again.”
“All units, be on the lookout for two white males. They crashed a vehicle into a liquor store. They are armed and dangerous. The perps took off on foot when leaving the scene”.
“Jimmy, we can’t go through with our crash-and-dash tonight. Two other guys stole our idea. The cops will be looking for anything now”.
“You’re right for once. Let’s go find our car and dump this cruiser. Then go home”.
The brothers drove back to the superstore and went looking for their Jeep. “Where did you park the Wrangler. I thought it was by these trees. Where’s our car? Shit, did someone steal our car?”
Another alert came across the radio, “All units be on the lookout for a black Ford 250, stolen from the superstore on North 15th avenue and a purple delivery van. Details to follow”.
“Jimmy, those people are waving for us to pull over. Should we tell them where to find their truck”?
“You’re stupid again. Those people think we’re the cops. Then ask if we know where their truck is. Are you going to say we stole it, and the truck smelled of shit, so we dumped it? Plus, we ain’t dressed like cops. We got to skate out of here”.
“You’re right. Let’s dump the cruiser and walk home”.
The Janes boys abandoned the cruiser behind the store and walked home. Only to find a police car waiting, with the lights flashing. “Are you two Bobby and Jimmy Janes”?
“Yes, sir, we want to report someone stole our car. We were at the superstore and came out to find it gone. You guys are fast; did you find our Jeep”?
“Do you boys own a Jeep Wrangler”?
“Yes, sir, we just said it was stolen.”
“We found your car at a liquor store, having been driven through the front window. The store clerk says two skinny, white men in masks robbed him with a gun. The vehicle is registered to you. The description given by the clerk matches you two. I need to frisk you two. Come here”.
The officer patted down Bobby first, then Jimmy. He found the stolen pistol in his pocket.
“Mr. Policeman, that is not our pistol.”
“Then who owns the gun.”
“We don’t know. We found it.” “You’re under arrest. You own the car involved. You match the description. You have a gun”.
“Officer, we didn’t do nothing.”
“Can you two provide an alibi for the last couple of hours”?
Bobby looked at Jimmy, who closed his eyes and slightly shook his head. “I guess we need a lawyer.”
Bio: Dave Larson is best known for his research and writing on baseball in the early 1900s. He has been published both in journals and online. He also wrote the story, Buxom Burger and Flirty Fries for The Yard: Crime Blog.
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