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Lucky Shot

suspense by D.J. Barber

All Jared ever talked about was an even break, a small stake to set himself up, a–how do you say?–a fresh start. So Maury thought up the scheme and Jared listened night-after-night at Maury’s attempt to talk him into action.

Maury had been out of active employment for some months and spent his time loitering downtown. He began a daily routine of a scone and a cuppa at a small coffee shop-cum-café.

One rainy Monday morning, Maury noticed a large parcel van pull in front of the First Fiduciary Bank and Trust, just across from where he nursed his refill of coffee, scone long gone.

A man in a blue work uniform hopped out and threw open the back doors of the truck, loading numerous large boxes onto a cart and rolled them into the bank.

Curious, Maury left his tepid coffee and ventured across the street and into the bank, watching while the man in blue delivered the boxes, a cart at a time, straight into the bank’s large vault.

It occurred to Maury that the security guard and bank management paid no attention to the apparently faceless laborer. That’s when Maury began a watch. His daily routine of drinking coffee was inconspicuous and Maury found a set pattern of deliveries every Monday morning.

He also discovered the bulky boxes were nothing but coin wrappers, the type that are already open and fit on a coin-wrapping machine, three of which the bank had housed within the confines of the large vault.

Moreover, and most important, Maury noted that the driver/deliveryman was different week-to-week.


“This was a bad idea, Maury.”

“Now-now, Jared. We agreed. I told you there were risks. You nodded and, more importantly, you’re here.”

“But the whole thing is a balls-up. You said there’d be no problem. Rent a truck, get some boxes at the movers, buy a few blue shirts and breeches–And there’s been nothing but problems. I mean to say, right off the bat the manager confronts us, seeing’s how the delivery was already made.”

“Come-come, now, Jared! How was I to know they’d delivered on Friday last week because another bank had the delivery men off north somewhere today.”

“You said it was all right and regular. You said we’d waltz in and out with these mail bags stuffed with fifties before these bankers knew what hit them. You said there’d be no worries.”

“You there! Inside the Bank! This is the police! Come out with your hands in plain sight.”

“And now there’s the coppers, Maury! If it isn’t enough that that fool of a security guard fumbled off a shot and caught me in the arm, now they’ve called emergency and got the police onto us. We’ll be lucky if some recruit doesn’t shoot us as we exit the building.”

“Well, we’re not exiting the building, my dear Jared, not through the front door, that is. I did have a contingency plan for just such an event. Get up! There’s a door to your left—a staircase down to the basement. Go! Through this door and down—Go!”

“Maury, this damn arm is hurting like hell! I’m leaving a trail of blood a blind man could follow.”

“C’mon–down that hallway! There’s the freight elevator—move it, now! Inside. We go up to a back alley. I have a car down the block–”

“You planned an alternate escape, never telling me what is was?”

“Jared! C’mon! Take the gun! Through those doors and into the alley we go!”

Jared ran into the alley, gun held high.

Maury withdrew and took the freight elevator up to the third floor, hit the button for the basement before he exited, dropped the cash-laden mail bag into a closet, and entered the men’s restroom there.

He stripped the loose-fitting working blues off. Underneath he wore grey slacks, a stripped button-down shirt and he quickly pulled a red tie from his rear pocket and wrapped it neatly round his collar.

Walking to the sink, he washed his face and dampened his hair and combed it briskly. He entered the cubicle, put the blue uniform into the tank, dropped his slacks and sat on the toilet and waited.

If he were confronted he’d just play dumb, say he had come to see a loan officer down the hall here, play it all by ear now. A lot of noise came from the hallway by the freight elevator when the police found the mail bag therein. It wasn’t long after that they burst into the men’s room.

“You! In there! Get out of there! Get on the floor, face down. Down-Down-Down!”


Later, at the city cells, the legal man sat across a dingy table from Maury, shaking his head.

“—problem is,” he said. “Your fingerprints are all over everything! The mailbag that held the cash, the barrel of the gun your confederate had, the insides of the safe door, even on some cash thrown about inside the safe.”

“Perhaps so. And so what?” spat Maury. “It proves nothing. Perhaps I’ve touched a few things inside the bank—it proves nothing except I was there—and not even when!”

“But the police have evidence. Why your very own brother-in-law was shot out behind the bank.”

“Why, if I had known he was a criminal, I would have—”

“Ah, but what you don’t seem to realize, Maury, is that your brother-in-law isn’t quite in as bad a shape as the police led you to believe.”

“What do you mean, sir?”

“What I mean to say is he’s hospitalized—far from dead—”

“Not dead?”

“As I’ve said. He says the whole scheme was your idea. So what do you say?”

Copyright October 2009 by D.J. Barber

D.J. Barber lives in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. He blogs about writing at Canyons of Gray.

[Return to the October 2009 stories]

4 Responses

  1. Ahh traitorous partners, DJ. No honor among thieves!!!

  2. That’s so true, Gay.


  3. Nice caper. Love capers. Love Willie Sutton. “Banks? Cause that”s where the money is.”‘

  4. Thanks, Walt. Isn’t 10Flash great?


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