Getting away from the mythical with prompt 4 though you might not know it from the title of the prompt giver. However, even in the real world, not everything goes according to plan.
Requested by Dragons in Genesis (Awesome podcast, check it out on wherever you get your awesome podcasts!)
Three men and one woman sat inside the red Ford Fiesta. A distinctly non-country version of 'On the Road Again' was quietly blaring from the speakers, but no one in the vehicle seemed to notice. Except for the driver, no one seemed to be focused on anything external.
"How long?" A voice as big as the man it came from asked. Both the bald man and his question seemed much too large for the 2 door car.
"With traffic, less than ten minutes." This was from the driver, a medium sized blonde with close cropped hair. She glanced in the rear view mirror to see the man's reaction. She was disappointed to see there wasn't one.
"What does it matter?" A tall, thin man with nondescript brown hair was staring out the passenger window, tapping fingers on his thigh. The tapping wasn't in time to the music. "The time doesn't matter at all until we actually get there."
The bald man grunted and shifted his knees so they jarred the spine of the man in front of him. Neither commented on this purposeful act.
Only the third man remained quiet. There was no nervous movement from him. His black hair was covered by a navy blue knit cap and his dark brown eyes seemed far away. There was a half smile on his lips that indicated his thoughts were somewhere pleasant. Unlike his bigger companion, he didn't seem to mind being a bit squished in the back seat. In fact, he looked like a person who was rarely bothered by anything.
To say the group was mismatched wouldn't be far off but it had nothing to do with the variance in ethnicity. The four had met only three times before that day and none could say to know much about the others. With the exception of the third man.
To the group, he was simply known as 'Denver'. No believed it to be his real name, but it was how he introduced himself and they accepted it. The others all came from backgrounds where nicknames were the norm so they didn't challenge him.
They also didn't challenge his obvious authority. Each had received an invitation via text message to meet at a specific location at a specific time. Though the others didn't share exactly what was sent, they all figured the others were also given a bit of information they would rather not be passed along to the authorities. The text had promised that their nonattendance would result in that.
That was how, exactly one month prior, all four had met and started on the path to today's activities...a daylight armed robbery of The First District Savings Bank. Denver had it all laid out in such a convincing manner that not one of the other three had any doubts about him pulling it off.
As Mira pulled the little car into the parking space as planned, Denver seemed to rouse from his daydream. He smiled beatifically at the others.
"Everyone remember their jobs?" His smile was briefly shined upon each member of the group.
Soren, the bald man in the back nodded.
"Grab the gun from the duffel, shout at the people, then menace with Schmuck here until you come back with the money." Soren jabbed a knee into the front seat again.
Chuck, who was too afraid of Soren to tell him how pissy the nickname made him, moved in the seat to ease his back. He nodded at Denver to show he understood the plan as well.
"And I stay ready." Mira said, hands on the steering wheel. Her knuckles were white despite her naturally tanned skin color. "You guys will be in and out in under the clock. We drive straight to the hideout."
Denver's smile seemed to stretch.
"Beautiful!" He said as he waved a hand towards Chuck's side of the car. "Now, if we can all file out in an orderly procession and take up our positions?"
Mira popped the truck as Chuck scrambled from his seat. Soren was still unfolding himself from the back seat when Chuck came back around holding a pink and purple duffel bag. He was now sporting black gloves and a knit cap similar to Denver's.
Once all three men were out and stretched, Mira pulled away to her designated wait spot. It was in a corner of the parking lot unseen by security cameras, yet had easy access to the road once the men came back. She chewed a nail as she watched the others from the mirror.
As planned, all three split up to take different sides of the building. There were two main entrances and one employee-only door. The plan was for all to burst in a different way and meet in the middle to grab guns and announce their plan to any customers and tellers. Denver was the one with access to the employee door though it had never occurred to Soren or Chuck to ask how. It wasn't their problem.
Everything happened quickly. Soren came in from one side to see Chuck already halfway to the middle of the room with the duffel, his knit cap pulled down to show eye holes only. Soren followed suit and he charged in.
"Everyone down and no one gets hurt!" Soren's voice boomed in the open space of the bank. There were three tellers and ten customers. As Denver had promised, no security guard was on the premises.
Chuck dropped the pink and purple duffel to the carpeted floor and unzipped it. Soren held out his hand, waiting for the gun to be put in it. There was a delay, one that shouldn't have been there, not after the rehearsal Denver made them go through.
