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The line to the bank stretched around the corner for almost two blocks, making it shorter than most of the lines I had seen since the government announced the new currency regulations that requiring people that wanted to continue to use ‘old-fashioned’ paper money to turn in their old dollars for a new interim currency.


The exchanges had been met with a mostly positive response from the average citizen, happy to have the ability to buy food and cigarettes. Most had already made the switch to ‘e-money’– for the payment of monthly bills or larger expenses– which allowed the use of a small identification chip attached to a fob that would fit on a key ring to be swiped at local retailers.  There were always a few ‘stubborn die-hards’ as the pundits had taken to saying that would always want a physical currency to make them feel secure in their transactions.


People that had a clue had figured out that the switch to ‘e-Money’ or “emo’s” as most people were calling the system actually allowed the government a freer hand to regulate currency and change the exchange rates at a whim. Not that they hadn’t been doing that with the old dollar; every time the Chairman of the Federal Reserve sneezed we lost another few cents off the dollars’ worth. Now though, the Fed didn’t even bother to make announcements, instead an email would be sent to emo account holders telling them of the impending change and letting them know their options (‘shit and fall back in it’ and ‘fuck all’ being the two main options available) to address the situation.


Drill and I had been scouting local currency exchanges for a week now before picking this one, Fidelity Union Trust or FU as its customers referred to it. FU had only one thing to recommend it, according to Drill; it was the most heavily guarded due to the fact that politicians were seen making their exchanges at this branch of FU. Of course the politico’s making their exchanges here were doing so strictly to give the impression of solidarity with the commoners; most of the wealthy had already transferred their wealth into precious metals and durable goods, having been tipped off well in advance of the implementation of the e-Money system.


“Tell me again why more armed guards are a good thing?” I asked as I fumbled nervously with the release of my holster.


“More attention, more chances to cause mayhem.” Drill said as he glanced at the driver’s side mirror, checking out people crossing the street to join the queue. “Two guys walk in, put down a bunch of armed guards.  .  .it’s going to be televised. People will start to think twice about going to their local bank to get hard money. They want as many people as possible using emo’s.


“Right, I get that part, but why not another branch with a little less security? I mean it would be easier to pull off, right?”


“Exactly that” Drill replied. “We don’t want it to appear easy. We want to inspire our fellow citizens to consider taking the same course of action. The bigger the target taken down by a two man team, people start thinking they can do the same and then they do it.  Drill glanced at his watch “Two minute warning. Get ready.”


I didn’t have much to do to prepare for my part. Drill and I had been to a private range, where I practiced relentlessly with several weapons in preparation for this. Now all I had to do was remember to change magazines when my pistol ran dry. His insistence that I be as prepared as possible meant having my body armor on ahead of time and as many extra magazines and spare rounds for the little revolver he’d given me, as I could carry without having odd bulges appear beneath my shirt.


“Get your bag and get out.” Drill said, as he secured his own gear and made ready.


The sedan we had been given for this op was as non-descript as possible as were the clothes we had chosen. We had rehearsed the plan numerous times since we began scouting locations, but one thing Drill had driven into me was that no plan survives first contact. I played my part in my head as I took the bag from the back seat and made my way to the exchange.


The faded red bag was threadbare and hanging on to its purpose in life literally by a thread. I wanted to reinforce the bag so that my part of the plan wouldn’t occur too quickly, but Drill maintained that if I had to fidget with the bag in order to produce the malfunction it would add orders of complication that might cause all manner of hiccups in the op.


Since this was my first time ever to intentionally commit any sort of criminal act, I rolled with Drill’s advice and gripped the bag tightly. I made my way toward the front of the line drawing suspicious stares from those queued up and the occasional comment about the location of the line for newcomer’s; attempting to cut into the line was going to cause the wrong kind of disturbance.


The distracted looking guards were standing on either side of the line, spaced about ten yards apart. A quick headcount revealed six guards outside the bank and at least two more visible just inside the doors. I knew all the guards were armed, but the ones I could see inside appeared to have rifles in addition to the pistols their colleagues wore in funky looking plastic holsters at their waist.


The guards seemed well distracted watching the throng of people shuffling closer to the bank entrance, except for one that noticed my unimpeded movement and signaled one of his comrades to intercept me.


The guard must have been in some kind of disagreement with his razor sporting a hefty weeks’ worth of stubble.


“Sir, I’m going to need you to head to the end of the line.” He began, pointing with a gloved hand at some point behind me. I was close enough now to guess what he’d had for breakfast, which if I had to guess, I would say was a combination of coffee, Dorito’s and onions.


“I’m not going in to get emo’s” I said, holding up the bag for him to see “I just need to access my safety deposit box.”


Years working in my field had given me the ability to smile without meaning and almost by default present a tired, beaten down aspect of myself when dealing with people.


The guard nodded and continued to point behind me “I understand that sir, but we still can’t allow you to go ahead of all these people here. You either get to the end of the line or try and get here earlier.” I held up the bag again and began to shake it slightly “I just wanna use my safety deposit box! I don’t want any of the government funny-money!”


