The following prompter was provided;

Write a story using the following components:
1) A Gang
2) A Gun
3) A Criminal Act

Title; The Bank Job


For the first time he could remember, Switchblade Ricky felt scared. After working for Jimmy Leon for more than three years, he wanted out before the job began. He'd done first timer jobs with other members of Jimmy's organization before. This time it was different.

It wasn't Freddie, the driver Jimmy picked, that bothered him. Ricky could see that he loved cars and drove with competence. It was the other one, Hector. After just a few planning sessions, and some dry run-throughs, he'd concluded that Hector wasn't someone he could control. The other boys who Jimmy had him work with had respect for him. They knew what he had done, and they did as he told them without questioning him. Hector was in his own world.

Ricky looked over at Hector one more time. There was no question that Hector had something in mind other than doing the job as instructed. Jimmy's orders didn't seem to mean anything to Hector. He kept his doubts to himself just the same. He'd learned that you don't say anything to upset Hector.

Well, it was too late now. He could only hope that whatever Hector did, he would be able to get away before everything went south. He tried to focus on running the plans through his mind again. After all, this job was going to be it. The big one. Ricky figured his share of this score to be as much as $10,000. Hell, he could retire on that kind of money.

He walked through it again in his mind. They were to be in the bank exactly two minutes before getting out to let Freddie drive them away. Two minutes maximum, he repeated to himself. After that, regardless of how much they had, get out and let Freddie do the rest.

"Good planning and proper execution are the key,' Jimmy told him as they prepared the plan. "That's why so many idiots get caught, you know. They don't plan. Or if they do, they don't follow through and do what they planned. They get a better idea right in the middle of everything, and get their butts thrown in jail."

Ricky smiled to himself. Ha, those putzes behind the windows wouldn't even know what hit them. He had a good plan, and he had proven over the years that he'd stick to it. If only Hector would wait until they were out of there to screw things up. The thought of being stuck in the bank with Hector during a standoff with the police didn't appeal to Ricky at all.

Hector didn't like the way Ricky was looking at him. Why did Jimmy make him listen to these little boys? He sat up and checked his gun once again. Hector loved this gun. This was a real gun, a 9mm Beretta semi-automatic, genuine firepower. Just feeling its cold steel in his hand told him he was a man. And at only 17 years old he'd already used it twice to kill.

Hector looked forward to killing again today. Maybe a guard, maybe a teller, he was certain that he would kill at least one today. Oh yes, they would know that it was all their fault, he'd show them that. And then he would see to it that they died for it. He'd let them know, he'd let them all know that he was a man.

Freddie couldn't stop himself from fidgeting in his seat. He'd made a good reputation for himself as a driver when Jimmy asked him to join his group. Freddie always found driving to be something natural, something he looked forward to. Until he met Hector. Switchblade Ricky was predictable, but Hector? You never knew what Hector was going to do, or if he was going to decide to do it to you.

He didn't even like being around Hector. Let alone working a job with him. He thought back to his conversation with Jimmy Leon

"Jimmy, it's that Hector, I'm not sure he's playing the same game as the rest of us. I think he's trying to prove something, and you can't trust people who are trying to prove something."

"If you don't trust my people, how can I trust you Freddie?" Jimmy said.

"I'm just worried he may not have the proper respect for you Jimmy," Freddie answered.

"Freddie, you let me worry about Hector, you just worry about driving."

Driving for Jimmy was looking less and less glamorous. He knew he could always move to LA where wheelmen got more respect. And with the time for this job drawing nearer he decided that he wished he had. He couldn't contain his sense of dread that Hector was planning to do something that would louse up the whole job. His stomach continued to sink lower with each passing minute. He buried himself in a comic book to avoid any contact with Hector until it was time to go.

When Switchblade Ricky said it was time, he pulled the ‘72 Dodge Charger into traffic, taking care to insure he was driving the legal speed limit.

"Look, punk," Hector said from the back seat, "don't you go getting excited on me. You wait the whole two minutes, and don't be goin' nowhere until we're in the back. Hear?" He pointed the gun at Freddie for emphasis.

Freddie didn't like the gun pointed at him, especially by Hector. After watching the way Hector would talk to that gun, and the way he'd pet it, and hold it up to his cheek when he was sitting at the TV, Freddie was certain that Hector viewed the gun as an extension of himself. Maybe he even saw his gun as an extension of his manhood.

