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71st Street Bank
It was a beautiful day on the outskirts of Brooklyn, New York. Not a cloud in sight, a sunny March breeze fills the warm Saturday.
“I would like to make a toast, to the great St. Patrick, our saint who brought Christianity to the great Ireland, the saint to whom I credit my Irish Catholic heritage. Long live St. Patrick!” I exclaimed. It was March 17th, my favorite holiday, and a day that would change my life forever.
“Jesus Mickey, can we eat now? We know you love Ireland, now can you shut up?” Shane quipped.
“Excuse me for being proud of who I am!”
“Boys! Settle down now. We are going to have a nice peaceful day. No fighting. You understand me Shane?” My mother demanded.
Mom always had to break up the fights since dad died about 10 years ago. Shane was the oldest brother, the brother I fought with the most. He was always aggressive, but after he came back from Belfast, he never was the same. He always carried a sense of guilt with him. Some say it’s because he was the only one in his IRA company who didn’t perish when they were bombed.
“C’mon guys, don’t give our poor ma a heart attack” Connor said in a humorous tone. My Brother Connor was the smartest brother, graduating high school in the top 10 out of his class, earning a hockey scholarship to Boston University. He was the good brother, he had a bright, promising future, and it seemed he could only rise in the world.
“Hello Aunt O’Flannigan, It’s great to see you again!” exclaimed Christopher.
“Hello, sweetie, glad you could make it” Replied my mother.
Christopher was my cousin and best friend. We’re more like brothers really. We played on the same sports teams, went to the same high school, and much, much more.
“Saint Chris!” I Shouted
“Mickey, how are you?”
“Never better, good to see you again!”
The whole family was here, my aunt, uncle, sister, brothers, and my cousin had all come for St. Patrick’s day. As the night grew, my brothers (including Christopher) and I went down to the local pub.
“Three beers please, and the little guy will have a Shirley Temple,” mocked Shane. Connor grinned; he had a knack for taking jokes in stride.
After a few beers, Shane interjected
“I brought you guys here for a reason, I need to talk business”
“C’mon Shane. One night without business please. Just let me relax with me brothers in peace for just one night” I snapped back
“Was I asking you for permission? Now, before I was rudely interrupted, I was going to tell you about a great score, one that will take care of us for a long, long time.”
“Yeah, if you mean one that will slam us in jail for a long, long time,” I sarcastically replied.
“Well, Mickey, the risk is great, but so is the reward. Possible three hundred grand.”
“C’mon Shane, no drug deal could make three hundred grand,” replied Christopher.
“I’m not talking about a drug deal, I’m talking about a bank. 71st Street Bank, three hundred thousand dollars for each of us.”
“No way this is going down smoothly, Shane; we have to be realistic,” I replied
“Nothing fake about it guys. We’ll talk some more about it later. Just think about it. Three hundred grand could really help you out.”
The next few days were tense. There was a silent, quiet atmosphere pervaded the house.
“Mickey, have you decided?” questioned Shane.
“Yes, I have, I’m going through with it, but this is my last job.”
The day seemed to go fast and slow at the same time. I watched the clock, 48 hours left, then 47, 46, 45. I felt panic for the first time in my life, I felt this could actually be the end, a feeling that I might not come back.
The night had passed, now 27 hours away from the job.
“Hey, Connor, is everything alright?”
“Yes, it’s just…”
“It’s just what?”
“Well, I want to be a part of the job, the robbery.”
“Oh, Connor, no…”
“I need the money, I want to help out this family.”
“I can’t let you do this”.
“I’ll be fine! I’m so tired of being treated like a kid! I’m”
“I’m not going to be responsible for you wasting your opportunities and dreams!”
“It’s my choice, I’m an adult! I can make decisions!”
“It doesn’t seem like you’re too good at it. We’re doing this because we need the money. You have no reason to risk death like we are”
“You think you are the only one who needs money?”
"You're a smart kid Connor, I can't let you do this! You have the oppurtunities
that I wish I had. I wanted what you have, you have so much ability and talent.
Don't do this!"
"Let him Mick. He wants to be one of us, he wants to be there to help."
"We don't need help, and we don't need him dying!"
"When are you going to realize I can take care of myself, Mickey?"
"Oh your words are so reassuring!" I sarcastically replied
"Why can't you just let be a fourth man? You only have three, one could
"Fine! You want to die, then go right ahead. Be ready at 9 AM tomorrow. Dress
nicely. But you're staying at my side the whole time, not with Shane, or St.
Chris, me and me only!"
My worst nightmare had happened. I loved my sweet little brother since his
birth. What if I turned my back on him for one second? That’s all it would take.
His College hockey career, a six figure job, kids, family, all gone because of me. The worrying was overwhelming, for the first time in my life, I felt that I had no control. Connor was the only real member of the family who I fretted for. Every since kindergarten I prayed that he would be ok. and now, he could lose his life all because of my decision.
It was finally Thursday morning.
“ Ma... have I ever told you how dearly I love you? You mean the world to me... I don't know what we would have done without you."
"I love you too son, but why are you speaking like this?" She asked if she knew I was up to something
"I just don't say those words enough."
"Mickey, we have a lot of time left. Why so somber?"
