The She-Bandit

The She-Bandit

“Once more, from the beginning,” the she-bandit demanded. Her mask muffled her words, but her intentions came out clearly.

Tetris (not the game, the merchant) slowed down her words. “My precious jewel was stolen. A man on a camel stole my cross-hatch gem. It’s a gem made of many other jewels. Please, find it for me, or…”

The she-bandit sighed, muffled. “A man on a camel? Like every man travelling in the desert? How can I identify this man?”

“Well…” Tetris gulped. “That’s the problem. He… or she, maybe… was in disguise, so it could be anyone.”

“Tough break, kid. I can’t waste my time looking for a super-expensive jewel that you can’t even sell without it getting stolen. I suggest you try fishing in sand pits. You’d have more luck.”

As the she-bandit rose, a blinding sparkling object dropped from her boot.

“THE CROSS-HATCH GEM!” Tetris shrieked.

“Oops.” The she-bandit considered her words carefully. “Okay. To be fair, I didn’t steal it. A merchant sold it to me for a fortune, so I’m…”

“And that blood on your knife, I’m led to believe is from a flying cow?”

The she-bandit looked at her weapon.

“Can’t blame me for trying. But I just stabbed him in the arm for it. A murderer I’m not.”

Banging came from the closet.

“Father! You tried to steal from your own daughter?”

A fat man in Arabian garb with a knife wound on his shoulder was tied up in the closet.

“She was trying to steal it from us while you were relieving yourself! She did this to me!”

The she-bandit laughed. “Oh, please. What about the person on the camel?”

Tetris examined the gem. “This is a clever forgery! So you stole the real one from my father and replaced it with a fake, stole the false one back on camel-back while in disguise to shift the blame and…”

“I’m confused,” said the she-bandit. “And this was supposed to be my scheme. Why don’t I just take both and call it a day?” She pulled out a knife. “Unless you don’t like keeping both of your ears.”

“No, I don’t think so,” said Tetris. She pulled out a new kind of weapon. “It’s called a gun. It may look like a horn, but it packs a punch.”

“What could that possibly–”

BANG!

“MY ARM!”

“We’ll be taking our things back, Miss She-Bandit. Rot in Hell, please.”

After they left the she-bandit’s den, she began extracting the bullet.

“Damn coward. Guns. It’ll never catch on.”

“Excuse me?”

A young man with sandy blonde hair approached the bleeding woman.

“Not now, kid. I’m kind of bleeding out here.”

“Can I–”

“NO!” she jerked back. “Look, what is it you want?”

“I have a gem, and I assure you, it’s not worth wounding me over.”

She scratched her head. “So you heard all that. What, what, out with it!”

He opened a gold painted box with a teensy-weensy jewel. It seemed to be a ruby.

“You’re right. It’s not worth the effort. So what’s up?”

“The much-larger part of the jewel was stolen by bandits. As a bandit yourself, I tracked you down–”

“Found one of my advertisements, you mean.”

“Okay, yes. Please help me find the bandits. I think they go by the Graham Bandits.”

“How much are you willing to pay for me to betray my former gang?” she muffled.

“Oh… I had hoped you would have done it out of good will…”

She laughed and laughed and laughed.

“…But I do have 37 thousand kolens. And the use of my flying cow, if you’d like.”

She stopped laughing.

“Is the gem really that valuable?”

“No, but it was my late wife’s favorite.”

The she-bandit shook his hand and took a map to their new hideout. It had been seventeen years since she left the Graham Bandits, and for the better. On the whole, she could swipe gems and get a reward for them better than those chuckleheads could simply steal from others.

She rode the cow as far as a mile before the hideout. No sense in dropping off right in front. She could figure out the traps easily. A flying arrow? No problem. A hole in the sand? She could go around it easy-peasy. She was never particularly perfect at spike traps, which is why she recommended not bothering to put any in her own den. The gang also lacked spike traps at her request, still keeping to it seventeen years later.

When she got to the entrance, she jumped onto a rock. Perfect. The whole gang was there with crossbows aimed right at her.

The young man with sandy blonde hair emerged from the shadows.

“So, the former Graham leader is caught by the new turd,” the she-bandit said. “How did you get here before me?”

“Flying jaguar, of course.”

