The first time the bank gets robbed, it's by two separate, unrelated parties—at the same freaking time. But when a robber has a stroke on the job, everyone comes together to help. Bank teller/Vietnam veteran major Chin volunteers to take the poor fellow to the ER, and while he’s at it, assist the other criminals in their escape. On the way to the hospital, while Chin and the criminals share a moment of bonding, the stroke patient recovers and hijacks the take.
The second time the bank gets robbed, one of the robbers is major Chin, for he has planned a perfect heist.
Cujo, Rabies, and myself, America’s minorities, are gathered in Plum Creek’s roadside diner scheming about getting paid big in the land of the free, exercising our rights set forth in the constitution of the United States, specifically in regard to the pursuit of happiness, to our American Dreams.
God bless America.
Cujo, African-American, is wearing his standard thug uniform—a black hoodie. He lays his head low, not wanting to be seen. Rabies—Mexican—is chewing gum, making a mole on his face move up and down. His choice of cover is the pair of gold-rimmed Ray-bans, even though the diner is dimly lit. And me, Chinese-American, ex-military with a Purple Heart, looking like I fought for the other side in ’Nam. I suppose we’re all doing our best to act inconspicuous, but man, it isn’t working. The waitress hesitates to approach our table, and when she does she appears quite amused. She takes a good look at us, up close, probably trying to peg which one of the Village People each of us is supposed to represent, probably thinking we’re a second tier cover band, in town to do the YMCA.
After the waitress leaves to get our orders in, we huddle up and start to chatter in whispers. I realize how ridiculous this is, plus Cujo didn’t brush his teeth, so I lean back and speak at a casual volume, “First of all, no one gets hurt. Anyone gets so much as a bruise I’m at liberty to call off the heist. Second, as Rabies said, we have to settle the split.” I turn to the cartel man. “Can you please take off your sunglasses? You look like you’re either a criminal or fucking blind.”
He complies and asks, “So, how much are we talking about here?”
Looking straight into his brown eyes, I tell him, “One hundred thousand, give or take.”
His eyes light up. “There’s that much in the cash drawers?”
The waitress returns to pour our coffee, I wait till she’s done and out of earshot, then I continue in a lower voice, “We’re after the vault, people. We’re not talking chump change here. I work at the bank so I know, roughly one hundred grand cash money in the vault. Minus the twenty or so Cujo owes Mad Dog, that’s eighty grand, for the take.”
“You said no one gets hurt?” Rabies frowns. “How we gonna get the vault open if we don’t break some legs? What we gonna do, spread terror with our words? How’s that different from what Cujo scratched on those napkins?”
“I’ll convince the manager and she will open the vault willingly. Trust me.” Because Ester, Jim, and Cass are already robbing the bank. Open the vault for them also opens up a bigger score with the FDIC.