"Mother, promise me something. If I die today or tomorrow, or whenever, promise
me that you'll remember some of the good things I did in life. I haven't been a
good son, I wish I could change that."
"Mickey, you've been the best son a mother could wish for. Connor and Kelly are good souls. Your brother Shane is forever ruined by the IRA, but you my dear, remind me of your daddy. He was hard on you but he loved you. There were days when he couldn't wait until you were out of school, so he could throw the ball with you, or even just talk with you. He loved watching you play a sport, study, even when you helped take care of Connor. He loved you from the beginning, and he wanted you to be a great man."
"Do you think he's proud?"
"Of course, Son. I know I am."
"Mick! it's time to get re- Oh, I'm sorry, I'll let you two be" interrupted
"It's okay, Son, we were almost through. Mickey, go ahead with your brother, He needs you. I hope it's not for anything dangerous."
"No Mom, everything's ok"
"Promise your old mother?"
"Yes... I love you Mother, I love you so much" I spoke trying to cover my tears
Mom didn't know what was about to happen and I lied right to her
face. I've been a horrible son, taken years off of her life, and still she loves
me. But I couldn't show any emotion now, I had to focus. We had to set on our
way. We had an hour and thirty minutes left to plan.
"Shane, we need a four-door car, you got one?" Christopher questioned
"Yeah, I do. You got a getaway car setup? There should be plenty of cars to
Chris could hotwire anything. He had taught me his technique two years ago.
We got into the car; I was the driver, as usual. I started driving, and Shane explained the plan
"Here's the plan, Boys" Shane sternly commanded
"We each take down a guard. Kill them if need be. No one needs to get hurt, but
if someone tries to be a hero, you take them down hard. It's either us or them.
Me and Chris here will secure the people and keep lookout. Mick can open the
Vault, and Connor will follow Mickey to grab the money. Clear?"
"Clear as can be," stated Connor.
The drive seemed fast. I felt I was speeding to my grave.
We were handed ski masks and sun glasses
"Alright boys! Here's our finest hour! We’re ready!" exclaimed Shane. He always had a love for dangerous situations.
"Remember Connor, you stay with me," I admonished him.
Connor shook his head quickly. His innocent eyes showed fear, but he knew there was no turning back now.
In a matter of seconds, we were in the bank.
"Nobody move! Move and you'll die!" exclaimed Shane.
"We don't need no heroes, we're just here for the banks cash!" Chris calmly stated. Chris had a way of trying to calm people down in dangerous situations.
As soon as he said the final word, a gunshot erupted.
"St Christopher!" I exclaimed as I ran toward his body. A bank teller had shot him in the chest, killing him instantly. Shane and I ran toward the teller in rage
and riddled him with bullets.
“All you people had to do was stay calm, but you couldn't even do
that!" Shane angrily shouted
"This isn't their fault; we need to stick to the plan!"
My best friend in the whole world had just died in an instant. All those years spent together destroyed in one second. I looked over to see Connor shaking, the fear in his eyes told that he regretted his decision.
"Let's just grab the money and get the he** out of here"
I went alone to the vault while Connor and Shane kept guard.
"DROP YOUR WEAPONS" is the only voice I heard when
i came back up from the vault. The cops had arrived
"It's go time boys!" Shouted Shane
"Stay next to me Connor!" I ordered
Bullets were fired as fast as lightening. The shootout was intense but we made it
through Albany street. We took cover in a back alley. More cops. More bullets.
We escaped through but came into contact with a helicopter
"Were done boys" Shane said, admitting defeat
"Follow me into the subway station!" I exclaimed.
More cops and more bullets as we ran through the station, making it to another street. We made it to an escape car, I remembered what St. Christopher had taught me... but there were only two of us in the car, Shane and I. I looked back to see Connor laying in the street.
"CONNOR! I'm coming!" I picked him up, laying him in the back of the van.
"You're going to make it!" I shouted but he died not long after I
said those words. A fatal gunshot had claimed his life.
We took off in the van. I didn't notice he had died, the cops were in pursuit. More bullets were fired at us. We were able to escape, as soon as we reached home, I noticed that Shane was bleeding.
"I've been hit Mick,"
"I’ve got to get you to a doctor!"
"It hurts pretty bad" he admitted
"No! I'm not letting all of my brothers die! Too many have gone! Not you Shane!
“Mickey, I’m ready to go. I’m haunted by the war. I have a lot of trouble in everyday life. I’m worried about my family. I’m ready to die. Just tell our mother that I loved her dearly.”
“I love you so much, Shane, I know I’ve never told you this, but I love you. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
“I love you too, Mickey”
He died in my arms. I could hear him praying the Our Father and the Hail Mary right before his death.
My cousin had died on a bank floor in Manhattan. My youngest brother died on the street, My eldest brother died in my arms. I was trusted with their lives, and I lost every one of them.
I boarded a plane for Australia, a place where I always wanted to go. I left behind my home in New York for good, and I never returned to the United States. Last I heard, mom had tragically died from a heart attack when she heard the news of her sons death. I still feel great guilt of this after 5 years, and if I could take everything back, I would. I ruined Connor’s chances of succeeding; I lost my older brother, and my best friend. My whole family is gone now all over a little bit of money, and I only wish I could have died that day with my brothers.