The register dinged. A dozen eggs, jug of milk, some apples came down the conveyor belt. Robbie hustled, flipping the milk jug over, gently setting it into the open bag in front of him. Eggs to the side. Apple bag given a quick twist to secure its contents. His hands moved on their own, they knew the job better than he did.

Robert. Rob. A few times Bob. His name tag said Robert. Nobody had ever asked him but he preferred Robbie. That’s what he’d have someone call him if they ever asked but no one ever did, until Benjamin.

Circumstances were different with Benjamin. His hands were tied behind his back, for one. And he’d been in the basement for more than six hours by the time it happened. Six hours is a short shift at the grocery store. It’s a bus ride to Des Moines or a movie marathon. Six hours is barely any time at all in the grand scheme of things. Robbie’s basement was not the grand scheme of things.

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