LIVING THE LIFE

‘LIVING THE LIFE’ is a series of four short stories that take place in the year 2020 in a fictional State named Callisto located in the Northern part of the United States. In Callisto, life is the same, yet different, because no one outside the State really understands anything about what actually goes on here. Along with the location; the characters, events, and conversations, are completely made up and you’re not meant to find morals, or meanings, or signs; But neither I, nor anyone else, can tell you what you think. Here we meet a couple of characters just leaving walmart on a wet and sunny afternoon day in July.

LIVING THE LIFE, CHAPTER 1: THE GRANDADDY HEIST

James and Weston were grinning like madmen as they walked out of walmart and made their way through the wet parking lot. It rained in the morning, but the sun was out now, thankfully, and it was beating down hard on their faces as they squinted, trying to find James’ Tesla in the packed parking lot. They walked around for a bit, until James decided to press the button on his key chain to set off the car alarm. The alarm rang and they realized they were far off. Laughing, they turned towards the opposite direction and strolled to the car.

That glossy red Tesla looked nice as hell, with the reflection of the sun beaming down on it with the dew from the condensed rain. James unlocked the doors, then they hopped in the car and emptied their pockets.

“Bro, you have to try this chocolate. It will really be the smoothest thing you ever eat,” said James.

“Damn. Alright, then.” Weston took a piece of the already broken-into-pieces hazelnut chocolate bar and popped it in his mouth. He chewed and chewed and then his face lit up. “Bruh.”

“I know right.”

“We might have to go back into walmart and steal some more!”

They both burst out laughing.

“Let’s see what else you got, though,” said Weston. “I got these lighters, a bottle of rubbing alcohol, body wash, and these chocolates.” That mint purple wrapper seemed like it was sparkling.

“I got a toothbrush, a pa-”

That’s what I forgot: a toothbrush. My bad, yo, continue.”

“A pack of undershirts and a pack of socks, and then the chocolate.”

“Another good haul. Let’s roll a joint to celebrate.”

“We roll joints everyday already.”

“That’s because we celebrate everyday,” said Weston, who then reached for his backpack from under the passenger seat where he was sitting and took out all his supplies.

“We’re cutting it pretty close, though,” said James. “They’re probably wondering why we’re taking so long.”

“Let’s roll then, we’ll fire up as we drive.”

James put the Tesla on autopilot and took the supplies from Weston as it began reversing out. Weston was fully capable of rolling a nice joint but James liked rolling while the Tesla was driving itself. For obvious reasons.

When he finished, James rolled the windows down, realized there wasn’t any music playing, plugged in his aux cord, put on some trap, turned it up, and sparked the joint. Then passed it to Weston.

James got bored of just sitting around, so he was driving when they exited off the highway in an area that looked like the middle of nowhere. There were crops and fields for miles. These empty roads always felt like a racetrack to James, so he acted as such; pressing his foot down on the gas pedal, he watched the speedometer go from 70 to 95 to 120m/h. Weston was having the time of his life in the passenger seat and then he spotted a police car parked in the distance ahead of them.

“Slow down!”

James looked at Weston and turned the music down. “What?”

“I said slow down. There’s a cop.”

James slowed down a bit. “That damn cop. To serve and protect? He’s literally just chillin’.”

“Waiting to catch people. I’m not sure how trying to catch people is serving or protecting.”

“They go to school to become a police officer claiming they want to do good in their communities, but really it’s because they want a gun, a badge, and the authority to tell people what to do and catch them living their lives. They have to be the worst type of people. I feel like they were bullied in school so they made it their life goal to become a cop to have the power to bully everyone else. At least they think they have that power. How’s a regular guy with a made up title supposed to have more power than me?”

“Preach! He has no idea what’s coming for him,” Weston said, deviously.

“So you’re down?” Asked James.

“Am I?” Just then, Weston reached in his bag, but this time he pulled out a gun. It was only a BB gun, though, but it was strong and could definitely break through glass…or car windows.

