Monday the 18th of November saw some of the coldest weather yet to hit the city during the year. The temp hovered in the low teens for the highs. Davidson woke up alone in his bed by design not by frustration. Its too cold for mid November. Come on global warming! he thought getting out of bed to start his day.
Dressing in grey wool slacks, a cream and gold button down shirt with a brown tie, a worsted jacket completed his teacher look. He had no right to be this happy but he was.
Sunday went about as well as he could have hoped for. Eight am came early and a bit dark and cold but not too bad. He crossed Washington into the park as nervous as he’d been in a while.
He found Sydney dressed to run in her UT coat and mittens. Once again the sight of her caused all of the flowery things he was going to say get bumped out of his head. “Hey” was all he managed.
“Hey yourself. You ready? Lets go.”
She took off running without waiting. Mike grimly followed. Okay, maybe she is a little pissed about the other night.
The run started well but Sydney could not keep the same steady pace that he could achieve. She kept speeding up and slowing down and as much as he liked the view, the changes kept throwing off his rhythm and made the run harder for him.
After a few speed changes, Davidson could take no more. At the mile point, he accelerated into the front and set the metronome in his head to its normal pace and continued running. The light kept getting brighter as he ran along the path with Sydney either right next to him or a half step behind. Neither spoke but concentrated on breathing and placing feet in order to not think about what had happened between them.
For a wonder he was able to put her in a compartment and work on his relationship groveling in there while he went through the two jobs and his plans for Demetry. The miles flipped off while he stayed in his head.
At the finish line he had all his Monday to do lists worked out for everyone, his end game scenarios with the Bratva and the perfect amount of begging to be accomplished with the woman.
The recovery was mostly silent beyond some scant words as they puffed and stretched. Davidson went over to the chin up bar and started the sets of ten. No way he was not finishing with her watching! Even if he had to take five minutes between sets.
The last set did cause him to collapse on the ground at the end.
’Impressive” she said and helped him to his feet. She did manage to do two pull ups herself.
“Yeah, listen. Can we start over? I mean, the other night was great, but it went a little quicker than I thought.” Not that I…But I like you and I think we should…But you kind of overwhelm me and I…”
He wound down as she smiled at him.
He got the hint. She wasn’t that mad. Maybe even a bit overwhelmed herself.
“Hey- You hungry? I know a place.” Davidson gave it his best Brooklyn wise guy accent.
She laughed and said, “See! That! That right there. I need to learn how to say, I know a place or I know a guy.” Her voice tried the patois but it came out southern belle meets the Godfather.
He roared in laughter all the way across the street.
On the drive into the office on Monday he reminisced about his day with Sydney. Virtually perfect, the date and the person were virtually perfect. After the workout he took her just a few miles west for the actual date portion. Strangely back to where he’d spent part of Saturday.
“Won’t the owner mind?”, she said as they parked near a giant mansion on Pierrepont street.
“Not to worry.”
The Brooklyn Promenade was nearly deserted in the winter chill but the boardwalk was till open for business. The clear cold air gave views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty along the river.
She was impressed by the sights and even more so by the smorgasbord. The collection of food available at pier 6 was huge and the two took advantage.
’Why do women order a small salad on a date but will eat 5,000 calories at a fair?” he asked. It was funnier because she was wolfing down a hotdog at the time.
“Why do men pretend to know something when they clearly need help? She asked. It was funnier because he was struggling to use the new Square gadget to pay using his credit card.
That was the reason she intrigued Davidson. Even more than the physical, she challenged him, made him think. Her natural confidence was magnetic and he drew closer. She talked about the dispassionate things she had to do as a doctor and he could relate that. But there was intelligence and compassion too.
She’d make a great thief.
The thought brought him up short as they walked on the pier. No, he did not want that. Davidson continued to watch her as she strolled and they chatted about nothing.
The rest of the day was spent just talking and learning about each other. Both learned many interesting things.
She went to UT because SMU was full of snobs she thought.
He liked the northeast because it was the polar opposite of where he grew up.
She waxed on for a full hour about her job.
He gave her a scant thirty seconds about his.
She noticed that and let it slide.
By mutual consent the sex was off the table early so they could play catch up. The day was full for both and very comfortable. Davidson was thrilled.
The good night kiss at her house did cause him to rethink the agreement. She laughed and pushed him out the door to her torn up place. He went home happy.
The next morning, Michael parked down the street from the Jones street office. A whole block down, which allowed him to see if his tails chose to follow. They did not. He could see that paranoia was catching as the black Mercedes of Graeme sat two spots down from his car.
Entering at an early 8:22, he was the last person in the office. The other four crew members were arrayed around the table they used as a lunch spot and work table. The group was huddled over a diagram. A verge large schematic spread out almost to the edges of the table.
Gretchen was the only person who looked up. She did a slow take on his face.
