“Midnight. Tonight. Garrison. You got it?” Kevin slowly, yet sternly stated.
“Dude, I’m not an idiot. I understand English.” Garrison annoyingly snapped back.
“Wear black clothing, and a ski mask. We can’t risk our identity being discovered. We could lose our jobs.”
“I don’t know why we have to do this.” Garrison spoke with concern in his voice.
“Because, our boss has it coming. If he would have given me what I had asked for, this would not be happening. It’s his fault, not mine. And now he has to pay.” Kevin said, with disgust seeping from his vocal cords.
“If you chicken out, Garrison . . .” he trailed off, thinking about how much it would hurt him and their friendship if Garrison didn’t carry through with the plans. It would be like Garrison asked him to turn around, put his arms above his head as if to make certain that his hands were free from interference, and intentionally stab him in the back over and over with a jagged skinning knife. Then he paused, focusing on one spot on the ceiling. In a low voice, he gathered up the words to finish his previous sentence . . . “I will never forgive you. And that is a promise.” Kevin looked into Garrison’s eyes, his voice sounded wrathful, honest, and more determined than Garrison had ever heard it.
“Dude, relax. Don’t get your panties in a bunch.” he said, and without warning, laughter escaped his lips, sounding like some sort of horse-donkey gasping for air.
“Jackass.” Kevin replied as he rolled his eyes, and then laughed uncontrollably.
A few minutes passed by as they enjoyed laughing at one another. The tone in the room felt light. It didn’t seem so dark and thick anymore. “Enough!” Kevin shouted as he shattered the light, bringing a heavy, dark cloud into their space and placing it directly above their heads.
Garrison jumped. “Dude!?!”
Kevin raised his hand and squeezed the space between his fingers and thumb, closing his hand to silence his irritating friend.
* * *
Kevin patiently waited in his vehicle for midnight to strike, scanning the area for intruders other than Garrison. His phone disrupted the silence as the sound of a motorcycle revved inside his vehicle. It took him a moment to realize that there was not a motorcycle nearby, it was the alarm he had set on his phone. He switched it off, and scanned the area for his partner in crime. “It’s midnight! Where is that chicken?” he angrily muttered to the dark silence in his vehicle.
Just as the windows began to fog up from his angry breathing, Garrison appeared in front of him, causing Kevin’s heart to briefly stop beating.
“You are late!” Kevin spoke slowly, enunciating each syllable.
“I’m here aren’t I?” he said with a distasteful tone. Smacking his lips and turning his nose up as if Kevin’s words were vile to his senses.
Inside the corporate office, Kevin and Garrison moved around the security cameras like they were professional criminals or something. If an audience was present, their agility would be impressive. They would receive standing ovations as the sound of hands clapping and cat-calls erupted the stillness in the air. They certainly didn’t move quickly or easily throughout their work day. They typically moved about the office slow and clunky, acting like they wore bricks for shoes.
“The safe is behind a movable wall in Mr. Campbell’s office. The button is under his desk, along with the panic button, so we have to be extra, extra, extremely careful not to press the panic button by accident.” Kevin emphasized, careful to add more weight to the words ‘extra’ and ‘extremely’.
Garrison peered under the desk trying to locate the panic button so that he did not accidentally push the button that could imprison them for a long time. “Which one is it, Kevin? They look similar.” he said confounded.
“Goodness, Garrison!” The volume of Kevin’s voice increased. He surveyed both buttons. Not taking his eyes off either one of them, he swore he stopped breathing.
“Well?” Garrison said annoyed.
Kevin did not want Garrison to know that he wasn’t confident which button was which. “Hand me your flashlight. I can’t see very well under here.” he said, stalling.
Garrison reached under the desk and politely handed Kevin his flashlight.
Even with both lights shining on the two buttons, Kevin still was not confident. Sweat started to wet his t-shirt underneath his armpits. “I’m glad I’m wearing a jacket.” he thought.
Kevin decided that he had amazing luck when he gambled. He always left with more than he came with. He didn’t feel he had another choice. He was going to gamble their fate, future, and their freedom all on one fifty-fifty chance. Holding his breath, his hand shook as he reached for the chosen button. He knew that they would not have enough time to exit the building if he pushed the wrong button. Once his finger was touching the button, he closed his eyes, and prayed that the SWAT team wasn’t going to crash their party in less than two minutes.