They were approaching the cop car and James was steadying the Tesla to drive straight. Weston was a quarter out the window, pointing the gun at the police car, waiting for the perfect shot. James got closer and closer; Weston closed one eye and took three shots. One bullet through the trunk window, one through the side mirror, and a last one through the drivers side window. Weston noticed that the foolish cop was a woman. He saw her drop her donut and begin fumbling around.

James and Weston looked in the rear view mirror and saw sirens following but they weren’t worried. He pressed down on the gas and he was gone. They gave each other a high five and ate some more chocolate as the sirens left their view.

They were still speeding down the open road. The sun was beginning to set now, but they were close to their destination. They were heading to their base where the rest of their squad was waiting for them to arrive. Their base was where they went when they wanted to be off the grid for a while. It was at the end of a man-made dirt road where there were no signs of other cars, or other life. That was the only inconvenience about the base, too; it took at least an hour and twenty minutes to get there from where they lived.

One day, around two years ago, James, Weston, and their two other friends, who you’ll meet later, were cruising down the same street they were on now, doing nothing but burning weed and listening to music. Then they all noticed a curious structure in the fields a ways away. They had the same idea to drive over and investigate, so, with no cars in sight, their friend Jeremy, who was driving, made a quick sharp turn right into the crops and sped across the field. When they got closer to the structure they realized it was only an abandoned house. They got out of the car to check it out and realized they could use this space for so much more. That was when they decided to not just talk about it, but be about it, too. They made plans to turn it into a base, and over the period of one summer, from May to August, they made it look a lot better than it was before.

They bought wood, paint, carpets, furniture, and everything else they needed. Their other squad member, his name is Bryce, had a spare T.V at home and they brought that, too, along with speakers and game consoles. They rented trucks to transport it all. By the time they finished, there was already a clear cut path from the road to the base; they made a fence to make it look like it was really their property, planted a row of trees along the path, and even put a mailbox by the fence, too, just to add to the effect and painted 70823 on it for the street number. When they finished construction up to their lofty standards they collapsed onto their couches and sparked up. They slept there that night, and continued sleeping there, partying there, it became their second home. Now they were using it to do much bigger and better things.

James slowed down the Tesla when they saw the bright blue mailbox with 70823 on it coming up. He turned onto the man-made dirt road and sped up again and drove to the base. All the tree’s they planted back then were grown now, it looked as if they were driving through a nice suburb. James drove by the front door and parked at the back where there was a fleet of other cars and trucks parked, too. They jumped out, walked to the back door and banged on it. They heard footsteps, then heard sounds of the door unlocking. It was Bryce.

“Took you guys long enough,” he said. James and Weston slipped inside. Jeremy was lying on the couch with headphones on.

“We had to make a stop at walmart,” said Weston, who unloaded his bag and tossed all the chocolate on the wooden table. Bryce and Jeremy grabbed the bars and ripped them open.

“You guys are clutch,” said Jeremy with his mouth full of melting chocolate.

“Just another day,” said James, smirking.

“Alright, guys,” projected Bryce. “Let’s go over the plan. We can’t afford to forget about any details. It’ll really be life or death tonight.”

“I’m ready. Chocolate gives me the power to think clearly,” said Jeremy. “The better the chocolate, the clearer I think and right now…” He paused. “Let’s just say the rain is gone.”

Bryce took a piece of chocolate and threw it at Jeremy. “You’re a fool.” Weston and James were still high, snickering behind the scenes.

Bryce pulled out a rolled up bristol board and spread it out across the wooden table that the chocolate was on and everyone gathered around.

The bristol board had different icons glued around it. Like piles of cash, watches, sports cars. There was an accurate drawing of the layout of the mall they were going to; and there was a legend on the side that showed icons for emergency exits, cameras, alarms, and the security guard offices. 

“So here’s the plan: We’re going to get all the money and all the watches at Rolex. We’ll pull up to the back of the mall, then we’ll get in through the back doors.” Bryce used his index finger to press down on the location on the layout and glided it from one spot to another. “We didn’t really need to think about cameras because of the masks but it’s good to know where they are. Just make sure all your skin is covered. We don’t even want them knowing what race we are.”