’Who is she?”
’Shut it!” he told her as the others giggled. That asshole Graeme must have clued them in. ’What’s this?”
Ira took over. ’We got the insurance plans on the Hatton Gardens and Greville street businesses.”
“I don’t see it, Rick complained. ’I can’t read this stuff.”
’The lines here represent the data and cable lines that the alarm signals will ride with.” Ira showed the youngest gang member. See?”
The lines all merged at a tie point.
“What does that say, Ira?”, Graeme asked, trying to read upside down.
“Detailed drawings on Eng detail XC117- Lloyds.” Ira read back.
“It means that the real detail on the data lines is on another drawing.” Ira told the Irishman and Rick to their puzzled looks. “We are going to have to get to Linda again.”
“Can’t we use these?” The man muttered in his brogue, not to anyone in particular.
Ira indicated no. “The lines show up here but not the specifics of the signals from the individual businesses. Without that, I can’t isolate the safety deposit company from the others.”
Graeme looked worried. “Mikey, you call her again.”
“She likes you.”
The man acquiesced with a little grace. He left the table to place the call.
“What happens after, Ira?” Mike wanted to know.
“We may have to actually go in to inspect the trunk and the lines. Maybe monitor the stuff. “
“How are we going to do that?” Rick seemed perplexed.
“Easy! We turn in some forms to the Metropolitan traffic authority giving them the dates and the work and we are good to go!” Gretchen told him with a cheerful smile.
”Won’t they check?”
“Yes, Rick they will, Davidson was patient trying to teach the tricks of the trade to the young man. “But they will check with Sutton Electronics, the firm hired to do the work. And we will assure the folks that our US work men are going to do a simple visual inspection only, without tearing up the pavement or seriously blocking traffic.”
“A single man hole cover should do it, Ira confirmed. “That is if we need to go in.”
Michael reached into his messenger bag on the floor. He passed out to do lists. ’Ira add the required supplies to Gretchen’s shopping list.”
The three gang members looked over the work lists when Graeme came back in the room. “Yeah, she’ll do it as a favor to me.” The sour tone was funny.
“How much?” Mike wanted to know because Linda might want to get to the Irish candy but she was a practical person with bills to pay as well.
Cost of doing business Mike supposed. He mentally added that up. 17,000 a month for the flat. Transportation and special equipment in the 50,000 dollar range. Another 25,000 for miscellaneous expenses and suddenly they were looking at 125,000 to pull off this robbery.
One of the items on Rick’s to do list was to pull the required equipment from Ira, Graeme and Gretchen and make up the fly away box.
“Lets talk time frames and travel.” Mike told them all as home date planners got taken out and were prepared to be updated. He knew the gang would pick cover items to go in the burner phone calendars. He hoped like hell Rick wasn’t putting in “steal 150 million from the Hatton Gardens Safety Company”, in his date planner. His visual check said no. “Birthday Party” was noted. Good. He brought the others up to speed on the quickie job for Demetry and the okay to do the Dubai job. The okays brought a load of talk between them about the FBI and what it would mean.
“Part of the plan, he assured them. “We need to focus!”
“Okay. We bounce to London on Thursday. Graeme and I have the currier job I think, near the end of the week. Four or five days in jolly old England and then over to the UAE for prelims on that job.” “Six days- say, starting on the 27th?”
“We miss Thanksgiving?” Rick whined.
“We don’t miss it, we just celebrate where we are,” Gretchen told him in a motherly tone. Even Ira looked at her strangely.
“Can’t be helped, shammer,” Graeme said. ’I’m worried about where we are going to stay in the middle east.”
Mike waited for the inevitable.
“I vote for the Burg al Arab.”
The boss winced. Of course the man wanted to stay at the most expensive place in the city. The distinctive Al Arab was a six star hotel that cost 2500 a room per night and that was just the basic accommodations. Mike nixed that idea quickly. No way he was staying in a hotel that looked like a sailboat.
“How bout the Westin?, Ira chimed in.
“Too touristy. We need a business place.”
“The Al Khalifa?” Gretchen tried.
“The tower?” Mike quirked a look and a question at her.
The Burg al Khalifa was the worlds tallest skyscraper. 2,000 feet of graceful spires and dizzying views. It was new in the city and the hotel not yet firmly on everyones mind. Gretchen told him, yes, it was an option now.
“Expedia says 600 a night.” Ira tapped on the keys to his laptop.
He gave in. “Get four rooms, and make yours a suite,” he told the couple. “We need transport and some basic equipment.” “Our main job is the uniforms and to find the long term housing for everyone while we do the advanced scouting.” “Graeme is in charge.” The last added as almost an aside comment.
The others looked up at the change in protocol.
Mike stared back. “This job is his baby and he knew the area better and the whole structure like clockwork. “He runs things.” The members took the new info in stride while Graeme preened.
