A Short Story; all about playing it safe
“Christ there are rule for all this!” he thought as his cheek pressed against the hot tarmac that lipped against the concrete gutter. The cold blue metal of the assault weapon nestled into the small of his neck and the weight of the knees in his back held him still. All around blue uniforms covered by dull-grey vests ran in all directions.
As his arms were unceremoniously pulled behind him and the handcuffs dragged closed around his wrists he could see Dave’s feet over by the side of the car, the motor still running and the passenger side riddled with bullets like some strange tear out in Cosmopolitan.
The man leapt off him and dragged him to his feet. His arms cracked as his joints were stretched in the rough treatment. Another officer, kitted in the same assault gear, grabbed his other arm and they walked him across to the unmarked car that had swung across the road behind theirs.
He was pushed into the back and fell across the seat as the door was slammed; cutting off the noise from outside like a switch had been hit. He struggled himself into a sitting position and, for the first time, could see the results of what had started just three minutes earlier.
Near the back of their car he could see Dave Avio’s body. He assumed body because it wasn’t moving much. The side window was frosted in a safety glass web and he could make out a form lying back in the front seat; he took that to be Mario Di Santo.
Another shot rang out, down the lane to his left and it was echoed with the crash of an M16, not that he knew it as such but that’s what it was.
He felt the blood run down his cheek from the wound to his forehead. It hurt like hell and he wasn’t sure whether it was a cut from hitting the road or a piece of shrapnel. What ever, he was in shitter’s ditch.
Robbie Flower, full-time auctioneer slash free-lance truck driver and part-time bank robber knew that this was more than was ever suppose to happen. There were rules.
OK, it was an occupational hazard. You rob banks; you could get caught. This firm had been together for over five years and during that time had been as successful as any could be. You made allowances, planned and did the job, like professionals. You expected the police; after all they were the other team. What you didn’t expect was fucking world war three; and that is what they had just got.
They had worked together well because they planned. Christ, Mario was a stickler for it. He wouldn’t crap unless he had documented it and made sure it would work. That is what made them what they were; a professional team.
Now, sitting in the back of the car with a lot of very high-powered activity outside, he just couldn’t understand it. Dave, Mario and probably Ibraham were dead and he was well and truly caught.
The car was sitting squewed across the road like some altar to their demise. They had never had a problem; ever.
The blasted Bank of Melbourne was no big deal; a street front building in Dorset Road, light traffic and servicing a local community that had a lot of industrial property near by. The great Australian “Pay Day” always made for a good Thursday’s work and that was what they had planned to do.
The job was three in, as usual, and, one out. Ibi had gotten the car, a new Ford Fairlane. It was always his choice, a big luxury car. He said that if they were going to do it they should do it in style. He had picked it up that morning. It was parked in the KC Parksafe near the Shaft Cinema in the city.
Ibraham was a master. There was no car he could not lift if the need be and Failanes were no exception.
They always made the lift an hour before the job. Ibi would immediately take the sedan back to his garage, fill it and check it completely. Still he had always used near to new Fords so this was perfunctory to say the least.
The robbery was pretty straight forward, included all the usual theatrics that made such events what they were and the cash was stuffed into the Nike sports bag Mario had purchased from a K-Mart that morning.
It was all planned, completely…
What was not planned was the fact that the car was running on LPG. Ibi had checked the petrol, it was full; he hadn’t checked the gas.
As they jumped into it, screaming for Ibraham to go the great Metallic Burgundy lump of a car just died in the arse.
There they were; ski masks, boiler suits and sawn-off shotguns aside, stranded in the mid morning traffic of Boronia’s main shopping strip.
Ibraham tried to start the thing; every one screaming instructions to him as if it would help; it fired and stopped; he then realized and flicked the dual fuel switch and tried again. In his haste he pressed the accelerator causing the engine to back fire like a shotgun, which, if he had felt in such a mood might have piqued the dry side of his humour.
That was it. Ibraham screamed for them to get out; it was not going to start now; not with its air filter like so much confetti.
What followed would have made Quentin Taratino a happy man.
Four men, dressed in the text-book bank robber attire, two with shotguns, waving down cars and not one stopping. Australians tend to have very little understanding about the etiquette of car-jacking and armed assailants.
The alarm was screaming from the bank and a few people were screaming along with it. Robbie could remember a tall man grabbing Dave and Mario letting him have it behind the ear with the butt, dropping him like a bag of spuds.
Ibraham had grabbed Dave’s gun and was concentrating on the job at hand while the others all concentrated on starring in an Antipodean “Reservoir Dogs”.
A blue Commodore screamed to a halt as Ibraham leveled the shotgun at the driver, feet square to his shoulders and looking all the world like Dirty Harry.
The driver, dark-suited and well groomed tried to lock the doors but Ibi had the front right ajar causing the central locking to argue with itself. He pulled the driver out and they all pilled in. In less than 2 minutes the Melbourne Bank Robber’s Comedy Club had left the building; the car fishtailing away under Ibi’s expert control.
The second car was about five minutes away and Ibi drove the Holden like Alan Jones. The initial adrenalin had worn off and the serious part of proceedings was about to take place; getting away with it.
They pulled into the cul-de-sac behind the factories off Stud Road and drew up beside the Ford Transit Ibraham had parked there that morning.
Robbie was the first to get out and, as he did, three cars screamed into the street and slew across the road.
It happened so quickly. Screaming; orders; David stumbled and the shotgun went off. Robbie was knocked down in the process and David was hit. Bullets were flying every where, one smashed through the passenger front glass. It must have hit Mario, a shot in a million, Robbie could see him slump over as he was falling.
The door opened and he was dragged out. A tall man, in a suit, stood beside the cop holding his arm. He didn’t know it then but they were part of the newly formed Special Robbery Response Unit. It was just the co-incidence to end all that they had become involved in a training exercise that saw the police air wing active and the SRRU within three minutes of the area.
The alarm was triggered and apparatus was put into place that resulted in the vehicle being spotted by the helo flying around the scene and the end result being Robbers 0, Police 3.
Just damned bad luck; more so, Dave would never have used the gun, he was a blasted schoolteacher for God’s sake.
The detective was asking him his name as one of the other officers dragged him away. They both ran back to the car, its boot now open. There were three or four officers already standing there and the plain-clothes bloke joined them.
To be honest Robbie wasn’t all that interested; perhaps it was just the shock. The detective waved in his general direction and he was put back into the car.
A few minutes passed. An ambulance had arrived and about six marked police cars. All through this the original squad remained focused on the boot and what ever it contained.
The detective came back. Through his haze Robbie noticed that he looked ashen faced.
He opened the door and dragged Robbie out by the collar of his boiler suit. “What did you do to his head you bastard?” he screamed at him. “And his fucking arms and legs for Christ’s sake…”
Robbie just stared at the man.
From the corner of his eye he saw the ambulance officers lifting the torso from the boot and laying it on the ground.
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