Sunday, February 20, 2011

Story a Week 11 - Dead End Job

This is the next story for my Story a Week project. This week, I was trying something a little different. I'm very comfortable writing in Science Fiction and Fantasy settings, mostly because that's what I read the most. This week, I tried writing something outside of my comfort zone and I think that I learned a lot about my writing process by doing so. That is also why this week's story is a day late, it took me longer to write this one than any of the others.

Let me know what you think! I am planning a non-fiction, normal, blog post for either this week, or next, so check back later for that.


Rick Branson walked down the aisle of the plane. He found his aisle seat near the rear of the plane and sat down. The flight from Atlanta to Barcelona would be long, but when he bought the ticket two hours ago, the seat next to his was not assigned, so he could try to lay down when it came time to sleep. Much to his surprise, not long before the door was closed, a man sat in the chair next to his and slid a briefcase under the chair in front of him.

The man smiled at Rick and said, "You gonna stow that duffle? Need me to get up?"

Rick looked down at the duffle bag in his lap and patted it lovingly. He said, "Uh, no, thanks. I'm going to keep it under the seat in front of me."

Rick bent down and slid the duffle under the seat. When he sat back up he noticed the man still looking at him. Rick inwardly sighed and said, "Hi, I'm Rick." He extended his hand.

The man took it and firmly shook it. He replied, "Al Huffington. Nice to meet you, Rick. Business or pleasure?"

Rick shot a confused glance at Al and said, "Huh?"

Al chuckled and said, "You must not be a frequent traveler. I was asking you if you're going to Barcelona for business or pleasure."

Rick nodded to show he understood and said, "Neither, I'm heading to Andorra."

Al let out a slow whistle. "Expensive up there, you must be a rich fella."

Rick chuckled gleefully and said, "Yes, I just came into some money, you might say..."

At this point the lead flight attendant came on the PA and announced that the door of the airplane was closed and the plane would be departing the gate shortly. "What was I saying?" Rick asked.

Smirking, Al said, "You were about to tell me how you came into your money."

Rick glanced out of the corner of his eye at Al, wondering if he could trust him. 'The door is closed, you're home free,' he thought. He shrugged and said, "Alright, but we gotta keep it quiet."

Al and Ricky both looked around slyly to see if someone was near who could hear. Satisfied, Rick started his story, "I've been an armored truck guard for just over five years now. I started that job because it was all I could find after I dropped out of college. The pay was alright, but my partner was a sixty year old man that had been doing the same job for thirty years and didn't make much more than I did."

"So, basically, you had a dead end job," Al cut in.

Rick nodded, "Yeah. About a year ago, I figured that out. I realized that I had made a big mistake by not continuing college. I didn't want to be an armored car guard forever."

When Rick didn't say anything for a minute, Al said, "So, what did you do? Start buying lottery tickets, or something?"

Rick smiled and shook his head. "No, I needed more of a sure thing to secure my future. I started working on a plan to take the entire contents of the armored truck."

Rick looked at Al, whose face was a picture of shock and awe. Rick smiled and continued, "My partner and I worked one of the routes that took in the most money of the entire armored truck company. I knew all of the procedures and everything, so it was just a matter of planning."

Al looked at Rick with disbelief. "You robbed an armored truck?"

Rick laughed. "No, I merely failed to return the truck at the end of my shift."

Al and Rick looked at each other for a few moments. The captain came on the PA and announced that they were waiting for a mechanic's sign off on an item before they could taxi out to the runway.

When the captain was done speaking, Al said, "You'll have to tell me how you did that without being caught."

"Well, I don't know..."

"Oh, come on, Rick. Who am I going to tell? We're on our way to Spain," Al pleaded.

"It is quite a story," Rick said. He paused for a moment, then said, "Alright. I'll tell you all about it."

Rick lowered his voice. "As I said, this all started a year ago. I knew that I had to be careful and have a solid plan before I could act, otherwise I might get caught. Or worse, I might be killed. Armored truck drivers carry guns, you know.

"The easiest part of my plan was how I would deal with my partner. I briefly considered bringing him into the plan, but I didn't think he would go along with it. He was near retirement and I think he would have thought it too risky. So, I had to figure out a way to neutralize him without hurting him. After all, I'm not a bad guy and he was a pretty cool old dude."

Al chuckled and Rick continued his story. "I had taken a chemistry course in my brief time at college and I knew from it that you could make chloroform if you had the right ingredients. A quick internet search later and I had a batch made up. I didn't even need to go shopping as we had the ingredient right in the apartment already. I tested it on my roommate when he was a little drunk so he would think that he had just passed out and it worked great."

Rick sighed. "Now came the hard part. I had to have a plan to get all that money out of the truck and get away without getting caught or worse. It took me a long time and I threw out a lot of ideas for multiple reasons. I ended up with a plan that almost guaranteed that I would get away without getting hurt, but there was no way that I could guarantee not getting caught. Once I had a plan, I went through a period of doubt in which I reconsidered whether or not it would all be worth it."

Rick glanced outside and realized that the plane still hadn't moved even though they had closed the door over twenty minutes ago. "Why haven't we left the gate?" he asked.

Al quickly replied, "The pilot said something about a maintenance issue a little while ago. I'm sure it's nothing."

Rick looked around suspiciously. Al said, "You were telling me about your doubts."

Rick glanced outside one more time, then back at Al. Finally, he said, "Yeah, I had some doubts. The plan wasn't foolproof. There were some variables that I couldn't control. There was no way to prevent being identified as the person who stole the money. My plan had to include a speedy getaway out of the country..."

"And that's why you're on this plane?" Al cut in.

"Uh, yeah," Rick replied. "I found a way to take the money, avoid revealing myself for a couple of hours and get to the airport. And now..."

"And now," Al interrupted, "you're under arrest."

Rick sat up straight in his chair. "Huh?"

Al grabbed his briefcase from under the chair in front of him and opened it up on his lap. Inside, Rick saw a tape recorder rolling and handcuffs. Al pulled the cuffs out and put Rick's hands in them as he sat stunned.

"B...b...but, how?" Rick stammered.

"Your chloroform wasn't as strong as you'd hoped," Al replied. "Your partner woke up not long after you left him with the truck and called it in. It was only a matter of figuring out where you were heading. We did that so quickly that we were able to put a wire on me so that I could record your confession."


"That's enough of that," Al said. He signaled the flight attendant at the front of the plane who opened the door. "Pick up the duffle and get up."

Glumly, Rick obeyed. The next few years wouldn't be as much fun as he had hoped.

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