When Frank turned the TV that night and saw the lead story on the late news, he knew that…
“Ten!”, shouted Bobby, the tension in his voice unmistakeable even behind a Mickey Mouse Mask.
“Come on, come on, hurry up, lady”, barked Frank, indicating the holdall. “Quicker. I don’t have all day.”
As the panicked cashier stuffed the bills from her drawer into the sack, Frank turned to glance around at the room. Good. Everyone was lying down, just as they’d been told. He spotted a young woman looking at him. “Nothing to see here, miss. Eyes to the floor.”
“Move it lady, I’m not a patient guy!”
He gestured to a suited man who had had a name tag on his pinstriped lapel. Obviously, an employee.
“You!” The man lifted his head, his face defiant beyond his glasses. “Yes, you! Up! Over to the front door, and when we tell you, open it for us. And no heroics…” Gesturing at the sawn-off shotgun in his left hand, Frank could already hear the wail of sirens, still in the distance but coming ever closer. “Nobody needs to be a hero today.”
“Time”, shouted Bobby, and Frank ripped the bag from the cashier. Whatever she’d placed into it already, that would have to do.
As the three turned to make their escape, a piercing shot rang out. Shrieks from the customers, who had no clue about the shot’s origin. For the three robbers, however, the move had been rehearsed, as Bobby obliterated a ceiling tile, and with it an innocent light fitting. A gentle reminder to people to stay down.
“You!” Frank shouted at Mr Defiant, as the three sprinted toward the entrance. “Open! NOW!” As the door swung open, Frank was incredulous. We’re almost clear! We’ve pulled this thing off!
Frank had not bargained, however, on Mr Defiant, who, as the men passed him at speed, stuck out his foot. As Frank stumbled, Mr Defiant grasped his latex mask, and Frank’s Donald Duck disguise slid easily from his head. Another rasping shot, deafening behind him in the enclosed vestibule, but Frank, now unmasked, was too busy keeping his own balance to see Mr Defiant drop.
His attention fixed on staying upright, Frank fell into the front seat of the getaway car, followed swiftly by the other men. As the car sped off, Bobby, a ball of excitement, blurted, “Did you see that, man? Did you see that guy fucking explode? Ten years the elder, Frank shook his head.
“Fuck… fuck… fuck…”, he repeated, hitting his fist onto the dashboard. This wasn’t supposed to happen.
Six hours later, the three entered the dingy motel room. They should be safe enough overnight here. The now-calm Bobby flicked on the TV. When Frank saw his unmasked face as the lead story on the late news, he knew that their days were numbered.