- 09 Feb - 15 Feb, 2019
- 29 Dec - 04 Jan, 2019
Twenty Four Hours Later
Inside Nicholas’ house’ guest room, Cornelius, Billy and Kennedy were seated. Nicholas was standing by the door. They were all waiting until the bell rang. Nicholas moved and walked towards the entrance door of the house. He opened the door and saw Ashton standing outside, clad in a worn white suit over a blue shirt with gold necklace.
“Come in please” Nicholas said, as he beckoned him inside.
As Ashton and Nicholas entered the guest room, everyone seated inside changed their posture, as it was time now to begin things. After a brief introduction, the five of them seated themselves in different sofas sitting adjacent to the other. Ashton stood up and began:
“Alright boys let’s get to the point.”
Billy, Kennedy and Nicholas paid attention to what he was about to say:
“There is this mall, a small shopping centre. We are going to break in!”
The other criminals lost interest but still listened to him impatiently.
“Right below the mall which means at the underground basement, there is a safe worth millions. That is our target. We plan on stealing it away.”
“Wait a second...” Billy interrupted, “a safe? What’s inside it?”
“There’s cash” Ashton replied. “The safe has a lock and code but don’t worry about it, I’ll handle that. Your job is to get under the basement which is not quite easy.”
“Okay, stop here for a moment!” Nicholas spoke in between. “This job seems quite risky, can you guarantee that we all will walk out safely?”
“You have my word, Nicholas.” Ashton assured them, “Nothing will harm you. No cop no security, nothing. You can count on me.”
“But listen,” Billy began. “How are we going to get the safe out and take it away from the mall? We’ll need a big car for that, right?”
“Don’t worry about it.” Ashton spoke confidently. “Everything is ready and this is just the start of our plan. We will assign tasks and responsibilities according to your desires and expertise.”
“That’s better” Kennedy said, sounding convinced.
“Guys trust me.” Ashton stated, “This job is as easy as cutting a piece of cake. There is no risk and no chance of failure… unless Cornelius does his job properly. Let me tell you honestly, the only reason I’m asking for your help is because I don’t have enough men. I don’t have a team. Now that you guys are my partners, this job will be accomplished in a blink of an eye.”
“Alright slow down there...” said Cornelius, finally breaking the silence. “It is not. It is not that simple.”
He stood up as he spoke.
“A piece of cake and a blink of an eye. Don’t try to fool them. I believe they are smart enough to understand how risky and how difficult robbing a bank really is.”
Ashton was angered, but tried controlling his outburst. He looked at him with enraged eyes. Cornelius walked closer towards him and the two were standing quite close, face to face staring at each other intensely.
Nicholas felt some heat between them and it got him curious, as he realised that this was not because of the last words uttered by Cornelius.
“Alright guys...” Kennedy spoke up, distracting them, “Tell us what our plan really is?”
Cornelius turned his face towards Kennedy for a second and then looked back at his rival Ashton. He said to Ashton:
Ashton turned and walked a bit further and began explaining:
“Alright guys, our plan is to divide the responsibilities equally and then work on our duties with complete focus.”
Nicholas was still staring at Cornelius and was observing the tension between them.
“Money is our goal!” Ashton declared.
“Money is everything for guys like us.” Kennedy answered. “Right Billy?”
“Right.” Billy responded.
Ashton looked at Nicholas. “Can I have a laptop?” he demanded.
“Sure.” Nicholas replied with curiosity in his eyes.
Next afternoon, Billy and Kennedy were seated in their garage having some soft drinks. Nicholas was also in the same place working on his laptop. Billy spoke excitedly: “Guys I’m really excited.”
“You should be, because we all are” Kennedy answered. “After this robbery goes successful…”
“…If this robbery goes successful” Nicholas interrupted as if correcting his sentence.
Kennedy looked at him and his speed decelerated. He continued:
“Anyways…I suggest we must buy a new house after we acquire the money.”
“If only we could get a lion’s share then I’m sure it can happen.” Billy responded, “I’m sure that we would be able to afford a home. Afford a better place to live.”
“Money means everything to guys like us.”
“I think we must work with Ashton again after this goes successful.”
“If this goes successful” Nicholas stressed.
After a moment of silence, an irritated Billy said.
“Alright Nick, what’s your problem?”
Nicholas walked towards them and said:
“You guys haven’t noticed the tension between those two?”
“Between who two?”
“Cornelius and Ashton! Our new leaders.”
“I don’t really consider them our leaders first of all but even if they are, then it’s their tension and feuds! They are none of my business. Or anyone’s among us three.”
“No you’re wrong.” Nicholas uttered, pointing his finger towards Billy.
Billy stared at him, waiting for him to speak. Nicholas turned and walked and while walking he spoke:
“The truth should be exposed to us. We need to find out what they are really up to.”
Few days later, Cornelius and Ashton along with other three gangsters were at some different place. They were in some public park and they all were wearing T-Shirts and sweatpants except for Ashton who had worn a grey suit. They were seated on benches that were gathered in a square shape facing each other. Cornelius began:
“Alright, should we start?”
“Sure.” Nicholas spoke unfolding a folded piece of paper.
Ashton started narrating:
“On the day of the robbery, we shall need only one wagon. Nicholas will be the driver. He will drop all of us outside the mall and wait for us at the back side of the mall. After the four of us will enter inside
and separate, what will happen next?”
“I shall go to security department.” Cornelius narrated his part. “I will enter it and my job shall be to deactivate the alarm system.”
“Good.” Ashton replied, and then looked at Kennedy and Billy.
Kennedy spoke: “I shall go to the underground basement along with Billy. The two of us will get to the wall that isn’t really a wall but a secret elevator that goes further down to the sewage side”
“Then we shall receive the deactivation text message or call whatever from Cornelius.”
