Done In 60 Seconds
© Olumide Odusanya
“All things truly wicked start from innocence.” – Ernest Hemmingway
The motorcycle bounced up and down the dirt road and it felt like his heart was also bouncing in his chest the way it beat. What he was about to do wasn’t new to him but he had a bad feeling something was going to go wrong.
The bike finally came to a halt at the gate of the abandoned secondary school and he paid the potbellied rider with 500 Naira note and didn’t wait for his change. The man sat on his bike for a few seconds, and watched Daniel walk away. Then he shrugged, put the money in the side zip of the jacket he had on, turned his bike around and zoomed off the lonely road.
The school’s football field was always their meeting point before any operation. Because of how secluded and quiet the place was, they could talk, and even shout out their plans without any one hearing. They called the place Red Sand.
Daniel could make out three figures in the car when he sighted Stanley’s black Kia Cerato in the distance. He wondered who the third person was. Probably one of the expendable guys Stanley usually sometimes brought into the fold, he thought to himself.
As he walked to the field, he hit his left foot on a rock and staggered. The rusted goal post acted as a support. He stood still for a few seconds as his mind traveled back to when he and Stanley were school prefects at this same school, and he wondered where it all went wrong.
Once in a while every evil person has a moment of clarity where the consequences of his actions stare him in the face, but the end always justifies the means, and greed is a terrible emotion to harbor in one’s heart. Greed to have more without working hard was one of the worst driving forces any man could have.
He took a deep breath and continued his walk to the car.
He later found out that the third individual in car was Greg; a heavyset former military officer he had known over the years and he felt a lot better. They greeted with a friendly hand slap when Daniel got into the back seat of the car with him. The whole plan had been discussed and they were now waiting for the phone call that would alert them immediately their mark left his house for the bank.
Stanley was behind the wheel, and Small Fred was at the front passenger’s seat. It was ironic that he was called ‘Small Fred’ since he was a hulk of a man at 6 ft 4 of raw muscles. But he was the youngest in the clique, and he only got initiated after his cousin, Big Fred got shot down on one of their operations.
They passed a stick of marijuana around as old Tupac songs boomed out the car speakers. Three AK 47 rifles were right there on the floor of the car, covered with a black cloth that blended with the Cerator’s upholstery. Stanley was driving, and he had never needed to carry a gun during operations because of how much he believed in his juju. His friends always made fun of his size, saying bullets would get lost in the folds of his flesh.
Daniel looked out the window and his mind went to Gloria and the discussion they had had earlier in the day. He had gone to see her after her friend, Nkechi told him that she might be pregnant but was too scared to let him know. When he approached her and she confirmed the news, he held her in a tight embrace amidst tears. They spoke at length about their future plans, and he had secretly made the decision to change from his evil ways. But, minutes later, when that phone call came in, and Stanley told him his share of the operation would be a hundred thousand dollars, he was tempted to oblige.
Daniel, do you know what you can do with hundred thousand dollars? You can start your life afresh. A voice in his head said in the split second it took for him to say yes to Stanley. Maybe the universe was giving me a ticket out of the evil life, he thought to himself. The ringing tone from a phone in the front seat brought him back to consciousness. Stanley turned down the car stereo and picked up. ‘Okay.’ That was the only thing he said before ending the call. He turned the key in the ignition and was about to drive off, but stopped and turned in his seat so he could see his three mates before saying, “Guys, please, no casualties.”
Major part of the building was glass, and the part that wasn’t glass was snow white. The bank building stood on a fairly busy road. Mr. Alex, the robust guard at the gate who made double his salary from tips he received from saluting bank customers was extremely happy today as the last man that drove out in a white Lexus had tipped him with a thousand Naira. It was just 11 am, and he was so enthusiastic about how much more he would make before the end of the day.
He joked with one of the bank drivers that was heading to the security post, and slapped his butt when the guy called him ‘pale;’ a Southern Nigerian slang that refers to someone as an old man. The young man doubled up his pace to avoid further assault from him.
