The four men sat on mismatched chairs around the rickety table in the dining room. There wasn’t much furniture in the place, but spartan accommodations were all that were necessary in a safe house.
The place was located in a neighborhood where the other residents knew to mind their own business. Especially when it was a well established fact that the occupants of this particular house had guns and zero qualms about using them.
They went by the names they’d come up with when they began working together. Ace was the leader, Brains came up with the plans, Chaos provided the muscle, and Wheels got them the hell out of there before anyone could catch them.
They’d been successfully robbing banks in Southern California for six years, and got together like this whenever it was time to finalize the next job.
“Okay, Brains, you said you had a plan,” Ace yielded the floor to his second in command.
Brains nodded excitedly, and the others prepared to hang on his every word. Six years was like an eternity in this line of work, and the main reason they remained out of jail or a graveyard was because Brains never let them hit a place unless he was certain he had figured out a way they could pull it off.
“Now I’ve been casing this bank for three weeks, and I have to admit…I’ve never been more excited about a potential target.”
That brought smiles from everyone at the table. Ace was the only one who usually dared to speak when Brains was laying out a plan. The other two knew their place was to shut up and listen.
“What kind of haul are you seeing?” Ace needed to know.
“I’ve done a ton of research, discreetly asked a lot of questions, and checked over my findings multiple times with numerous sources,” Brains explained. “And I can confirm, with absolute certainty that this bank pays its customers an interest rate that is six times above the national average.”
Chaos’ jaw dropped. Wheels nodded in approval. Ace raised an eyebrow in confusion.
“What does that have to do with anything?” the leader asked.
“Don’t you see?” Brains replied. “While other banks are paying their customers a pittance, this one is helping people turn a sweet profit. Not only that, they’ve got some outstanding rates for their IRAs and other retirement accounts. Plus, they are loaning out money at an all time low rate, which is making the bank even more money in the long run.”
Ace was still not getting it, but tried to piece it all together. “So what you’re saying is because they offer all these great deals, there’s even more money in the bank, so when he hit it, we’re going to walk away with a record haul?”
Much to Ace’s surprise, however, his right hand man shook his head emphatically.
“No, dude,” Brains chuckled. “What I’m saying is that instead of robbing this bank, we dig up the tens of thousands of dollars buried in the yard and hidden in the walls of this safe house and all the others, and deposit it all there.”
Wheels and Chaos nodded in agreement.
“You’re shitting me, right?” Ace asked with anger in his voice. “We’re bank robbers. We take money out of banks, preferably money that isn’t ours. We don’t put it in them.”
“Hear me out, though,” Brains insisted. “The tens of thousands of dollars we have stashed away right now is making nothing for us. It just sits there, and we’ve got to hope no one else finds it, or that the rodents living in our safe houses don’t eat it. If we had invested it six years ago when we started this little business venture, we’d have hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
“Plus, think of all the money we blew on drugs, bling, women, and trips to Vegas, just because we had access to the cash and wanted to use it,” Chaos surprisingly interjected. “If we’d put that money in the bank, where we couldn’t just grab it anytime we had a stupid, immature whim, we’d have enough saved so that we could retire from the life.”
Wheels pounded the table in agreement.
Ace exploded out of his chair in an attempt to regain control.
“Retire?” he asked mockingly. “Guys like us don’t retire. We hit banks until either the pigs catch us or put us in the ground.”
“If we get to vote on this, I’m casting mine in favor of retiring over dying or rotting in jail,” Wheels declared. “Did you happen to grab any literature on the investment opportunities?”
Brains nodded and pulled a couple of pamphlets out of his jacket, and then passed them across the table to Wheels.
“I was talking to the Branch Manager, and they have a sweet employment opportunity as well,” Brains shared. “It starts as a Teller, and pays well with full benefits. After three months, you qualify for tuition assistance, and after six months, you can apply for the bank’s Junior Executive Training Program. After eighteen months, I could be an Assistant Branch Manager. Which means one day I could be the Branch Manager, and if I’m lucky, I’ll be the one staring down the end of a gun when some young punk comes in to rob the place. How cool and ironic would that be?”
“I never wanted to do this forever. No offense,” Chaos turned to tell Ace.
Ace just nodded politely.
“I always wanted to start my own limo service,” Ace confessed.
“And you can, if you take advantage of the amazing rates they offer on small business loans,” Brains told his friend.
Ace got up again, and slowly trudged away from the table.
“Where are you going?” Brains called after him.
“Sounds like we’re going to need some sledgehammers and shovels so we can get to the money and start our new lives as retirees,” Ace replied in defeat.
Brains just nodded and went back to his conversation with Chaos and Wheels…