He looked at Hector in the mirror and said, "No problem man, I got it under control. Now put that gun away before some cop sees it and pulls us over."

"He's right man, some cop sees that gun and we're all spending the night in the stone hotel," Ricky said. "You screw this up, and Jimmy Leon ain't gonna' be none too happy with you."

"Hey, I been with Jimmy a long time, you don't tell me how ta act." Hector said. He put the gun back in his belt.

He'd show these two someday, Hector told himself. He'd show Jimmy Leon someday too. He was a real man, not like these two punks. He'd killed two people already, and today he was going to make it three.

Hector felt nothing but disgust for Ricky. Oh yeah, for all his talk, and that silly nickname of his, Switchblade Ricky, he never killed anyone. Yeah, he'd cut a few, and he even put some in the hospital, but he never killed anyone.

And why did Jimmy force him to ride in a car driven by such a whimp? Freddie was just plain stupid, which was why he'd never be anything more than a wheelman. He would probably run fast and far if anyone were killed near him. Of the three of them only he, Hector, was a real man.

As Ricky saw the bank come into view, he told Freddie to pull over and let him out at the payphone on the corner. Ricky got out and called the Kolo Corporate Center, located six blocks away.

"This is the People's Action Party," Ricky said. "We've placed a bomb in your criminal capitalist building. We will show the world that you can't push people around and get away with it." He paused to let that sink in.

"The bomb is on the twenty third floor in the elevator motor room. It contains twenty-five pounds of explosives. You have five minutes to clear the building." He hung up the phone.

Ricky had placed a box in the building last night, in a place where they could easily find it, Jimmy said it would draw most of the police over there and keep the bomb squad busy for at least twenty minutes. Now, per plan, they waited five minutes for the police response to the bomb threat before heading the rest of the way to the bank.

Patrolman Greg Winders made the mistake of eating at his mother-in-law's last night. Why did he always say yes when he knew better, he even told his wife what happened to him when he ate there. She would have none of it. He was paying the price for giving in to her now. Being gutshot would have been a preferable fate. He'd already stopped once, earlier in the morning, to handle this case of -- what happened to him when he ate there. Ten doses of Kaopectate and two hours later he was sitting in a convenience store stall when the bomb threat call came in.

"Charlie One One, we have a bomb threat at Kolo Corporate Park, report north entrance immediately for crowd control. Charlie One One, respond code three," the dispatcher said.

"This is Charlie One One. It will be a few minutes before I can respond. I have a situation which is taking priority."

"Charlie One One, do you require backup?"

"Negative. This is something I have to do myself. Please don't make me explain." He answered. "Will roll as soon as possible. Out."

Freddie pulled up directly in front of the bank; he positioned the Charger to move out and onto the freeway in quick easy motions. He waited for Ricky and Hector to get in the door before starting his two-minute countdown. He heard the sirens six blocks over. The distraction was working. There would be no cops to deal with around here for some time.

Stacey Reed couldn't contain her feeling of anxiousness. This day was taking forever. She and Sandra were planning a wonderful evening at The Blue Door together. So work had become an endless interruption. She wanted the day to be over. She looked at the clock again, twelve twenty four, two minutes closer to lunch than the last time she checked. She couldn't think of anything being worse than the way that clock dragged on when the two punks walked in.

"Okay everybody, can I have your attention please?" the first one shouted. "This is a hold up, if you all do as your told, nobody will get hurt, and me and my partner here will leave this place a lot happier."

Stacey watched him strutting into the lobby, holding the gun high above his head, pointed at the ceiling. His partner however, held his gun like it was his child. It was almost as if he mothered it, if that was possible.

Number one looked over the lobby, and shouted, "Okay, all you customers, over there and sit on the floor, that's right, quickly now. And you tellers, start gathering up all the money and put it in my partner's bag there. It's not your money so you don't need to be stingy with it. Big bills first."

Stacey watched the second one, as he walked over to Sandra's window. Something in the way he looked at Sandra gave her a feeling of dread. Time seemed to slow as she watched the exchange.

"Come on bitch," number two said to Sandra, "Get that money in here. Faster, bitch I don't have all day."

"Please, be patient. You don't want the money all over the floor do you?" Sandra asked him.

Reality didn't register as Stacey watched in fascination when punk number two leapt onto the counter, placed his gun against Sandra's forehead and pulled the trigger in answer.