James continued. “Then once we’re inside we have to quickly cut open the lock on the gates that block off the stores. We might have heat on us by then but the guards won’t be down for a while.”

“They might call the police first,” said Weston.

That’s why we have to be quick.

“So after we get through the gates we dash to Rolex. Break the window. Rush in and get everything and then rush out,” said Jeremy.

“By that time, we most certainly will have heat on us. This part is what we need to execute flawlessly,” said Bryce. “First: if there’s a security guard trying to be a hero, I’ll try to talk him out of it. If he persists then we have to take him out. Second: If the cops get into the mall before we leave, that’s trouble. We’re gonna have to sprint out of the mall, and pop anyone who gets in our way.”

The space became quiet. It was easy to feel the anxiety growing now that it was almost time leave; They had been doing minor acts of theft up until this point, but they all agreed on planning and performing a Grandaddy Heist one day. They took a while to plan this out; from picking the spot, to choosing the day and time. They had to go to the mall to find out where the cameras and security guards were. They had to order everything they needed, weapons mostly. Now all they had to do was it. Jeremy popped another piece of chocolate in his mouth.

“Don’t worry, y’all, it’ll be okay. It always is, right?” He said, confidently.

“Yep, and I have the perfect playlist for our Grandaddy Heist,” said Weston, proudly.

“Just don’t forget why we’re doing this and we’ll be alright,” Bryce told them. “But knock on wood.” They all did.

Understandably still feeling nervous they all slumped down on the couches and let out a long exasperated sigh. James sat up and began preparing some weed. They lit a joint and took a bunch of bong hits until they stopped stalling and got up and left the base.

Weston and Bryce got into the black on black Mercedes G Wagon. James and Jeremy got into a rusty looking Jeep Wrangler. They planned to take two vehicles because they were going to leave the G Wagon in a neighbourhood around the mall and drive the Wrangler to do the heist, then on the way back, ditch the Wrangler and get back in the G Wagon to trick the police. That was the plan anyways. They started their engines, and were off.

At three in the morning, with the bright, sharp crescent moon shining high in the sky and millions of tiny stars sparkling around it, Bryce and Weston were down below exiting the black on black G Wagon, with black backpacks and their masks already on. Bryce had a lion mask, Weston had a wolf. They left it parked in front of a playground a couple blocks away from the mall. The rusty Wrangler with James and Jeremy rolled up right behind them and they got in. They both had their masks on top of their heads. James was an owl and Jeremy was a bear.

“Are we ready?” Asked Bryce, taking off his lion mask.

“Born ready.”

“Check.”

“Affirmative.”

“Alright then, boys, lets do it.”

James knew to pass the aux cord to Weston so he could set the vibes with his playlist. Weston snatched it and immediately started the tracks. [The Morning – G.O.O.D Music]. (During the remaining scenes, the songs playing will be put in [ ]. They could appear at the end of a paragraph, in the middle of a paragraph, or while characters are talking. Keep in mind; Weston’s playlist is playing.)

They drove into the mall grounds and slowly made their way to the back doors. James shut off the Wrangler and they all remained in the truck listening to their heartbeats. There was still time to turn back but no one wanted to be the first to say it. They were all thinking it, though. Instead, Jeremy took a deep breath and said “I don’t have all day, if we’re gonna do it, let’s do it. We’ll be okay, remember. It’s already ours.” 

They simultaneously agreed. They put their masks on, then grabbed their backpacks. The Wolf (the characters in the following scene will be referred to by the masks they’re wearing) connected his phone to his bluetooth speaker and continued his playlist. [King’s Dead – Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future]

“See, Weston! You know how to get us hyped! Let’s gooooooooo,” bellowed the Bear.

They jumped out of the Wrangler and rushed up to the back doors. The Bear ripped on the handle just for the hell of it; it was locked, so he pulled out a hefty hammer from his backpack and smashed the handle right off. He told the pack to stand back and gave the door one swift kick and it burst open.