She smiled under her face mask. “Of course. So what now?”

“Now you admit I’m the better Graham leader and we’ll kill you with crossbows,” he mumbled.

“And if I don’t?”

“Well then, we’ll defile you and then kill you with crossbows.”

“You don’t want to defile me.”

“Oh, but I do. Ever since I saw your portrait on the wall of former leaders, I knew you were the one.”

“Guys,” she groaned, “You don’t want this. You knew me as a little girl.”

“Of course not, She-Bandit. But he’s the leader, and we have to shoot you.” A ruffian with a thick beard turned away from her piercing glare.

“And defile me?”

“I think he means to do it himself. Like the royal we.”

“SILENCE!” The gang leader clapped his palms together. “Now, remove your mask.”

“You’re the better leader, guy. Definitely outstanding. My, my leadership was like, nothing compared to yours.”

“Mask. Off.”

The other Graham Bandits turned away.

“Fine.”

As she lowered her black mask, the Graham leader’s mouth turned downwards.

She had a multitude of zits and pimples scattered across her face and a notable mustache forming above her lip. Her lips themselves were cracked and pale, while the corners of her mouth had white gunk forming.

“Like I wear a mask to disguise myself? No no. At this point, my eyes are gorgeous and recognizable. Still want your way with me?”

The leader yanked a crossbow from a female gang member’s hands. “I’ll end you right now, monster!”

The other members shot the man with sandy blonde hair. He breathed out, “This was supposed to…” and died.

“Nice loyalty, Graham gang.” She hopped off the rock. “But as the most recent living leader, I suggest you disband. If that’s your pick of leader, you really need to reevaluate your lives.” She affixed her mask once more.

“Sorry about…”

“It’s fine. Hey, is there any good gems around here, like a large ruby?”

“No. That tiny ruby is the best we could do under his leadership. He was obsessed with you to the point of ignoring his duties.”

“No gold, any kind of compensation?”

“Uh…”

“How about the flying cow and jaguar?”

“Those are on loan, actually.”

“Ah. I shan’t deprive you of that, Borshnick.”

“Thanks, Gulda.”

“She-Bandit. I’m the She-Bandit. And I’m having a really lousy day.”

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Detective Leibish and Ms. Satomi

Detective Leibish and Ms. Satomi

In this world, flesh humans and anime humans alike live together in harmony, as much as can be expected. This story is about a Jewish detective and his anime business companion.

Rabbi Leibish Goldman observed the room again. Green walls. Wooden floor paneling. Nothing really stood out in the empty room, and no amount of dusting for prints would result in anything.

He thought about Miriam, his wife. She had spent the last two months in Italy without a word to him. Was she taken? Leibish had prayed she merely left him so she could live and be well, even if it was without him.

His kosher phone rang.

“Hello? Leibie?” It sounded like his wife. She even used the pet name she called him. “I’m in Italy still. The airport line is miles long! Oy, what I wouldn’t do for a knish!”

This was bad. If she was craving a knish, she must really be desperate for Jewish cooking. Miriam hated knishes.

He heard some snorting on the other line.

“Ah ha ha! You thought it was your missing wife, but it was me, Satomi!”

A tall, slim redhead with large anime eyes and two dimensions strolled into the room. Leibish tried to look at her as little as possible most of the time, partly because of religious reasons, but now it was out of anger.

“Not funny,” he whispered. “She could be dead, chas v’shalom.”

“Chas v’chalilah!” She had picked up most of his lingo years ago, when they had formed this detective agency. “She should live and be well!” Satomi dropped the dialect. “Did you find anything?”

“The only thing in this room is a vase, and it’s empty. I think maybe the floorboards might hide something, but we don’t have enough evidence to rip them up.”

“Oh, DARN!” Satomi stomped her heel into the floor. It created a small hole, as big as an eye. “Quick, flashlight!”

After a few minutes of peering, she found them. “BONES!”

“Bones?”

“And a skull, nu, shut up!”

After calling the police, the floorboards were torn open and the cute anime rodent who owned the house was put under arrest.

“We got lucky that time,” Ms. Satomi moaned.

“No, it was the work of the Aibishter,” Rabbi Goldman said, looking skyward.

