We Get Greedy

Let’s not say that he wasn’t prepared. He was. He’d been planning for weeks, and if you met him it showed. Unshaven, wild-eyed, determined. He only had one topic of conversation. You walked into his flat and it confronted you, all maps and plans for the future, pinned on the walls and covering the floors.

“Detail,” Justin said. “Detail is the key thing.” He wasn’t wrong.

In the short space of time I had known him, he had drawn me into his scheme, and a scheme is what is was, lets make no mistake. Justin was in it for the take. He wasn’t out to prove himself, or demonstrate his cleverness; he wanted the money. To be honest, it was the way that his voice brightened when he spoke about the cash that dragged me into his… caper. We all get greedy.

He demonstrated the plan for me on his home computer. He’d programmed the whole thing into it. All the plans and secrets, all the times and tables. The screen lit up with a map of the building, which rotated from plan to three-quarter view. It showed the complex as Justin had described it: a maze of corridors that swirled around the central chamber. I didn’t need to guess where the money would be.

“Here’s the weak point,” said Justin, pointing at a door on the screen. He tapped at a button and the door exploded out from its moorings. He tapped another button and it froze in mid-air.

“The weak point,” he said again. I nodded. He seemed so sure of himself.

The first explosion fizzed and spluttered, knocking the bottom hinge out sideways and forcing the buckling door outward. The doorframe, still attached, splintered, then tore like wet paper. The second explosion, the one that was supposed to have gone off at the same time as the first, blew off the top hinge and set the door careening out into the blinding light at the end of the corridor. Justin was already running after it, flicking the safety off his gun. I got to my feet and started to follow when he came back through the doorway, this time thrown as though by some great force.

It took me a while to figure it out, but it came to me just as the siren was starting up. The door had hit something, something that he hadn’t programmed into his computer. Maybe it was just the new angles produced by the defective explosion, but certainly something unexpected had happened. I thought that the blast must have caused it to hit the ground and ricochet back at Justin, so in effect he was running into cannon fire.

That would account for his face, at least.

The siren was still sounding. I took the gun from his hand and started to beat Justin with the barrel, across the great gash line that the door had left, further breaking the bones of his cheek. If he was still breathing I didn’t really notice. There was the sound of running feet.

I stood and turned to face the approaching sound, and squinted into the light shining through the shattered doorframe. The white rectangle eclipsed, and security were suddenly there, bristling weaponry. My hands went up.

“I’ve got him,” I said. “I stopped him.”

They moved toward me, slowly, guns unwavering. I tried to smile.

“Is there a reward?”

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Douglas Noble was born in Scotland and grew up all wrong. Don't blame his parents though, they tried their best.

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