My eyes stay locked on Quinntella’s back from behind the passenger seat; seeing the back of her neck and poofy hairstyle through the head rest of the black SUV. She’s looking out of the window at the high rises from the freeway, as our driver takes us to the bank. Excluding Trane at the opposite window from me, the rest of the bunch are fresh faces from the outer crew. Quinn looks back at Trane, mainly focusing on the two newcomers in her peripherals, giving me a side profile. Her caramel skin is slightly damaged by minor cuts and bruises from the shit we get into. The dark green in her eyes take a quick tilt over at me, swaying her two side by side puffy ponytails with her slight head shift.
She commands in her thuggish tone, “Alright fellow criminals, listen up. A lotta people applied for the position to be where you are now, and I chose four of you, excluding Trane and Jordan. Now, I’m gonna go through this plan one more time. This job will be done with seven of us; two of whom are already outside of the bank, waiting on us to arrive. This is getaway vehicle one, vehicle two is parked two blocks directly behind the bank. This vehicle will be parked there as well by our driver, who will then meet us at the side door of the bank in the alley. Is that clear getaway driver one?” The driver nods in agreement then Quinn continues, “Ten minutes from now, we’ll be at the bank, and fifteen minutes from now, so will a money truck that’s bringing another large sum of money for us.”
The guy in the middle asks, “Why not just take the truck?”
She quickly states with her answer, “Ah, a stupid question, it’ll be too difficult to get away. Once the truck docks inside the garage, we’ll take down the drivers, cashing out the truck too. We’ll each be walking out with five hundred thousand dollars a piece, or however much you can carry. That much cash weighs eleven pounds and you all will be carrying a duffel bag to hold your own loot. I don’t want any fuck ups. An alarm goes off, it’s gonna be a fuckin’ massacre getting outta there so no killin’ hostages or puttin’ on too tough of a show; just group everybody together, wave your guns around, and keep everybody quiet. Our names are as follows; Quinntella, Trane is Alpha, Jordan’s Bravo, Charlie’s in the driver seat and Delta’s in the middle. Our last two guys are Echo and Fox. Their task is separate so you won’t need to communicate with them. Alpha, Charlie, Echo, will be on crowd control. Bravo, Fox, and I will be clearing the garage and going down to the vault. Six of the bags will be loaded there and the other one will come from the money truck. Lastly, I got one of my outside guys handling surveillance. Any more questions?”
We all sit in silence, so Quinn faces forward, then I reach back into the trunk space and begin dispatching masks to everyone except Quinn. I’m sure the others would like to walk around mask-less like her but people would be confused about who’s in charge; I, on the other hand, would prefer to remain anonymous to any public eyes because I’m not off the grid. Someone like her can’t show her face without getting shot at. Everyone puts on their assortment of silly masks, but I hold on to mine until after passing out weapons.
Pistols for everyone; machine guns for the rest of us, and the boomstick for Quinn, loving to make some noise. I fantasize about how smooth the job is going to go, although I’m nervous about the four new guys on the team. The plan couldn’t be any more simple than what she explained. I’ve only ever seen these guys hangin’ around at a distance, never once working with them.
These guys look too clumsy to be any form of traitor; I’m just nervous about them messing this whole thing up for us. The money isn’t why Quinn and I are here, but I’d rather not get killed because of these newbies. Hopefully Trane keeps a close enough eye on them. Getting lost in the busy Nee York streets down below, we exit the freeway, arriving at the bank only minutes later to see lots of foot traffic.
This kind of attention is exactly what Quinn wants for her next performance. She likes to put her stamp on everything that she does, and there’s no better stamp than a face. The driver hangs a U-turn, causing traffic to halt for us as he pulls over at the curb, greeting Echo and Fox across from the bank. I put on my mask as I get out of the truck, with Quinn leading the five of us silly masked, gun-wielding bandits across the street. The driver takes off to park with the other truck two blocks away, as planned.
People in their cars and on the sidewalk out front watch us, certain of what we’re about to do, as they pull out their phones. The bank is well-known, being in the downtown district, and has never been successfully hit before. This “A.S.L. Banking” belongs to Danielle Milligan, one of the criminal underworld’s finest and has had money laundered through it on occasion. We reach the double doors, opening up for Quinn, and taking the three steps up to the security guard, with his hands already up in the air. Quinn lowers her shotgun as Alpha subdues the guard then I stick my MP5 into the back of another.
I demand in a low tone, “Keep it down.”
The second guard remains silent as I take his pistol out of his holster, using it to push him forward. The unaware tellers and customers are still conducting business in the huge establishment. This bank has service representatives on both sides of the first floor and tellers behind a window in the back. The right corner has stairs going up and down to the upper and lower level. From the schematic plan we saw, the upper floor is just offices and the lower level goes houses the vault. The left side leads to the back entry and garage.
