Secrets of the Asylum Ch. 3 Part 1

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File Case 3: The Heist (Oct. 15, 2009)

A man walked into a bank, backwards, or witnesses assumed that he was a man, since he was built like a man, but due to a pitch black ski mask, and thick layer of old clothing no one could tell for sure. As the man walked into the bank he was immediately noticed by the guard for two reasons. First of all the man was walking backwards, which tends to draw attention. Second of all as the man continued to walk backwards the security guard was able to see what was cradled in front of the man’s chest, it was a gun.

However, oddly the soon to be bank robber didn’t need the gun for its normal use. That is the use of shooting a bullet into a target, he rather just held on to the gun for the use of frightening people, and it happened to be the convenient equivalent of a steel bar that was easily used to knock the unfortunate security guard into unconsciousness, with a single simple move, but so quickly that the gun became a blur for a brief movement. With a quick flick of his wrist and a pivot on his toes the man wheeled around to face the rest of the people in the bank and cocked his gun, which seemed to be all the communication that was necessary for all of the people in the bank to dive to the floor.

The bank manager was nearby, a scrawny individual who despite his age had kept his hair. There was a young lady sitting at a desk helping an old man with some paper work that the old man couldn’t read despite his huge spectacles. There was also an older lady wearing a hideous home knit sweater sitting at her desk who had been quite bored with nothing to do a few moments ago, but she didn’t look bored now.

“Stay on the ground and do exactly as I say,” the man roared from behind the ski mask that covered his face all around, except for his eyes which were small and pig like. “Trust me you would rather have emotional scarring than an autopsy in your foreseeable future.”

Feeling a sense of control the man grabbed the bank manager and pushed him towards the bank vault.

“Open the vault up!”

“Come on! We were just robbed recently,” the bank manager pleaded.

“Open up the vault now!” the man shouted punctuating the last word by shooting a bullet at the wall. “You’re lucky though, you caught me on a good day.”

Without another word the bank manager opened up the vault, but that didn’t mean that he wouldn’t fight back.

When the soon to be bank robber stepped over the threshold of the vault the bank manager concentrated his minimal body weight into his shoulder as he rushed forward, slamming into the robber and knocking him into a cart that held a little pile of money. However the man was large, and strong, while the bank manager was weak and tired so the scuffle was short and ended as quickly as it had begun. After that the thief exited the vault.

This time, when the man crossed the room it was easier than last time, everyone in the bank was either unconscious or tired.

Soon everyone left in the bank was fast asleep.
***

Later that same day the police showed up at the scene of the heist, and with them came the two detectives that they usually called for bizarre cases. What made this case bizarre was that it looked like the robber went out forward, after walking in backwards. That’s what the security camera showed, but there were absolutely no leads on where the bank robber had gone, no one had seen him since the robbery. To make matters worse the air conditioning system had been rigged with knockout gas. So Captain Steel knew that they were dealing with an inside man. Therefore, if Captain Steel didn’t find the inside man and he was connected with the previous diamonds robbery then the robberies of the bank would continue, and the district attorney would be even more angry at Captain Steel than he already was for, “letting a second rate bank robber get away,” as he said. So obviously Captain Steel was quite pleased to see Nick and Jake even though she didn’t show it…even in the slightest.

“I called you twelve minutes ago, this is the most important case that I’ve had this year, so give me a flawless explanation of why you took twice as long to get here as usual,” Captain Steel demanded huffily.

Nick tried to offer an explanation calmly. “Twelve minutes is the usual amount of time that it takes for Jake and I to get from our apartments to this bank when there’s traffic, we’re not police so we can’t go as quickly to a crime scene, because we don’t have sirens and lights.”

“Oh well, you’re here now. If you can solve this case I will be more grateful than I have been for the work that either of you have done on any case that I have asked either of you to solve before,” Captain Steel said.

“So why did you call us anyway,” Jake asked, trying to move the conversation along.

“Well, a man walked in backwards and knocked a security guard unconscious, he then proceeded to threaten and drag the bank manager to the vault. Once the bank manager opened the vault he attacked the bank robber. The bank robber was shoved into a pile of money, but the bank robber proceeded to also knock the bank manager unconscious. After that everyone fell asleep in the bank due to a knockout gas that had been spread through the ventilation system, except for the bank robber, who managed to get out of the door, this time facing forwards. We haven’t heard anything about the suspect since he walked out. To make matters worse this bank has already been robbed, so we were monitoring it heavily, we had some lightly radiated bills, that the robber didn’t take, the security cameras have been upgraded, but the robber was wearing a mask, and to make it worse the guard is Mr. Anderson, one of the best men in the security guard business,” Captain Steel replied, only pausing on rare occasions to breathe.