“Damn, I was hoping it’d fly off the hinges.”

Just like that they were inside. The Lion started moving first and the three followed close behind. It was so eerie and surreal being inside a mall after hours, they could hardly believe they were there. They [Walk It Talk It – Migos, Drake] made it to the gate that blocked off the stores and once again, The Bear was ready. He pulled out bolt cutters and began cutting the gate open. The Owl put two fingers on his neck to check his pulse, The Wolf was nervously looking behind his back, The Lion was pacing back and forth bobbing his head to the music, and The Bear, who finally managed to pry open the gate, wiped sweat from his forehead. [H.A.M – The Throne] They walked through the gate. So far so good.

The golden aura of the Rolex store shone at the end of the hallway. Sensing victory, the four bandits pounced with haste towards the store. Just then, their hearts stopped; a security guard waltzed out from the shadows. The Lion, The Owl, The Bear, and The Wolf froze.

“Stop what you’re doing. Drop everything and stay where you are,” the guard called out.

“We’re not gonna do that, right?” Whispered The Wolf, who turned down the music a bit.

“No,” purred The Lion. “Like I said, I’m going to talk him out of this mistake he’s making.”

“I said drop everything!”

“Listen to him, he’s scared. What’s he trying to be a hero for, I don’t know,” chuckled The Bear. “Handle this, Bryce.”

The Lion stepped forward, [Live Up To My Name – Baka] still carrying his bag on his back.

“For the third time! I sa-”

“I clearly don’t care what you said, as you can see I’m walking right towards you. I have my three friends here; it’s four on one, why do you think it’s worth it to try to stop us?”

“I’m the security here, it’s my job to stop these things from happening,” he said stepping back.

“Yeah, you do an overnight shift for a company that doesn’t pay you enough to sacrifice your life for them. I’m sure you have a wife and kids. Let us do our thing and we’ll be on our way in no time. We’re just heading over to Rolex, you see.”

“What kind of man would I be if I just stepped aside and let you steal from here. I’d be a coward.” [SWEET – Brockhampton]

“Shut up, your family would rather have you than hear you died for your pride.”

Behind The Lion, The Owl peered at his watch and imagined the Rolex that was about to take its place. “Hey, Bryce, you know we don’t got all day.”

The Lion nodded and shifted his backpack from his back to his chest and took out a gun. Unlike Weston’s BB gun, this was real. The Wolf turned the music back up as The Lion spoke. “I’m sure you already called the cops, so this is your last chance to get out our damn way.”

The innocent, but confused security guard, who wasn’t aware The Lion was dead serious opened his mouth to say something but no words came out before The Lion nailed him with two shots. [The Art of Peer Pressure – Kendrick Lamar] Their hearts dropped as the guards limp body toppled to the ground. They began running for their lives towards the Rolex store.

With no time to waste, The Lion reached in his back again and took out a brick. He took a deep breath and with all his strength, flung the brick right through the stores glass. The alarm blared and echoed through the entire mall as The Lion leapt in, with The Wolf, The Owl, and The Bear right behind. The Bear took his hefty hammer and broke all the glass cases; The Wolf prowled behind and stuffed everything in his backpack. The Lion and The Owl dashed to the cash register and The Owl smashed it. It made the *ch-ching* sound as it opened up. The Owl swiped all the cash and jammed it in his backpack and they moved on to the next cash register.

[Look Alive – BlocBoy JB, Drake] Suddenly, they heard a shot and someone let out a painful scream. It was The Bear who was now crunched down on both knees, grabbing, reaching, desperately at his back to feel where the bullet entered. The police were there now. The Wolf scurried over to The Bear and told him to calm down and breathe and stay low.

Come out with your hands up right now!”

“We’re not gonna do that, right?”

“No. And this time we’re not talking. [Walk on Water – ASAP Mob] We’re about to perform a miracle. Remember, friends:” The Owl, The Wolf, and the struggling Bear, who was now on his feet stared at The Lion. “Get rich, or die trying. Weston you know what to do.”

