I knew there was something wrong about The Kid from the moment we stepped out in front of the jewelry store.
It was supposed to be a simple job. Storm in, nurse subdue the guards, and swipe a jeweled tiara from a safe in the manager’s office. Done correctly and efficiently, we’d be making a getaway before the first patrol car arrived on the scene.
The Gorilla and the Scarecrow knew it. They, like me, were pros who’d run through this type of gig dozens of times before. The Kid, however, was another matter entirely.
I should’ve known things were headed south when I told the Kid to let me handle the safecracking — my specialty — only to have him rush in and try to tackle it with his own meaty fingers. I could relate on a certain level. I remember a time when I was greedy, overeager, and desperate to prove my wildcard cred.
The situation was still managable. The other two had the hostages out front cowed enough that they felt confident swiping a little extra for themselves from the display cases. Another thirty seconds wasn’t going to swing things either way.
Then The Kid began shooting hostages, and all hell broke loose.
Civilian casualties are a no-no in this biz, not because I give a damn about those self-satisfied sleepwalkers but because the Ukranian takes a dim view of such gratuitous bloodshed. We get paid for nabbing the merch, not racking up a body count. Live bodies are leverage. Corpses bring nothing but reduced payouts and the righteous vengeance of a well-equipped SWAT team.
The drill rig clamped to the safe had a least a minute before it finished its work. In more experienced hands — such as mine — it would have already shredded the lock. The police tac squads had arrived in force, and The Gorilla and The Scarecrow were hard-pressed to deal with their onslaught. One of my trip mines took out a pair who tried to rush us through a rear window, and a couple of rounds from my shotgun finished off one I found slinking around the side alleyway.
And The Kid? Well, he thought he was Rambo, blazing through his entire ammo stash while standing completely exposed on the sidewalk in front of the store. I’ll say that for him, he certainly had guts — and his guts were where a dozen police officers concentrated their automatic weapons fire.
The rest of us used The Kid’s last stand as cover for our mad dash to the getaway van. His pleas for rescue were the last thing I heard as we sped away from the crime scene, loot in hand.
I did feel a little guilty about it, but The Kid wasn’t the first associate I left behind. Nor would he be the last.
(Consider the above exercise in artsy-fartsiness a solid endorsement of Overkill Software’s Payday 2.)