After sucking in a great deal of air to prepare Captain Steel expounded on the topic. “The other witnesses in the bank include, William Willis, he’s the bank manager, Jason Butcher, he’s the old man who had come here to work on some paper work, Jessica Leon is one of the women that was working here when the robbery took place. She’s the one over there with the horrible sweater, and Natalie Drew is the other woman that was working here during the robbery.”

“Do any of them have a record?” Nick asked.

“Actually yes, William Willis, and Jessica Leon have both been arrested for getting into some pretty vicious fights, not with each other though,” Captain Steel replied.

“Were the lightly radiated bills that you put in the bank on both of the carts in the vault?” Jake inquired.

“There were a few on each, we only have so big of a budget after all. Why?” Captain Steel replied.

“As Nick would say, it’s a possible piece to the puzzle that we should keep in mind” Jake said.

Nick came up behind Jake at that same moment. “I would say that, which means that you’re getting smarter, therefore I want you to stay here for this case.”

Jake was of course surprised. “You want me to help with the case? And not with coffee runs?”

“Yes, I do, this is a rather important case after all.”
***

During the next hour or so there was minimal progress, but Captain Steel refused to stop or let others stop, so Jake, Nick, and Zach ended up looking at the security cameras, despite the fact that it was monotonous work, that would commonly be done by a CSI.

“So let’s review,” Nick announced. “The man came in backwards. The security guard probably would have got him if he hadn’t been taken by surprise. The other people were temporarily forced into submission, due to fear, but they probably would have given the robber trouble. That is if someone with access to the bank when no one else was looking hadn’t set off knockout gas in the ventilation, so everyone in the bank fell asleep, except the robber…”

“Hey what’s this?” Zach asked as he looked at a video tape that none of the others had noticed before.

As Zach pulled out a scratched and worn tape a Detective stopped, mid-stride, while passing by the doorway, and turned, trying desperately to squeeze into the miniscule room so that he could steal a little glory if this tape was the key, as he assumed from the bit of Zach’s sentence that he had heard.

To his regret Zach had to introduce the Detective. “This is Detective Morris he just came here.”

Detective Morris was quick to offer his lies so that he would seem better than he actually was. “I used to work in New York, but they sent me here to catch the legendary Masked Vigilantes.”

Nick couldn’t help, but snicker at the blatant lie. “They haven’t been spotted in over a decade, so would that mean that it’s your fault that they’re have escaped the grasp of the police.”

Angrily, Detective Morris attempted to save some of his dignity. “Just watch the video!”

As the small foursome looked at the video screen they saw the recent past of the bank projected on the screen. They were looking at a meeting that had occurred that same day before the bank opened. There was William Willis tapping a pencil against the table. The pencil was beat in a repeating pattern that sounded sharp, clipped, and overall obnoxious. Natalie Drew sat occasionally checking her watch. Then there was Jessica Leon, she was leading the meeting with a power point, one of her hideous sweaters stretched across her bulky frame. This particular sweater had an orange stripe going across her chest, the arm sleeves were green, and the rest of the shirt was a putrid brown. The only thing in the scene that was worse than Jessica’s sweater was her thoroughly boring power point, it read as follows:

We used to be a great bank,
but we have been failing recently,
So, we have to start making better choices tonight!

We have done badly, due to this recession,
and it’s the truth when I say that
we rob ourselves with too many bad deals.

So, we must try some new things,
we must try if we don’t want
the bank to fail.

We need to start by impressing a different group of people.
We could save money by not buying lollipops,
Or we could wear special uniforms to create a sense of order.

No matter what though we need to get more customers,
and we need to save more money, we need to show
who we really are, we can’t cover ourselves with a mask any more.


For far too long we have been in debt.
For far too long we have not shown our true selves.
For far too long we have been walking a bad path.

So I suggest that we devote more money into customer service.
That way we can prove to our customers how good we are,
because right now we are moving backwards instead of forward.


“Well that’s two minutes of my life that I’ll never get back,” Jake commented dryly as the meeting ended and the people on the television went back to their normal routine (which couldn’t be more boring than the meeting that they had just been forced to attend.)

“It doesn’t help us though, no matter what we look at now it probably won’t help. I think that we already have what we need, but none of us can piece it together. I’m going to try to recruit another mind to help crack this case.” Nick turned preparing to leave.

“Who are you going to recruit?” Jake asked.

“My brother in law,” Nick replied. “However first I want you to go to those front doors, and walk through them backwards, so that I can see what it looked like from a different perspective.”
***

The first person to greet Jake was the warden, Mr. Peterson. His skin was old and wrinkly, but he still had a full head of black hair.

Few words were exchanged between the warden and Jake, because the warden prided himself in doing everything promptly, and with minimal “chatter” as he called it.