“Yeah,” scoffed the anime businesswoman, “your God and my Gucci shoes! Those cost seven hundred dollars!”

Leibish gaped. “Is that what you’re always buying from the salary I pay you?”

“I need shoes or my feet hurt!”

“They would hurt much less without those heels,” he muttered.

“WHAT?”

“Nothing.”

Two days later, Ms. Satomi walked in with new flats.

“Not because of anything you said,” she grumbled. “My podiatrist got on my case.”

He knew she was lying. Anime people may sneeze when you talk about them or grow large bumps after being hit with a hammer, but they never need to see the doctor.

“I believe you.”

“Of course! It’s the truth!”

A knock came from the door. A muscular European anime man waltzed in holding a snood. It looked an awful lot like the one Miriam wore.

“Please to be helping. I come from Italy. My girlfriend, she, how you say, kidnapped. I remember her talking about a detective husband she marry before becoming secoo– secular. I know her as Mary.”

“Do I know her as anyone?” asked the Rabbi, hoping for the Messiah to show up and ask him to look into the camera, because it’s a prank!

“Miriam Goldman, she say she was. They send this rag she used to wear before secoo– secular.”

“She’s with you? And she’s off the derech?” He cried into his palms.

“Better sit shiva,” mumbled Satomi. “Let me talk to him, boss. Anime knows no boundaries.”

She glowered at the anime man. “Why should we help you? You stole his wife!”

The man began to cry as well. “But I love her!”

“Get lost, creep!”

Leibish put up a hand. “No, Satomi.” He turned to the anime man. “I’ll do it.”

A day later, they were in Italy, taking in as many sights as they could before they had to work. Leibish inspected the snood. “Why is there a hole in it?”

“Oh,” said the anime man, Julio. “That’s from when I punctured the envelope with a letter opener.”

“Envelope!” said the Rabbi.

“Here it is,” said Julio.

“Look Leibish, it has an address on it and everything!” exclaimed Ms. Satomi. “They wanted us to find her!”

In front of the building the letter was addressed from, Leibish began to pray while Satomi pulled off one of her heels (“I’m on vacation!” she groused). Julio decided to wait outside.

They opened the door, ran inside, and rushed to the third floor. Room 312. “We should knock, maybe they’ll let us in?” not-quite-asked Leibish.

“I have a better idea,” Satomi replied, and slid under the door. Click! She unlocked it. Click! It locked again.

“Run,” he heard her say from the other side, “We are not well-equipped for this.”

Gunshots could be heard from inside.

A pair of Gucci shoes slid back into the hallway, then legs, then the rest of Satomi.

“BAKA!” she roared. “Could have killed me!” Leibish knew she was upset when she slipped into her native dialect. “Let’s go.”

“What about Miri– Mary?”

“Dead. Saw her corpse tied to a chair. Let’s go!” She tugged at him. He fell to his knees and wept.

“Leibie?”

The door was open and Mary stood before him, dressed less modestly than he was used to. She was as beautiful as ever.

“Miriam… why didn’t you tell me you were leaving me?”

“Where’s Julio?” she said softly.

“I missed you so much, Miri. It hurt so bad…”

“Where’s Julio?” she glared, brandishing a gun. Leibish raised his hands.

“You could have warned me,” he said to Satomi.

“I really didn’t want you to see her like this.” She smirked at Mary. “Do you plan to kill me? Bullets might make holes in me, but I won’t die.”

“No, I won’t kill you.” Satomi’s feet flew off the ground. “He will.”

Julio was constricting her by the neck and lifting her in the air. “Anime humans can kill other anime humans. That’s why so many anime people, like me, are hit-men.” His accent was gone.

Leibish’s eyes bulged. “The will? Nu, I make you the sole heir of my small fortune and you try to kill me over it?”

“That, and I’ve grown tired of Judaism. And you. Say bye-bye to the Rabbi Leibish’s Investigative Company. Maybe I’ll turn your office into a make-out pad.”

“I should be dead first!” he screamed, and kicked her gun away. This caught Julio off guard and dropped Ms. Satomi, who nailed her heel into his foot. Then, in a mad tussle of strength, Leibish and Mary wrestled for the gun. Rolling on the floor, Leibish felt something for Miriam he had never known before: Disgust.