The guard, having exhausted his repertoire of conflict management skills waved over another guard and the two began to talk. This made my part in the op easier, but I couldn’t risk the other guard deciding to escort me into the bank. I began to shake the bag vigorously now holding it up to the guards face and yelling “Let me use my safety deposit box!”


People in the crowd were starting to get involved, some yelling at me to go home, others telling the guards to just take me inside causing a small knot of people to form near the three of us. From the corner of my eye I saw Drill waiting patiently just around the corner and knew without seeing his face that he was giving me ‘the look’, but no matter how hard I shook the bag the seam seemed determined to hold on.


No plan survives first contact, I thought as the two guards continued their debate. Time for Plan B. I unzipped the bag and pulled out a handful of loose cash. “Here! Take my money! You want a bribe just so I can use my own property?!” I shouted as I held the crumpled bills in my hand waving them at the guards “Here! Take it! Take my money! Take it!”


I finally felt the sensation I was waiting for as the bottom of the bag gave way and loose bills poured out only to be picked up by the slight breeze. The crowd took the bait like champs, diving for the loose bills, knocking one another over and more importantly pulling the line closer to the guards. I used the distraction as an opportunity to grab the only other item in the bag, a ballistic helmet and face protector and hurriedly put it on.


The second guard had been trying to usher people back, but must have known something was up. Just as the face-protector was clearing my eyes I saw him looking up at me, realization dawning in his eyes that something was seriously amiss. I confirmed his suspicion when I drew the S&W 1911 and fired two shots into his buddy, the first guard before taking aim at him.


Something happened to me then. I can’t describe it–a feeling between fear and exhilaration–never in my wildest dreams had I seriously contemplated harm to another human being, much less taking a life. My brain was on fire with new knowledge and sensations. I knew that the first guard was still alive since my two shots had impacted in his chest and no doubt been turned aside by his body armor. The second guard hadn’t been so lucky, my shot catching him in the head since he’d been kneeling at the time.


I had only a second to decide. I saw Drill moving, drawing the MP7 from under his sport jacket opening fire on the still confused guards further up the line. I had the attention of all the guards focused on me, the rush of adrenaline they were experiencing making them believe the sounds of gunfire were coming from me alone. My decision was made: I wasn’t the cold blooded killer Drill was or needed me to be. I let the downed guard that had been my first target live, choosing to focus my attention on the guards closest to me. Unable to remember how many shots I’d already fired, I dropped the magazine and reached for a new one. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast–Drill’s words echoed in my head–I forced myself to take a deep breath through my mouth before taking aim once more.


In the time it had taken me to reload, Drill had permanently dispatched the rest of the guards, which probably explained why I wasn’t currently full of holes. Pulling the slide of the 1911 to release it after changing magazines seemed to be taking forever, but I had been warned about this. Drill had told me that under extreme stress time seemed to either slow way down or speed up so fast that you didn’t feel you had time to react. For me, it was like swimming through Jell-O.


Drill had already focused his attention on the guards inside the bank, the ones with the rifles and there now appeared to be far more of them than I had seen. Drill remained crouched behind the cement embankment of the wheelchair ramp, occasionally peeking up to return fire. Surprisingly, to me, the glass entryway of the bank was regular glass, most of which had been shattered allowing for the exchange of fire.


The crowd was still scurrying to pick up the bills I had dropped making the guards in the bank reluctant to return fire without being able to identify their targets. Drill waved at me to join him, which I did, running in a half crouch.


“How’d it go?” Drill asked a slightly cockeyed grin on his face. I opened my mouth to answer and instead vomited all over the sidewalk leading to the wheelchair ramp. “That good, huh?” Drill laughed “well first one’s done and that’s usually the bitch. Here, I brought this for you–cover me.”


Drill’s bag contained the AK-47 I had used previously, this time sporting a round magazine with two spares still in the bag. I pushed the safety down and looked to Drill who had sprinted across the way, preparing to try and catch the bank guards in crossfire. I set the rifle Drill handed me on top of the embankment and squeezed off a few shots, looking up every few seconds to see where the bullets were impacting.


From the corner of my eye I could see Drill waving frantically at me to duck down. I lowered my head, but kept pulling the trigger.  Drill stood up and threw something into the bank and then quickly ducked down and clapped his hands over his ears. I followed suit and seconds later felt a loud explosion. I kept my place and remained there with my head down, while Drill sprinted to the bank entrance. The sound of gunshots followed Drill’s disappearance. I stood frozen, waiting for something to tell me to move. Moments passed before Drill reappeared grabbing the bag with the magazines in it and tapped me on the shoulder.


“Time to move!”






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  1. Redleg permalink

    What happened to the story? It’s been 4 months since the last installment.

    • Life happened. I had to change jobs and have much less time to write now. I’m hoping to get back to it soon, but I have to be able to catch my breath a bit.

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