An overpowering disbelief was ruling out what she had just witnessed. Something said, "This isn't real," to her. She didn't hear the sound of the shot; she heard nothing at all. She observed the matter-of-fact way in which he watched Sandra fall, the look of almost sheer delight he had on he face. How could this be real? Sandra was her mornings and her evenings. She couldn't possibly be dead just like that.

A dark anger welled up within her. She felt it grow, build, and suddenly explode. That arrogant little puke killed Sandra! Realization wedged its way into her conscience mind. Realization that because of that animal, Sandra would never again bring her coffee before she could pull herself out of bed. Realization that Sandra would never again be there to make sure she had the towel she forgot before entering the shower.

In his self-serving act, he'd taken everything her life was about, and she wanted nothing more than to make him pay. To call him an animal was an insult to animals. Animals killed for a purpose. This thing killed Sandra for no other reason than he liked it. One minute she was talking to that thing, trying to calm him down, and the next, he was staring down at her lifeless form with a smug look of self satisfaction on his face.

Stacey wanted to kill him. With every fiber of her being she wanted to put her hands around his neck and choke the life out of that little shit. She confronted feelings she'd never experienced in her life. She'd never considered herself capable of killing anyone. She'd always put spiders out of the house. She'd always eaten vegetarian. She'd always opposed the death penalty. And right now, she wanted to impose it on this, this thing, herself.

She didn't want him going to prison for five years with time of for good behavior. She didn't want the prison system feeding him too many Twinkies so he could sue them for making him overweight, and thus avoid his punishment. She didn't want the justice system to have him at all. She wanted him all to herself.

"What the hell are you doing you asshole?" the first one shouted at him.

She suddenly became aware of sounds all around her. Customers on the floor were screaming, others were crying. She continued to stare at the two punks, focusing her hatred toward them both.

"She was dis'n me man. She can't do that and get away with it," the shooter answered.

"Jimmy said no shooting unless it's necessary. Now look at the mess you've made. Jimmy ain't gonna like this one bit."

"You will not talk to me about what Jimmy likes, I been with him longer than you have. You will get out of my face you F…"

She watched the first one jerk and spin falling to the floor, at the same time she heard a shot. She saw number two turn to where the shot came from and see one of the guards, Raymond, standing with his pistol trained on him.

Punk number two instantly fired his pistol twice, hitting Raymond in the chest both times. 

Stacey felt a burning in the pit of her stomach as she saw the way he admired his handiwork. The way he grinned as he watched Raymond struggle to shoot back. The slight smile and nod he gave when he decided to fire one more time, hitting Raymond in the face.

Movement caught her eye and she turned to see a customer running for the door. Number two fired another shot hitting him in the back of the head. Watching the customer's lifeless body  tumble to the floor, Stacey knew she was going to die today.

Freddie looked at the door of the bank when he heard the shooting . He counted to fifteen and pulled away. He headed straight for the freeway. As he turned the corner he saw a police car headed the other way. Oh shit, was he seen? Sudden panic shot through him, he watched the mirror to see if the cop would turn around. The cop turned the corner in front of the bank. Freddie headed up the ramp and away from there at full speed.

Hector felt larger than life. Three! He had killed three people today. First that little bitch, the one that told him what to do. Didn't she realize she was talking to a man? A man deserved respect; he wasn't going to let her dis' him that way. He enjoyed the look of surprise and the way she fell to the floor.

Then while that fool Ricky was dis'n him about killing her, that old fart guard popped Ricky. So he capped the guard big time. Watching him try to keep his gun hand up with two bullets in his chest was almost funny. And then the fool in the pretty suit, he offed that idiot for trying to run out the door.

The sound of Freddie peeling out pulled Hector out of his reverie. Where the hell was he going? He was going to kill that little bastard Freddie. Two minutes weren't up yet. This was the last time he would dis' a man. When he caught up with Freddie, he'd be number four.

He ran out the door to see where Freddie was going when he spotted the police car. What the hell was a patrol car doing coming around the corner? They sent all the cops six blocks over. He fired two shots at the police car and ran back into the bank.

Patrolman Winders approaching the corner of 8th and Broadhurst noticed the blue Dodge Charger peeling out and heading toward the freeway. He turned the corner and was going to U-turn in order to give chase when someone standing in front of the bank fired two shots at him. He stood on the brakes, swung his car around to get out using the car as a shield.

