“We will leave you with your corkscrew and your friends,” Minnow said. Apparently it was the royal We who was leaving, as she’d arrived alone and left alone not ten minutes later. There was a flounce in the way she said it. She shuffled out the door though, a girl who’d never really learned how to flounce.

There’s one sort of fool as dense as a donkey. Minnow was that sort of fool. Accepted every invitation, declined every opportunity, made a sad, sorry fool of herself simply by being eager. Eagerness does not breed respect.

So when a crime was committed in their small northwestern town, there was a brief lag time between when the criminals settled down to enjoy their booty and when they realized that Minnow had been there, invited but invisible, through some very incriminating discussions.

Of course, you’d have to be a fool to believe you could commit a crime involving banks, money and small towns and think no one would recognize you. These boys were cousins to half the people in Sedro Wooley. Maybe they thought they’d be mistaken for another set of cousins. Or maybe they thought they’d be so unfamiliar in their ski masks that they’d just not be recognized at all.

In truth, though, the two of them stood out like a pair of turtles on an ox cart.

“In’t that Jimmy?” said the security guard as he sat watching the video with Dee, the lone afternoon teller, immediately after the heist. He’d missed the moment himself, having excused himself to go to the men’s room. Dee nodded, screwing up her face to look at the grainy video.

“Jimmy, yeah, I think so. Looks like Larry standing right behind him.” Dee was a cousin, a cousin who’d run with a different crowd. She was the more churchy type of cousin. Larry’d split her lip pushing her down on the playground in third grade. She might have forgotten that before, but it came back to her now as she watched him and Jimmy playing big bad bank robbers on video.  Dee and Ed, the security guard, were uncomfortable about busting their own cousins, third or by marriage or whatever. It was that small of a town. After a short, awkward pause, they overshot the video at just the point where it was obvious which set of village idiots had pulled this stunt. They’d talk to the boys’ dads, they figured, work things out in private. Might even turn out to be good for Dee and Ed, come to think of it.

Meanwhile, Minnow was being her usual, fish-out-of-water self. Hanging around at the video store near the mini mart, she was drinking a big gulp and eating corn nuts. She was a loud, unselfconscious snacker, crunching and slurping, and several people in the video store changed aisles to avoid contact. Down around the M section of action and adventure, she ran into Jimmy and Larry. Head on. Looking up from her bag of corn-nuts, she eyeballed the loot they’d put in their cart. Who gets a cart at the video store? She thought.  

“Hey,” she said. “What’d you do, finally rob that bank like you’re always saying?”

“Fuck,” said Larry.

“Shit,” said Jimmy.

They grabbed her by her skinny stick arms and dragged her out of the store, and such was the power of her invisibility that no one thought a thing about it. Went on a road trip that ended in a cabin that belonged to another cousin, and by the time Minnow was found,  the next spring, it took a couple days to thaw her out, that’s how iced she truly was.

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