Three's a Crowd
Mat and Hans sat in the back of the closed van which carried the trunk-full of cash to be dispensed at automatic teller machines all over the city. They were on the outskirts of the city, three kilometers away from the bridge that led to the city gates.
Mat blew a puff of smoke into the air from his cigarette and said, ‘This van is too small for us. Three’s a crowd. Two people are enough for this job. After all, it is broad daylight.’
Jonas the driver of the van spoke from the driver's seat in the front, through a partition. ‘You never know, Mat. Too many armed robberies these days. It is only safe to have two guards and a driver.’
‘I am equal to two men. I can take care of myself,’ said Mat. ‘I am a handful with a gun.’
Jonas shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘You know, Mat, bankers are a touchy lot and are fond of their money. And these days you can never tell when some gun-toting smart-ass kid might go wild and decide to get rich quick.’
Hans a German and the youngest of them all asked, ‘Ever seen any action, you two?’
‘I was doing duty for the good old bank in Pennsylvania three years back,’ Mat said. ‘Van I was guarding got waylaid by three punks with masks on their faces. One of them was a girl. Shot one kid clean through the head. Other kid and girl escaped in a getaway car. Police could never find them. They had no record.’
‘I have been in a skirmish or two when I was young but never in the line of duty for the good old bank,’ Jonas piped in.
Hans said with some feeling, ‘This is my first job as a guard. I have not killed anyone till now. I don’t want to either.’
‘You are still a young boy and you are soft,’ said Mat with a grin. ‘Once you have been on the job for twenty years you will grow into a hard-boiled son of a gun like me. Your time for action will come. By the way, how is Hannah?’
‘Giving me hell about getting hitched together,’ said Hans with a grin. ‘I keep telling her I am trying to save money for it and will marry her soon.’
‘As long as she shares her bed with you, it is fine, isn’t it, Hans?’ chuckled Jonas from the front.
‘Listen kid, marry her when you can before you lose her,’ said Mat sagely. ‘You will never make a pile from this job unless you loot one of these vans we guard.’
‘That is an idea,’ grinned Hans.
Soon they were on the outskirts of the city and were about to cross the bridge over the river. Suddenly at a distance, they could see a young woman standing in the middle of the road waving her hands wildly and gesturing frantically to them. As they came closer they could see her clothes were torn and her hair a total mess.
When they were within a hundred feet of the girl, Hans exclaimed, ‘Oh my God! That is Hannah. Jonas, stop the van.’
It was strictly against regulations to stop the van anywhere except at teller machines. But the sight of Hannah’s frantic face forced Jonas to bring the van to a screeching halt. Mat and Hans got out of the van. Jonas had orders never to leave the driver’s seat. Hannah came limping into Hans’ arms. Her face was bruised all over. She looked like she had been beaten black and blue.
‘Oh! Hans, I have been raped and beaten up by that scum,’ sobbed Hannah. ‘And he looked so fatherly and nice...’
‘Tell us what happened, girl,’ said Hans looking startled.
‘I tried to hitch a ride from Denver yesterday. Remember I had told you I was going there to meet Penny. I missed the bus back to the city and tried to hitch a ride. An old goat old enough to be my father picked me up. And, and…’ faltered Hannah.
‘The first thing to do is to get to the city, call an ambulance and get you to a hospital. We can’t wait here with this van. Get into the front with Jonas, Hannah,’ said Mat and turned to get back into the van.
As soon as Mat had his back to him, Hans pulled out his revolver from the holster and shot Mat right through the head. Hannah reached into her torn blouse, pulled out an automatic and fired at Jonas who slumped forward in the driver’s seat.
Hans walked over to Mat’s body and kicked him in the ribs.
‘So high and mighty aren’t you. That is for my brother you killed in Pennsylvania.’
Hannah and Hans threw their bodies into the river. Hans got into the driver’s seat with Hannah by his side, turned the van around and drove away in the opposite direction.