(For mature audiences)
(This version isn’t finalized. All writings are from its origin and unedited.)
Movement from a couple of people and a small commotion of panic catches my attention. The surrounding customers inch away, revealing a dead man who accepted the bullet in the neck. Blood is pouring out faster than I’d like to see and these people are starting to move around too much, avoiding the spew of red. This bank job just went from breeze to bullshit.
Trane punches Echo across the face and shouts, “You fucking idiot!”
Echo drops to the ground, without a word, though Quinn shows up with a few, “You guys had one job! What the fuck happened?!”
I state, “I’m gonna go check on Delta with the truck. Hopefully it’s not late or we can kiss the cash in it goodbye.”
Leaving the others to face the music, I quickly head back to the dock area to hear the sound of rapid gunfire from a machine and shotgun. The clear sign of an offensive action on two fronts throws me into a bashful entry. Inside, Delta is in the guard booth with the door open, under fire by a truck operator; the other is dead on the left side of the truck. Delta blind-fires from the booth at the operator as a distraction. I quickly hop down the dock and snake my way around the blue truck to the back, where the low sounds of reloading are coming from.
I step out from cover and point my machine gun at the male operator, “Enough of that.” He stops shoving slugs into his shotgun without looking at me as I instruct, “Drop it and lets go.”
He does what I say then I back away, giving him room to head up to the dock, passing his dead partner. On the way up, I notice a blood splatter on the wall in a weird spot for it having been one of the three guards, especially since no one’s body is up there. Getting back up on the dock, I lead the guard into the booth then look down at Delta to see him still seated against the bolted down desk. He’s in a much more weakened state than before, while clutching at his left side with his unarmed right hand.
I command the the guard as I approach the masked Delta, “Sit down and cuff yourself to the desk.”
The guard takes a seat on the floor at the opposite end of the desk then speaks, “Your friend isn’t going to make it.” Delta’s gasps of breath fill my ears as I look at his wound from the shotgun, “You need to get him to a hospital.” I ignore him as I examine the dying man that I don’t even know or care for, “You can still-”
I interrupt, “Didn’t I tell you to cuff yourself to the desk?”
He does as I instruct then I see him look behind me as I hear a voice too, “That looks bad.”
I look back at Echo, ignoring him and leaving them all in the room with each other. The original plan was to escape through this dock door and take the alley to the back of the bank so we need to keep moving. Danielle’s standby S.W.A.T. team will be here any minute, with that alarm signaling them to come over for a violent visit. Trane comes in with two bags and passes one to me, continuing down off of the dock. Fox and Quinn come out as well, with their bags dangling off of their shoulders.
Quinn shouts back into the hallway, “Let’s go!”
We’re one man short, meaning the five hundred thousand out of the truck is useless, unless someone wants to risk even more weight on. Regardless, we weren’t planning on walking back to the trucks for our getaway. Quinn takes notice to the dying Delta in the guard booth, quickly paying him little mind as we all gravitate our attention toward the sounding sirens on the approach.
Quinn demands, “Empty out the truck.”
I I ask, “What about Delta?”
“You wanna fuckin’ carry him, be my guest. I’m not about to let half a mill get away from us. We carry his share ourselves. I’ll watch for the cops at the shutter. Fox, cover the door, the rest of you fill the last bag.”
She heads down the dock toward the shutter, hostilely throwing the duffle bag at the truck’s side. We do as instructed and quickly initiate robbing the truck. Her regular routine is to not give a shit about any consequences and do her best to make a scene. This is a messed up scene to make; a scene that I hoped to not be a part of, though I’m here in the middle of it yet again. The sirens are still flooding in as the faint sounds of a megaphone inaudibly steps in from the street. I do my best to speed up, not looking forward to a shootout with well-trained and well-paid law enforcement.
Just as the bag is almost full, Quinn whispers, “Let’s go. They’re about to surround the building.”