’Last thing- Get to a gun range. 9mm and full auto AK 47. Get proficient.”
The gang broke up to work on their assigned tasks. Mike had a parting shot- “I am serious about the weight loss!” 20 lbs!”
The good humor sucked out of the place. Good they should be worried, he thought.
He went into his office and Graeme followed him in.
“When do we meet Linda?”
Sunday, St James park” Graeme waited. “Hows the bird?”
The grin just bloomed on his face. ’Fine.” The two men giggled like school girls.
“I don’t have to ask about the sex.”
’We did not have sex, we are taking it slowly. We just succumbed to temptation before.”
“How many times did you succumb?”
“Fuck you.” Michael dialed the phone.
“Funny now you are calling another one of Demetry’s children who wants to sleep with you.”
His response was the middle finger.
“Hello.” The voice was rough.
“Michael, is that you?”
’Yeah kid, I didn’t recognize the voice.”
“Rough night”, the young man explained.
“No worries. How ya doing?” He played up the Brooklyn street because the kid liked that.
’Fine, fine. The old man said you’d be calling.”
’Yeah. Can we meet at the diner tomorrow. Say noon?” We need to go over the Freeport stuff.”
“Yeah that will do. I got a name and number for you mean time. Phillipa Stoerman.” He spelled it for Davidson and rattled off a string of numbers for the international call.
“She is Freeport Luxembourg’s security liaison”, Nick explained. “She says she needs forms and fingerprints if you guys are going to come with me.”
“Got it- I will call her and we will talk about everything tomorrow, okay?”
“Thats super, Mike. How have you been?” his voice dropped a bit and slowed down as he wanted the call to turn personal.
Michael closed his eyes. “Good kid. Been busy. Look, I need to call this lady and jump through those hoops so I can do what your dad wants.”
“Yeah, okay.” The disappointment dripped off his tongue.
“We’ll have a long visit tomorrow, I promise.”
“Okay, I’ll see you, bye.” Nicholas dropped the call.
Mike looked at Graeme. “That kid needs to come out of the closet, badly.”
“Yeah, that’s how its gonna go alright.”
But Mike was not listening. He was beeping Luxembourg. It was 4:35 pm over there and he thought he could get a hold of the security office before they left for the day.
The two toned international ring tone sounded a few times before a pleasant voice came on the line. “Freeport Luxembourg Security, this is Helga may I help you?”
The woman must have noticed the US number on the line and chose accented english as the language to answer.
“Helga, this is Michael Davidoff, I am the bonded currier rep for Prometheus Holdings. I have you on speaker with my associate Peter McNichol. We would like to speak with Phillipa Stoerman, if she is available.”
“Ah, yes our Friday delivery. Certainly sir.” She put them on hold.
Mike quirked an eyebrow at Graeme. “Efficient. 5 10, 180 pounds Valkyrie type.”
Graeme disagreed. “5’5. 125, librarian.” “100?”
The phone clicked as the Freeport’s head of security came on.
“Mr Davidoff?, This is Phillipa Stoerman. How may I help you?”
“Ms. Stoerman, Michael began, “my client would like us to accompany his son on the delivery, Friday, I guess is the day.”
“Certainly sir, I will need to have the standard visit forms filled out with a copy of your papers plus the finger print cards.”
“I can do that quickly if you have access to JPAS.”
He used the acronym for the Joint Personnel Access System. Secured facilities around the world needed a way to manage the people bringing in and out things for their vaults. The database was a way to ensure visitors were pre screened to allow for easier access. What she didn’t know was that Michael had hacked the database with help and inserted himself and Graeme as cleared persons. Now all he had to do was…
“We do, if you could provide us with your SMHIC?” She asked for the companies Special Materials Handling Identification Code.
“31778”, Michael shot back quickly. He also rattled off the social security number, date of birth and place of birth for his fake id as required by the database. Graeme piped up and gave her his info for the Peter McNichol identity.
“Ah, I see both of you in the system and everything looks to be in order.”
Michael was tapping away on his end putting in the visit request into the system. “Would you like us to follow this up with a fax on company letterhead, along with the ID-9 form for fingerprints?”
That pleased the woman. ’Thank you, yes.” She was obviously dealing with professionals.
The preliminaries out of the way, he went onto the harder stuff. “May we discuss the transfer protocols?”
“We can arrange everything, Customs, handling and forms.” she told them.
“Yes, but then I would be out of a job”, Michael laughed easily. “We will land sometime around noon then on Friday,” he started her off.
Phillipa took over. “Your plane will taxi to the north end of the airport into our facility. Ramp and customs agents will then meet you to clear personnel and cargo.” “The contents will be cataloged at that time.”
