Milo heard about the ATM in the suburban area of Muara Town, a rundown dockyard that harbored around three to four fleets monthly. Various news outlet has reported about government’s plan to transform the old town into Singaporean-like busy shipping industry. Because of the sudden drop in the oil prices, the country’s main revenue, the commercial buildings around the town were stranded with tenants losing their businesses that pushed them to rent elsewhere. Only one particular building has survived the onslaught of the plummeting oil prices. This commercial building has housed five businesses - two grocery stores, a barbershop, a tailor shop and a laundry shop. At the end of the building is an ATM. Government people only withdrew cash from the machine during the day. No one used it in the evening.
“People disappear there. Dead I tell yah.”
Milo listened, his eyes getting bigger. “So I heard.”
“Made you scared about doing it?”
“Yus. I’m jobless. I’m scarier.” Milo leaned forward against the rusted railing that stopped bystanders to plunge to death into the gabions below. The salty air of the shore washed over their faces in the late afternoon sun. “When you told me about the broken CCTV, I expected it to be true.”
“And yeeh man. True. No lies. Hands to god.”
“Since when god is up there?” Milo chortled, amused about the existence of god.
“Since forever man,” Yus grinned, a set of yellow-stained teeth the color of the sun beamed at him. “We need god to help us with our plan here man. Remember? The broken CCTV.”
“Tell me about it.”
Yus turned around as if to check whether someone was listening behind them. Yus, a security who mostly sit at a small desk by the entrance door in the Mall, called Milo for a talk in the dockyard near the beach. Milo who had been laid off few months ago was desperate for a job. He had a car loan. The bank told him that he still needed to pay off the monthly installment of $220 despite his situation. Milo spat at the banker in the face which caused him to be thrown out from the bank. Now Milo wanted revenge. He wanted to rob the bank. But how? Owning a gun is difficult in Brunei. He heard about the black market in Limbang selling firearms. Should he risk it all for the sake of his revenge?
“How long is the jail time?” Milo asked his friend who was now laughing at his question.
“Hah! Why bother knowing it when you’re not gonna be in it!”
“Confident that we can get away from it?”
“Imma a security. I’m more a soldier than you.”
“You’re stupid. You can’t even write your own name when you’re in Year 8.”
“And you can’t even multiply by 8.”
Both men laughed reminiscing on high school times. Milo missed his school a lot, especially his discipline teachers who made his life difficult. He thought about the consequences of his bad actions back then. But took pride of them as well.
“Sometimes I’m thinking about Sir Najib.”
“That man’s crazy. He smacked me once in the forehead. The sting hurts man.”
“He almost killed me with a flying chair. Had to lie to my dad about the bruises I had.”
Milo smiled at his friend. “Not as crazy as your plan was. When are we going to do it?”
“Next week. Tuesday. Around 1 in the morning.”
Yus told Milo about his scouting skill. He has found out that the CCTVs inside and outside the ATM have experienced faulty wiring. The headquarter wasn’t informed about this because of management problem. The person in charge of the security wasn’t doing his job because of family issue. Yus knew about all these because he was the security of the same ATM bank they were planning to rob.
“What should I wear?”
“Wrap your face around with a shirt. Just watch YouTube.”
“You know I don’t have a job. I don’t get internet access anymore.” Milo was pissed that he grabbed the rusty chain.
“Yeah yeah. I’ll lend you cash. How much do you need?”
“I’ll tell you later after we rob your bank.”
“Hah! Love that!”
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Milo pulled open the fridge door and peered inside.
“Mum. I need to go tonight.”
“How’s your job there? Are they paying decent this time around?”
Milo scanned the inside of the fridge for a good 10 seconds before replying. “Good. The job is good Ma.”
“Oh yes son. Our landlord came today and asked about you. He said we haven’t paid our rent for three months. I told him we already did. And he apologizes. Stupid old man. I think he’s gone senile.”
“Yeah! Senile old fart!”
More reason to rob the bank ma.
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“We need to do this quick man.”
Milo parked his car across the road, far from the ATM building he’s about to rob. Yus came by bus. Milo thought that’s a better option than driving his own car here. He wondered why Yus didn’t tell him about the bus. Tailing behind Yus was a thin man in his 60s. Milo thought the man was his dad.
“This is Sahib.”
“Hai,” the old man greeted.
Milo greeted him back and approached his friend. “I thought this was supposed to be a two-men operation.”
“He’s good at this.”
“This old man?” Milo questioned with one eyebrow raised.
“I’m old yeah. But I know about security access than the two of you combine. Let me ask you this bro…” Milo looked at the old man peculiarly. An old man calling him Bro has never happened to him before. “How are you planning to enter through the locked door? Magic?”
“Well…Smash it in.”
The old man chuckled; a bullying type of chuckles. The mean one. “Do you hear that Yus?”
Yus was smiling too. Not too broad because he didn’t want to offend his friend.
“What’s your plan then?”
The old man explained about the art of locksmith. He had experience working as a locksmith when he was young. The technique he had learnt over the years had helped him to learn coding quickly despite his age. The intricacy of the locking and unlocking methods through twisting and turning had landed him a post in the info-comm company. Now he’s retired, he wanted to make full use of his work experience to good use. He’s fed up of the system making the rich getting richer and the skilled workers getting poorer and poorer. His retirement programme was discontinued because of budgetary problem. He had tried to bring this up to court. But the business had gone bankrupt. He needed money to survive. That’s why he was willing to help out these two lads.
Milo nodded; an obedient dog.
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Milo and Yus got inside by the help of the senior security technician. With their faces wrapped in football shirts which only showed a slit across the eyes for vision, the two pulled out as many cash as they could and dumped them into two sacks of duffel bags.
“We’re rich!” Milo muffled through the shirt-mask.
“Now my ma won’t be living in hell anymore.”
“Yes! Yes! Let’s!”
After they had shoved in all cash inside the bags, Milo stood up and looked through the glass door. The old man who was waiting for them across the building on the walkway now had disappeared. That’s strange, he thought.
“Hey Yus. Where’ the old man?” Milo asked, his back at his friend.
“The old man. Where is…”
A sudden writhe came out gushing from his friend’s mouth. Milo twirled around to see his friend at the ATM. His body was bent, folded into two. The back part of his body was already halfway into the mouth of the cash machine. His friend was sucked alive by the machine.
“WHA WHA!!! YUS!”
Milo rushed forward and pulled his friend out. But Yus was already unconscious. Dead? Slowly, the remaining body of his friend was swallowed into the small slot the size of a palm. Blood splattered as the machine yanked the corpse through the tiny hole. Milo screamed and began banging the glass door.
The old man was there, standing outside. His face wasn’t masked. He was standing behind the glass wall, showing his face to the CCTV. The only thing was that his face was no longer the sunken and hollowed face of an old man. Now, the face had no eyes and nose. Only an octopus-mouth enlarging and closing as if saying something in a strange alien voice.
Milo screamed for help.