This morning I had to drive to the bank to deposit some checks for work. I'm supposed to be at work by 9, but it was already about 9:05 by the time I was pulling up to the bank.
I wait at a red light, at the corner by the bank. And as I'm sitting there, zoning out, half listening to Adam Corolla's radio show, I glance over and see The Skeleton Bandit standing on the sidewalk.
Who is The Skeleton Bandit? He is this small time criminal who robbed sandwich places and convenience stores around the North Hollywood area. I think the most money he ever made off with was like $17. And he always wore a sweatshirt painted to look like a skeleton, and a skeleton mask. Hence the hilarious nickname.
And as infamous as, I suspect, The Skeleton Bandit wished to be, nobody ever knew who he was. And the only reason I know is because of a robbery that took place near where I work.
One night about 2 months ago, as I'm making my short drive home from work, I notice two helicopters circling above, shining spot lights on the ground below. And then I notice another helicopter, and another. I counted 6 in total, one of which felt like it was hovering about 4 feet above my car, and it shined it's little light right in my face.
Hmmm, this isn't right.
I suddenly worry that whoever they are looking for is going to run into the street, pull out a gun and hijack my car. Distracted by this thought, I begin driving like a moron, which probably makes the helicopter pilots all the more curious about me.
Too impatient to wait the 2 minutes until I get home, I call Devin to see if he knew what all the fuss was about.
Me: There are helicopters everywhere!
Me: Do you know what's happening? Is there anything on the news?
Him: I don't know.
Me: Well will you turn on the news and see?
Him: There's nothing on the news.
Him: I don't know, I'm outside.
Me: Aren't you curious?
Me: I'll be home in a sec.
I get home and I can still hear them chop chopping away up in the sky. They pass over our apartment building a few times.
Some how in the minute since we spoke, Devin has found out that we are right in the middle of a manhunt. There's been a shooting in the shopping plaza down the street from my office. I was simultaneously scared and thrilled.
I call work to alert everyone that there is a gun toting mad man on the loose!
The night went on, with the helicopters circling and circling. While Devin and our neighbors were hanging around outside, grilling stuff and chatting, I was nervously sitting inside with the door closed. "Come inside!" I begged Devin. "The killer could hop over the wall and be in our courtyard at any moment!"
By the time I went to bed at 10 (I know, I'm old), the helicopters were still at work.
The next morning, my coworkers were chatting about the previous evening's news. But still none of us had any details. Finally, someone had the smart idea to check online for information. Ah ha! Good thinking!
And that's how we found out about The Skeleton Bandit, who was trying to rob the Auto Zone in the nearby plaza. He and some other guy-- maybe we'll call him Funny Bone --showed up with knives and were at the counter, when two U.S. Marshals walked in, completely by coincidence, and were armed, also by coincidence, and so they shot The Skeleton Bandit and saved the day. Funny Bone ran off, and he was the reason for the all night helicopter circus.
The Skeleton Bandit died as a result of the shooting. And what a lame way to go, huh? Wearing a skeleton outfit, trying to rob an Auto Zone that has about $50 in the cash register.
So back to this morning, I see a menacing skeleton-suited man making his way to the bank. And I know that THE Skeleton Bandit is dead, but this could still be A Skeleton Bandit. One of his cohorts. Or a copycat.
I turn into the parking lot and wait in my car. I debate which is worse: not going inside because I'm afraid of a dead, pathetic burglar, or going into the bank as it's being robbed and getting stabbed by a guy in a skeleton suit. And then later, during my recovery, having to tell police "Well, I knew there was A Skeleton Bandit inside the bank, but I thought I'd just take my chances."
Finally, my pre-existing irrational fear of skeletons won, and so I drove from that bank to another branch a few blocks away. This one is located inside a grocery store, and so as I made my way to the front door, I also decided I'd pick up a fun breakfast treat for the office.
But I get inside and discover that, of course, the bank doesn't open for another hour. Fabulous. And by now I am 15 minutes late for work. Still, I bet there's time to buy chocolate frosted mini donuts! My coworkers will LOVE me.
Or, more likely, they'll wonder why I brought white trash donuts into work when they're all health conscious and I'm the office piggy. Fine, I won't get the damn donuts.
I get back in my car, and start driving back to the original bank. About halfway there, I start really regretting that I had no donuts.
When I arrived, I walked slowly to the front door, surveying the scene for anything suspicious.
But in fact, everything was fine at the ol' bank. Better than fine. Two tellers laughed and sipped coffee. The water cooler delivery guy passed me as I walked in, tipping his hat. "Mornin."
I was probably the most dangerous, violent person there, as I stood impatiently in line, now 30 minutes late for work and donut-less.
You win this round, Skeleton Bandit.