Tricky, Mike thought. “None of those officials will be allowed to touch or photograph any of the items. Peter and myself will do all of that. All physical descriptions will be written down only. We will allow the agents to assure themselves that no other contraband is being brought into the country after our items are removed.” I will personally hand over all customs forms and paper work as provided by our legal teams.”
“That is unusual. If we insist?”, she tried to play hard ball.
“Then I will advise my client to use Freeport Dubai. Given some of his long term plans that might be the best option for him.”
Graeme grinned at the whole hearted truth of Mike’s statement.
“Those arrangements will be acceptable,” she finally relented.
He suspected that their request was not the first one she’d gotten like that.
Now the trickier part.
“Lastly my client would like us to look around the facility to assess operations and security.” He left it hanging.
“I can arrange for a tour of the other vaults if you like.”
“Madame, please. I don’t want to be all up in your business as the kids say, but we need to see the layers. Outside physical, fence alarms, guard dogs- all of it. We need to see the vault alarms and the procedures for entry, plus we are worried about any Zurich issues.”
His extensive google search on similar Freeport facilities had turned up an interesting story: Pablo Picasso’s granddaughter was placing paintings from her personal collection into the Zurich Freeport when another client was accessing his vault. She immediately recognized some of her grandfathers stolen paintings in the enclosure. She freaked. The head of the Zurich Freeport was brought up on charges of trafficking in stolen goods.
He could hear the distaste in her silence. “I see you know your business, Mr. Davidoff.”
“Michael, please. Ms. Stoerman, I don’t want to see totally behind the curtain but I need to be able to assure my client that your facility will suit his on going plans.”
“That will be fine, Michael.”
Davidson threw her the bone. “Just let us talk to the lovely miss Helga and we will arrange everything. I also hope that you and your husband would join us for a dinner Friday at the Grand Ducal?” He named one of the nicest restaurants in Luxembourg city.
A slight snort escaped the woman. “Thats a nice bribe, Michael.”
“Bribe is an ugly word. Think of it as the perks of an expense account.”
She said yes and the two talked a bit on the logistics before turning them back over to Helga. Graeme took the opportunity to ask the assistant to dinner as well. “To thank you for the help”
As Mike hung up the phone he said, “you better hope she is not the Valkyrie type.”
Graeme was already generating the visit request on Prometheus letter head. It paid to be ready. The memo just summarized what Mike had verbally given the woman and put some dates down.
“You got all the dates set?” Mike asked.
“Yeah.” “Amazing what you can do with a fake birth certificate, huh?”
It was indeed. Michael had three fake ID’s in the system and he kept them up to date. “You know when the fake ID cover is really good?” he asked his friend.
“When you get a jury summons in the mail.” He pulled an envelope from the mail pile on the desk which showed an older fake identity, called for service. Graeme nodded in wonder.
“I intend to call this in. I hope he doesn’t get picked.”
The gang was going to be very busy, too busy for jury duty, Mike included. London, Luxembourg, Dubai. Not to mention Sydney. The person not the city. He was ready- he thought.
Graeme left after some more talk between the friends about the jobs upcoming. The irishman was due to leave for the UK very soon. “See you tomorrow at the diner.”
Mike waited until the Irishman was gone before he picked up the cell phone to dial a third number. He touched the digits almost reverently.
“Hey yourself”, Sydney said.
“Marginally,” she said lightly.
“How about I make you dinner tonight?” He was NOT holding his breath.
’That sounds great! My kitchen got demo’d today,” She said brightly.
An exhale and a grin as he said, “Then it’s a win-win. 6:00 and how does steak sound?”
“Fine and yummy.” “Medium rare please. Ya’ll got any of that fancy Cabernet to go with it?” Maybe I will pick some up just in case.”
“I’ll open a Malbec for you to try. Just bring yourself.”
Sydney dropped her voice to a deep whisper and said. “I might bring a toothbrush with me as well.”
He felt himself go rigid. Dammit! How does she do that? That easily? He needed to regain some hand in this new relationship.
“You can bring the toothbrush but absolutely no moisturizers or lotions,” he said trying to sound serious.
“Really? No lotions even if I wear my new red panties from Victoria Secret?”
His throat closed up so much he could barely get out the , “Well maybe…”
“What do you want to do to my new red panties?”
“I’m going to run my hands up your thighs to those hips and I’m going to grab your panties in both hands and peel them down…”
A sound came from his doorway. He looked up and jerked the phone away from his ear.
Rick stood in the office door holding a piece of paper, mouth open with a shocked look on his face.
“God Damn it Ricky!” Mike roared.
“Jesus, sorry Mike…” The kid backed out stammering an apology.
“Put a fucking bell on you!” He could hear Syd’s laughter from the receiver. When he put the phone back up to his ear she was gone.
Twenty bucks says she brings a whole case of potions and unguents with her tonight.
That twenty was right on the money.