The Robbery

April 30, 2010
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I worked all my life in a cubicle, in the same office building, in Los Angeles. I was a computer programmer and punched codes in all day. My life was boring. I hated it. Something interesting needed to happen. That all changed on June 25th.

On my way home from work, I went up to my usual street vendor, Sam. I felt hungry and bought a hamburger. Just as I paid, he said, “Hey, Paul, you wanna get rich, quick?”

“Yeah Sam, doesn’t everybody?”

“OK, come close. I have an inside source that the Bank of L.A.’s vault will be unlocked by an inside man.”

This seems like the big break I had been waiting for. I thought as I said “So what do I need to do?”

“Just provide a distraction and help my friend--you know Jim--steal the cash. We predict a payout of over 15 million dollars.”

“I guess I’m in.”

“You will meet Jim in the lobby on July 3rd, at 9 a.m. Once you’re done, you can take 1/3 of the profits and we’ll take the rest.
“I’ll be there.” I said

The rest of the walk home was a daze. I thought of the consequences of my actions. The robbery was risky, but I knew it was the only way to escape my life. There wouldn’t be another opportunity like this. I finally made it to my apartment. It was small and depressing. After July 3rd, I’ll buy a mansion.

For the next week or so, I went to the hamburger vendor every day. I got to know him and my fellow robber, Jim. I learned that they were actually part of a special team. They went around the country and set up operations. They had planned this robbery for three years. Everything I knew about Sam as had changed. He was not just the simple street vendor I had known before. They had been studying and monitoring the bank the entire time. They had been waiting for someone like me, a long time friend of Sam’s, to join in and complete their team. All of those days, I felt like they cared for me.

On the morning of July 3rd, I was ready. I got up, ate breakfast, brushed my teeth, and thought about my life as a rich man. I went directly to the Bank of L.A. I met Jim. It was exactly 9 a.m.

“Hello, Jim.”

“Ah, Paul, come let’s talk in my office.”

We walked into his office. It was huge compared to my cubicle. It was very tidy.

“After the robbery, can I leave with the money?”

“Yes. Well, not exactly. We are going to stay in our safe house for one week.”

“What safe house?”

“Oh. Well, after the robbery we are going to get into a car with Sam as the driver. He will drive us to the Angeles National Forest only a few miles away where we have a secret cabin. We have to lay low for a bit.”

“O.K. Sounds like a good idea.”

He handed me a dark hoodie and a ski mask to disguise myself. He was wearing the same. “Just follow my lead.”

He led me through a back passage that went behind the lobby directly to the vault. There was almost no one in the bank. Jim told me that most of the people were away for the Fourth of July weekend. There was only one guard watching the vault. Jim pulled out a gun and shot the guard. There was no sound.

“Don’t worry. That only put him out. When he wakes up, he won’t remember anything.”

“Wait Jim, a video camera! It’s probably been taping us the entire time.”

“One step ahead of you Paul, I disabled all or the cameras before you came.”

“Ok whew that’s a relief.”

Jim punched in a code, got into the vault, and locked it behind him.

“Why did you close it? I asked

Jim simply pointed to the ceiling. In the corner, a hole was cut with a rope dangling down. Wow, this has been planned out very well.

“OK, Paul, here’s a bag, fill it up as much as you can.”

After ten minutes, we had taken as much money as we could. Jim took the rope first and I followed. We ended up on top of the bank, but quickly took a ladder down to the abandoned lot behind the bank.

“Well, Paul. I would say we have succeeded in our mission.”

“Really? I don’t know what to say.”

“Well, let’s just get into the car.”

Jim ushered me to a black sedan with tinted windows. We began our drive out of the city. Sam drove us to the deepest part of the forest where a small cabin was built.

“This is it?”

“Yes,” said Jim as Sam drove off.

“Where’s Sam going?”

“Sam wasn’t part of the crime so he cannot be accused of anything. He’ll keep an eye on town for us.”

“Whatever you say Jim.”

