You Were: The Get-Away Driver

July 13, 2010

I rarely focus on the criminal exploits of those who request past-life readings. (Though we’ve all done a few naughty things, believe me.) I doubt most of you would want to know if one of your lives ended in a dank Cuban prison cell. And as a rule, lives of crime are rarely as interesting as they’re portrayed in the movies.

This young lady, however, may provide the exception. She lived fast (and I mean fast) and died young. But she displayed more guts in twenty-four hours than most people manage to show in a lifetime.

Your family’s business was robbing banks, and you were involved from the very beginning. When you were no more than four, your mother would dress you in your cutest polyester pinafore (did I mention this was the 1970s?), take you to a bank, and give you a note to hand to the sweetest-looking teller. You didn’t know what the notes said, you just knew that the nice teller would then pass your mother a big bag of cash.

You were smart, and you wised up fast. Your family moved too often for you to attend school, so you taught yourself everything you needed to know. You learned how to read by studying the newspaper clippings your parents collected. (All stories of brazen bank jobs.) You learned how to count so you could keep track of your cut of the profits. (Which your parents swore would be placed in a trust fund.) You could even shoot a toothpick out of a monkey’s mouth. (Long story, better left for later.)

At the age of twelve, you hit a growth spurt. Finally, you looked as tough on the outside as you felt on the inside. You even developed a  wicked grin (shown above) to match your new wise-cracking persona. As a result, your parents decided you were way too conspicuous to be of much use to them inside the banks. So they decided to make you their get-away driver.

Late at night, in the parking lots of suburban malls, you trained for your new job. In no time, you were the best stunt driver either of your parents had ever seen. (And they used to hang with a pretty speedy bunch.)

Did you know that what you were doing was wrong? You had a hunch, but you’d never known anything different. The way your parents had explained it, some people were givers and others were takers. Givers led dull little lives and hid their money in banks. Takers lived large and took everything the world refused to give them.

It all made perfect sense. Until one of the newspaper clippings changed everything. It came from the San Francisco Chronicle. Your parents had hit a bank in Daly City the day before. At first there didn’t seem to be anything remarkable about the account. Then you learned about Josie. She was the four-year-old girl your mother had used as a human shield when a security guard pulled a gun. There was a photo of the little girl next to the story. She was wearing a polyester pinafore.

Something inside you snapped. You spent the afternoon silently watching other adults with their children. None of the parents behaved like yours. You’d always figured it was the other people who weren’t quite right. Now you realized how wrong you’d been.

Your parents had planned another bank job for the very next morning. While they were sleeping, you phoned the police and told them everything. The next day, they were waiting when your family arrived. As soon as your parents donned their Mickey Mouse masks outside the front doors of the bank, they were swarmed by undercover cops. Your parents decided to go out with guns blazing. (You’d warned the police about that.)

That’s when you saw the little girl wander into the action. As luck would have it, she was wearing a pink polyester pinafore. (They were very popular back then.) You jumped out of the driver’s seat, threw her down on the sidewalk, and covered her body with yours. She survived. You, sadly, did not.

Your parents were captured and sent to prison for the rest of their lives. You were proclaimed a hero. The whole city of San Francisco attended your funeral. Municipal buildings, newborn babies, and ice cream trucks were named in your honor. And thanks to your noble sacrifice, you were allowed to come back to Earth more quickly than most.

(There’s an added twist here. You may know the little girl whose life you saved. She’s in her thirties now, and I doubt if she remembers that fatal day. But she suspects she owes you a very big favor.)


2 Responses to “You Were: The Get-Away Driver”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by PenguinTeen, PageTurnersBlog. PageTurnersBlog said: RT @PenguinTeen: Who Were You? #13: The Get-Away Driver #theeternalones #penguinfive […]

  2. Toodles*** Says:

    Kirsten, aren’t you meant to predict a past-life today (the 15th)?

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