Ted McGillicuddy could give the appearance of teetering when he walked. Even though he was a youngish man, he progressed with his shoulders held far back while his neck craned forward. His arms were forty-five-degree angles, lopsided in motion. McGillicuddy enjoyed taking a lunch break on the days that he worked and in particular, he liked shade. It was a hot and seemingly endless summer in Phoenix, New York. McGillicuddy loved the story of the phoenix rising from the ashes. It gave him hope.
With a nice cool hummus and cucumber wrap, McGillicuddy leaned against a wall of brick, red and gold from summer sun. But he fell through the bricks. He landed and managed to save the wrap as he stood inside the vault of the Phoenix Bank and Trust. In shock and hunger he grabbed a fist full of wrapped and unwrapped $50 bills and stuffed them into the pocket of his baggie trousers. More concerned about getting out, McGillicuddy turned and tried to leave through the same wall but could not. Panic came on fast and he squeezed the wrap too tight. Ted talked to himself. It was easy to hear his heart in the enclosed and silent space.
Aware that maybe this was a bad instant karma, he reached into his pocket and returned the fifty-dollar bills, tried to exit again, and this time was successful. Back on the street, where he originated, he tried to push his way through to the vault again, but with no luck. He tried again but failed.
Nearing the end of his lunch break he finished his wrap and went on with life while discovering that he had a single fifty-dollar bill in his pocket. He must’ve missed that one. The next day he returned and tried to regain access to the treasure. McGillicuddy was easily able to lean into the vault without falling and he snatched a huge amount of money which he then stuffed into a sack. He could not escape with the sack of money. Cleverly, thinking quickly, he seized a single fifty-dollar bill and was able to lean back out onto the street and exit the vault with all the grace of a chaperone at a junior high school dance.
This became a daily ritual whether he was working or not. Ted had a fifty-dollar bonus each and every day. One day he leaned into the vault and there was someone there. It seemed to be a bank employee who screamed and ran towards the door when McGillicuddy eased through the wall. The petrified bank worker slammed into the door frame instead of flying to freedom through the door. He fell down to the floor and McGillicuddy reached over to help him. Their eyes met and they both screeched. Short for time, McGill abbreviated his stay, snatched his fifty-dollar daily ration and exited. He had a quick lunch of a beer and sandwich, which totaled under twenty dollars. He left the remaining thirty plus dollars in a tip jar for a young duo called Martin & Lee who were playing fine acoustic music which McGillicuddy did enjoy.
Unless he traveled, each day was a quick fifty-dollar bonus and Ted never saw anyone again other than one time when he arrived to find a man sitting in the vault playing cards with a dog. The man seemed very old with a babyface and big eyes. Based on his toothy smile, the dog seemed to be winning.
By Robert Mitchell