The Wolf sprinted over to his black duffle bag with ‘SUPREME’ printed along the sides and unzipped it, revealing maximum power. He reached in and grabbed an AR and threw it to The Lion, another one for The Owl, one for The Bear, and a one for himself.

The officer outside the store told them, again, to come out with their hands up.

The Wolf continued to feel around the bottom of the duffle bag and pulled out explosives.

“Got them, Bryce!”

“Okay, go to the back of the store and set them. Let me know when you’re done.”

Bryce told Jeremy to stay down and told James to look out while he slowly walked over to the front of the store entrance. When he peeked out, a bullet flew right by his head.

“Oh shit!” Roared The Lion, jumping back and landing on his back. “Weston!”

[All Day – Kanye West]

“Ready, Bryce!”

The Lion turned around and saw The Wolf coming out from the back of the store. The Lion faced forward and said “You three get to the back, I’ll let a few shots fly to distract them. No, I’m not about to sacrifice myself for you three to escape. By the time I get there the wall has to be blown. Jeremy, you’re cool to run, right?” Running on pure adrenaline, The Bear nodded. “Ready? Go.”

The Wolf grabbed the backpacks with the watches and money, The Owl helped The Bear and they bolted to the back, while The Lion bravely crept up and began shooting. Just holding down on the trigger like he was playing Modern Warfare 2 on Rust. He saw bullets flying and glass shattering all around him. He heard an explosion and kept shooting. His clip emptied and he dropped his gun, grabbed his bag and ran to the back where the wall was blown off and his friends were no where to be seen. He did see a gruesome trail of blood, and, guessing it belonged to Jeremy, ran out for dear life and was relieved to see his squad huddled up by a hallway, not far ahead, signalling for him to hurry.

The Lion [Outro – Nipsey Hussle] caught up to his squad. The Bear was wincing but still stood up as best as he could. The Owl and The Wolf were gasping for air. They peaked behind them and saw two cops surveying the back of the store. They were spotted and The Lion jumped up to run but just then another explosion went off.

“I put another bomb there for that exact reason,” smiled The Wolf.

“Good thinking.”

“Right now, I’d say we’re on a solid four stars,” cried The Bear. “We’ll hit five if we get outside and we’re surrounded, with helicopters drifting above.”

“Good to see you got jokes still,” chirped The Owl.

They were on the run again and they saw the door they came in through. Thank God it wasn’t blocked off, but they had to hurry. Running, sprinting, dashing, Usain Boltingdown the hallway they heard more shots and another scream let out but they kept running. They had to. More shots. While sprinting, The Wolf tossed another explosive behind him and set it off. He looked behind him and saw the mall in shambles. He saw shards of glass spray all over the lifeless body of the security guard. They kept running.

Running.

Running.

[The Race – Tay-K]

They slammed through the back doors and got inside the Wrangler and took off their masks. James happened to get to the drivers side first so he started it up and drove as fast as possible through the parking lot and out onto the road.

“WOOOOOOOO,” yelled out Weston. “WHAT A FRIGGIN RUSH THAT WAS, EH”

“We need to get to the G Wagon ASAP, we’re a couple of wounded bastards.”

Jeremy was talking about himself and Bryce, who was shot in the back of the leg.

“I’ll be fine. WE DID IT, BOYS!”

“Yezzir,” said James, giddily. He was going at least 125 right now.

[A Milli – Lil Wayne]

They made it to where the G Wagon was left, and painfully, but triumphantly, got out of the Wrangler and got into the Wagon. They unloaded their prizes and showed them off to each other. Watches, watches, watches. Money, money, money. Jeremy and Bryce nearly forgot that they were injured, but the throbbing pain kept reminding them. Luckily, Bryce had experience with first aid so he knew what to do and operated on Jeremy in the back seats of the G Wagon. Then he fixed up himself. He was hit pretty bad but he’d survive, it was only in the leg.

As the sharp, crescent moon began to set, the stars were getting dimmer. James drove off, back to the base, in the sunrise. They made it through another day and the new one was just starting. 

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