"Hey, Brian, how’s it going?"
"Detective Lowell, long time no see," the older security guard greeted him. "What brings you to my little bank? Social visit I hope."
"Sorry, ‘fraid not. Andersen has the beat cops from the precinct out looking for this guy." Lowell handed Brian the picture of Charles Novacek. "Figured I’d help them out and flash the picture around."
"Well, I haven’t seen him, but I’ll keep my eyes open," the older guard stated.
"Oh yeah, and this guy as well." Greg pulled the picture of Carter out of his pocket.
"This guy doesn’t look so bad. Is he an accomplice?"
"No. He’s been kidnapped by Novacek. Or at least that’s what Andersen tells me. I don’t ask where he gets his information."
"I’ll be sure to look for them."
"Thanks, Brian. Catch ya later!" Lowell yelled over his shoulder as he walked out the doors of the Global Bank.
"Dr. Benton!" the unmistakable sounds of Dr. Anspaugh echoed down the hallway. "I hope you have a darned good reason for missing the laparotomy this morning. I had to have Dr. Brown assist because you were nowhere to be found."
"Dr. Anspaugh, I want to..."
"There’s no excuse, Dr. Benton. This is a hospital. You can’t go around playing hookie just for the fun of it!"
"Carter’s missing," Peter blurted out in hopes of getting Anspaugh’s wrath focused on something other than him.
"What?! He’s not missing, they took him to a safehouse."
"It was attacked last night. Carter was taken."
"Dear Lord." Anspaugh took Peter by the arm and pulled him to the side of the hall. "How do you know this? Why wasn’t I informed until now?"
"A patient told me. Listen, I wasn’t in surgery because I was talking to the Captain at the 73rd precinct."
"Who?" Anspaugh asked, getting exasperated.
"The two detectives that are doing the investigation. I talked to their Captain. There’s something big going down here. I don’t think this was an accident," Peter whispered.
"Dr. Benton, what on earth are you talking about?" Anspaugh hissed, completely confused.
Peter was interrupted by a shout from the nurses station.
"Hey guys, come look at this. Some loser’s trying to rob a bank down the street from here."
The car came to an abrupt halt, and Mike turned around to talk to Carter.
"Okay, Dr. Carter, this is the big pay off. You are going to do exactly as I tell you. Try anything funny," Mike put a clip into his gun, "and there’ll be trouble."
"How much money do you want? What makes you think I have enough money?"
"John Truman Carter III, I think you have more than enough. We’ll start with $ 50,000 and go from there."
"What?! I can’t..." Carter protested.
Mike took the safety off his gun. "Oh yes you can. And you will."
Mike got out of the car and opened the back door. Once again he took out his knife and cut the ropes off of Carter’s wrists before hauling him out. He visually inspected Carter before getting a thoughtful look on his face.
"Something’s missing." Mike reached down to the front dash of the car and grabbed a pair of sunglasses.
"Put these on. You look like a street thug." Mike put his gun into the pocket of his coat then stepped up behind Carter and dug it into his back.
As Carter ascended the steps to the Global Bank, he looked skywards and said a prayer to whoever was listening.
They entered the bank and went to stand in line like they were two ordinary Joe’s getting cash on their lunch breaks. Carter looked around and was grateful to see only three customers, two tellers, and a security guard. *Not too many people around incase it all goes bad,* he thought to himself.
The guard watched two men enter the bank, but didn’t think much of it until something about their body language made his hair stand on end. The older man had a hardened street-wise look, and the younger man, even though he was wearing sunglasses, was nervous. The older man’s eyes were constantly moving, surveying the bank, and his hand was in his pocket pressing against the younger man’s back.
The guard suddenly realized why these guys were hitting a nerve. The picture Lowell showed him. This was Charles Novacek, in his bank!
He discreetly leaned towards the mouthpiece of his radio and pressed the button with his hand.
"This is Brian McCrane, security guard at Global Bank on 178th street requesting immediate police assistance. Charles Novacek is here. I repeat, Charles Novacek is here with John Carter."
Brian’s joy at being instrumental in catching Novacek was short lived as the response from dispatch came in way too loud. He had forgotten to turn down the volume on the radio.
"Copy that Global Bank. Police are on the way."
Novacek’s head jerked up, and the guard’s eyes met his for a split second. Brian saw rage flash through his eyes moments before he pulled the gun from his pocket and pulled the trigger.
The last thing he heard was someone scream ‘No!’ seconds before the bullet slammed into his chest.
Carter watched in horror as the bullet hit the guard in the chest, throwing him back into the wall. He slowly slid to the floor, leaving a trail of blood which stood out in stark contrast against the white wall.
The people in the bank started screaming. Some people dropped to the floor, while others took refuge behind the counter or ran for the door. Charles fired the gun into the air.
"Nobody move!" he yelled. "Anybody leaves, and the rest of you are dead!"
"Please... don’t hurt me," a woman whimpered from behind the counter.
"Shut up! Do as I tell you and no one gets hurt. I want everyone over in that corner except you," Novacek shouted, pointing his gun at the woman who had spoken. She was obviously a teller at the bank. "You’re going to get me what I want."
The people huddled together in the corner of the room remained silent, eyes glued to Novacek, who still had Carter infront of him. When Charles had finished barking his order for money to the teller, the only noise was the harsh, laboured breathing of the guard.
"Let me help him," Carter said to Charles.
Before Charles could reply, approaching sirens could be heard, followed by the screeching of tires, doors slamming, and yelling.
"I can help him. If he dies, it will..." Carter was cut off when Charles brought the gun down on the side of his head, bringing him to his knees.
"Shut up! Don’t you get it? I don’t care if he dies. I’m getting out of here even if I have to kill all of you!"