Matt stirred, irritated by the sound of flirtatious murmuring mingled with lip-smacking. He half turned to the couple on the dingy mattress a few feet from his own. “What the hell guys?” he muttered groggily, startling them both, “can’t you take that somewhere else?” Jessica and Andy giggled as they both got up, the clang of the rusty bed springs reverberating in Matt’s sleepy, alcohol-addled brain. Andy shuffled behind Jessica towards the bathroom, his hands on her waist.
Matt rolled back over and shut his eyes. A narrow ray of light streamed onto his face through a slit between sickly floral curtains. He could still hear the two lovebirds fumbling about through the paper thin bathroom door.
“Ah fuck it,” he sighed. He rose unsteadily to his feet, stumbling into a cluster of empty beer bottles, a reminder of the previous night’s celebrations, from which he hadn’t quite recovered. He knocked on the door, “Hurry it up, we have to go meet Malcolm.”
“We haven’t even started!” Andy shouted back.
“Good. Don’t bother then. Let’s just go.”
“Here, you drive,” Matt said, the car keys glinting in the mid-morning sun as he tossed them to his brother. “I’ll hold onto this,” he added, gesturing to a black backpack.
Jessica pulled down her cap an inch, grimacing against the brightness. “Can we stop for some coffee?” she asked, “I think there’s a Starbucks on the way.”
Matt shook his head, “Let’s just get to Malcolm’s motel first, you can probably get coffee there.” Jessica muttered a couple profanities through gritted teeth as she slumped into the back seat of the old Camry.
“Motel coffee? Like from a machine? Why’d we even bother steal all that money then?” Andy chimed in.
“You mean this money?” Matt pulled a handful of hundred dollar bills out of the bag and flashed them in the air sporting a childish grin. His face quickly turned to stone, something catching his eye. He held the bills up to the sun. “No strip,” he mumbled.
“What?” Andy said.
“There’s no fucking security strip!”
“What do you mean?”
“Get in. Drive!”
Andy slammed his foot down on the accelerator and began racing towards the motel, his flustered mind not registering the implications of being pulled over. “You’re saying the money is fake?!”
“What else could I possibly mean?” Matt snapped. “Malcolm must’ve switched our half.”
“Wh..how!? Jess was with him the whole time! Weren’t you J?” S. glanced up at the rear view mirror to see Jessica’s head bowed like a scolded puppy.
Matt turned to face her. Jessica wringed her hands nervously, not daring to meet Matt’s glare.