It was just past midnight as the car pulled into the driveway and into the double garage. A man and a woman in their fifties emerged from the garage and walked up to the front door of the house. They talked cheerfully discussing the play they had just been to see. The man unlocked the front door to the two story brick house and stepped inside where he stopped to enter a number into a keypad to turn off the security alarm. He had barely finished entering the number when three figures appeared on the doorstep behind the woman. Before either of them could react they had pushed the woman roughly through the door. They rushed in behind her closing the door. It happened so quickly it was over in three seconds.
“Who the hell are you?” the man asked, “What do…”
“Shut up,” snapped a man. “Do exactly as we say or we’ll kill you.”
The frightened man and woman then noticed that all three intruders were pointing handguns at them.
“You want to rob us, is that it?” the man gasped.
“Very good. Go to the top of the class,” replied an intruder.
The man looked closely at the intruders. They had made no attempt to cover or hide their faces. The first man was heavily built with greasy brown hair and a short beard. The second man had a small wiry build with a crewcut and a stubble of a beard. The third person stepped up to stand in front of the man.
“Tom and Lily Henderson, right?”
Lily Henderson, gasped in surprise as she looked into the face of a young woman, probably in her twenties who was pointing a gun at her.
Her husband answered. “Yes, that’s who we are.” He looked at the woman. She might have been attractive, but was dressed in dirty jeans and an old leather jacket. Her shoulder length dark hair was matted and untidy.
“Good,” the woman with the gun replied. “Now let’s all go into your lounge room and we can get down to business.”
The couple were herded into the next room made to sit on the lounge.
Okay let’s go see what we can find,” the taller man said.
“Let’s save some time,” the woman said. “Tom, tell me where the safe is and the combination.”
“We don’t have a safe,” Henderson muttered.
“Of course you have a safe. Where else would you keep your cash and valuables?”
“No, there’s no safe.”
The woman became agitated. She walked up to Henderson and his wife and pointed her gun in their faces. “Tell me where the damn safe is and the combination or I’ll blow your heads off!” she screamed.
Lily shrank back and started crying. Henderson was visibly shaken. “All right, all right, don’t shoot us. It’s upstairs in my study, the second door on the right. The safe is behind the painting. The combination is left eight, right fifteen, left twenty one.”
“Good,” the woman replied regaining her normal voice. “Jimmy, you stay here and watch these two. If they make a move, shoot them in the kneecaps. Len, come with me and we’ll make a withdrawal from that safe.”
“Are you sure this safe will be loaded with cash?” Len growled as he and the woman climbed the stairs.
“Of course it will be,” the woman answered. “These people are rich, and rich people always keep plenty of cash in their safes.”
They found the study, removed the painting from the wall and opened the safe.
There were documents, some jewellery and a small bundle of fifty dollar notes inside the safe.
“Is this all?” Len exclaimed. “About five hundred in cash and a few jewels? Kate, you said it would be loaded with cash.”
“Don’t worry your head about it,” Kate muttered looking closely in the safe. She pulled out all the documents and leafed through them. “We’ll search the whole house. They’ve probably got more cash hidden somewhere.”
Twenty minutes later after ransacking the upstairs bedrooms and finding nothing of value, they returned to the lounge room where Jimmy had become impatient. “How much did you find?” he questioned.
“Not enough,” Len grumbled. A few jewels and six hundred in cash.
“Is that all?” Jimmy swung his gun around at the Hendersons. “Where do you keep all your cash? You must have more cash. Kate reckons you do!”
“No, all the cash we have is in the safe,” Henderson said shakily.
“We’ll search the rest of the house,” Kate ordered. “I’ll search the lab out the back, Jimmy you check the other rooms, Len you say here and watch these two.”
“Oh no you don’t, Kate,” Jimmy said, “You and I will search the lab together, otherwise how do we know you won’t try to pocket some extra money for yourself?”
Kate threw him a dirty look and they went off together to the back of the house.
The lab was full of electronic equipment and computers. They pulled open drawers, filing cabinets and cupboards, but found nothing of apparent value until Kate opened a desk drawer. She rummaged around in it watching Jimmy out of the corner of her eye. When he briefly faced away from her, she quickly removed a small object from the drawer and slipped it into one of her pockets.
They finished in the lab and ransacked the other rooms on the ground floor, but again came up empty handed.
“Jimmy was fuming as they arrived back in the lounge room. “Nothing! We found nothing!” he yelled to Len. Then he turned on Kate. “You said there would be lots of cash. Six hundred is small change! We risk going to jail for a piddling six hundred?”
Len glared at Kate and pointed his gun at her. “So what do we do now, Miss Know-it-All? Divide up six hundred and a few jewels. That will really set us up for life!”
For a moment Kate looked worried, but then regained her confidence and snapped back at him: “Calm down, and point that gun somewhere else. We’ll go to Plan B.”
“What the hell is Plan B?”
“These are wealthy people, right? We hold them and ask for a ransom.”
“You mean kidnap them?” Len said. “That’s too risky. You said we would just get in, grab the cash and get out. I don’t like your plan.”
“Listen it will work. We could easily get a million for them. What do you think of that?”
“A million?” Jimmy said, his interest sparked.
“Yes. Look, I happen to know Lily here has a sister. We’ll take these two to your warehouse, lock ’em up there, then phone in the ransom demand from a payphone a long way off so they can’t trace it back to the warehouse. A million dollars. Think about that Jimmy. Will a third of a million make you happy?”
“Well, yeah it would. What do you think, Len?”
“Might as well,” Len said. He waved his gun at the Hendersons. “Okay you two, get going. Out the front. We’re taking a little walk to our car down the street.”
“No,” Kate spoke up, “Too risky walking that far with them. We’ll take them in their own car. Jimmy, you drive to the warehouse in your car. Len, we’ll travel in style in the Henderson’ Mercedes. I’ll drive, you keep your gun on these two. Grab that cash and those jewels. We might as well take them too.”
Thirty minutes later both cars rolled to a stop in an old abandoned warehouse in an industrial suburb. The Hendersons were ushered out of their car at gunpoint, and they stood looking around in the gloom of the old building. Kate sauntered up to them. “Now Lily, give me the phone number of your sister.”
“She’ll be in bed at this hour of the night,” Lily stammered.
“Good point,” Kate said looking at Len and Jimmy. “We’ll wait until seven o’clock, then I’ll drive out and find a payphone a good distance from here and call the sister.”
“Not on your own you won’t, Katie,” Len sneered. “You could be planning to skip out on us. I’ll be coming with you to keep you honest. Jimmy will stay here and watch these two.”
Kate glared at him. “Why the hell would I skip out before we get the ransom money?”
“We just don’t trust you,” Jimmy said. “That’s the way it’s gonna be, like it or not.”
Kate stared at him for a few seconds, then sighed. “All right, have it your way. Now is there somewhere in this dump we can lock up our hostages?”“There’s a storeroom down the back,” Len replied. “It has a lock on the door. We can shove them in there. Sorry, Hendersons, but it’s going to be very dark in there. Jimmy here forgot to pay the bill so there’s no electricity.” Laughing at his own joke he herded Tom and Lily off by the light of his torch to the rear of the warehouse where he locked them into a small stuffy room. He closed the door and they were left in total darkness.