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Crime Drama Fiction

Ray Baker is dressed in a blue button up shirt, a flak jacket snugly pressed against his body, black pants and matching boots. In his left hand is a large empty canvas bag and on his right hip is a glock secure in its holster. From under a black cap his eyes scan the severely outdated bank. He moves forward like he belongs there; but he doesn’t. He is firmly convinced that he only needs to look the part in order to be granted access to anywhere he desires. In his mind he is invisible so long as no one knows his true motives.   

For the past five years Ray has been working at a company called S&K, one of the largest local distributors of sundries and wine supplies in the county. He’s a delivery driver and while out on his “beat” he’s developed an obsession with being in places he isn’t supposed to be. He found that all it took was showing up with a box and a truck and he would be granted access to any number of businesses and organizations without having to show his credentials. He developed a habit of bringing a package around with him on his days off so that when the mood struck him he could walk into an employee entrance or the loading dock of any number of businesses just to get the rush of being where he shouldn’t. He sometimes felt like a ghost who was able to peer into the “behind the scenes” of so many restaurant kitchens, storage rooms of large corporations, warehouses full of products being prepared to ship, and supply closets in hospitals and the back rooms of stores at the mall. He would wander long hallways with no one in them and patrol work rooms with people at their computers clacking away at their keyboards. Sometimes someone would look up and see that he was a courier by the box in his hands and go back to their tasks. 

“We can’t eat there,” he told his girlfriend Mary one night when they were cruising downtown looking for a place to stop for dinner.

Why not? I’ve heard good things, she said. 

“If you saw the kitchen you would know why. Trust me, we ain’t eatin there.” It never seemed to matter where he walked into so long as he carried a box and moved with authority. Sometimes he would even break out the hand truck as an extra cover. He never wore a uniform or a badge. He began to wonder how much farther he could get if he did.

Mary thought he was crazy when he started talking about how easy it would be to walk into a bank and rob it. 

“I”m telling you, Mary. I do this shit all the time. All I gotta do is look the part. I’ll dress up like one of those armored car guys, walk into the vault and take the take! Easy peasy.” 

“You’re a crazy son of a bitch, you know that? I ain’t going to be your get away driver, I’ll tell you that.” 

“I’ll come up with something...” 

Steven was fired a month ago from S&K but was secretly living in the warehouse in a nest he built high up in the pallet racks. Ray was sympathetic to his situation and helped him avoid detection. Late at night after a route Ray would be the lookout while Steven climbed up the pallet rack to his bed. Sometimes they would talk, and eventually Ray shared his idea of robbing a bank successfully if they could be convincing enough. Ray was a bit of a salesman and after several discussions was able to convince Steven, who had been looking for work ever since he was fired, to be the driver. They pieced together a uniform and even though the getup wasn’t perfect it was close enough that no one would notice the difference. 

They had a bit of luck when Steven met a guy at a bar who used to work for an armored car company. He laid out the details of how the procedure worked. The barcode that had to be scanned in order to keep tabs on their movement. The weekly pickups that were never done at the same time of day.   

"Are you thinking of robbing a truck?" The man had asked. 

"Nah, hell no. Just job hunting. Was considering applying."

After the tip they were able to narrow down the pickup day to Thursday and confirmed that the truck never showed up at the same time. Sometimes it was around noon, other times closer to three, or somewhere in between. 

“We don’t have an armored car,” Steven said one day as they sat outside Chase bank. 

“It doesn't matter. We need something quicker. I think this ride right here will be just fine.” 

My clunker!? You gotta be shittin. Plus it's registered in my name! We gotta rent something…” 

No renting. How much money do you have?”

“I just lost my job! I’m sleeping in the damn warehouse of my previous employer! I ain’t got no fucking money!” 

“We gotta have something to get away in. Maybe we can find a ride on Craigslist.” 

Ray walks toward the half door to the left of the teller booth. There are seven people standing in line, bankers sit with other clients in little cubicles. A woman, maybe a manager, notices Ray and walks over to the half door to greet him.  

Outside, Steven is in the parking lot in a 80’ yellow Honda civic. He's smoking and bouncing his legs impulsively, his hands tightly gripped against the steering wheel.

Ray and Mary had terminated their lease over a month ago and were now sleeping at the Sand Man Hotel. 

“This shit better work like you think,” Mary said one day as they sat by the pool. 

“I’ve been doing this for years.” 

“You say that like you’ve been robbing banks. All you’ve done is walk into places like you own it. I can’t believe I’m trusting you.” 

“Look at this scene,” Ray said, looking over at the kids jumping into the pool while their parents drank blended margaritas. 

“Pretty soon we’ll be doing this on the beaches of Miami, minus the kids. But who knows, maybe kids too...”  

But the truth was Ray wasn’t all that sure it would work. Plan B was something he didn’t want to act out and hoped that he could fool the bankers into giving him the take. 

