from Chapter One ~ Two Random Acts For The Common Good
“…thank you very much for your cooperation, ladies and gentlemen. You’ve been a wonderful audience. Good afternoon.”
Having checked for the last time that the members of his audience were still cowering under desks or lying on the floor, Ray slowly opened the door and cautiously looked up and down the street. He had a curious feeling that he was being watched.
On a grey May Monday afternoon, in the lull between lunch and the school run, there were only a few shoppers and most of them were chatting into their phones. No one noticed Ray as he quietly left the bank, carrying a bulging black canvas holdall.
He hadn’t worried about the bank’s cameras. He knew he was unrecognisable in the balaclava because he’d worn it when he’d gone to see his mother the night before. The way she had screamed when she opened the door – well, if his own mother couldn’t recognise him, surely no one else would be able to. He smiled at the thought, then realised that he was still wearing the thing. He quickly pulled the balaclava from his head and stuffed it into his coat pocket. He tousled his hair back to its usual tangle.
He couldn’t shake the feeling that he was being watched. He glanced towards his car and saw the boy with blond hair staring at him from the other side of the street.
That kid should be in school, thought Ray. He didn’t need to worry about a child, though – he’d done the hard part, the money was in the bag, the car was only a few steps away. He grinned at the boy but lengthened his stride just in case.
Suddenly his legs stopped working and he fell forward onto the pavement. Fortunately he managed to twist slightly so that his shoulder rather than his face hit the ground first. This twist was difficult because his arms also appeared to have seized up. As he fell, which seemed to happen very slowly indeed, he was sure he caught a glimpse of the blond boy standing in front of him.
How could he have crossed the street that quickly, thought Ray, before realising that he had more important problems to worry about. He had fallen over because the laces of his shoes had been tied together in one of the largest knots he had ever seen. His arms had seized up because his wrists had been tied together behind his back – he couldn’t see how big that knot was.
As Ray was collapsing onto the pavement, a black holdall, balaclava and starter pistol (which had looked so much like a real gun) appeared on the desk in front of the duty officer at the local police station. The desk had been empty when PC Hatchard had looked around to see if he had remembered to switch on the kettle. There had been no one in the lobby and he hadn’t heard the door open or close and yet the proceeds of Ray Westmore’s almost successful bank robbery had arrived on the desk.
There was a note.
“This money was stolen from the Union Bank on Cowherd Street about five minutes ago – by a man wearing this balaclava and holding this gun. I tied him up and left him on the pavement outside the bank. Please go and get him before the bank tellers find him and start torturing him with their elastic bands.”
PC Hatchard reached for his radio.
“Yes, we’ve got another one. Must be the third time this week…”