“Right! Now you continue Billy.”
“Okay, so as we go down through the elevator, we shall reach the sewage side. There we shall find a large safe box. We shall insert the code and then…”
“…Oh and by the way...” Ashton interrupted him and looked at Cornelius, “Did you get the code I told you to?”
“I don’t have the code but I do know the alphabets involved. It will be a game of anagrams that I’ll solve in my mind, nothing to worry about.”
“Alright, continue.” Ashton gestured to Billy.
“After inserting the code,” Billy continued trying to recall, “I’m going to put all the money in my bags.”
“You?” Ashton asked, as if trying to point out his mistake
“Sorry, I meant Kennedy and I. We’re going to put the money inside our bags.”
“Okay one more thing,” Ashton corrected him, “you guys won’t be carrying bags. You’ll be carrying suitcases. Large suitcases used for travelling.”
“Okay, how many? I mean how many would I be holding and how many would he be holding?”
“You both shall be holding two suitcases each.” Ashton answered.
Cornelius spoke looking at Nicholas’ uneasy face expression:
“You want to ask something?”
“Yeah.” Nicholas replied looking at Ashton, “thank you. I was just thinking that those two suitcases regardless of how large they are…”
“…Four” Kennedy interrupted correcting him.
“Whatever, alright four suitcases. My point is that are those four bags large enough to gather the entire amount. Are they big enough to make us millionaires within few minutes?”
“No they are not.” Ashton answered. “These guys will do this in two rounds. First they will gather half of the amount and then they shall walk towards the opposite side of the road. Then they shall climb the ladder and come outside. There you will be standing outside our wagon. You shall help them load money inside the vehicle. And then they shall go back inside. And in the second round they shall go back and…”
“…Whoa whoa!” Nicholas interrupted, “this sounds really unrealistic. Trust me. The two of them coming out and bringing loads of money. Don’t you think there would be cops on patrol? Won’t they catch us?”
“There you go/” Cornelius spoke, standing up and walking away.
“Listen to me.” Ashton tried to clarify the problem to him, “all this will be managed by Cornelius. He won’t just be deactivating the alarm system but he’ll also be manipulating the security system. That mall is not a high budget mall. The security system is not too strong. There are very few CCTV cameras installed. And it is really easy for Cornelius to manipulate the camera screens.”
“Don’t worry about the security system, I got it covered” Cornelius said to Nicholas.
“Do you have anything else to ask?” Ashton asked Nicholas.
“Yeah, my second question is that if this is a small budget mall then how come such a large amount of money is locked under it?”
“Good question. Victor Gibbs! Ever heard of him?”
“Yes, who hasn’t? He’s the guy who was caught with black money transactions.”
“Exactly, and where he is now?”
“He committed suicide two months ago.”
“Right, and do you know where he hid his entire money?”
“Oh my God…” Nicholas replied realizing that the money they were stealing belonged to late Victor Gibbs.
“Good.” Ashton smiled.
“So wait a minute, he kept his income underneath. And the owners of the mall know about it?”
“Yes they do.” Cornelius spoke this time. “There is only one owner and he spends Victor’s money to run his own firm.”
“Now I get it. So he was involved with Victor?”
“Yes he was, to little extent.”
“Is everything clear now?” Ashton asked Nicholas.
“It is... Although one thing is bothering me.”
“What is it?”
“How do you guys know about this? And how did you guys get access to this place?”
Ashton and Cornelius looked at each other for a second and then Cornelius answered Nicholas:
“You see Nicholas, we have been crime partners for quite a long time. We have worked with several people. So we made connections and contacts. Victor’s man was a friend of mine and he gave us the information.”
“Yes!” Ashton answered.
“So anyways,” Ashton spoke getting back to the old conversation, “money will be inside the vault. You two: Kennedy and Billy are going to get all the money in two rounds. You can make it three rounds if you can do it faster”
“There’s a good point here,” Billy spoke. “Since this is black money that we’re stealing, so the case won’t be filed or registered to the cops”
“Correct.” Ashton spoke. “So anyways, I think we are clear. I must leave now and then we’ll meet at the day to collect supplies.
Ashton stood up and prepared to leave.
That day’s evening, Nicholas and Billy were seated in the garage. Nicholas spoke:
“I’m not satisfied with this.”
“With what? The plan?”
“Come on think about it. How on earth can you…”
He got distracted and stopped speaking as he heard Kennedy entering inside the room, opening the door. Nicholas continued:
“As I was saying, how in this world can you expect a robbery like this to go successful?”
“So you’re saying it will fail?”
Suddenly they heard Cornelius’ voice: “Yes it will fail.”
Nicholas turned to see. Cornelius was standing next to Kennedy who had just brought him there.
“Cornelius?” Nicholas asked looking at him with amazement. “Is everything okay?”
“I’m sorry to break in like this but I need you guys to know about the change in plan.”
“As you were saying earlier that this robbery is most likely to fail, I’m just here to tell you that it won’t. It won’t fail, but we have to make it unsuccessful.”
“Unsuccessful? What do you mean by that?”
“This robbery is making you guys millionaires. How about I bring an offer that would make us billionaires?”
“That would be interesting, but how?”
“My point is that this robbery must go failed. Ashton and I have a commitment…that if this plan goes unsuccessful then we shall move to plan B. Plan B is slightly difficult but it will make us billionaires.”
“So why can’t we just cut this plan and move directly to the other one?”
“Because Ashton does not want it that way. The only way we can convince him to move to plan B is by making this one look unsuccessful at first...”
“I see.” Nicholas spoke. “So how exactly are we going to make it happen?”
to be continued...