Chapter no 15

Anxious People

It was a day completely devoid of weather. During some weeks in winter in the central part of Scandinavia the sky doesn’t seem to bother even attempting to impress us, it greets us with the color of newspaper in a puddle, and dawn leaves behind it a fog as if someone has been setting 1re to ghosts. It was, in other words, a bad day for an apartment viewing, because no one wants to live anywhere at all in weather like that. On top of that, it was also the day before New Year’s Eve, and what sort of lunatic holds a viewing on a day like that? It was even a bad day for a bank robbery, although, in defense of the weather, that was more the fault of the bank robber.

But if we’re being picky, it wasn’t by de1nition even a bank robbery. Which isn’t to say that the bank robber didn’t fully intend to be a bank robber, because that was very much the intention, it’s just that the bank robber failed to pick a bank that contained any cash. Which probably has to be considered one of the main prerequisites for a bank robbery.

But this wasn’t necessarily the bank robber’s fault. It was society’s. Not that society was responsible for the social injustices that led the bank robber onto a path of crime (which society may well in fact be responsible for, but that’s completely irrelevant right now), but because in recent years society has turned into a place where nothing is named according to what it is anymore. There was a time when a bank was a bank. But now there are evidently “cashless” banks, banks without any money, which is surely something of a travesty? It’s hardly surprising that people get confused and society is going to the dogs when it’s full of caPeine-free coPee, gluten-free bread, alcohol-free beer.

So the bank robber who failed to be a bank robber stepped into the bank that was barely a bank, and declared the purpose of the visit fairly clearly with the

help of the pistol. But behind the counter sat a twenty-year-old, London, deeply immersed in the sort of social media that dismantles a person’s social competence to the extent that when she caught sight of the bank robber she instinctively exclaimed: “Are you some kind of joke, or what?” (The fact that she didn’t phrase her question as “Is this some kind of joke?” but went straight for “Are you a joke?” perhaps says a lot about the younger generation’s lack of respect for older bank robbers.) The bank robber shot her a disappointed-dad look, waved the pistol, and pushed over a note which said: “This is a robbery! Give me 6,500 kronor!”

London’s entire face frowned and she snorted: “Six thousand 1ve hundred? You haven’t left oP a couple of zeroes? Anyway, this is a cashless bank, and are you really going to try to rob a cashless bank, or what? Are you, like, totally stupid?”

Somewhat taken aback, the bank robber coughed and mumbled something inaudible. London threw her arms out and asked: “Is that a real pistol? Like, a really real pistol? Because I saw a television show where a guy wasn’t found guilty of armed robbery because he didn’t use a real pistol!”

By this point in the conversation, the bank robber was starting to feel very old, especially since the twenty-year-old on the other side of the conversation gave the impression that she was around fourteen years old. Which of course she wasn’t, but the bank robber was thirty-nine, and had therefore reached an age where there’s suddenly very little diPerence between fourteen and twenty. That’s what makes a person feel old.

Hello? Are you going to ansmev me, or what?” London exclaimed impatiently, and obviously it’s easy in hindsight to think that this was a somewhat poorly considered thing to shout at a masked bank robber holding a pistol, but if you knew London you’d have known that this wasn’t because she was stupid. She was just a miserable person. That was because she didn’t have any real friends, not even on social media, and instead spent most of her time getting upset that celebrities she didn’t like hadn’t had their life together ruined, again. Just before the bank robber came in she had been busy refreshing her browser to 1nd out if two famous actors were going to get divorced or not. She

hoped they were, because sometimes it’s easier to live with your own anxieties if you know that no one else is happy, either.

The bank robber didn’t say anything, though, and had started to feel rather stupid by this point, and was now regretting the whole thing. Robbing a bank had clearly been a breathtakingly stupid idea right from the outset. The bank robber was actually on the point of explaining this to London before apologizing and walking out, and then perhaps everything that happened after that wouldn’t have happened at all, but the bank robber didn’t get a chance seeing as London announced instead: “Look, I’m going to call the cops now!”


That was when the bank robber panicked and ran out of the door.

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