By midday the next morning, the team were finally into the bank. More than 12 hours after the escapade had begun, they were now 8 hours behind schedule. But there was one more wall to go before they reached the vault and the riches that lay on the other side. Thank goodness they had that extra day, thought Del.
Setting up the drill once again, there was no option but to sit it out, and by midnight they were finally inside the vault. In the corner stood a large, modern safe.
“Crikey”, said Albert.
“Well, jeez, I ain’t seen nuffin like this before, Del. What did it say on the plan? A 2400? Well, look, this is a SafeAsHouses 6000. Jesus, boy, where’d you get those plans? Off a fucking market stall?”
“Look, there’s no need to get saucy. We’ve got just about a day to get into this thing, can you do it?”
“Course I can. There ain’t been a safe made yet, as I can’t get into.”, responded Albert, with confidence.
“Go on, then, Albert, do your worst. Keep me posted”, replied Del.
Ever the professional, at midday Del called a progress meeting, starring Albert.
“How are we doing?”, Del addressed him directly.
“We’re getting there, son, it’s just taking a little bit longer than I thought. There’s nine different locks, you see. I’m through four of them.”
“Can you do it?”
“Sure, I can do it.”
“Look, I said I could crack this. I’m making three hours per lock, so, what, another fifteen hours?”
Del looked at his watch again. That would take them to 5 AM Tuesday. Cutting it fine. Staff would start arriving not long afterwards.
“Go on then Albert, Keep going. Let us know if you hit any delay, even just a minute.”
And as Albert returned to work, Del was left to rue his luck. Those bloody useless plans, he thought. Walls twice as thick, then that sodding safe, five times tougher than they’d budgeted.
Del demanded regular updates throughout the rest of the day, although Albert was worryingly vague. Del was relieved when Albert finally announced that he had reached the last lock. But there was a snag.
“What’s the matter?”
“Nuffin, boy. Just… ain’t never seen this type of lock before.”
“Can you crack it?”
“Dunno. Give us half an hour and I’ll have a better idea.”
A half-hour later. “What’s the score?” Albert rubbed his chin. “I dunno, Del. I aint sure about this one.” Del reached into his rucksack and pulled out a pound of gelignite. “Here, will this do the trick?” Beaming, Albert responded. “oh, you beauty. It might well do the trick n’all. But I don’t need that much. Half of that will do.”
Del thought for a moment. Bearing in mind the other mishaps – underestimating the thickness of the wall, underestimating the safe, he pondered. “Nah, we’ll set a timer and go back next door while it goes off. Let’s not fuck this up and all. You set it up, then let’s scarper and blow the bloody thing open.”
At that moment, across the river, Denzil was just leaving his shared hostel in Peckham. Having not long been granted asylum in London, the middle-aged, balding man had been given shelter by a religious charity, who had also fixed him up with a job. But he was still on probation and could not afford to be late – he understood only too well how fortunate he had been to land this early-morning janitor job in the first place. But this morning, as he unchained his new bike, he was pushed for time. He had perhaps enjoyed a little too much wine last night, and his head felt fuzzy. Riding as fast as his legs would carry him, he set off for work.
He had almost arrived when, through the corner of his eye, the building appeared to move. He cautiously slowed. Surely that couldn’t be?
Next came a loud explosion, which flung Denzil from his bike. Still conscious, Denxil instinctively checked himself for wounds, but found none. In a twist of irony, his head felt clearer, although he took a few minutes before he gingerly raised himself off the ground. By the time he had picked up his bike, the dust had cleared enough for Denzil to see the new gap, like a tooth extraction, where his office had once been.