The city streets were quiet at this time of day. At 10-till-2, the lunch rush had just finished and everybody was back in their offices working diligently again. The man in the blue muscle car was not one of those people. At 9-till-2, the driver pulled the sleeve on his jacket back to check his watch. It was only a matter of time until all hell was about to break loose. He sat back in his seat and listened to his watch tick loudly every half second. Taking a deep breath and closing his eyes, he prepared himself for what was about to come.
After a few seconds of meditation, he leaned over to the passenger seat, popped the latch on the glove compartment, and pulled out a set of leather driving gloves. Sliding them onto his hands, he clenched both fists and let the fresh leather squeak as the gloves stretched under pressure. He moved like one of the many parts in his ticking watch. Like a machine. Every moment was calculated. Every movement part of a well rehearsed routine. He now glanced back down at the watch. 6-till.
The driver listened to the city for a few moments more before rolling up his window. With the last rotation of the window crank, the sounds of the city were sealed away. The only sound left in the car was the familiar half-second tick of his watch. He reached up and flicked the volume knob of the police scanner on the dashboard. A slight static now accompanied the sound of the watch. The radio remained silent, otherwise. The driver checked his watch again. This time it read 5-till. He gripped his steering wheel and turned to look down the alleyway he was parked next to. A vent ejected steam out the side of the building. But, no other movement was to be seen. He let out a long sigh.
Before sealing the glove box shut again, he pulled out a small paper map. It was folded over several times but the front of the folded packet had the road that he was currently sitting on. A large, red-markered circle sat on 7th street. A red line was drawn across the road, zig zagging across the city. The driver studied the route one last time. Satisfied, he threw the map back into the glove box and clicked the small door shut. He looked back out the passenger side window to the alleyway.
Suddenly, the scanner began to squawk.
“2–9 robbery in progress. Corner of 8th and 109. All available units please respond.”
The driver’s grip on the steering wheel tightened. He stared at the police scanner and listened to several patrol cars responding to the call. Even with the windows sealed shut, he could hear several sirens begin to wail their familiar cry, echoing off the walls of the concrete jungle. He let one hand off the wheel and pulled his left sleeve back again with one finger. His watch now read 3-till.
He glanced down the alleyway yet again. The sirens grew louder as he looked down the alleyway, waiting impatiently. He tapped his fingers on the steering wheel. Suddenly, a door burst open at the far end of the alleyway. Two men dressed in all black with ski masks came charging through the now open door. They struggled with the large duffle bags that were hoisted around each of their shoulders. As they wheeled around the corner, they struggled to keep their balance as the bulging bags threatened to topple them. They continued their sprint down the alleyway as the driver reached over to the passenger side door and pulled the latch to click it open. He gave it a shove so that it swung wide open.
“Where’s the third man?” he yelled out the door.
The man in the lead ripped off his mask and yelled back, panting between each word “Don’t know! He was right behind us but we might have lost him in the restaurant. The cops were right on our tails.”
The driver tossed the lead man the keys to the car. Catching the keys, the lead man made his way to the back of the car and popped the trunk open. He threw the two duffle bags off his shoulders and into the trunk. The suspension squealed as the back of the car sagged down with the extra weight. The two men scrambled to get into the car after they dropped off all four bags. The man in the back seat left the door closest to the alleyway open. The man in the passenger seat tossed the car keys back to the driver. He immediately threw the keys into the ignition and fired the old but powerful engine up. The carburetors flared as he fed the engine gas and the car roared to life. The two men in black looked to the alleyway. The man in the back tapped his foot quickly on the floor while the other bit into a nail.
“Come on. Come on. COME ON! Where is he?” The man in the back yelled frantically.
The driver slid his sleeve back and checked the watch again. 1-till.
“He’s got one more minute” the driver announced with a grizzled voice.
Sweat dripped down the foreheads of each man in the car. The sounds of sirens now overwhelmed them, blaring from all directions. The driver looked up to the rear view mirror and watched the intersection behind him. Finally, the third man charged through the door and sprinted down the alleyway. He threw the bag into the car before hopping in.
“About time!” the driver yelled out.
Finally, he slammed the shifter up into first gear. All 8 cylinders fired as fast as possible. The tachometer arm surged into the red. The back tires spewed thick smoke. The treads gripped the road. The chase was on. His heart raced. Somebody screamed.