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Zero Sum

Estimated reading time — 3 minutes

The vault is open.

Fisch has some flash bangs he snagged from when he was in special forces. He tosses one through the open door. We cover our ears.

Inside, civilians are sprawled out on the ground. Powder hangs in the air. The windows are bleached. Those people depositing their checks today are writhing on the floor.


The guard’s up against the wall just inside the door. His hands are over his face, but I can see his thousand-yard stare through his open fingers. Garrett puts one in his temple.

The tellers were protected by the glass, but not much. One of the girls has her hands over her ears, and she’s mouthing to herself.

Ryan bolts the door while Bev zip-ties everyone on the ground.

I go to the glass door separating the tellers from the main floor. I pull the trigger twice. The window’s only a bulletproof mimic. I kick in the remaining pieces and head right. Bev follows me in and goes left.

“On the fucking ground!” she screams. A couple of thumps and a choked whine. She’s taking down the tellers.

Fischer flanks me down the hall. Ryan and Garrett stick by the door, waiting to let us know when the cops show. The flashbang set off the silent alarm, but we knew that. The vault will take less than three minutes, and as long as we’re in the car before more than one cruiser pulls up, we’ll outrun them on the highways.


The safe opens for fifteen seconds at 9:00 AM exactly, if you have an access card. I pull out the counterfeit we made.

The pins slide out and the vault opens. Everything sounds quiet behind us. A block of bills wrapped in sheet plastic lies on the table. I slit the plastic and we get to work. It’s something like four hundred thousand.

As we’re finishing, we hear it echoing down the hall into the vault. Two gunshots, rippling off the tile. Then, coughing screams. My heart clenches. Fisch is already pulling out his piece again as he moves back into the hallway.

There’s broken glass spread through the hall from the door. As we edge around the corner to the main floor, I can see Bev sitting against the far wall. She’s still awake, but she’s breathing hard. Garrett is face-up in the middle of the room, his blood pooling around a zip-tied woman beside him.

Bev, coughing in pain, sees us and points.


The sound drives me to my knees, clutching my ears. Fischer falls next to me, his head bouncing off the marble floor. I look around and see Ryan coming out from behind the shattered glass door. He’s frowning. Out of my left ear, I can hear Bev screaming something. I reach back for my gun and-


* * * * * *

“You motherfucker!” Bev screamed as another shot rang through the vast room. A few of the trussed people whimpered, and Mark slumped over next to Fischer.

She was grunting in pain and anger, reaching for her gun, as Ryan came across the room and shot her through the top of the head.

The room was silent after that. Andrew Ryan pulled a handheld radio from his belt. “Cruiser 91, this is Ryan.”

“91 here. Are they all dispatched?”

“They are. You two better get here before someone else gets the credit.”

“Inbound.” The crackling stopped.

Ryan crossed the hall and picked up the two duffel bags. He had only been planning it for a few days. The take was actually worth more than his crew was. Price and Hindley get the glory; they come in as he leaves and make claim to the soon-to-be famed police takedown.


He saw the police lights outside the window as he swung the front doors wide. He grinned, waiting to see the two of them rushing up the stairs, to pass him wordlessly as he left.

“Freeze!” The cruiser in the street had its doors wide open. The officers crouched behind them, their pistols aimed at him.

Still walking, he barely had time to wonder what they thought they were doing before he saw the numbers on the cruiser’s hood.


They fired.

Credit: Colin’s Home for the Damned

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