Talk about the most frightening moment in your life. I want to feel your fear.
It was Thursday morning and I was in the conference room of our small finance company working on the monthly bookkeeping. I heard him say, "Don't move and put your hands on your desk."
"Oh, that's that crazy Jim Surdevant being silly again," I thought. I got up from my desk and was walking to the door to give him back some of his own,l when I heard him say, "Who else is here?" By then I had arrived at the doorway and saw him.
He wore a black ski mask and gloves. He was holding a gun and a paper bag. Motioning with his gun, he told me to go sit at my desk. He shoved the paper bag at my boss and ordered ordered him to fill it with money.
Of course there is follow up to this story. I will post it at a later time.
Oh my God! I'd be glad to give him all the money in the drawer, but this was back in the day when we took our cash to the bank night deposit. We had no alarms, no way to protect ourselves other than to take all the money out of our office overnight. But, looking down the barrel of that gun, looking at the bullets, all I could think was that my life was over.
Bill looked at me helplessly as he said, "There is no money in this drawer." Our masked friend began waving the gun around and said, "I told you to put the money in the bag."
From deep inside came my words as I shakily spoke, telling him the truth about why we had no cash in the drawer. I had just been busy. The bank opened at 9. It was 9:15 on a very quiet morning and I was concentrating on my bookkeeping. I just hadn't gone to the bank yet to retrieve my deposit.
Each word I spoke was filled with desperation. Would he believe me? Would he be just angry enough at being foiled to shoot us? Lately several people in the state had been killed in finance company robberies. If he shot, who would be first? Could I escape by diving under my desk? In those few terrifying moments my life didn't pass before my eyes. My thoughts didn't turn to my mother, my friends or loved ones. No, my only thought was if he shoots Bill first, do I have time to dive under my desk and save myself.
As quickly as he came, he left. Oddly enough, he demanded the bag back, told us to stay where we were for ten minutes, and backed out of the office. We immediately sank to the floor and crawled into the bathroom, taking a phone with us.
Minutes crawled by as we waited for the police. I heard footsteps on the stairs, entering the office and approaching the bathroom door, quietly. My hear was racing, my mouth dry. This time there was no place to go. Expecting the sound of a gun firing, my heart started beating again when I heard Police Chief Johnson say, "You can come out now. You're safe."