Holding the Bag - Jan Edwards

I know why you called me in, Mr. Hendricks. It's because I ditched yesterday, but I can explain. I did leave campus at lunch, but I was going to be back in time for 5th period. Honest. I just went down to Dick Lickers for cigarettes.

I'm not being flip; everybody calls it that. Okay, sorry, Dick's Liquors. I had to go at lunch because the Big Dick takes off from noon to one and leaves Ramon at the register. He doesn't check ID's.

I know, I know. This is my third strike and you said I'd get suspended and might have to repeat 9th. That's why I am trying to explain. But before I tell the rest, you need to promise something. You're my counselor which is practically like a lawyer, so you can't rat me out to anybody, right? Swear you'll keep it a secret and I'll tell you what happened. Okay.

So, I ride my board down to the liquor store. I go in and buy some Marlboros. But, before I start back to school, I duck into the alley. You know about the smoke bush? Well, in the alley behind the liquor store, a little ways down, there's this giant bush, an oleander I think. You can climb inside and it's like a little room in there. Nobody can see you. Kids smoke in there and do other stuff too. I climbed in and was about to load up some cigarettes.

Big deal, so I had some weed. That's not the important part of the story. Listen.

I just got in the bush - haven't even opened the pack yet - when this black Lincoln Continental turns into the alley and stops near some trash cans. This Mexican dude gets out. He's holding a grocery bag, the paper kind, with the top rolled down like a giant sack lunch. He opens up one of the trash cans and takes out a shoe box. Then he puts his paper bag in the can and pounds the lid down tight. He hops back in the car with his box and drives right past me. I check the alley and nobody. So when the car is out of sight I climb out of the bush and open up the trash can. Guess what's in the bag?

That's right, a shitload of cash!

For a drop this big, of course they're going to be watching. But I'm not thinking about that. I'm so totally jacked up, I'm not thinking at all. I stuff the bag in my backpack and jump on my board. I zoom straight down Nautilus to the beach where I meet a couple of my buddies, who shall remain nameless.

Okay, yes, Chris and Anton. Don't say I told.

So, I tell them what happened and then we count the money. It was rubber banded in stacks of a hundred hundreds so $10,000 in each stack. And there were like 10 stacks so $100,000. We decide to hide it quick, so we wrap the bag in Anton's towel and take it up the canyon and stash it in a secret spot only three people know about, maybe four.

Yeah, the old bunker, you know about that place? Anyway, I took one stack of bills.

Now we're super starving because it's after 3 and we missed lunch, so we go to Carino's for pizza. Then two girls come in, so we buy them pizza too. Just some 8th grade girls, I don't remember their names. When we hand him a hundred, Mr. Carino says, "Where'd you punks get this kind of money?" I say it's from my grandma for my birthday, but I can tell he doesn't believe me.

Then Anton, Chris and I all decide to get new boards at the skate shop. I pick out a Tommy Guerrero deck with a gnarly skull decal and top of the line wheels. There's a bunch of high school assholes who always hang out at the shop. Man, you should've seen their faces when I flashed that wad of bills.

After we take our new boards for a test run we hide them in Chris's garage. I skate home on my old board to act like everything is normal. But when I turn onto my block, I can see that black Lincoln parked in front of my house. So I go up to the next block and come in the back way through the neighbor's yard.

My mom says, "Those men in the black car are looking for you." I tell her no way in hell am I going out there.

But soon my dad gets home and he goes and talks to them. He comes back and says, "They say you stole $200,000 of their money. Those are seriously dangerous men and if you know where that money is you better give it to them." Then he grabs my arm and shakes me hard. "I'm not kidding! Do you hear me?"

I say I don't know anything about the money and slam the door to my room. Then my little sister Carrie starts banging on my door screaming, "Everybody knows you took that money. I heard from some girls at ballet class. Now Dad's drinking Scotch and Mom took two Valiums. You better give it back before you get your kneecaps broken."

I'm so freaked out, I don't sleep all night.

First of all, I didn't steal the money. It was in the trash can. And I swear there was only $100,000 in that bag. Now even if I give it all back they'll say it's only half.

But I figure Carrie is right. Those guys know there is only $100,000. They probably upped it just to scare me. I bet if I give them the bag they'll let me go. So I get up really early and hike up to the bunker to get the money, but when I get there I see Anton's towel on the ground and the bag of cash is gone.

Now I'm all hyperventilating and shit. Who in the hell took it?

If it was Anton, why didn't he take his towel? And you know it isn't Chris, he doesn't have the balls.

I don't know what to do. I think about going to the cops, but what can they do?

Instead I just run all the way to school and hide in the dugout until the janitor unlocks the gym. I slip in there and wait until class starts. Then you call me in and here we are.

Come here and look out the window. See, that black Lincoln parked right there in front of the school? I'm totally screwed.

Here is all the money I have left. It's over $9000, but what about the rest?

Those guys are going to kill me for sure. And if they don't my dad will. What should I do, Mr. Hendricks?

Hey, that's the bag! Oh my god is the money all there? Where'd you get it?

Are you kidding me, my sister Carrie?

That little bitch. When this is over I'm going to kill her.


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