Mid Morning Robbery
Written by Tim Johnson
9:54 am. Six minutes until the bank opens. Already a line of 8 people stands outside. 9:57 am. Now the line is about 20 people long. "It's going to be a busy day," Mr. Rogan thinks to himself. "And the security guys are coming today as well," he continues. 9:59 am. BANG! Suddenly a light as bright as the sun and a deafening noise obliterate his thoughts.
Earlier That Morning
It is an average Wednesday morning for an average guy. At 6:30 James Rogan, a manager of a "rich man's bank", wakes up to the loud beeping of his alarm clock. After taking a brief shower, James prepares himself a humble breakfast of fried eggs, burned toast and a glass of orange juice. Next, he brushes his slightly crooked teeth. James is ever so slightly overweight and rather pale, too much time indoors. He has short, dark brown hair and a stubby nose. At about 7:45 am Mr. Rogan gets into his car to begin his 38 minute commute and the second most traumatic day of his life.
Despite the shining sun, it is freezing. He wishes that the heater in his car was not broken. Or the stereo. No music makes his commute very lonely and monotonous, which is why he plans to buy an iPod some time in the near future. Until then though, he will have to do with the sound of engines all around him.
Just before he gets to the bank, he remembers it is his aunt's birthday in three days. His aunt will very upset if he forgot about her birthday. "I must remember to call her," he thought. "And in four weeks it is my nephew's birthday," he continued, "I must remember that too, after all he would not want to disappoint his brother's son. Maybe he will buy him an iPod as well...Here we are."
As he pulls into the staff parking of the bank, he notices a homeless man lying, presumably asleep, on the ground near the staff entrance. Without a second thought, Mr. Rogan tosses him a R20 note and goes inside. But the homeless man is not really asleep. Nor is he actually homeless.
Once inside, Mr. Rogan makes a beeline for the coffee machine and makes himself a cup of strong coffee. One he ate a doughnut, he goes and greets the other twelve members of the staff who were already there. After that, he goes to his office and begins his first break of the day.
At 9:55am, Mr. Rogan decides he will have lunch at work, instead of going to a fast food restaurant. This creates a problem because he did not bring any lunch and the lunch provided by the powers that be are often small, and Mr. Rogan likes to have big lunches. "But at least they're rather tasty," he thinks to himself. "I'll go see what there is in the meantime."
10:00 am. Seconds after the deafening noise and blinding light. It is pitch black. Somehow the windows are covered in black paint, forbidding light to enter. Suddenly a loud voice breaks the silence.
"GET ON THE GROUND! NOW!!!" it screams.
No one dares disobey. Everyone is in shock, but at last Mr. Rogan grabs control of his wit. "Am I hurt?" he thinks to himself, coughing. "I can't see a thing damn it!" he continues.
"PHONES OUT ON THE FLOOR!!!" the voice continues.
Again, no one dares to disobey. The floor is soon littered with black and silver rectangles. Mr. Rogan hears one of the men pick them up and put them in a bowl of water. Meanwhile, another shuffles past all the staff, who are now hostages, and ties them up and gags them. This would be frightening in daylight, it is even worse when you can not see anything.
One of the men asks Mr. Rogan, who has yet to be gagged, to "kindly" open the safe. Mr. Rogan replies that he needs to be able to see in order to open the safe. This is not true, he just wants to see with his eyes. He is answered only with a kick up his (rather large) gluteus maximus. He is dragged across the room and into another, the safe room. Not even bothering to wonder how they opened the safe room, Mr. Rogan begins unlocking the safe. After a few minutes the safe opens. One of the robbers comes with some black duffle bags. But when he looks into the safe, all he sees is the cold, naked steel interior walls of the safe.
"WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?!" he screams.
"I don't know," Mr. Rogan mumbles, genuinely surprised, "I swear on my life I don't know"
"RUBBISH!" the robber screams. "TELL ME WHERE IT IS!"
"I SWEAR I DON'T KNOW!" Mr. Rogan yells.
"WHAT GOING ON DOWN THERE?" a robber asks.
"THE SAFE IS EMPTY" another replies.
"Screw this, let's go," says one of the robbers.
"NO WAY!" yet another yells, "WE'RE NOT LEAVING EMPTY HANDED!"
"This discussion is over," one of them says, with obvious authority.
"ARE YOU CRAZY!!!" the other man roars, "WE CAN'T JUST LEAVE WITHOUT ANY MONEY!!!"
Suddenly a gun goes off and Mr. Rogan feels a warm liquid splash all over his face.
"Yes we can," the leader says, calmly, "OK listen up everyone, I want you to stay EXACTLY where you are for two minutes, got it? Good."
The next two minutes of Mr. Rogan life are the most excruciating of his existence. Silence so loud it hurt. Suddenly, the lights came back on. Mr. Rogan, flushed with relief, looks up and sees one of his colleagues standing by the power control. The next thing Mr. Rogan sees is the lifeless body of a man clad from head to toe in black, with what appear to be night vision goggles on his eyes.
As one of the other employees looks at Mr. Rogan, she screams. Mr. Rogan looks back at her, baffled. She is looking at his face. Suddenly another employee screams. By now Mr. Rogan discovers that his face is covered in blood. He panics and whips it off with his hand as quickly as possible.
All of a sudden, a team of men with big guns burst into the bank. They quickly identify themselves as police and begin freeing the hostages. One of them pulls the mask off the dead robber: it is the homeless man that Mr. Rogan tossed a R20 note to.
Mr. Rogan is lost for words. The man he showed kindness just tried, and almost succeeded, to rob him. He is too shocked to think about why there is indeed no money in the safe. All he can think about is that it is over. Even though it was only about half an hour, it felt like a lifetime.
48 Hours Later
It is 10:45 am on Friday. Mr. Rogan is still off work and trying to enjoy sleeping in. But all he can think about is what happened a couple of days ago. Eventually, he gets up and decides he will go out for lunch. As he is getting dressed, his new phone rings. The screen says "Unknown Number" and Mr. Rogan ignores it. 3 seconds later it rings again. Again, he ignores it. 2 seconds later it rings yet again. This time he picks up. Before he can say anything, a mysterious voice tells him to meet at the the staff entrance to the bank in 1 hour. He tells Mr. Rogan that he knows what happened to the money from the safe.
Not The End