The tiny post office sub-station was postcard pretty. Trailing fuchsias and Penstemon hung from carefully placed baskets. A light breeze took the edge from the August noon.
Inside, the post-mistress served her only customer, they chatted amiably about village goings on. Racks of greeting cards filling the claustrophobic walls, cramming the stationary and packaging into into a tight corner. There was a polite notice asking patrons to remove any crash helmets and/or dark glasses before entering the shop.
A Vauxhall Astra slowly parks up outside. The occupant watching the street carefully. He deliberately leaves the engine running, inside he picks up joke shop clown mask and adjusts it over his head. Needlessly checking his look before exiting the car. The gun in his jacket heavy, the winter coat spurring his sweat glands to excrete harder.
The pensioner has almost completed her transaction, reaching for her debit card back from the grey haired, well upholstered shop owner, when the door loudly opens.
“This is a fucking robbery...so don't dare fucking move!”
Both women shriek.
“I said don't move granny, or I will have to blow your fucking face off!”
The clown faced intruder roughly pushes the pensioner to the floor, pressing the handgun against her temple. Keeping his eyes clamped on the deep set blue eyes of the post-mistress.
“Now open the safe, don't dare trip the switch, darling, or this old fuck head will not be cashing her pension next week”.
He was aware that the woman on the floor had soiled herself and was whimpering pitifully.
Outside, a middle aged dog walker looks inside the Astra and gazes along the road looking for the driver. Opening the door, he reaches for the keys. His dog pulls at his lead.
“What the fuck are you doing!” clown face yells in the dog walkers ear. The keys fall into the foot well. The muzzle of the gun under his nose as he reverses out of the car. His dog yelps under the pain of being kicked aside. Clown face drags him carelessly backwards, hitting him with butt of the weapon. He drops in a crumpled heap beside his dog.
Clown face stares at the dog, before scrabbling for the keys.
Foot hard on the accelerator, he tears off the mask and forces it inside the cash filled holdall. Laughing, he straightens his hair in the rear view mirror as the Astra departs the pretty parish.
After torching the ancient car, he finds his Escort where he left it.
A nice surprise considering the area, Harry muses. That was pretty easy. Pity about the old lady, that guy and not forgetting the dog, yeah, sorry doggie.
Counting the holdalls contents there was over a thousand pounds. More than he had ever held in cash. The adrenaline surged through his body still on a high from the heist. No more mister nice guy, this was the way forward. He would show Joanne that she was the loser, she would regret showing Harry Winterbottom the door.
The first purchase, a visit to Cash Converters and a barely used Compaq lap top. Then a mobile broadband dongle. No more visits to the Town's library to scour the internet. Harry had located the Glock replica handgun locally, there. It was in actuality a starting pistol that fired blanks. The bravura act in the post office was blueprinted from the film “Point Break”. Acting the part came easy to the accomplished deceiver.
Harry realised before starting any crime spree that being off the authorities radar would give him a head start, targeting, and local knowledge from his years of taxi driving reducing the threat of detection. So far his only interaction with the police, being arrested in nineteen eighty three for drunk driving, then the court appearance resulting in a twelve month driving ban.
The demon drink blighted his employment, losing his last taxi job over four years ago. Turning up smelling of liquor and general tardiness was the pattern weaved into the fabric of Harry's life.
He certainly drank less than he did ten years ago, quantity replaced by the strength of the brews he consumed.
Self harming had come to him late in life, two years after marrying Joanne. The foreman had took him into the soup factory office and told him that he had to let him go. This had been yet another false dawn, the low pay and long hours of ferrying other drunks around, beckoned once again. The factory had meant regular hours and the opportunity of severing accumulating habits of insomnia, depression and it's resultant binge drinking.
Deception is the veil of the self-harmer, cover up, keep the scars in the dark. Deny everything. Solitude, that self deluding degenerate