We are going to live here for a week? Well, anything for the money. Jim showed me around the cabin. The fridge seemed to be filled with the perfect amount of food. I wondered where it came from. During the next seven days, Jim and I bonded. I understood how proficient he was in his trade.

“So, Paul. When the week is up, the police shouldn’t be looking for us any more. We are simply going to leave with the money, going in different directions. If you are caught, do not give my name. If you did, I would have to kill you. I know you would keep that promise. Also, don’t spend too much...” I dozed off; Jim was somewhat boring me. All I could think about was the money.

The only form of entertainment in the cabin was one small radio. Jim always had it on the police radio, which talked frequently about our robbery.

“They have no idea where we are.” Jim remarked once, after a call from Sam. At the end of the week, the police search had diminished to nothing. Cops weren’t even looking any more. Just suspicious activity was being looked for.

Jim determined that we should leave in the middle of the night on the seventh day. It was the safest. He split the cash between us; five million for me. We loaded it into large suitcases. Then I saw Sam pull up in the black sedan.

“Well, I think this is it, Paul. I’m going east and you are going west. I doubt we’ll ever see each other again. Sam and I are going to another city as soon as we can.”

“You know, Jim, you’re probably the best friend I ever had. Before this, my life was terrible. Thank you.” I turned around. Jim had already left. Whatever, I got the money. I’m RICH! With that, I started the walk back to L.A, lugging the suitcase full of money. I thought about what I would buy and how awesome my life was going to be.

The next day I bought an entire home and was ready to move in the next day. The house needed furniture, so I filled it with everything you can think of. I thought my life was perfect. Then the next morning, my life went spiraling out of control.

“Sir, someone is at the door and they are looking for you.” My butler, Jay, said.

“What? Who could it be?” I exclaimed.

“They look like the police.”

“What the...” I got dressed and ran downstairs. I peered out of a side window and, sure enough, it was the police. Did they know that robber was me? How? Jim said that we were safe to go.

“Hello. Is Mr. Paul Samuelson in there?” A loud voice yelled. I was scared. I decided to open the door. “Mr. Samuelson?”

“Yes.” I trembled with fear.

“You’re under arrest for robbing the Bank of L.A.”

My life is ruined. My fortune is all gone. How could this be? I was handcuffed and put into the police car. When we got to the police department, they put me in the temporary cell and told me my case was almost unwinnable.

At the court hearing, I got a decent lawyer who took my case. The evidence was clear. It was all of my sudden spending. How could I have been so ignorant? Many of the stores had reported that I spent massive amounts of money all in cash. It seemed sketchy. In addition, while reviewing the tapes from the crime scene, the police identified my profile. The only thing left for me to do was save Jim.

“Mr. Samuelson, who is the man accompanying you?”

“He was my companion Jim, I simply knew him as Jim. He left with his accomplice, Sam.”

“Thank you, Mr. Samuelson.”

The rest of the trial was boring, everyone debating what to do with me. I didn’t really pay attention. I don’t know why I betrayed Sam and Jim. I didn’t feel like being the one who took all the blame. I stood up for myself. When the trial was over, the verdict had been given. Eight years in jail. How could my life be this bad?

Now I have 7.8 more years to sit in my cell and think what I have done wrong. Once I got that money, I thought I was immortal. My life finally had meaning. Something actually happened. Life wasn’t a bore. It was a dream come true and I acted without thinking. I just had to spend it. How stupid. Now, would Sam and Jim be caught? Would they know I turned them in? I could have just waited a couple of weeks and spent the money in small amounts. Alas, I was a fool, but what if…

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

French3A said...
Jun. 1, 2010 at 7:11 pm
I like it. It is suspenseful. Hope to read more.
JoetheBlanc said...
May 11, 2010 at 9:29 am

very interesting story. 5 stars. the only thing i can point out is the timeline between the heist and the arrival at the safe house, but that might've been intentional, you wanting to put emphasis on the simplicity of the heist itself.

i liek the last santence... "but what if..."


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