Soren looked down at Chuck, who was still squatting over the duffel bag. The thin man was emitting a high keening sound.
"What the actual fuck?" Soren whispered down to his partner. "What's the hold up?"
The keening noise from Chuck got louder. Soren pushed him and the man toppled to his butt and stayed there. With Chuck out of the way, Soren could see the contents of the duffel bag. Instead of the cache of weapons, the bag contained brightly colored plastic water pistols. At the very bottom was even a decent sized Super Soaker. All were filled with water.
Soren tried to think of something to say, but his mind was not prepared for this. Chuck was still sitting on the floor, the keening noise had stopped but the man wasn't moving from his location. He looked as stunned as Soren felt.
"Denver!" Chuck shouted the name and it propelled Soren back into action. "Where's Denver?"
Both looked around the bank. The small group of people were staring quizzically at the would-be robbers. Most were hunched over or sitting on the floor like Chuck. Denver was not among the crowd.
It was the distant sound of the siren that got both men moving. Chuck jumped up and ran out the door with Soren close on his heels, neither bothering to retrieve the duffel bag. Mira was in the lot where she was supposed to be and the two men raced for the car.
Soren reached the door first and attempted to shove his bulk in the front seat. Chuck was scrambling to crawl over or around the bigger man. When a confused Mira was finally yelled at to drive, Chuck was sitting squarely in Soren's lap, face pushed over the dashboard.
By the time the police arrived on the scene, the small vehicle was well on its way to the prearranged hideout. The cops searched the scene and talked to witnesses. Not much of use was found on the security cameras since the nor did the witnesses have much to add. The bag of water pistols had everyone scratching their head.
"It's the damnedest thing." One officer, a middle aged copy with the last name of Chistler, handed a cup of coffee to the bank manager. "From what you tell me, the only member of the gang that had a real gun was the one who surprised you. I'm not sure if this group was crazy efficient or just crazy."
The man gratefully accepted the coffee and took a sip. It seemed to steady his nerves. His dark brown eyes closed briefly as the he let the soothing heat wash over him.
"I'm glad no one was hurt." He said. His voice did sound incredibly relieved. "The money is insured and can be replaced but you cannot put a price on a human life. There were children here today!"
The officers nodded at the sage words. They knew it could have been much worse had the manager not quietly and superbly handled the situation.
From what they could piece together, while the clownish distraction was happening in the front lobby, the real crime was being committed behind the scenes. As the bank manager was arriving for work, he was accosted in the parking lot by a masked man with a gun. From there, the man told him if he didn't cooperate fully, his partners would make life difficult for everyone else.
"I heard the man in the front yell." The bank manager said. "I knew he was serious about having partners."
"So, after that?" Officer Menin prompted.
"I did what he asked." The bank manager continued. "I took him to the vault, let him take the money, then he left the way he came."
"Did you see any vehicles pick him up?" Menin asked.
The manager nodded and smoothed out a navy blue knit cap that was sitting on his lap. He hadn't put away his coat or hat since being grabbed by the masked gunman.
"There was a green four-door sedan." The manager said. "I'm not sure of the make or model. I didn't see a plate either."
Officer Chistler nodded towards his partner. They had the manager repeat his story twice more to make sure there was no further information to be gathered. The man had been helpful, but it was clear he was still suffering from the shock of it all.
"Thank you, Mr. Thornton." Officer Chistler handed him a card. "We'll be in touch, but if you can think of anything new, please contact us directly."
The bank manager accepted the card and put it in his jacket pocket. He ran a hand over his forehead in a worried fashion.
"Is there someone we call call for you?" Menin asked. He didn't want to leave this man on his own in case the shock was worse than they thought. "A spouse?"
The man smiled at that. It was a bright smile considering the circumstances.
"I should call my wife." Thornton said. "She'd want to know. I would say I'd hate to worry her but after being a parole officer for over 15 years, I'm not sure much would scare her anymore."
The two officers went back towards the front of the bank while the manager made his call. Neither envied the man the headache he would have going through the red tape of dealing with a bank robbery, but they both believed him to be a resilient sort who wouldn't let things like this worry him for long.
My lofty dreams of being a famous & brilliant writer were literally smacked out of my head. Now I plan to fill the void with copious amounts of subpar writing!