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Sunday Snippet #69

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Medium Dead 
by Chris Dolley  
Book View Cafe
May 28, 2011

Then he snatched at the phone.  “What do you want?”
Somehow he must have switched the phone’s loudspeaker on as everyone heard the reply.
“This is the FBI Hostage Negotiations Service.  Press one if you wish to surrender.  Press two for a getaway car.  Press three for a helicopter.  Press four for a pizza.”
“What the hell’s that?” said one of the gang.
Granny Kicker shrugged.  “They must have one of those automated switchboards.”
“Let’s take the helicopter,” said a third member of the gang, eagerly rushing over to join his colleague by the phone.
“Can you fly a helicopter?” asked Granny Kicker.
“Well, no,” said Eager.
“Then shut the fuck up.  They’d have to supply a pilot and he’d trick us somehow.  We’ll take the car.”
He pressed two.
“You have selected the getaway car.  Press one for an SUV.  Press two for a sports model.”
“Sports,” said Eager.
“Are you an idiot?” asked Granny Kicker.  “We need room for us, the money, and a couple of hostages.  We’ll take the SUV.”
A tone sounded as another button was pressed.
“Good choice.  You have selected the SUV.  Press one for a black SUV.  Press two for powder blue.  Press three for bright orange with the ‘caution: bank robber on board’ bumper sticker.”
“What?”
Granny Kicker started at Eager, who shrugged.
“You have selected the bright orange-”
“No!” shouted Granny Kicker.  “I didn’t!  I didn’t press anything!”
He stabbed his index finger at the phone pad, repeatedly hammering down on the one of the numbers.  The loudspeaker tone rang out with each depression.
“Good choice.  You have selected the orange SUV with the tracking device-”
“No!  I pressed one!  I pressed one!”
“Excellent choice.  You have now selected the model with the nearly empty gas tank.  Less weight for a faster, smoother ride.”
Granny Kicker slammed the phone down.
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