This started somewhere I understood and went to a place I didn’t expect.

Full of piss, vinegar and mixed spice the Robber swaggered into the bank. No-one really noticed or cared when he did but that was fine, he wasn’t wearing his most colourful bandit hat today, and his coat was very concealing. They did notice when he tapped a spoon against a wine glass, however. Why they’d been there was unclear.

“I am a robber and I am here for valuable items. So if you’d be so kind please put any and all valuable items in a small pile in front of me. I’ll wait,” he said, folding his arms. The staff and customers stared, stunned by this bravado and baffled by his bandit hat.

One customer was mid-way through opening up their bag and walking towards the Robber to tip the contents out when the nearby Security Chief stopped them with an arm.

“Hold, customer. Have no fear! Because – for reasons that I do not need to explain to anyone here – everyone in this establishment is armed!”

This most of those present had forgotten, it being such a recent development. Laughing breezily at their poor memories they all pulled out their various weapons, tiny handguns and snub-nosed revolvers being predominant. If this fazed the Robber he gave no sign, merely grinning and putting his hands on his hips.

“I’m not afraid of your guns,” he said. A ripple of concern went through the bank. The Security Chief saw this and felt a need to rally the troops, as it were.

“He’s bluffing! He is afraid of our guns!” He said, firing a shot. It must have been a warning shot though, as it missed by a good foot or so. The Security Chief Frowned.

“Odd, I didn’t fire a warning shot…”

The Robber laughed uproariously and opened his coat – causing several of the more modest customers to turn away in fear, not that they should have worried – and revealing his unique, potent method of protection.

Wrapped around his torso were all the front pages of every major newspaper for the last month. Recently, in response to a spate of deadly shootings, every one had run articles to the effect that guns weren’t actually dangerous and it was all a fuss over nothing. So strong was the editorial force involved in this bald-faced attack on reality the Robber knew that that no bullets would dare approach him too closely.

That every major newspaper had recently been impulse-purchased by the conglomerated super-entity that now manufactured every type of firearm on the planet was a coincidence. Insinuating it was not a coincidence was libellous.

“Let’s fire more bullets in his direction!” The Security Chief declared and this time several others joined him in firing a volley at the Robber.

None of the bullets even got close. They would veer wildly off-course, steered around or in some cases simply stopped in midair. There they quivered for a moment before dropping harmlessly to the floor by his feet. Where their momentum went was unclear. Likely it was mostly converted into heat and embarrassment.

“Aim for the body everyone! Not his unprotected head!” Yelled the Security Chief over sporadic and dwindling gunfire, pointing wildly in the direction of the Robber (in case anyone was unsure who they were supposed to shoot). This inspired those few remaining holdouts who had yet to discharge their weapons into doing so, not that it helped much.

Through the fusillade the Robber remained standing, unmoved. One by one the inhabitants of the bank ran out of bullets, and though a few had been carrying sufficient reserves of ammunition to be able to reload a considerable number of times, most stopped bothering after two or three.

“Your weapons are useless! Valuables, please,” the Robber said once the bank was silent. The clientele looked to the staff and the staff to the clientele and a mutual decision was reached. Sighing, they all formed an orderly queue and started heaping up their valuables in front of the Robber..

“Should we add our guns to the pile?” Asked the Security Chief, who was sulking. The Robber chuckled.

“No, you can keep those. They are clearly worthless now!” He said. The Security Chief sulked harder. He’d spent a considerable sum on his gun and found this remark hurtful. He would have shot the Robber for making it but, you know.

One customer – who had been midway through adding their gun the pile – tried at the last minute not to do so but it was already slipping through their fingers. They promptly dropped it onto the Robber’s foot.

“Ow, fuck,” the Robber said. Those assembled around him gasped, partly at his language, partly at what his outburst meant. The Security Chief was the first to give voice to the obvious:

“His feet! His feet are vulnerable to blunt force!” He said with joy before falling to his hands and knees the better to rain vicious blows down upon the Robber’s feet.

“Hey, stop that,” the Robber said, stumbling back and tripping over the customers who came in behind him. Falling into his rump he tried to drag himself away but the crouching bodies around his legs pinned him in place as his feet continued to be pummelled.

“No seriously guys that’s starting to hurt cut it out,” the Robber said with mounting worry as he felt his shoes being torn apart by the mob.

“His feet are so soft!” Cried out the bank manager with obvious delight.

“Yes! They’re so easy on the hands when you pummel them!” A customer said by way of agreement. The meaty sound of fists striking feet filled the bank, quickly being drowned out by the Robber’s screaming.

END

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One thought on “All That’s Fit To Protect

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