His finger pressed down on the button, but he was so frightened by ‘what if I pressed the wrong button’ scenario that he hadn’t noticed the wall behind him began opening. He and Garrison felt the floor rumble through their bodies. They were startled at first, wondering if there was an earthquake. But there couldn’t have been. They only felt a rumble in the floor, not quaking. And the contents in the room were not shaking either.
The wall had completely opened before they realized what caused the floor to rumble. They scanned the room, still expecting the company of the SWAT team, even though Kevin had obviously pressed the correct button.
Gingerly, they walked into the space behind the wall, taking notice of any security equipment that itched to alert, the police department. The safe was positioned across the room, about 20 feet away from where they were standing. The room wasn’t very big, nor was it decorated in any way. There were a few necessities, such as a telephone, flat screen television, a laptop, a mini fridge, and a toddler sized portable potty.
“This is the panic room that I remember Jenny telling me about. I pictured it bigger for some reason.” Kevin scrutinized.
“Looks like it is big enough to hide out for a day or two.” Garrison pointed out.
“Who’s side are you on anyway!” Kevin said. His face began to turn red.
“Calm down, Kevin. I am on your side. I am here aren’t I? I was just making conversation, jeez.” As he spoke, Garrison had flung both arms into the air with his palms facing towards his friend, hoping to get him to calm down. When he finished speaking, he slowly returned his arms and hands to his sides.
Kevin had felt the calmness in the air. He took in a deep breath, and stepped towards the safe.
“I had no idea how big this safe was. It must be 7 feet tall. He must have some pretty expensive things in it. We’re going to be rich.” Garrison’s excitement began to rise. He was now anxious to see exactly what the safe was protecting.
With each forward step, Garrison thought about the lock. “Kevin, do you know the combination to the safe?” he asked hopeful.
“Of course I do. Jenny spilled her guts during one passionate afternoon about 6 months ago. I remember that day so clearly. She was exceptionally angry with her father. Mr. Campbell had informed her that she could no longer date me. Dude, I have never seen her that furious before. I was trying to comfort her. She had so much anger stored inside that tiny body of hers that cuddling wasn’t cutting it. She needed a more hefty type of release. If you get my drift.” he explained with a wink.
“Yeah, I understand.” he quickly said to not interrupt Kevin’s story for too long.
“During our heated episode, she told me a lot of things that she shouldn’t have. A few of them being details about the safe, and any dangers that may arise if I chose to invade this area, especially when I was not entitled to.”
“Why chose to invade or take something that is not yours?” Garrison questioned.
“I told you. He didn’t let me have what I had asked for, now he gets to pay.” A tiny tear formed in his right eye. Kevin quickly wiped his eyes, expressing that some sort of particle had made its way on to his eyeball.
Garrison did not believe his white lie, he knew Kevin better than Kevin realized. “Dude, I don’t think you ever told me what Mr. Campbell denied you.”
“His daughter, Jenny.” he said sadly. Another tear formed and fell on to his cheek before he could wipe his eyes. “That particle is really messing with my eye.” he quickly stated.
Not knowing what to say, Garrison only replied, “I’m sorry.”
Kevin punched in the combination, and the safe slowly opened. The anticipation was overwhelming. Kevin couldn’t wait for the door to fully open on its own. He grabbed hold of the edge and pulled. Garrison and Kevin stood in front of the open safe, speechless. The only thing that was in the safe was a note which read . . .
The only thing that belongs in this safe is the key to my daughter’s heart. I couldn’t risk you taking it. I had already informed you that you could not be with her. Her heart is too pure for someone like you. I understand that you feel that I have stolen from you, which is why you attempted to steal from me, but maybe you should have wondered what the consequences might be if you were caught. We shall leave that up to the judge now. You should have known better than to steal from an intelligent, protective father.
I wish you well.
P.S. If you didn’t guess, you’re fired!
Anger filled his body like a volcano ready to explode. He was quickly subdued when he heard rustling outside the panic room. The SWAT team was patiently waiting for him to finish the letter before hauling him to jail.
– Anneberly Andrews –
This story was written for a weekly creative contest hosted by Peregrine Arc The Sealed Safe. If you enjoy working your imagination, you should give her contest a try.