“Hello, you must be Jake Hawk. As this is your first visit here I must warn you that you must listen to the asylum orderlies, they will tell you all you need to know.”

“Thank you.”

“Right then. Now on your way, no point wasting time.”

The hall was white, similar to Nick’s apartment almost everything was white, but that didn’t mean that nothing stood out. There were windows letting in some natural light. There was security guard walking in front of Jake and Nick. The security guard cast a dark shadow against the wall, and as Nick and Jake continued down the hallway they began to see what was at the end of the hallway, a large and beautiful backyard with thousands of multi-colored leaves coloring the ground.

“Stay calm, and try not to upset any of the patients. However before you see Ralph I have to pat both of you down, we haven’t had anyone break out yet, and it’s definitely not going to happen on my watch.”
***

“Don’t let the dark come in, don’t let the dark come in, don’t let the dark come in…” someone in a cell close to Jake repeated endlessly.

“I’m going to kill you, I’m going to kill you,” another inmate sang.

“Stop that!” The guard demanded and instantly the singing ceased.

What followed was a silence, which was suddenly broken by a loud and exuberant voice. “Welcome to the fun house, the most fun house in the whole world. Now how would you like to spend your stay here, perhaps you would like to wish upon a star, well I imagine that that would be very hot! Ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Get it, on a star!”

Jake had been spooked out before by the first two voices, along with the other mentally ill patients who were just staring brokenly out at him, or worse, staring brokenly at one of the walls, but Jake was far more frightened by the third voice. Only due to curiosity did Jake look into the cell where the third voice had originated from. Jake could see a large fat man inside, rolling on his bed as he continued to laugh in his peculiar fashion over and over and over again. When the man was finished laughing he opened his jolly blue eyes, and wiped a tear of merriment out of them, while Jake stared at the teddy bear that the man had in one of his large, pudgy hands. Unexpectedly the man launched the bear between the bars, hitting Jake squarely in the chest. “There, that’s how you can remember old Teddy Johnson, the funniest criminal that’s ever been! Ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…”

Nick seemed completely unconcerned by the strange surroundings and people. He just kept walking until he was outside in the backyard, approaching a man sitting on a nearby bench, and reading a newspaper. “Jake please meet my brother in law Ralph Copper, Ralph please meet my new assistant Jake Hawk.”

“Pleased to meet you,” Ralph stated, politely folding his newspaper with great care.

As Jake approached Ralph he could see that Ralph had brown hair, and green eyes that had sunken to indicate many sleepless nights.

“So what’s the case that you’re trying to solve now?” Ralph asked.

“The local bank has been robbed,” Nick explained. Next Nick proceeded to talk about everything that he knew about the case.

When Nick’s explanation concluded Ralph voiced hypothesis, “I may not be in your line of business, which is why I’m nearly as mystified by this as you are, but I say nearly because I might be able to cast some light on the subject. You see there isn’t much to do here, and as you know I love to read newspapers and I learn about the modern world from them. For example did you know about a case three months ago, just downtown, where a group of criminals hacked a security camera so that they could make it play a loop, so that they could go in and out of the hotel and steal anything they wanted without detection?”

“That doesn’t help us though, if a loop for the man walking in to the bank had been made then it would have just showed the robber coming in backwards again,” Jake interjected.

“I’m not done yet,” Ralph stated, holding his hand up to indicate that he wanted Jake to be temporarily silent. “Now I happen to also know about this thing called rewinding, which simply works by playing a scene backwards. Now suppose that the tape started out normal, and then a loop was formed from the bank robber entering, however the loop was in reverse, so that it looked like the robber actually exited through the same door that he entered. Therefore the answer to why the man walked in backwards is possibly because he wanted to be seen coming out forwards, think about it, coming in backwards is weird, but if he had left backwards then everyone would guess that the tape had been rewound. It makes sense doesn’t it if the robber used knockout gas he would go unconscious too even if he did use a ski mask, so he had to hide without going very far. So, he hid in the bank using the false recording to make sure that Captain Steel focused her people away from him. That’s also why he made sure that all of the witnesses had fallen asleep, so that nothing, except for the cameras saw what happened next.”

At the conclusion of Ralph’s explanation Nick exclaimed. “Thank you Ralph, once again you’re a genius. Now, come on Jake we still need to discover who the robber is.”

“Wait I can help you that too,” Ralph nearly shouted as Jake and Nick turned around. “Think about it, you got into the surveillance room, without talking to anybody. There should have been someone in there, and why guard a bank so heavily and yet only have one security guard, you’re looking for the second security guard, the one that not many people notice because he usually stays in the surveillance room. Besides the recording would have had to have been made when the robber came in, as it was happening.”





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