I know, I know, I've been awfully slack of late. I have my excuses, but I won't bore you with them...
Nevertheless, here is today's challenge - Second person bank robbery. A bit rough and ready, I typed this flat out in one sitting and I'm throwing it online without even rereading or checking for continuity errors or typos. A piece of fresh writing, bloody and still steaming...
The four men in balaclavas walk into the bank with almost military efficiency; three of them immediately fan out across the bank’s foyer and remove Heckler & Koch MP5s from beneath their coats while the fourth barricades the door behind them.
“Everyone face down, on the ground with your hands on your head.” says the largest of the men, his voice precise and free of any noticeable accent. “This is a robbery.”
The manager looks at you, his eyes wide, as he finally realises that this is really happening to him and you are forced to stare back at him hard to stop him from betraying you. You might be dressed as a bank teller, but the bank manager knows that you’re actually an undercover FBI agent.
“If anyone tries to hit an alarm, they die. If anyone tries to make a phone call, they die.” intones the man calmly. “If anyone tries anything stupid, they die.”
He scans the room, watching as people get to their knees and then down on to their bellies, furtively glancing at each other as they do so. You wait as long as you can before following suit; lying face down on the floor and clasping your hands behind your head, angling it slightly to one side so that you can surreptitiously watch what the men are doing.
“Remember people, this is the bank’s money,” says the man as he walks around the room, “No one needs to die for someone else’s money.”
You feel your heart hammering hard in your chest, each beat so loud in your ears that it seems like the whole room must hear it. This is the moment where your plan lives or dies; if this goes the way you planned it then no one will get hurt today. If it goes wrong, then things could get messy.
Two hours earlier this morning, you and your three-man team had sat down with the bank manager and briefed him on the intel you had obtained about today’s raid. The gang, you had explained, were ex-military and ruthless; on the bank jobs that went smoothly they left everyone alive, but when things went badly, they left no survivors. It was, therefore, vital, that no one tried to engage them while they were inside the bank.
The plan was simple; the gang were to be allowed to carry out the robbery as they had planned. There were to be no heroics, no attempts to trip silent alarms and summon the police; the gang would take the money from the vault with no problems. But, what they didn’t know, was that the bank notes would be marked with the latest in FBI technology; micro transmitters that would enable the gang to be tracked back to their hideout where an enhanced FBI SWAT team could move in and arrest them without endangering the lives of innocents. You were disguised as a bank teller while two other members of your team were disguised as customers and the final member had replaced the bank’s security guard.
The leader of the group strides up and down the room while his three companions keep point, their guns covering the mass of bodies on the bank floor. Finally, he stops and prods the bank manager between the shoulder blades with the barrel of his gun.
“You’re the manager. I’m going to need you to come with me.”
The manager slowly gets up, looking down at the ground as he does his best to avoid the man’s eyes.
“Time check.” barks the man to his colleagues.
“10.29,” replies the man to his left.
The leader stares the bank manager in the face. He has ice blue eyes.
“What time does the time lock deactivate?”
“Ten thirty,” mumbles the manager, holding his gaze steadfast to the floor.
“Then let’s go.”
He drags the manager across the foyer and out through the back offices, away from your line of sight and you cross your fingers that he can hold it together long enough for them to open the vault and take the money. If the manager goes to pieces now, it is difficult to see how this could end well.
You count out a minute in your head, exchanging looks with one of your team who is face down on the other side of the foyer in amongst a group of real customers, before the man finally emerges from the back of the bank with a broad smile.
“It’s open. Bring the bags.”
One man joins him, leaving only two men to guard the foyer. If anyone has the idea to play at being a hero, it would be around about now. Replacing the security guard with one of your team had been essential, security guards often dream of being heroes and earning acclaim. There could be no loose cannons today. The men keep their weapons trained on the room and no one so much as stirs.
Another minute gone and the two men re-emerge, each now weighted down with two bulging black canvas bags. They drop the bags in the middle of the floor and wait while one of the men who had, until now, remained behind dashes out back. You know that they are going for the security camera footage; pulling all the hard drives that store the bank’s imagery and taking them with them. The manager was pleased when you told him that you’d installed a set of FBI mini-cameras that would capture everything regardless.
And with that, and with only four minutes having passed since the gang first walked into the bank, the men are gone. There is a squeal of rubber against asphalt as their getaway vehicle speeds away from the scene and then the room suddenly explodes in a hubbub of crying women and panicked voices. Your voice and the FBI badge silences the room as you thank everyone for helping to ensure that a dangerous gang can be brought to justice.
The gang are heading south, you tell the manager and you need to make sure that you keep in range of the transmitters. You tell him that he did a great job and he seems pleased; feeling good about himself as he forgets just how scared he was in the moment. The follow-up team will be with them in ten to fifteen minutes; they’ll want to interview everyone and run a full forensic sweep. Until then, it’s vital that no one leaves the building and the manager is more than happy to take charge again, ordering people to take a seat as his confidence returns. You thank him one last time and then head out to your car with the team.
You take out your cell phone as you drive away from the bank.
“It all went to plan.”
“It certainly did.”
“See you in an hour.”
You flick the cell phone closed, lean back in your seat and smile.
In twenty minutes time, when no follow up team has arrived at the bank, the manager will begin to get worried. When it reaches half an hour, he’ll contact someone higher up in his organisation. Things will start unravelling around about then; it won’t be long before the FBI are contacted and it is determined that there was no undercover FBI team operating at the bank today. In an hour’s time, they’ll realise that they’ve just been comprehensively played.
But, by then, you and the money are going to be a long way away…