We haven’t reached the half million mark, but we are damn close enough. I pass the duffle bag back to Trane, exiting the back of the truck and rushing to the shutter door. Quinn steps backwards out of the shutter door, looking toward the front end of the alley where the bank entrance is. Voices start shouting at her, as she continues stepping backwards toward the opposite end of the alley with her pistol behind her back. From such a distance, her shotgun would be kind of useless and it’s already obvious she wants us to shoot our way out of here. I notice she is closing in on a dumpster in the filthy, and with all eyes on her, Trane and Fox poke their machine guns out, firing at the cops.
They immediately return fire in a thunderous fashion, spraying the entire alley. Quinn is ducked behind the dumpster, waiting on an opportunity to fire. One thing we can’t let ourselves forget is that this alley has two ends, and we’ll be screwed, if we let ourselves get cornered. We need to keep moving and I have the perfect idea to do so. I rush back to the armored truck, jumping up into the driver seat and igniting the engine with haste. Once started, I reverse slowly, letting the loud beeping sound attempt to drown out the bullets.
I stop and roll down the window with a shout, “Get in the fuckin’ truck!”
I hear the closer guns cease fire, with officers doing the same, likely aware of the beeping sound’s representation. The truck doesn’t jump, already weighing tons, but I hear the feet of the few stomping into the back. I’ve got to pick up Quinn next, which means reversing out of here and mentally preparing myself for a bullet dance. I peek back through the rectangular hole to see everyone onboard so I reverse out of the garage. Spinning the wheel sharply left to avoid hitting Quinn’s dumpster, the barrage still catches me off-guard.
The gunfire is muffled inside the cab, but the bouncing bullets on the windshield still get to me. The panic distracts my turn, causing me to ram and slide along the wall of the bank. I stop and watch the right side mirror, keeping my head low as if the bullets can get through to me. Fox covers for Quinn on the quick run to the back of the truck. Two bangs signal me to continue backing up, scratching along the wall and wobbling my way out of the alley. We hit the street, coming to a slight jump and bump into the road.
I can’t see behind me but I feel and hear a crash behind me, seconds later catching glimpse of a black S.W.A.T. truck on my left. At high speed, the truck rams into my left side, spinning us at ninety degrees. The vehicle is losing balance, at the obvious weight shift, reacting with a grab of the passenger seat belt and no time to put it on. The truck flips on its left side and I lose my grip, falling back into the tight space that is the driver side. My bag is on my lap, wedged between the seat and steering wheel.
Trane yells at me as he bangs on the back of the seat, “Let’s go!”
Bangs of bullets and echoes carry through the public street, while I struggle my way up to my feet in the tiny space. There’s a door small enough for a person to get through, leading to the back of the truck where the others are. I grab the handle and begin yanking at the door, pulling it out then downward. I toss my bag out first and myself out afterwards. Everyone is already out of the truck, firing their guns in light bursts at the incoming officers on the street.
The returns are short bursts as well, likely to keep us at bay until we run out of ammo or they come up with a plan to safely catch us. I grab my bag and lift each leg out of the sideways door, joining my pinned down squad on the left. The street is nearly cleared from civilians and traffic has gotten scarce, leaving just us versus the officers. They’ll eventually wise up and circle the block so we gotta get moving to our escape vehicles. I assist in the defense, looking for ways we can go and there’s a building that we can cut through, hopefully leading to a back exit.
I declare over the gunfire, “We need to go.” Trane looks over at me then I mention, “We can cut through this building on the right.”
Without acknowledging my idea, he returns fire with a quick spray, pulling Echo back by his shirt in our retreat. I follow Trane’s path off of the street and the others catch on, following us. Mounting the curb, we become exposed to the officers close behind the overturned truck. A quick succession of gunfire brings us back into minor action as we now hurry into the building’s lobby. Bullets soar all around us, while we return fire on our run inside for a brief period of safety.
I halt just inside the door, firing back out at the officers, with Quinn taking a low firing position and mimicking me. They don’t let up on us, as rifle rounds pierce the walls and shatter the glass around us. They’re inching closer with each shot and it’s making me nervous; however, Fox is the last to enter. Just before entering, he gets shot in the left leg and multiple times in the back, dropping to the floor in silence. Not wanting to stick around for the new approaching officers on the right street corner, I duck out of the way, bringing Quinntella down with me.