Outside the bank Steven is blowing smoke from his nose. He stares through the bank windows trying to make out figures. His leg is bouncing uncontrollably and when someone nearby honks their horn he jumps and yells to “Shut up!” 

At the half door there is a barcode on the wall. Ray nervously holds up his phony scanner and it beeps. 

“Thursday it is,” Ray had said when he and Steven met at a local diner on College and Mendocino. 

“Yeah, but what time?” 

“This is where we gamble.”

“Sometime between twelve and three, Steven mumbles.” 

“One thirty,” Ray says nodding his head. “One thirty.” 

It was 1:33 in the afternoon when Ray entered the teller booth. He’s led to the old style vault, a large walk in with steel bars and a huge dial. 

“What did you have for us this week?” The girl asks. 

“I’m here to make a pickup,” Ray says, lost in the rush of being where he shouldn’t.  

The girl looks at him a little confused. “Oh, but what about our cash?” 

“That’s what I’m here for,” Ray says. “I’m here for the money.” 

“So, you’re saying you're only here for a pickup?” 

“That’s right, like usual.” 

“Okay, but I… listen, lets go back to the booth. I need to make a call. I’m worried about our cash levels.” 

At a red light an armored truck squeaks to a stop. Steven, a cigarette hanging loosely from his mouth, turns toward the sound. 

“Ah, fuckin hell!” 

Inside the bank the woman begins to leave the vault, but before she can go Ray pulls out the gloch from its holster and shoves it under the woman’s chin. 

I didn’t want to do this but you’ve made me. Fill the fucking bag or I’ll spray your skull against the ceiling.” 

Ray was acting. He was the robber he wasn’t, the one like in all those Hollywood movies.

Fill--the fucking--bag!” he says against her ear. 

The armored truck pulls up into a loading zone and the passenger, an armored guard, exits the vehicle. 

“Ah holy hell!” Steven says. 

The woman is stuffing the bag with cash and Ray is telling her to hurry up under his breath. When she’s done the time is 1:41. 

Get on the ground--and don’t--fucking move!” he instructs her. The woman complies and lays there with her hands over her face sobbing. 

Ray begins to exit the vault and as he rounds a corner he sees a teller standing at the half door. Someone is on the other side but he can’t make out who. As he approaches, the teller looks behind her and reveals the guard on the other side. With a sudden instinct of playing the part, Ray raises the gun and fires three quick shots. One hits the teller in the neck and blood goes spraying into the guard’s face as a round hits his cheek and the other goes into his face just below his nose. He drops to the ground and people are screaming. Ray steps across the threshold from the tellers booth, he looks down at the guard whose face is a mess of gore, his eyes are blinking and he is reaching for his sidearm. Ray fires his weapon in the center of the man’s forehead which creates a small explosion of blood and brain matter to spread out against the floor. Before he exits the scene he leans down and takes the man’s gun. 

From outside Steven can hear the four shots. He looks to the driver in the armored truck who has his eyes trained on the bank entrance. When Ray emerges he immediately aims the weapon at the truck and unloads the rest of the clip into the windshield. The bullet proof glass splinters and the driver ducks behind the dash. Ray jumps into the back seat of the yellow Honda and yells, “GO, GO, GO!” 

As the Honda Civic takes the on ramp headed north, Ray is pulling off his clothes. The sweat makes everything stick and he frustratingly yanks it all off. As he is changing, two police cars head south on the other side of the freeway. They pass in a hurry, sirens blaring. 

The yellow Honda pulls into the Sandman Hotel.

“Mary! It's time to move, darling,” Ray yells as he and Steven barge into the room. 

“I was so fucking worried you wouldn’t come back,” she kisses him hard. 

“We gotta go baby.” 

“What’s the take?” Steven asks. 

“I don’t know but there were a lot of hundreds stuffed in that bag.” 

“Let's split it up.” 

“How much do you want?” 

“What do you mean? I want my fair share. Let's split it.” 

Ray looks over at Mary who returns his stone cold gaze. He raises the weapon he took from the guard and fires a round into the center of Steven’s face. 

“Killing really does get easier the more you do it…” Ray says. 

Mary grabs the keys to Steven’s clunker sitting on the night stand and they slip out of the room. 

When they hit interstate 580 they breathe a little. 

“I think we did it sugar plum,” Ray says. 

“You think?” 

“Every mile we get a little further.” 

“What about our identities? They’ll catch up to us sooner or later.” 

“Don’t worry. We got time to think about who we can be. We ain’t Mary and Ray no more, baby. It's a new scene, we gotta act the part. I figure we bum around the United States until we come up with some new identification. We got plenty of money to turn into new people.” 

“Who are you going to be?” 

“I don’t know yet. But you sure look like a Bonnie if I say so myself.” 

Bonnie? Does that make you my Clyde?” 

Ray looks over at her with a big full toothed smile.

“You know what, baby? I think I like that. You’re my Bonnie and I’m your Clyde.”

“Forever?” 

“Forever and ever. There is no question,” their eyes meet and so do their lips. 

November 21, 2020 04:03

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