With her stocking foot, Satomi stepped on Mary’s arm, preventing her from grabbing the gun. Leibish pointed it towards Mary, who he was definitely going to give a Get to. He didn’t want a felon for a wife anyway.

Back in America, Rabbi Leibish Goldman slumped in his chair. They solved the case, but what was the point? He had nothing left to live for, other than Torah.

“Hey, good work yesterday, Rabbi.” Satomi tried to sound sincere.

“Mmm.”

She mustered up the facts. “It sucked, okay? Admitting that it was terrible is fine. It doesn’t go against the Jewish code. Feeling sad is normal.”

“Sucked.”

“Yeah, exactly.” She smiled. He gave a weak smile.

“I know it’s not X-mas, but I’m in the mood for Chinese. May I treat you?”

Satomi stood up. “Sure. Let’s go already, nu?”

TRANSLATIONS:

Get = Divorce Document
Chas V’Shalom/V’chalilah = God Forbid
Aibishter = God
Off The Derech = Not Religious

I’ve Got a Latte on the Mind

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8:35. Olivia’s father dropped her off at the bus stop at a decent time. Olivia felt “decent” meant about now since she wanted to be late. The last of the absolute rush-hour buses had left as they pulled over to the curb. Mr. Gammon profusely apologized to his daughter (step, a fact he hadn’t mentioned to her). She just smiled (he easily recognized it as gratitude) and paced her footing on the soaked sidewalk.

8:36. After he drove off, Olivia put on her headphones (earbuds frightened her), pulled up a sock, and hoped someone would walk by. Nothing. The next bus would not come for at least a half-hour. She pulled down the other sock.

8:37. She checked her phone. Nothing interesting happened to Steve Buscemi since she woke up. Click. The rest of the internet wasn’t worth looking at.

8:38. Tammy Liu drove up in her Chevy. “Olivia! Do you want a ride? I’m not going to work today, but I am passing your work!” Olivia declined, using her usual lie that she was meeting someone. She did not interact with friends on a regular basis.

8:39. Maybe I could have taken her up on that ride. But then, I’d have to talk to her instead of thinking. Couldn’t I have thought a few blocks away from work? Shucks, Ollie. Then your boss or coworkers would have seen you or something. That would wreck your whole day. Really? My whole day? Yes, your whole day. That sounds overly superstitious, but either way, I don’t want to talk with anyone but me.

8:40. Hey, there’s no one around. I could let one rip and no one would know. But wait, what if the man of my dreams walks by at that exact moment only to be disgusted by my fart? Psht. The man of my dreams would be turned on by it. She held it in anyway.

8:41. She winced at the sight of birds flying at face-level. Why am I so scared at the thought of being hit in the head by birds? Did I get hit in the head by a bird as a baby?  Maybe they remind me of arrows in a past life. Did I get hit in the face by an arrow? Did I die then get reborn as this? I like the idea of a past life, but not th

8:42. e prospect that I would have to live future ones. Might be reborn as a dude named John. What kind of sick parent named their kid something as generic as John? Even worse, tools who name their kids, like, John, but already have the generic last name to boot. John Smith. Joe Johnson. Ingrid… Ingrid Paulette Freely. Naw, I doubt many Freelys would name their kids that. I could name a kid Jack. Jack Gammon. Wait, they wouldn’t get

8:43. my last name. Not exclusively at any rate. Unless I impregnate myself. Ha ha. Why am I thinking about this? I don’t know, Olivia Denise Gammon, it’s your sub-CON-scio-US. Because I’m a donked-up individual? That’s why I’m standing here instead of getting into a car to go to work. No, the real reason is because I’m afraid if I’ll drive, I’ll be too spacey and kill people.

8:44. A man with orange lenses in his shades walked past her. Olivia tried acting like a human, but went too far and stood perfectly still. He asked her to move. She fell over and crushed her bag of raisins.

8:45. He thinks I’m an idiot! Don’t worry, he probably doesn’t care. And you’ll likely never see him again. But that doesn’t help me feel better, even if I know it’s the rational truth. Even if I said it out loud! She said it out loud. The man, now on another block, turned to her and laughed. She bit her thumb.

