Andy was fifth in line, and he was nervous.
He had always been a little nervous at banks. Banks were tricky. Banks had forms that weren't easy to fill out. Banks had lines for different things, and he wasn't sure which line was for which thing, because he didn't want to deposit a check but he always seemed to be in that line.
Andy got stage fright ordering pizza. He would stutter out the wrong order, and then he would never correct himself because he knew his waitress would judge him. Andy once ate cheese in a salad even though he hadn't ordered cheese. Even though later he had to take two Lactaid pills and a Tums just to get over his stomach ache. Andy was fourth in line, now, and he was nervous.
His left hand was shoved deep in his pocket, clutching the note he had hastily scribbled, using a pen sitting on one of the two tables in the center of the bank. The pens had made Andy think about something his father used to say, how banks left their vaults open, but chained the pens to the table. Remembering, he had laughed out loud, and the sound startled him, startled the woman next to him, as it echoed through the silent room. He had almost lost his nerve then, almost left the bank, but he thought of the plan, and he stayed.
Andy was third in line now, and he was nervous.
Andy's right hand was shoved even deeper into his right pocket, clutching the object he had hidden there. It felt cold in his hands, a smooth metallic cold that sunk into his shaking fingers and shivered through his body.
Andy gulped and took a deep breath, closing his eyes. He visualized himself on an island, swinging in an unnecessarily large hammock and sipping a delightfully sweet drink with a little umbrella in it. Andy thought about the stress-management class he took, his failing grade on the presentation he couldn't even stand up to give.
The person behind him gave a little cough and Andy's eyes shot open, noticing the space in the line in front of him. He mumbled an apology and stumbled forward, stepping on the soft loafers of the man waiting ahead of him. He mumbled another apology. Andy's life consisted of a large number of mumbled apologies.
Andy was second in line, and he was nervous. He was certain he couldn't go through with what he was planning. He knew he wouldn't be able to pass the note to the teller. Months of going to the bank, nervously surveilling the building, figuring out which line went where. He had to have the right teller.
Andy was next in line, and he was nervous. Andy took a deep breath. He clutched the cold, unfamiliar object in his right pocket, and the crumpled note in his left hand. He couldn't do this. In his head, he pictured his failure perfectly: he would go up to the window, cough for thirty seconds, and then stutter out an excuse, chuckling nervously as he slunk away from the desk.
"Next, please," the teller called.
Andy walked up to the window. He coughed for thirty seconds.
"How can I help you?" the teller asked. Andy looked up at her. He thought about the months of planning. With all the determination he could muster, he passed her the crumpled, slightly sweaty note in his left hand. He took the tin of chocolates out of his pocket.
She looked at the note. She smiled.
"I get off work at seven," she said. "Where do you want to eat?"