Let me tell you I got this friend Willie, he was in for a thirty-year stretch but just got self-paroled. See, he puts this ladder up against the prison wall and whaddya know, the spotlight catches him. So he looks right up at the tower and waves, yelling “It’s okay!” and the dumb butts let him escape.
Long as I’ve known him, he’s robbed banks. “That’s where the money is,” that’s how a newspaper quoted him. Me, I mostly rob the five-and-dimes like Woolworth’s, and right now I’m doing a nickel for it upstate. But Willie puts on a disguise, walks into a bank waving a Tommy gun, and just like Bob’s your uncle he walks out with loot. The gun’s always unloaded, he says, because a loaded gun might hurt somebody. The bank tellers never know that, though.
So why does he do it? Money’s the motive, sure, but I think there’s something else. There’s a pure joy in the act of it, like the robbery itself is a work of art. It’s like the way Joe Dimaggio smacks a double, the way Enrico Caruso hits high C, the way Pablo Picasso paints whatever the fuck he paints. It’s like getting up and going to work at a job you love.
Not everyone appreciates Willie’s dedication to his art, of course, like cops and judges. He’s spent as much of his life in the can as out of it, and dollars’ll get you donuts he hasn’t seen the inside of a prison cell for the last time. But if he does come back inside, he has a lot of friends to look out for him. He’s never been known to hurt a soul, and he loves to teach his craft.