8:46. Why is it no one else is ever here at this time? This is the only bus to the shopping district. We need a trolley. WE NEED TWO TROLLEYS! I mean, if one ever breaks. And a third for practical vagabonds like me. Though if I were practical, I’d have money. But gosh, how about this rain? Maybe I should have enough sense She began to walk into the bus stop’s seating with a roof. for general day-to-day health precautions. She paused.

8:47. In the center seat (or what could be classified as a seat, given the bench had two metal dividers), a lone coffee cup waited for the bus. Olivia knew for certain that it had not been there when she arrived. She stared at it blankly.

8:48. Olivia stared blankly at the coffee. She scratched her dark-cyan briefcase.

8:49. Olivia stared blankly at the coffee for twenty seconds more. Where did that coffee cup manifest from? That guy couldn’t have left it. He was carrying two glass bottles of milk. Why buy glass bottles over plastic? And why are the bus benches always metal or wood? The metal gets cold in the winter and the wood gets splintery. Better than being glass, yeah.

8:50. Maybe the wind blew it there. Standing perfectly still. She picked it up. She examined the box checked off “Latte.” Still full of coffee. Standing perfectly still full of coffee. Okay, so it’s not the guy, and it’s not the wind either. Maybe I was drinking and absentmindedly put it down? That must be. I am the fool.

8:51. Seriously, where is that bus? And the passengers? Though who can say who is a passenger until they board the bus? I think potential passenger counts as passenger. Hey, am I still 25? No, I turned 26 last year. When did I get this bag? I had it at my 25th party. So… when I was 23, since I stared at it sadly when I was 24.

8:52. WAIT, I DON’T DRINK COFFEES. Since I don’t want to get addicted to it. Like, I see people groggy and all, “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee.” I want to see the world naturally, with a ton of prescribed pills in my bloodstream. Joking aside, I should talk to someone about upping my dose. Maybe a doctor. Definitely a doctor. My mind is a little more sluggish than usual.

8:53. I lost the flow! If I think on it, I can figure out why that latte is sitting there. It feels half-em… fu… It feels like there’s half inside. When the birds flew by, maybe one dropped their cuppa joe. Yep, that’s it. I’m satisfied and can drop this.

8:54. NOPE, THAT’S TOO STUPID. It’s as dumb as the way they made this roof. Slits and slats? I’m getting all wet in… AH! YES, WAIT, YES! The wind BLEW the empty cup. It landed on the bench, got filled with the dirty rainwater, and that’s the news, son. Waste a good mind-think, Olivia.

8:55. A woman with two children yelled at Olivia for carelessly leaving the latte on the bench. Grumpily, Olivia threw the latte in the trash and dried her hands on her denim skirt.

8:56. Olivia squinted at something orange. Only a fish truck.

8:57. Behind the fish truck was the bus, which pulled up to a block away from the bus stop and flashed its blinkers. Olivia knew the driver would take as much time as possible to relax behind his next shift. Two metal-heads stood behind her.

8:58. Olivia stomped on a piece of cardboard that tried to fly past her. She treated it miserably before letting it go.

8:59. A Steve Buscemi alert popped up. A movie deal she knew about. She shook her tousled hair and splashed a once-dry dog.

9:00. I mean, I have a dog, but I’m scared of other people’s dogs. I love huskies, but only if they’re far, far away from me. Kind of like my friends. And people in general. Maybe I should talk to someone about this. Like my step-dad. Does he know I know he’s not my dad? I’ll keep quiet until the next time I’m angry at him.

9:01. I hope no one tries talking to me today. Within moments, a guy in a green raincoat tried hitting on her. Olivia farted and he moved to the back of the line. He lost his chance.

9:02. The bus began to pull up. Olivia tried acting casual in front of the passengers by twisting her neck hither and yonder. The metal-heads slinked away to stand behind the guy in the green raincoat.

9:03. The bus got stuck behind a traffic light truck. Olivia stayed focused to formulate a plan where she should sit. She knew she’d get the seat before the rear exit since no one ever takes the door that receives the most rain. Olivia was the only one who seems to enjoy it.

9:04. The bus pulled up in front of Olivia. She put her card in the machine, thanked the driver who replied, “alright,” and sat down on a wet seat.

9:05. The bus drove off, taking Olivia to her place of work where she would spend the next nine hours in a factory manufacturing condoms.