Quinn quickly returns to the door and begins firing at the new officers then shouts, “Wait!”
I shout back over the barrage of bangs and shattering glass, “He’s done, we gotta go!”
“I need to get that fuckin’ bag off him!”
Relentless gunfire aids my smart idea, “Leave it! We’re gonna get swarmed! We gotta go now!” She attempts to regain her defensive at the door but I physically stop her, “I’m not gonna let you kill yourself over a money! The cars are right behind us!”
She initiates heavily breathing, possibly pumping herself up to do something stupid. Being as stupid as I am, I’ll be obligated by feeling to do something even more stupid to protect her. To my surprise, she backs away, staring at the bag like they’re old enemies. Losing only one cut of a dead guy’s money seemed like too much of a big deal for her; making me curious as to what I’m missing. We continue booking it through the empty lobby to the back door, bursting through with a quick bolt to the right.
We reach the intersection, taking a backwards left and firing at the officers at the entrance we were supposed to enter. They swiftly scramble for a retreat, reversing and blind-firing at us until they reach cover. Giving them zero breathing room, we keep up our defense, while Charlie sprints by us and exits the alley to ready the trucks. The officers attempt to return fire, but they can’t do much with four of us holding them out. Trane exits the alley first to the sound of an igniting vehicle. Quinn exits next, followed by me then Echo.
Quinn speaks to Charlie, who is starting the second truck up front, “Charlie, drive that one.”
The rest of us get into the first truck, with Trane taking the wheel. Without hesitation, he shifts gears and swings us away from the scene, leading into the first right turn then the first left. I keep my rifle at the ready behind us, in case our getaway vehicles were tagged as suspicious or being watched. A silent drive eases my mind a little bit, relaxing my rifle down in my lap.
Quinntella’s stern voice speaks through her teeth, “Are we good?”
I look back at her, seeing the boiling rage of fire surrounding her retinas. Echo sits next to the fiery villain, unaware of what she wants to do to him since we’ve gotten away. He single-handedly ruined a three million dollar job and got two of our people killed in the process; almost getting all of us killed as well. He’s looking out of the back window, seeing for himself if we’re in the clear. She’s going to kill him.
I attempt to talk her down, “Quinn, you don’t need-”
She interrupts with more frustration on her tongue, “Are we good?”
She’s killed more people than one for smaller reasons than this, so I can’t imagine being able to talk her out of this one. We lost the cops and not telling her would just prolong the inevitable. Echo faces forward with a smile on his face then I look at the pistol shaking in Quinn’s left hand.
I answer her as I face out of my window, “Yeah, we’re clear.”
Before excitement can reign over the results, a clank of the metal gun and an interrupted shout travels the interior. More smacks of the weapon against hardened bone can be heard, along with furious roars from Quinn; expressing her hostility the best way she knows how. The beating doesn’t stop and sprinkles of blood are getting flung over to the front seats. I shift closer to the window, doing my best to avoid it splashing on me.
the room with a discomforting expression on her face. She’s nervous about the situation and none of us are quite sure what to make of it. This person, desperately trying to keep their identity a secret, can be anyone, here for any reason.
She reports to Terrell, “Hasn’t moved or said a word, sir. Rolled back footage to their entry and they only sat down. No words.”
Terrell turns to me, “Alright, Harris, time to do what I pay you for. I want you and the rookie inside. Find out who they are and what they want. If you come to the conclusion of there being no threat of any kind, arrest them. Clear?
“Alright. You’re up.”
The Captain enters the cheaply constructed wooden door with the officer and shuts it behind him, leaving me with the rookie. This new guy seems too observant, meaning he’s attempting to prove himself or working undercover within the ranks. Terrell would’ve given off some kind of warning about the guy, so it’s possible he is just a know-it-all fresh out of training. High strung officers like him don’t last long; still, I need to be on my toes around what I say and do in there.
