The Plan

The Plan by David Macfie

“I think it’s time we made some money,” declared Pete to his long-time partner in crime.

“I’ll drink to that,” replied Mikey, in a slurred voice.

“We need a plan,” said Pete, stating the obvious because his partner wasn’t capable of rational thought at that moment.

“Sure we do,” opined Mikey, screwing up his eyes so he could focus. “But tomorrow, OK?”

Tomorrow finally arrived for the pair who slept late and woke fuzzily. But Pete hadn’t forgotten. While Mikey used a hot shower to wash away the inevitable headache, he made strong, black coffee. Over the aromatic beverage, the two discussed the plan. This morning Mikey was in better touch with reality and made the first real contribution to the discussion.

“Billings and Company are receiving their payroll by armored van tomorrow at six in the morning. My source says it’s close to thirty thousand dollars. What about that?”

Pete looked immediately interested. “Where, and how many guards?”

“In the alley behind the business is a single door that’s usually locked and barred from the inside. The van comes with a driver up front and two armed guards, who travel inside. They are usually met by Billings himself. He takes delivery of the money and goes back inside. He arranges delivery early, before his staff arrive, so that he can count the money and pack the pay envelopes himself.”

“How do you know all this, Mikey?” asked Pete, with a suspicious glance at his friend.

“Relax, Pete, you’re far too tense. I’ve been dating a girl who works there. She gets talkative once she’s had a few drinks.”

“OK, sorry I asked,” replied Pete, in a conciliatory tone. “So Billings is alone right after the delivery and he’s locked inside his building. Right?”

“That’s right. The staff only start arriving at seven thirty.”

“So we need to get inside before the cash arrives and then take it once the van has left,” mused Pete thoughtfully.

“That’s what I thought too,” replied Mikey with a broad grin. “Great minds think alike, hey?”

“So how do we get in, smartass?” replied Pete, smiling back.

“My girl says Billings locks up the building at seven, in the evening, and goes straight home. There are burglar bars on all the windows and locked gates or bars on all the doors. But, luckily, Billings is a bit stingy with his money and hasn’t sprung for an alarm.”

“Good information but not helpful. How do we get in?”

“My, we are impatient this morning. I was getting to that! There’s an attic under the roof. It’s used for storage so there’s a permanent stairway up. My girl says there’s a skylight in the roof section that looks on to the alley. If we can get onto the roof we should be able to get in there.”

“So, now the plan comes together. We break in during the early hours just after midnight and hide in the attic. We take ropes, a gag and a blindfold so that we can immobilize old Billings. We wait until the handover is in progress, before we come down. We wear black head-masks and clothes and soft soled shoes so there’s no noise. When Billings comes back in and settles down, we wait a short while until the van is away, then we grab him, tie him up and take the money.”

“Sounds like a plan,” replied Mikey, approvingly.

“So that leaves two problems,” continued Pete. “How do we get on the roof and how do we get away afterwards?”

“I haven’t got a clue,” admitted Mikey, frowning in concentration.

“Let’s go and have a look,” suggested Pete.

So the two conspirators took a drive. They parked two blocks away from the Billings building and walked the short distance, stopping frequently to look in windows to make it seem like they were just shopping. When they got to the target building they were deep in conversation and just glanced, quickly up to case the place. There was no way to the alley, off the main road, so they carried on to the end of the block and turned left. They found the entrance to the alley behind the first row of buildings and were pleased to see that it ran all the way behind the buildings in the whole block, with an exit at the far end. They strolled along, chatting amiably, until they reached the back door of the Billings building. Luck was on their side. The alley was deserted so they had ample time for a good look around.

Now the answers to the two remaining problems became instantly clear.

“We get onto the roof from that fire escape on the next building along. It’s close enough for us to cross the gap quite easily,” observed Pete. “And we escape out the back door and along the alley. We park close to the entrance to the alley on the side that gives us the fastest route out. And there isn’t much lighting along here so we should be able to stay in shadow while we’re busy.”

“Agreed,” replied Mikey, tersely.

The two carried on to the far end of the alley and returned to their car. The rest of the day was spent getting hold of all the things they needed. They didn’t buy everything in one shop to allay suspicion and by late afternoon they had all they needed including provisions to get them through their wait in the roof. Now they settled down to wait. This was always the worst part, because they couldn’t have a drink to calm their nerves. They planned their routes to and from the alley, using a street map they’d picked up during their shopping and they chose the parking lot where they would leave their car. Then they set their alarm and took a nap. Finally they were on their way.

The journey to the parking place went like clockwork through the early morning streets. Traffic was light and pedestrians few. The stroll up the alley was quiet and uneventful and getting onto the roof was very easy. Even breaking in gave them no difficulties and soon they were inside. Now they lit their small torches and explored the building. Only one office was locked so they surmised the safe was in there and it would be where Billings would work with the cash. It was the closest to the stairway to the attic so again luck was with them. All was now ready. They returned to the attic and passed the night in relative comfort.

They heard Billings come in and the van arrive. They heard the muted conversations as the delivery was made and they heard Billings relock and bar the door. Then they heard the van drive away. The two crept down the stairs and sneaked towards the open door of the office. Light spilled into the passage. The two raced into the office and were greeted by Billings holding a revolver. He fired two shots. Mikey fell immediately. Pete felt the slam in his chest and fell more slowly.

His last thought as light faded from his eyes was “I think our plan is coming undone.”