Robert Gregory Browne

Kiss Her Goodbye

Part One



It all started when the pregnant girl went crazy.

Walt spotted her right away, standing amid the knot of customers who waited out front as he unlocked the doors: nineteen, twenty years old. Belly about to burst. Sweet smile.

When Walt saw that smile, the first thing that came to mind was Emily. He remembered the fresh-scrubbed look she’d had when she was pregnant with their first child; an effervescence she had carried through to old age; the ability to smile even as Death reached up and put a hammerlock on her heart.

Walt looked at the girl and felt a choke of emotion bubble up as he swung the doors open. He had loved his wife, but he didn’t really like thinking about her. He’d never been one to dwell on the past, and as sweet as this little lady seemed to be, he felt uncomfortable looking her in the eye.

She, on the other hand, didn’t seem to have a problem with it. As customers filed past him into the bank, she waited her turn, then let her smile widen as she approached, looking directly at him.

“Beautiful morning, isn’t it?”

Her voice had a carefree, I’ve-conquered-the-world lilt to it. The kind only kids her age are able to muster. Walt himself had never been much of a conqueror-as thirty-seven years working security for the same bank easily demonstrated-but he envied those who seemed to feel they were invincible.

Avoiding the girl’s gaze, he stared out at the sky, which was as blue as Emily’s eyes.

“Yes, ma’am,” he said. “A morning like this makes me wish I had wings.”

It didn’t really, but he believed in being polite and the words sounded good. Almost poetic.

Walt didn’t think it possible, but the girl’s smile grew even wider as she slipped past him, her shoulder brushing against the gray of his uniform.

He watched her waddle to the counter at the center of the room, where she grabbed a withdrawal slip and began filling it out with deliberate strokes, as if the final result would somehow be worthy of framing.

Walt realized it wasn’t just her smile that reminded him of Emily. It was everything about her. Her build, the little yellow sundress, the short-cropped hair, the way she kept her purse cocked on her hip as she stood there, all of her concentration centered on the task at hand.

For just a moment he wished he were young again. Wished he could wipe away all these years without his woman and go back to a time when the only thing that mattered was how much they loved each other. When laughter was a way of life, and a leaky pipe or a pet on the loose or a wrong turn was an adventure rather than a chore. An adventure they shared as comrades-in-arms.

Try as he might, Walt couldn’t stop thinking about these things. This girl had somehow opened the floodgates and he knew now that her beautiful morning was just the beginning of his bad day.

Then, it happened.

As Walt watched, the girl turned slightly. He could see she was still smiling. Then something flickered in her eyes and the smile abruptly disappeared. Clutching her swollen belly, she stumbled back and released a small cry of pain, her withdrawal slip fluttering to the floor.

Walt went to her and caught her by the shoulders as she started to fall. “You all right, ma’am?”

“Peachy,” she said.

This wasn’t even close to the response Walt had expected, but before he could give it too much thought, the girl twisted away from him and brought her hand out of her purse.

She was holding a Smith amp; Wesson nine-millimeter.

Pointed at his sixty-three-year-old paunch.

All at once the sweetness evaporated, the lilt in her voice replaced by a cold, hard edge.

“On the floor. Now.”

At first Walt couldn’t believe it. A pregnant girl was pointing a weapon at him. A crazy pregnant girl who no longer reminded him of Emily at all.

He hesitated, thinking about his own weapon that hung heavy at his side.

“Now,” the girl said. “Or you will have wings.”

Walt started to move, feeling his old bones creak as he did what he was told. Halfway down, he heard a shout from across the room and immediately recognized Sam’s voice.

Sam was his partner. A ten-year man with a wife and two cute kids who giggled a lot and called him Uncle Wally.

“Drop your weapon!” Sam shouted.

Without even the slightest hesitation, the pregnant girl spun around and leveled the Smith, letting loose two quick shots.

Walt jerked his head up just in time to see Sam-hand resting on a weapon that hadn’t even cleared its holster-take two bullets to the face and fly backward, landing in a heap on the linoleum.

It was then that Walt decided to act.

No thinking, no planning, just action.

His hand dropped to the butt of his pistol and with a quick jerk he pulled it free.

But the pregnant girl was too fast.

As if sensing what he was up to, she spun back around, and this time Walt looked her right in the eye. What he saw there sent a chill through him:

The gaze of a predator.

A fierceness that froze him to the spot.

His weapon was only halfway out of its holster when she pointed the muzzle of the Smith amp; Wesson at him and squeezed the trigger.

And the last thing Walter O’Brien thought before the lights went out was I’m coming, sweetheart.

See you soon.


Everyone was screaming. Tellers. Customers. The haughty little banker bitches who sat behind their desks with their oh-so-superior smiles.

They weren’t smiling now.

Sara raised the Smith over her head and fired a round into the ceiling, just like Alex had taught her. Gotta let them know right away who’s boss.

“Everybody down!” she shouted. “Noses to the floor!”

What a rush.

She almost let out a giggle, but held back. No time for levity now. This was serious business.

All around her, people dropped to the floor, keeping their heads down, afraid to look at her for fear she’d put a bullet in somebody’s brain.

And she would, too.

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