I ask, “What’d you say your name was again?”
The rookie answers, “Jameson.”
“Ever been in an interrogation room before?”
“Only in training. We had negotiation assignments and I was top of my class.”
“That’s good for you but this is the real shit here. Be quiet, let me do all the talking, and we’ll be out of this in no time. Forget all that academy camp bullshit because that will turn things around on you real fast.”
The wooden door opens again and Terrell sticks his head out, fastly expressing his attitude, “What’s the hold up? Get the fuck in there.”
He closes the door and we open the secure and sturdy one on the right, smelling the foul odor of sweat inside. Not to blame on our guest, this room is typically the discomfort zone for perps and we often leave them for long periods of time to sweat it out; alternatively we cut the cameras off and bang the delectable hookers on the desk. I enter first, taking immediate notice to the hooded person sitting at the table, facing the darkened two-way mirror. I glance at myself in the mirror, hearing the door close behind me and watch the perp not even flinch or shift around. Is he or she still alive.
I observe the person; baggy clothing, looks like a size nine or ten shoe, could be a male. The hands under the desk make me uncomfortable, though, looking under, I can clearly see them pressed on their knees and gloved. This person is obviously trying to maintain mystery of their identity. Why is what we need to find out? The rookie is still standing at the door, likely waiting on my next move. I drag the metal chair back, intentionally being loud, and take a seat, followed by the rookie doing the same.
I ask, “Comfortable?”
The hooded person remains silent, clearly hearing my words from remaining motionless, uncaring for any sarcasm; this person means business and I need a different approach.
I ask, “Should I ask who you are? Considering you’ve done so well at hiding your identity.”
The person answers plainly, “No.”
I can’t make sense of their voice because it’s so soft and saddened but their English is well-spoken, compared to most that end up in here. It could be a woman or just a young man, purposefully disguising to maintain a hidden identity. Maybe Terrell can pick up on it better than I can from behind the window.
I try to investigate their identity further, “I can better understand you without the hood on. I can assure that we’re safe-”
The person interrupts with the same plain tone, “Why don’t we just skip to the part where you ask me why I’m here?”
“Okay. Why are you here?”
“I need a guarantee of protection.”
“We only guarantee protection to those who need to be protected. An officer could just as easily apprehend whoever you feel threatened by, and most cases, it’s just a threat.”
The person repeats, “I need a guarantee of protection.”
I decide to play ball, “Okay, from who?”
Everyone in this city has heard of her, and it’s not a good thing. She’s managed to climb the criminal ladder fairly quick and it was strictly through aggression; taking out the competition by any means necessary. Some of the biggest names out there are stricken with fear about her and so are most officers in all departments. Absolutely nothing is beneath doing for Quinntella Wallace and her band of psychopaths. Word is she has some people in our departments under control with threats of killing their families.
Hoping for an aggressive response, I state, “There are people out there who have never even met Quinntella Wallace that demand protection from her. What do you have that they don’t?”
I get the normally low tone of secrecy, “The bank job on Trude.”
“That won’t get you anything. She took her mask off during the robbery and left the footage. Cameras caught her clear as day. You’ll need more than what we already know to get any form of protection from her.”
“How about the stolen money from the bank job?”
“Are you saying you have it?”
“That’s why I need protection. I stole it from her after we stole it from the bank.”
“We? You were one of the heist crew?”
Everyone knows Quinntella ripped off a bank recently, resulting in the deaths of a few hostages and a massive shootout. The bank was protected by S.W.A.T., which were paid for to be on retainer by Danielle Melligan, rich bitch with powerful friends. Quinntella got off with approximately three million between herself and her remaining five masked accomplices; a stiff in the morgue and one bag were recovered. Danielle would love to know that we’ve got a lead and one of the people that stole her money.
I simplify the perp’s words, “You’re willing to turn in the money from the bank job instead of running with it. Why would you do something like that? Three mill can take you to another planet if you wanted to get away from her.”
The perp states, “You get away from gangsters; you get away from police officers and on-site S.W.A.T. teams at a bank; you don’t get away from Quinntella Wallace. I’ve worked with her for years and no one has ever gotten away from her. Especially not people who steal from her.”
