Bank Robbery

Bank Robbery
Bruno Brian ran slim fingers over his carefully styled hair. Shrugging the navy blazer more comfortably on his broad shoulders, he wondered if his businessman?s disguise masked the figure of a broken-down football coach who hadn?t worked in years. He took another sip of beer as he saw Shorty Lopez striding into the bar. ?Where you been?? Bruno growled. ?You?re late.? Shorty eased into the booth, his toes barely touching the floor. ?Cool your jets, Bruno,? he snapped. ?I?m always at the starting gate when it counts, ain?t I?? Bruno hated to admit Shorty was right. ?Ready for another heist?? ?Thought you?d never ask. What?s up?? ?First National Bank of Prairieton, Iowa? population twenty thousand,? Bruno replied. ?Rich farm community across the state line. We should split a hundred grand.? ?That?ll set me up in Acapulco for a few months,? Shorty said. Bruno ignored him. ?Here?s the plan. Tonight while you?re holed up in a motel, I?ll meet with the bank prez. If there?s inside info to be had, I?ll get it.? ?You?re going to dinner with the prez? Come on!? ?No joke. The big gun is my aunt, Alice Brunk.? ?A woman?? ?Yeah. She held out for a career before it was the ?in? thing for women.
?And you?d steal from family? Why?? So when do we strike?" Shorty asked. ?Early in the morning, I hope. First I?ve got to find out when the vault opens. But listen. There?s a new escape route.? ?I liked the old one.? ?Hate to repeat an MO. Cops keep track of stuff like that,? Bruno explained. "Anyway, this plan?s a winner. I?ve snitched a ?Student Driver? sign from the local high school. You?ll steal a car, attach the sign to it and park at the bank like some kid waiting on his drivers?-Ed teacher. ?I?ll get the goods, slip into the passenger seat and you?ll drive? slowly? to our motel. We?ll change cars there and split. It?s all safe and low-key. Cops won?t be looking for a slow-moving car with a student driver sign on it.? Shorty grinned. ?Bruno, my man, you?re a genius.? The plan began smoothly. The two men checked into the Prairieton Motel, and when they were settled, Bruno drove to his aunt?s elegant home on the town?s west side. Bruno felt no remorse over conning the old biddy. So she had raised him after his parents died. Big deal! She had been domineering and demanding, always nagging him to go to school, to attend youth meetings at the church, to join Boy Scouts. This heist would even up old scores. Aunt Alice greeted him at the door with a warm hug. Still wearing a gray pinstriped suit and the family pearls, she invited him in, slaying, ?It?s good to see you after all these years, Bruno. Where are you living?? ?Omaha,? he lied. ?Got an investment business there.? He hadn?t done an honest day?s work ever since he got fired from his coaching job. ?How nice.? They sat on a satin couch in her formal parlor. At a signal from the maid, Aunt Alice invited him into the dining room. No pre-dinner cocktails, but he hadn?t expected them. He knew this straight-laced old dame. ?How?s the banking business going?? he asked, cutting into his roast beef. ?Very well, thank you. After we eat I?ll show you my scrapbooks and bring you up to date on my life.? ?Wonderful.? He held back a sigh, remembering those tedious tomes from his childhood. Fifty-two pages per book. Auntie clipped articles that highlighted the news events of each week, pasted them in her albums and thus, as she put it, kept track of progress. Boooooring! ?I suppose you still work a full day,? Bruno said. She beamed. ?Certainly. I may be seventy-five, but as bank president and chairman of the board, it?s my duty to be there at nine when they open the vault.? ?Of course.? Nine in the morning. That?s all Bruno needed to know. He squirmed, suddenly. What if she recognized him tomorrow? But no. His disguise was foolproof. It even fooled Shorty. ?We?ll be a bit shorthanded in the morning, however,? Aunt Alice continued. ?One teller has the flu, and I?ve excused another cashier to help me in the school-community fund-raising booth on Main Street. Tomorrow?s the kickoff day.? Bruno could not suppress his grin. What a break! Auntie would be out of the bank the whole day. Once they finished dinner, his aunt led him back to the parlor, handing him leather-bound scrapbooks. He glanced at some of the oldest ones with thinly veiled distaste. What did he care about Prairieton? Finally he stifled a yawn and spoke. ?I must be going. It?s quite late.? ?Why, it?s only nine o?clock!? His aunt protested. ?Here, just take a look at this one. You?ll be surprised at what?s happened this year. Our fair town has its problems.? Bruno thrust the book aside. ?Really, I must go. It?s been nice seeing you again and I thank you for an excellent dinner.? ?Well, all right. I know how it is with business people. We need to rest to keep our minds sharp.? ?Right. We do.? He quickly took his leave, avoiding a farewell kiss. On the way back to the motel, he stopped a few blocks from the bank and deftly cut the wires connecting the alarm system to the police station. The next morning went as planned. Bruno donned his bald wig, his big nose, fake mustache, and beard, a disguise to fool the bank?s cameras and the cops. Even Aunt Alice wouldn?t recognize him? but she wouldn?t be there anyway. Bruno helped Shorty hot-wire a gray Buick in lot reserved for city employees. They taped the ?Student Driver? sign to the car and drove to the bank. Shorty parked in front while Bruno went inside. Three customers were in the bank as Bruno approached a teller. ?Fill this,? he commanded, passing her a suitcase. ?Keep quiet and nobody gets hurt. And don?t try to signal for help.? Once he had the loot, he ordered everyone into the vault and locked the door. Bruno?s heart pounded as he hurried back to the student driver car. Shorty eased away from the bank and started slowly down Main Street. There sat Aunt Alice in the fund-raising booth. Bruno waved, smirking. As they neared the motel, Bruno removed his disguise. They were almost home free when sirens screamed behind them and they saw police cars approaching from every direction. Shorty stomped on the accelerator, then braked to a screeching halt, swearing as a police car blocked his path and the cop jumped out and sprinted over. ?May I see your driver?s license, please?? Shorty looked up at him, and Bruno realized they were trapped as the officer eyed the cash-stuffed suitcase on the back seat. ?How did you know?? Bruno asked, stunned. Before the cop could reply, Aunt Alice appeared, glaring at him. ?Bruno, what do you think you?re getting away with, young man?? ?I believe you?ll find your bank?s money in that suitcase,? the officer said. ?One of your tellers phoned in a robbery minutes ago, and this was the logical car to stop.? ?Logical?? Bruno asked. ?We weren?t speeding.? Aunt Alice impaled him with a steely gaze. ?You should have done me the kindness of looking at that last scrapbook, Bruno.? ?What does your dumb scrapbook have to do with all this?? Bruno asked. She chuckled mirthlessly. ?I told you Prairieton had problems. One of them is that funds were misappropriated from the education budget. As a result, we can?t afford a drivers?-education class or activity programs for the high school.? The cop nodded. ?The student-driver sign was the tip-off, and so was your phony student. Today all the kids are wearing black, in mourning for their lost extracurricular activities. Your friend in red caught my eye.? ?It was all in the scrapbook, Bruno,? Aunt Alice said. Bruno groaned. ?Yes, I?m sure it was.?

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