As the kids finished eating micro-waved chicken nuggets and French fries, Sophie glanced into the living room where her husband Jeff sat with two seedy looking men. They spoke softly and, after all these years, she knew what that meant.
Jeffy and Billy went downstairs to play in the basement. She cleaned up the table and put their homework into their backpacks. As Sophie did the dishes, she heard Jeff say, “See you later” and the door closing. He came into the kitchen, hugged her from behind, and moved the hair away from her face to kiss her. “One last job and I’m done.”
“How can you bring those goons into our house?”
Jeff released her and took a beer from the refrigerator. “I’m working on a sweet deal – about 250k! Do you understand what that means?”
As she twisted the dishtowel in her hands, Sophie screamed, “You’ve been sent away twice, Jeff. Billy was so young last time that he didn’t even know you when you came home. If you get caught….”
“No one’s getting caught.” Jeff sat at the table and sipped the beer. “One of those ‘goons’ used to drive a payroll truck. It’s the perfect plan.”
Sophie sighed. “But we’re a family again.”
Jeff jumped up. “Family? Daddy pumping gas and mommy waiting tables? Oh, we got the American dream going here.”
Sophie walked up to him, touching his face softly. “The boys and I love you; we don’t care about anything else, Jeff.”
He pushed her away and slapped the beer down, the contents spilling all over the table and dripping onto the floor. “I want out of Brooklyn and this crappy house. I want the kids to have a big place and clean air to breathe.”
As Jeff stormed out slamming the door, Sophie ignored the mess and sat down on the stairs trembling and thinking about him getting arrested or killed that night.
Jeff drove up to the factory in a stolen Jeep with Steve and Jose in the back seat. Steve said, “I know these guys; we’ll have to shoot first.” Jeff backed the Jeep away from the building into the shadows. He took out his .45 and checked the clip; Steve and Jose put their guns on their laps.
“I’m going to get a boat,” Steve said.
“You know anything about boats?” Jose asked.
“I couldn’t tell a jib from a jab,” Steve said, and they both laughed.
“I’m going to Canada to buy a farm,” Jose said.
“You know anything about farming?” Steve asked.
Jeff knew what he wanted but kept quiet. “How long?”
Steve looked at his watch. “Any minute.”
“You don’t mind killing these guys?” Jose asked.
Steve snickered. “No, these bastards got me fired. Look, the plan is simple – I’ll take out the driver and guard; Jose, you said you can drive a stick, right?”
“Good. We’ll follow him to the park and split the cash!”
“They’re here,” Jose said.
The truck pulled up to the loading dock and the rolling steel door started opening. “Always thought this was a stupid way to deliver payroll,” Steve snarled. “Oh, crap, the manager came outside. He never does that.”
“That a problem?” Jeff asked.
The guard got out of the truck with two money bags. “No, let’s do it!” Steve said.
They pulled facemasks over their heads and ran toward the truck quickly. Steve killed the guard and the manager with two shots each. The driver jumped down from the cab, firing a shotgun and obliterating Steve’s head. He turned to fire at Jeff, but Jose shot him. As the driver collapsed a blast from the shotgun whizzed by Jeff and blew out a truck tire.
Jose stuffed the gun in his pocket. “Damn, now we need the Jeep.”
Jeff got the Jeep and parked next to the truck. “Let’s transfer the money.”
Hearing police car sirens getting closer, Jose and he quickly loaded the bags into the Jeep. “You drive,” Jeff said. As Jose got behind the wheel, Jeff put the .45 against his head. “Sorry about the farm.” Jeff fired once, Jose’s body slumping backwards. Jeff put his gun in Jose’s hand, firing another round into the driver’s corpse. “They’ll think you got chicken when you heard sirens.”
Jeff turned the driver’s body over, taking a key from his shirt pocket. He stepped up into the truck, lifted the driver’s seat, and found the lockbox. Steve had told him that the driver kept a secret stash of about $250 thousand for his nightly side business dealing drugs. Jeff took a large folded bag from behind the seat, shoved the bills inside, and then ran across the street and down a few blocks to where his car was parked.
As Jeff got behind the wheel and felt pain, he touched his right ribcage and saw blood on his gloved fingertips. “Damn,” he thought, “I got nicked by that second shotgun blast; otherwise, everything went according to plan.”
The police came and he waited quietly. Cops began examining the crime scene as fire trucks and ambulances arrived with sirens wailing. Keeping the headlights off, Jeff started the car, backed onto the road slowly, and drove toward the highway.
Sophie came home from taking the boys to school. As she looked at the day’s mail, she found a postcard from a hotel in Australia with “Meet me here!” written on it.
Though she hadn’t heard from Jeff in over six months, she knew that he had somehow escaped the truck heist gone awry because she had seen the familiar faces of the dead robbers’ on TV. Now suddenly he wanted her again. Was this part of the “perfect plan” all along? Should she take the kids half a world away, even knowing that he would never change?
“Go to hell!” Sophie yelled, crumpling the postcard and throwing it in the garbage. She took a deep breath and went upstairs to get ready for work.
Photo credits: desktopnexus.com, zillow.com, lastresistance.com, ebay.com
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