“How exactly did you take three million from under her nose?”
“She trusted me and I want out. She’s a psychopath. Sticking with her for too long would only get me killed. I have names, locations, and her money nearby. All I need is a guarantee of protection from a federal agency outside of the city.”
“It’ll take a while to get clearance like that and guarantee or not, you don’t get to just leave this police station, if we don’t play ball with your demands.”
“We’ll see about that. When Quinntella finds out from anyone that I’m here with her money, she will come. This hood isn’t just for my safety, it’s for yours too.”
Three million in cash ready to be handed over with a package deal of locations and accomplices seems too good to be true. I’m certain Captain Terrell is still watching and I’d love to hear his spill on the situation. Danielle pays him very well to keep the on-site team, which backs this person’s story as one of the accomplices to the robbery. We’d recovered one of the bags with five hundred thousand and we’re on the way to being handed six more bags.
I state, “I need to step out and go over what you’ve told me with the friendly people behind the window and we’ll go from there.”
Silence is the only reply I get, as I rise from the metal chair and head for the exit door with the rookie on my tail. Exiting the room brings me back to the normal sense of smell and cool temperatures. Before we get the chance to enter the observation room, Terrell steps out first.
I immediately ask, “You believe any of that shit?”
He steps back inside and we follow as he asks, “Can you give me a reason not to?”
“Plenty. This person obviously just wants a guarantee of protection before presenting the goods or intel. You think this person really has a connection to Wallace?”
“Hard to tell but I’m leaning towards the idea. The mention of S.W.A.T. has me on the fence about it. We need detail about the robbery from their perspective. Only then do we consider moving forward with offers of protection and such.”
The rookie speaks, “Any call on the perp being male or female?”
“Can’t pick up much from the low pitch but I say female. Belonging to Wallace’s group, I doubt she’d have soft-spoken men like that around.”
“Why don’t we just rip the hood off and call it square? It could be Quinntella herself.”
“Not until we’re certain on what this person’s intentions are. They’re masking their identity for a reason, meaning their info can be reliable. That little bitch has been tearin’ up my streets for too long and we need to pick this person for whatever they’ve got.” He says to me, “Dig deeper. I want play by play on the bank job. If this person were there, they’d have no problem matching up the story with the footage. The story checks out, we get the cash back to its rightful owner, we background check the info and talk to the FEDs. We got the only potential chance to take her down and we can’t fuck this up with obvious mistrust. Get back in there.”
We follow orders, returning to the smelly room. There’s reason for us not to believe this person but every department is after the psychotic Quinn. Getting her off of the streets would be a step in the right direction for criminals alike. She’s stepped on the toes of some of the most dangerous people and company owners who’ve been employed her people as a hired gun. Our perp is still seated like a clothed statue; as if we’re not talking to a person at all, but a mannequin with a cell phone strapped to it.
I take my seat and deliver the good and bad news in unison, “We won’t be able to grant your protection without some information from your end first.”
The perp asks, “Regarding?”
“We need you to take us through the bank job. Every detail from the beginning to the getaway.”
“I’m sure you have the footage from the bank. Why are you wasting my time?”
“To make sure you’re not wasting ours. Everyone in their right and wrong mind knows Quinntella hit that bank. We need to corroborate your story with what we have on tape before we decide whether your telling the truth or-”
The perp rudely concludes, “-full of shit. I get it.”
“You determine my story to be legit, you give me your word that you’ll help me. Locations and cash only come after you grant me protection. Do we have an understanding?”
Calling in protective detail is an easy task, and if this person is being hunted by Wallace, they’ll need all the protection they can get. She has lowlife criminals everywhere and absolutely refuses to pay any of the departments a cut of what she has; she’s an enemy to everyone, intentionally, and does whatever she wants, with no regard. There are a few small bounties on her head and it won’t hurt to collect on one for the highest bidder.
I approve, “Sounds like a fair trade to me. Let’s hear it.”