Okon the driver walked into the security post still laughing when one of the armed security guards stationed to the bank backed at him, saying he needed to stop going in and out of the security post at will. An argument ensued and Okon walked out of the security post vexed. He decided to go and stay under the umbrella of the lady selling roasted corn outside.
On his way out, he joked with Mr. Alex again, but the man was busy opening the gate for a dark blue 2006 Honda Accord to drive in. Alex the guard was even in fuller spirit when he discovered it was one of his biggest tippers. He paid no attention to Okon as he was busy with mental calculations of how much he might take home to his wife tonight. And then, just as he was about to seat on his high stool by the bank gate, a black car drove up to the gate.
Stanley drove in and stopped mid way into the bank so that the gates could not be closed. Immediately he stopped the car, Small Fred and Greg jumped out of the car, guns raised high in the air, and pandemonium broke loose in the bank premises.
Greg shot up in the air, and ran towards the bank security doors to stop their target from getting into the bank. Fred scanned the security post and fired a few shots at the small building; small dust particles from the bullets impact on the wall got caught in his eye and he rubbed his eyes as he walked boldly towards the target. Mr. Alex the bank guard froze for a few seconds, shielded by the gate, and then he slowly jogged out of the bank.
Greg had already collected the black paper bag with money from their mark, the short light skinned man, and he had instructed him at gunpoint to go get the rest from the car. As the shaky man made to walk towards the car, shots rang out from the security post hitting the getaway car; a few bullets whizzing past Fred’s right ear. Reflex action made him squeeze the trigger of his AK 47 rifle which was pointed at their victim, and the man did a little electric dance before slumping to the ground.
In the car, Daniel ducked down in the backseat as Stanley drove out of the range of the intermittent gun shots coming from the security post.
Greg handed the black paper bag filled with money to Fred and aimed his automatic rifle at the entrance of the security post, with rapid fire, he walked towards the place confidently. When he got close to the post, he saw he had hit one police officer, but wasn’t sure if he was alone in the place, so he walked to the back of the building to get a better look. At this time, Stanley had gotten out of the car to assist Fred with retrieving the rest of the money from the Honda, and Daniel was ducked down in the car’s back seat, door opened, rifle pointed at the security post entrance.
From the back window of the security post, Greg saw two dead police officers lying in a pool of their own blood and was sure they were dead. He came back to the front just to make sure there was no survivor. As he took the first step inside the building, a gunshot to his chest took him down.
Andrew, the calculative police officer that took the shot had been leaning on the wall, and was out of sight when Greg had looked inside from the back window. Looking at the bullet holes in the wall and with limited intelligence on how many robbers were still outside, he decided to make a run for it. He knew he would be a sitting duck in this place once he ran out of bullets, which he was sure would happen any time soon.
As he ran out, gun blazing, he was met with the rapid fire from Daniel’s rifle at the back back seat of the car. He felt a sting on his back and fell to the floor, but still had his gun pointed at Daniel, who was now out of the car, proceeding towards him slowly, with shots flying everywhere. He made some calculated shots, but his uncalibrated rifle kept misfiring. Bullets whizzed by his side at rapid successions, and then he felt another sting on his left shoulder, and then another on his right thigh. He kept firing, hoping he would at least get lucky as he did with the other robber, but it seemed the gods were on the robber’s side.
When the Daniel saw that Stanley was about to drive out, he fired a few more shots, ducking low in retreat as he made his way to car. All the while, Andrew was on the floor, bloodied up, still firing his gun, but slowly loosing consciousness. Daniel got in the car, and they drove out of the bank, leaving their dead colleague on the floor, at the entrance of the security post.
Small Fred was waiting outside the bank to make sure the coast was clear, and as Stanley stopped the car for him to get in, Daniel looked out the window and saw Greg gasp for life as blood spurted out of his mouth, and then his body went lifeless. Stanley let out a deep sigh before zooming off.