“…hook your readers with a powerful conclusion (that comes first!), and then captivate them with the story of how it came to pass.” —Weekly Writing Challenge: Backward
The “thunk” sound came from my right, around the corner of the wall that I was leaning on. I turned my head to see the source of the noise and found myself looking down the barrel of a very large handgun.
“Don’t make a move, stay right where you are!” a low voice said.
Holy Shit! The hole in the end of that barrel is huge.
The next sound I heard was that of a rapidly approaching vehicle stopping quickly in the alley in front of me, right behind Walt’s car. I took a quick look out of the corner of my eye and saw a police officer getting out of the patrol car while removing his sidearm from the leather holster on his belt.
I hope that they are not as nervous as me, someone might get hurt here.
“I want you to very slowly put your back against the wall, arms out to your side, palms turned against the wall,” said the officer in front of me.
I complied immediately. I shifted the focus of my vision past the end of the gun barrel, to the knuckles of the hand holding the weapon, onward along the officer’s arm and into the face of a man old enough to be my father.
It’s alright, he’s experienced, no one is going to be hurt today—probably.
“SOMEBODY tell me exactly what is going on here,” said the second officer as he panned his weapon from one of my co-workers to the next.
Oh crap, what about Walt? Please, please don’t come out of the back door of the bank!
The back door of the Savings & Loan opened and out stepped Walt into the path of two handguns pointed at his chest.
“STOP RIGHT THERE!”
Walt’s smile turned upside-down and then morphed into a grimace. I hoped that his trip to the restroom was successful, otherwise we were in for a mess. Walt raised both hands into a pose of surrender.
“I SAID DON’T MOVE!”
The two officers, myself and my four co-workers were frozen in place like one of those old E.F. Hutton television advertisements (When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen). The back door of the bank opened a second time and out stepped a brunette female carrying an over-sized bag with “U.S. Treasury” stamped on both sides.
“WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?”
“WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?”
“Why officers, my name is Madeline and I am the Branch Manager of this Savings & Loan.”
“Do you know these men?”
“Why, yes sir. These gentlemen are electricians who are working on the fifth floor for us. Is there a problem?” said Madeline.
“Your silent alarm went off and when we arrived that empty car was idling in the alley and the man next to you was coming out that back door to where these men were gathered.”
Madeline turned and said, “Walt, you-u-u went into the bank and came back out again?”
“Yes, I did. I am going to another job today and needed to use the restroom. The door was unlocked and I figured that you were there working—you know, your usual Early Bird routine,” said Walt.
Madeline said, “Officers, this is all my fault, I am about 15 minutes late this morning. I must have left the back door unlocked last night when I went home. I am so sorry for this inconvenience, I promise it won’t happen again.”
The two policemen holstered their weapons. The first officer said, “No problem Ma’am, this is what we do.”
“Thank you so much for your prompt response.”
As the officers returned to their cars, Madeline turned to us and said, “I am so, so sorry about putting you men in this situation, please forgive me.”
“We won’t enter the bank until we see you for sure, you can count on that.”
“No harm no foul”
Madeline said, “Thank you, all. I am going to make a pot of coffee, would you please join me for some?”
“We also have some pastries being delivered in about 10 minutes. Can I get a volunteer to sign for them while I get the coffee brewed?”
Another chorus of, “YES!”
“Thank you, gentlemen.”
Madeline turned in my direction, smiled and said, “Honey, you can let go of that wall right about now, it will stand up on its own just fine.”