"This is Charlie One One, officer Needs Help, Shots Fired. Prescott Bank 8th and Broadhurst branch! Need Backup! Repeat shots fired!" He shouted.

When he reentered the bank Hector yelled, "All you customers, over there by the door, now. Sit there with your backs against the windows and the door. Now! Now!"

As the customers were moving he shouted to the tellers, "You teller people, come out here and sit in the middle of the floor. Come on all of you. You too, desk persons, get out here!"

Hector noticed a movement to his left and almost shot when he realized it was Ricky. Apparently the old fart guard's bullet had only cut a row across the back of his head, but hadn't killed him. Hector felt relief, he needed help to handle these people.

Ricky felt as if someone had hit him with a sledgehammer. His head and neck ached. Sitting up he could feel his heartbeat pulse within his head as it pounded out the pain. In a rush it all came back to him. That lunatic Hector had turned a simple job into a massacre. He shot a teller right in the forehead. Then someone had clobbered him from behind, and Hector continued to shoot.

"That bastard, Freddie, he ran off on us," Hector complained. "He didn't give us the two minutes. When I get my hands on him, he will wish he was never born. He was supposed to wait there for us."

"Count to fifteen," Ricky said.


"Count to fifteen asshole," Ricky repeated.

"What are you talking about?" Hector asked him.

"Freddie's instructions were to count to fifteen if there was any shooting, and if we weren't out by then, he was to take off and ditch the car." Ricky said. "As soon as you started the shooting, we had fifteen seconds to get to the car you asshole."

"Why wasn't I told this?" Hector asked.

"You were told. The problem is you didn't give a shit." Ricky shook his head. "I knew you were going to screw this up. I told Jimmy you couldn't be trusted."

"You are not a man, you are a boy. I am a man; you will not talk to me that way. You will show me respect, I am a man."

"You're an idiot," Ricky said. "And I'm not going up for a murder rap just because you can't control yourself. I'm not helping you out of this mess …" Ricky stopped as Hector's Beretta slammed across his face.

"Enough!" Hector said, sneering at him. "You will not talk to me like this you pig. You are not a man; you are not good enough to talk to me. You will do as I tell you, you coward pig. I will not have cowards tell me what to do."

Ricky pulled himself up. Normally he would have responded to a pistol whipping with a blade, but he needed Hector to get out of this situation without a murder rap. If Hector were dead, there would be no deal for testimony with the DA, and besides, his head was pounding with pain that was almost blinding. He was dizzy, and fighting to maintain consciousness even now. The loss of blood was catching up with him.

Stacey couldn't help noticing that during the argument between the two, the younger punk emphasized his manhood. She knew exactly where that put his mind. The idea that struck her was so far fetched; she couldn't help but follow through with it. She wanted him, alone. She had plans for him. She started to work on him every time she saw him looking her way.

She placed her index finger in her mouth working it in and out when he looked her way the first time. She moved it slowly, brought it out, kissed the end of her finger and began sucking it again.

The next time she saw him look her way, she drew circles around her breasts with her fingers, smiling and winking at him. She knew there was no way he could keep his mind off of her. Before long, he'd be raping her. Her only hope was that he would not want to do it in front of all these people. If she could maneuver him into the paper vault downstairs…

The policeman with the bullhorn startled everyone, "You there, in the bank, put down your weapons and come out with your hands up!" She saw punk two jump as if he'd been jabbed with a hot poker. He ran to the door and responded by firing two shots.

He yelled, "You shut up, I will do the talking pigs, not you. You just shut up. I will talk to you when I am ready!"

Punk two paced the lobby like a caged animal. She noticed punk one watched him, with a subtle smile, as well. She concluded punk two had no idea what to do, but he wanted to do it not. He continued to ignore the policeman with the bullhorn, and all of the attempts to communicate with him by phone. Every time he looked at her she made sure to suggest something with her lips, her hands, or her posture. If she could have written him a note she would have.

Hector didn't miss any of what the blonde teller was doing. He knew that a woman could not resist a real man when she saw one. Women wanted to be beaten and subdued by a real man. And that blonde teller with the big jugs wanted to be with him even now. He would have to take some time for her before all of the police stupidity started.

Hector walked over to Ricky and told him, "I am going to show that teller woman what it means to be with a real man. You watch these people, and don't let the police say or do anything until I'm finished."

"Do what you damn well please," Ricky said.

Hector pointed at Stacey and said, "You, teller woman, come over here."

