“Get in,” David said from the driver’s seat of the white, nondescript Ford Econoline van.
Roger negotiated a small snow pile by the sidewalk in front of his porch, opened the door of the van, and got in. David stepped on the gas. Roger rolled up the passenger side window.
“You ready?” David said.
“I guess so,” Roger said.
“Well, you either are or you aren’t. Which is it?” David said.
“I’m ready. I’m ready,” Roger said, running his hand through his head of long brown hair. He tied his hair up in a pony tail so that it was off of the shoulders of his black suit.
“What smells in here?” Roger said.
“I don’t know. It’s a rental. Could be smoke, dog shit, old milk, who knows?” David said, scratching his salt-and-pepper, chest length beard.
“They could have at least cleaned it, you know,” Roger said.
“I got the ‘no-questions-asked-pay-in-cash’ price,” David said.
“How far to the venue?” Roger asked.
“About ten minutes,” David said.
Roger reached in his suit jacket and pulled out his Glock 17. He rubbed it down with a felt cloth.
“What the hell, man!?” David said.
“I’m cleaning my gun,” Roger said.
“I can see that. Do you have to do it here!?” David said.
“It’s my New Year’s Resolution.”
“To clean my Glock before every job.”
“Couldn’t you have done that before you got in the van?”
“Yeah, but I forgot. I promised myself I’d clean my gun before every job.”
“Last job I did, it jammed.”
“A clean gun can jam.”
“Yeah, but I’ll feel better about the job if my gun is clean.”
“If the Po-Po rolls up next to us, keep it low, would ya?”
Roger rolled out a towel on to his lap and field stripped his weapon, laying the pieces out before him. He wiped down the Glock, lubricated the appropriate parts, and put it back together. It took less than two minutes.
“That was impressive,” David said.
“You have any New Year’s Resolutions?”
“I’m gonna try to go to church more,” David said.
“You do realize that those church types don’t take too kindly to thieves.”
“Well, yes and no.”
“How could they be OK with a thief? Does ‘thou shall not steal’ sound familiar?” Roger said. He rolled up his cleaning towel and placed it under the seat with his gun oil.
“The way I see it, yeah, I’m a sinner. So, I’ll fit right in at church. And besides, they’d have to forgive me.”
“I don’t find that argument persuasive, Rog.”
“I could join up, repent, and get into a position of trust. I’ll wait until I’m an usher and then make out with the collection plate one Sunday and just keep walking. Or better yet, maybe I could become a deacon or something and lift from the church accounts.”
“Man, I could never do that. I like the hard action too much.”
“The cut’s totally better for embezzlement than for lifting ice,” David said.
“Really? What you get for robbing a church?”
“All of it.”
“Sure, but how you gonna launder it?”
“I’ll work that out later.”
“Good luck. Cleaning cash is expensive. I’d rather get a cut free and clear than deal with dirty money. What’s the cut on this job?”
“5 percent each.”
“Really, even the inside man?”
“Yeah. He’s only taking 5%”
“He owns the store. He’s taking the insurance proceeds and 5%.”
“Damn, good for him.”
“Pays out double if you get shot.”
“Are we shooting him?”
“He wants it in the leg.”
“Did you get that in writing?”
“I ain’t shootin’ no one unless my life is threatened or I know for sure that he or she wants me to shoot him or her.”
“You can’t get that in writing.”
“Void for public policy. Ain’t no judge gonna enforce a contract to get shot in the course of robbing a jewelry store,” David said.
“I ain’t talking about a for judge. I’m talking about for myself. You gotta know if someone wants you to shoot him or her.”
“You can use ‘them’ now.”
“You don’t have to say ‘him or her’ anymore. You can just say, ‘you gotta know if someone wants you to shoot them.’”
“Like hell you can.”
“I don’t know.”
“How do you know, then?”
“I just heard it from my wife. I trust her.”
Roger and David exited the van and walked to the front of the jewelry store. The place was closed on New Year’s Day, but they could see the owner inside, seated behind a glass display case.
“That him?” Roger said.
“Yes, sir,” David said.
Roger pulled on the door. “It’s locked,” he said.
David broke the glass door window pane with a crow bar, reached inside the glass, and unlocked the door. An alarm sounded and he opened the door. “After you,” he said.
The owner remained seated behind the glass case.
“Can you turn that off, sir?” Roger said. The owner said something, but David couldn’t hear him over the ear drum shattering alarm. Roger walked closer. “What did you say?” Roger said.
The owner shackled Roger’s left wrist with one end of a pair of handcuffs and said, “You’re under arrest, Roger.” The owner pointed to a federal Marshall badge on the countertop. Roger tried to pull away but the other end of the handcuffs were firmly secured to the counter.
David ran for the door.
“Stop!” a uniformed officer said, jumping out from behind a second counter. David ran out the door and to the van. The officer shot and David fell on to the snow dusted asphalt. Blood sprayed the side of the van.
Roger pulled out the Glock from his coat pocket. He aimed at the ostensible owner’s face and attempted to pull the trigger. His gun jammed.
“Drop it,” the owner/Marshall said.
Roger dropped the Glock.
“Happy New Year, by the way” the Marshall said. “I guess I need a new New Year’s Resolution, now.”
“I resolved to catch me a diamond thief,” the Marshall said.