Quinn shouts, “Attention everyone, please no shouting or yelling because I have a hangover out of this world! I have enough bullets to kill all of you, so tellers don’t touch a fuckin’ thing! Everyone calmly bring your asses to the center of the room, right now! Lets go!”
The people do as she commands, silently but also in great fear. The customers mostly stick together and the tellers do the same, although in very close proximity. Everyone keeps dead silent, even after gathering and lying on their stomachs in the huge square, like they’ve done this before.
Quinn speaks as she walks around the crowd, “Bravo, Fox, we need somebody with keys to get us into the vault.” She speaks to the crowd as I guide the security guard to the civilians, “Anyone wanna volunteer before I have one of my armed psychopaths start shooting you one by one?” A woman quickly raises her hand from the herd then Quinn compliments, “Good girl. Fox, bring her with us. Get comfortable people, this will all be over in about seven minutes.” Quinn and Fox head for the stairs with the female manager behind them as she says to me, “Bravo, let Delta in so he can secure the truck then meet us in the vault. Crowd control, hold it down.”
I swipe a keycard from the guard’s hip then split diagonally left and head for the single door that will lead me to the garage. The schedule for the bank only has three armed guards, two of which are now hostages and the other is alone at the loading dock; a security guard that I need to quietly subdue. The door takes me to a cream-colored hallway with three additional doors. The bathroom and break room are to the left, then a door dead ahead to the dock. I casually secure the first two rooms with my pistol at the ready, before going to the dock.
Feeling the heat trapped within my mask and sweat manifesting on my forehead, I crack the dock door so slightly. Easing my vision through the slit on my right, I can see the closed door to the guard booth. Without much time to waste, I still cautiously slide through the barely opened door, looking around with my pistol high at the vacant garage below. Walking the ramp, I listen at the door to the booth, hearing sounds of a single male complaining to himself about the ball game. During his rant, I creep in, placing my pistol at his back to quiet his words.
He slowly turns his neck around to me then even more slowly raises his hands as he holds his stare into my eyes. Before he gets any ideas, I strip him of his pistol, going akimbo on him. I step back and use my gun to order him around, leading him down the dock to the back door. I nod, when he looks back at me for opening approval and he opens the door, letting Delta inside. He enters with the rope over his shoulder and immediately begins tying up the guard, as I shut the door behind him.
Instead of hanging around, I go back to the lobby to check on the others to see that everything is cool and quiet, followed by the stairs down toward the vault. I proceed through the big hallway, passing the opened safe deposit room, and into the vault. I watch Quinn and Fox fill up the duffle bags while the woman stands terrified at the back wall. A couple of bags are already filled and rested on the table for an escape with us. Quinn notices me, not saying a word as she continues tossing the stacks of banded cash into the bags. I swing the first two over my shoulder, lugging them upstairs then sliding them in plain view of our crowd control members.
Before going back down, one of our guys grabs the arm of one of the women from the crowd, “What’s say we take us a hostage? I fuckin’ love blondes.”
The woman doesn’t cower away from him, although she’s clearly afraid. Forced ejections of fright come from the civilians at his sudden behavior shift, but only momentarily.
Trane demands, “Stop dickin’ around, Echo.”
Echo wraps his arms around the woman’s waist, fondling her ass as he adds, “If I’m dickin’ around anything, it’s gonna be her. Want some cash? Gold bars would be nice. You ever fuck a rich guy baby?”
The woman begs, “Please, stop.”
One of the male civilians literally rise to her defense, “Leave her alone.”
I watch Echo’s mask slowly turn to the brave, yet stupid man. It’s obvious that Echo’s a hot-head and sees a need to prove it to everyone.
Echo asks, “What did you just say to me?” He pushes the woman away then points his gun at the man on his approach, “Did someone tell you to talk? Or get up?” The man successfully cowers down but Echo barks angrily, “No get back up, you lost your right to sit down!”
The man does as he’s told and explains, “Listen, we’re all afraid here. You’ve shaken up all of us and we’re doing as you asked. She doesn’t deserve-”
“If you were doing what you were told, you wouldn’t have stood up. Sit down.” The man gets back down on the floor then Echo says, “Stand up.”
The man hesitates as Echo stands only inches away from him and the crowd. Echo draws his pistol from behind his back. His games are his thing to play, but I need to get back to the dock; I’m certain the truck has arrived by now and Fox may need a hand.
On my way back, I listen to Echo, “Now that’s how you-” I hear a loud cracking sound mixed with metal, “-do-” I spin to see he smacked the man with his gun and still is, “-what-”
Trane shouts, “Echo?!”
Echo ignores Trane, smacking the guy again, “-you’re-” Trane approaches Echo upon another smack of the gun, “-told!”
The pistol goes off and slight gasps from people in the low huddle follow close behind it. The bullet doesn’t sound like it pierced anywhere and bounced away into the safety of a wall. The alarm sounds with a ridiculously loud ringing sound, like the old school bells. What the hell triggered the alarm? I know it wasn’t sound that set it off. Someone must be hiding out in here near an alarm.