Stacey stood up and walked over to him.

"Is there someplace private here in this bank where we can go?" he asked her.

"There's the paper vault, it's downstairs." She answered.

He smiled cruelly at her, and said, "Show me."

She led him around a desk and to a door that opened to a flight of stairs leading down. The paper vault was just that, a place for paper and records to be stored over a long period of time for the IRS. There were file cabinets lining all of the walls.

As rapes went Stacey couldn't help the thought that this one was pretty pathetic. She was beginning to believe that he was really a pretty miserable example even of a punk. When she felt him go flaccid, his moment of relaxation following climax, she quickly wrapped her legs around him, locking her feet at the ankles, she also grabbed his gun-hand's wrist, pointing the gun away from herself.

When she began to squeeze with her legs, he immediately tried to bring the gun to her head, but she was stronger from her anger than he anticipated. The pistol fired once, lodging a bullet in a file cabinet and locking the slide open showing it was empty.

Hector was angry. This was not right. He was in control here, what was this silly woman doing. How dare she. He tried to tell her she had no business doing this to him when he realized he couldn't draw a breath to speak.

He began to fight in earnest. This bitch seemed to have a strength and determination no woman should be permitted to have. He feigned unconsciousness to try and fool her.

Stacey would have none of it; she could feel the tension in his muscles letting her know he was trying a ploy. She continued to hold him and was rewarded by an expected last burst of effort; the spurt of desperation coming from his realization that she was killing him.

Anger and hatred powered Stacey. She was finding reservoirs of power in her anger over Sandra, her anger over being raped, and anger that this little shit would be free in three years if the cops were to get hold of him. She thought of the way a snake constricts its victims and suffocates them, a scene she'd seen on Discovery channel so often. Well now she was the constrictor and this little puke knew he was dying. The fact the he knew it, and there wasn't a damn thing he could do about it gave her a feeling of satisfaction. With that thought in mind she continued to squeeze even after she was sure he was dead. She didn't want him getting up later.

She pushed the body off of her and pulled the pistol out of his hand. She felt his pockets and found a spare magazine for the pistol. She'd seen this done on television often enough, there was a button somewhere. The empty magazine jumped out and fell onto the floor. She put the spare in and looked for a mechanism to close the slide. She found it on the second try. She made her way up the stairs slowly.

Things had quieted down in the lobby. She could see punk one sitting under the teller windows, away from the customers and employees. Good, he was all by himself. She worked her way slowly around the desk, remaining crouched. She got herself as close to the punk as she could before she stood up. She stepped slowly toward him. He hadn't noticed her yet.

"You!" she shouted.

She watched him turn and see her, see the gun she had pointed at him. He held up his empty hand, as if to say stop, and shouted something at her. She didn't care what he had to say. She held the gun out with both hands and simply started pulling the trigger, again and again. The pistol seemed to keep shooting forever, and red stains exploded on the punk's chest with each shot. Finally the slide locked open again and there was silence.

She stood there like that for nearly five minutes when a police officer finally took the empty pistol from her hands. As reality flooded back to her, she dropped to her knees and wept.


"We're listing this as self defense," the detective said to Stacey in her hospital room. "They were both pretty nasty characters. Rap sheet as long as your arm. And that one in the basement, he'd killed an elderly couple not two days ago. Said something about them not getting out of his way to the witnesses. You're lucky to be alive."

How lucky? She thought to herself. Sandra was gone. The police had questioned her like mad dogs. And she'd shown herself what she was really made of. She didn't much like herself right now. She'd have to think that one over and decide if she were actually lucky to be alive or not.

"Thank you, detective, I'd like to get some sleep now. If they're going to observe me, I'd prefer to be asleep and unaware of it," she said. "Besides, the way I feel right now they may decide to fit me with one of those white jackets."

"Okay ma'am," he said, handing her one of his cards. "If you think of anything else, be sure to give me a call."

She nodded to him. Later, she thought to herself. She'd decide if she needed to call him later, she'd decide if she were lucky to be alive later, she'd decide everything later. Right now she wanted only to sleep.


Freddie felt a sense of relief when he saw the freeway sign. Los Angeles - 420. Leaving town, he'd heard on the radio that the authorities were looking for a late model Dodge Charger, blue with a white top, in connection with an attempted bank robbery.

A charcoal gray Ford Tempo didn't figure in their search at all.

{Word Count 4940}